HMIs can improve the performance of PLCs

Many industrial processes would not be possible without PLCs (programmable logic controllers). They input signals, execute controls, and can provide output signals in response to any control measures. Without them systems would require a great deal of manual control. However, alone the controllers cannot effectively present info to operators. To do this you need corresponding HMIs. We can help deliver them, offering one of the best HMI programming solutions in the UK.

What type of HMI?

HMI programmingThere are generally two different options here. Firstly you can have a dedicated PC and HMI software to create an interface. The graphic software can provide a huge amount of information, including the status of each PLC in a system. It can have visible prompts to show conditions. At the same time there can be buttons to click in the software that will send signals to PLCs to trigger an output.

The second option is to have a special purpose HMI panel. Unlike using a PC with software, here the whole panel is designed specifically to control the PLCs. The advantage is the panels can be far more durable and suit the specific industrial environment. The HMIs typically have touch screens so operators can utilise them to explore layers of menus and data before triggering PLCs.

How to maximise performance

The quality of the HMI can really help to improve PLC performance. For example they can tell operators when there is an issue so they can quickly take action. This could be something like a component overheating or pressure building up. The operator can see the issue and take action, thereby reducing the risk of damage to parts.

The key to boosting performance here is to make sure the HMIs are easy to understand. Even skilful operators don’t want to have to deal with too much data. Instead the goal should be to make the HMI streamline.

Good labelling is also vital. The graphics should mimic the real world layout of the PLCs as closely as possible, including all switches etc. There should then be tags or labels to associate with the specific data points. This makes it easy for users to quickly read and interpret the data.

A HMI programmer will need to create a tag database to allow this. Some tags here may be read only, ensuring they can only relate information. However, others need to be able to write and make the PLCs do an action. One thing to note is that there is potential for data conflict. To avoid this, it is good practice to only allow one element to write each data point.

Ask us about HMI programming

IRS Consultants Ltd understands how to get the most from PLCs. We can offer a full service to design and program HMIs. Before we do, we will get to know the client’s specific needs, including the level of skill the operator will have. This helps us to ensure we offer the best results.

So, if you need a HMI programming solution, speak to us. We have happy clients in lots of industries, including tricky sectors like manufacturing. Our goal every time is to offer efficient, reliable services.