Why can't we have more exciting graphics?

HMIs can have spectacular graphics. Why shouldn't we use them?

02/18/2011


Dear Control Engineering: I was reading the article Gray Backgrounds for DCS Operating Displays. Why is operator response so important? Aren’t most problems caused by the equipment?

The Abnormal Situation Management Consortium says that people factors account for 42% of incidents, which is why the group spends so much time on operator training and how individuals interface with the control system. (If you’re curious, equipment factors account for 36% of incidents, and process factors for only 22%.)

If an operator has to look at an HMI screen and ask him or herself what that blinking red thing means, it means that the operator is not adequately trained, or that the HMI graphic is not consistent in its use of color. Any time spent gathering thoughts and interpreting graphics simply slows the response and allows the problem to go on longer, potentially escalating in scale and damage. Worse yet, an operator may take the wrong action if he or she doesn't understand immediately what the display is trying to say. Consistency is critical.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com



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The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
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The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
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This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
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Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

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August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
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John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
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Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
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