Build or Buy HMI: How Do You Choose?

By Control Engineering Staff October 23, 2007

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October 17 , 2007

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Build or Buy HMI: How Do You Choose?
QSI Whitepaper leads you through this tough decision.

As you design your next complex machine, the operator interface, or HMI (Human-Machine Interface) can either make the project a success or a failure. The vital question is should you develop it in house or out source it?

The operator interface ultimately determines the usability of the machine. For all the hard work, engineering dollars and other valuable resources you invest in the development, the HMI can literally make or break the success of the product release. A good interface is invisible, simply because it works. Usability and functionality of the interface determines the user’s perception of the machine itself and often times the reputation of the manufacturer also. On the flip side, a bad operator interface can be detrimental to the potential of what your machine offers your customers.

Given how critical the interface is, it’s vital to ask yourself if it is best to design and build the HMI yourself, or outsource the development.

This question is easy when you approach it correctly and consider the full scope of issues from both perspectives. A whitepaper from QSI sorts through the details on both sides, while keeping sight of the big picture:

  • Do you have all of the required internal competencies (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and environmental testing) to design and build it yourself?

  • Is your own design necessarily the best or most cost-effective
    solution?

  • Have you included all the financial considerations, now and for the life of the product, of a make or buy decision?

  • Can an outside supplier really understand your specific needs and represent your brand identity?

These are only a few of the issues discussed in QSI’s whitepaper, “Rugged Operator Interface Terminals: Build versus Buy.” Download this discussion, complete with pros and cons of each approach.

Click here to get your copy.

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