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HMI, OI

Upgrading HMIs and change management

The June issue of AppliedAutomation looks at high-performance HMIs (HP-HMIs) and remote monitoring in the age of COVID-19.

By Jack Smith May 30, 2020

The cover story in this issue of AppliedAutomation examines implementing high-performance human-machine interface graphics when embarking on a hardware and software upgrade project for greater control of manufacturing processes and systems. The authors wrote, “The move to high-performance HMIs (HP-HMIs) will help improve an operator’s ability to manage operations effectively and increase response time to alarms and other abnormal situations.”

Early HMI graphics introduced inconsistencies in color and alarms and tended to cause operator confusion. However, the authors say HMI standardization changed this: “Establishing graphics standards upfront is key to overcoming these design issues. They help guide the entire process and overall company vision. It all comes down to situational awareness, which the International Society of Automation’s ISA-101 standard defines as ‘The relationship between the operator’s understanding of the plant’s condition and its actual condition at any given time.’ HP-HMI graphics will enhance situational awareness, making anomalies within the system easily recognizable.”

According to the authors, the other tools and issues to consider include alarm management, visualization tools and read-only remote access.

The other story in this issue explores ways companies approach organizational change management as it applies to remote operations. The author wrote, “In many cases, the infrastructure required to support a move to reduced onsite staffing or a move to remote operation may be in place. Reducing onsite staff has increased focus in the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is unlikely that the same level of process safety and reliability can be achieved without meaningful effort and cost. Significant staffing changes must include a serious evaluation of organizational change management and the understanding that current operational reliability is more a case of luck than excellence in organizational design.”

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering and Plant Engineering.


Jack Smith
Author Bio: Content manager, CFE Media