A new white paper from Opto 22 takes issue with current human machine interfaces (HMI) which may have contributed to major disasters such as the BP Texas City refinery explosion. Early attempts to represent real time processes using computer displays derived from piping and instrumentation drawings (P&IDs) as this ‘seemed logical.’ Most of HMIs are still based on P&IDs which, as Bill Hollifield and Ian Nimmo, authors of The high performance HMI handbook observe are ‘tools for designing rather than controlling a process.’ Current HMI ‘focuses too much on the process hardware rather than on the operator’s mind.’
The white paper offers concrete suggestions for improved HMI incorporating ergonomics and user-centered design to provide operators with consistent information in context.
For large systems, the authors acknowledge that market leaders Honeywell with its Experion PKS and Emerson’s Delta V have done a good job of improving the operator interface for large industrial systems. For less complex systems, Opto 22 recommends its own ‘Groov’ toolset for building simple operator interfaces that can be deployed on a variety of platforms, from smartphones to web-enabled large-screen TVs. More from Opto 22.
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