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HMI, OI

Configuring HMIs and hiring SIs

Have a plan when it comes to configuration your human-machine interface (HMI) and hiring the next generation of engineering talent.
By Jack Smith February 16, 2020

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation offers basic tips and best practices for planning and implementing an effective factory automation human-machine interface (HMI). The author writes: “For factory equipment and systems, specialized industrial HMIs have been around for many years. The hardware and software have improved to offer extensive options, but sometimes there are so many choices configurations can become more complex than necessary. The best choice for addressing this issue is often simplicity and clarity, a proven approach for delivering the best situational awareness and usability for HMIs.”

According to the author, there are five ways to define an HMI’s style. “The style for an HMI encompasses many looks, feel and functionality aspects. While current ‘high-performance’ HMI concepts call for minimized colors and very simple objects, users must adopt what is suitable for their specific application. Considerations for creating an HMI style guide include navigation and availability, color choices, data text definitions, simple graphics and usability.”

The other story in this issue, which originally appeared in the 2019 Global System Integrator Report, offers suggestions on how to hire engineering talent. The challenge moving forward is finding qualified staff to design, deploy and maintain complex automation technologies; and that organizations need to focus on the value of their total workforce and develop strategies to train, retain and engage them with the next generation of employees.

The author writes: “A strong talent pipeline is vital to hire the right people with the right skills to grow a business. In today’s market, hiring technical talent is a well-known challenge, which means it’s vital to take a multi-pronged approach to recruiting. Strategic staffing using a variety of approaches can make the difference.”


Jack Smith
Author Bio: Content manager, CFE Media