It’s all in the Interface

by , | May 1, 2023 | Control & Safety Systems, Digital Transformation

We’ve talked a lot in this space about the way the current personnel shortage is upending process manufacturing. Control rooms are short on personnel and are more reliant than ever on automation technologies to help operators make fast, informed decisions no matter where in the plant they may be.

In an article in Process and Control magazine, Emerson’s Mariana Dionisio tackled this new problem vexing manufacturers around the globe, but she sees a bright side that many overlook,

“Fortunately, this experienced personnel shortage comes just as new digital software and technologies are creating a boundless automation future. More than ever before, automation technologies are being designed to collate data from multiple domains and present it as actionable information for better decision making.”

In short, while the personnel shortage is uncomfortable, digital transformation is rapidly closing the gap. New technologies—particularly human machine interfaces (HMIs)—not only make it easier for a small group of operators to run complex processes, but also upskill newer personnel much faster, helping plants more quickly rebuild the teams they lost in the last few years.

Dodge complexity

Mariana shares how current trends steer away from the complex, custom HMIs that were common in the past. Those systems are no longer as stable or efficient as plants need them to be.

“Custom-scripted solutions introduce additional points of failure in the system and result in maintenance issues when the people who originally created them are no longer available. Moreover, making any changes to such a system is typically time-consuming and requires extensive expertise.”

Instead, the most successful companies today are implementing HMI solutions that offer everything an agile team needs right out of the box. Solutions like Emerson’s DeltaV™ Live offer common dashboards immediately upon installation. However, users aren’t restricted to just those dashboards. With a few clicks, they securely add permitted information from websites, control and analytics applications, and other software—directly into the primary HMI display.

The solutions are highly customizable and easily navigable, dramatically cutting the learning curve and making it easy for operators to highlight the dashboards and displays they need at any given time.

The key to better decision making

Quality HMIs are critical to safe, successful, efficient operation. Operators can only react properly if they have the best information, and they only have the best information if they can find it. Today’s HMI solutions can deliver that ease-of-use, but only if they’re designed from the ground up with the user in mind.

To learn more about how these HMI solutions empower operators, you can read Mariana’s article in its entirety at Processing and Control.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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