Just as sensors and I/O provide process data for analysis and control, plant-floor HMIs deliver information needed for informed, efficient and safer choices. Additionally, just as microprocessors, software and the Internet will always need to sense and touch the physical world, no matter how much power and speed they achieve, HMIs will always be needed to serve as the bridge between computing and people.
Fortunately, developers and users continue to improve HMIs and apply them in increasingly unusual environments.
Seeing is believing—and saving
For instance, system integrator CL Ingenieria de Automatizacion in Santiago, Chile, recently helped improve monitoring and control on 21 silos for a dairy processor in Bogota, Columbia that receives 800,000 liters of milk per day, but needed to increase its efficiency to compete in the face of new free-trade agreements. After it's discharged from trucks coming from different parts of Columbia, the milk is cooled to 4 °C and divided among units making ultra-high-temperature dairy products, desserts, fermented dairy and cheese. This means milk in each silo must be stored in accordance with standards for each product category, which requires monitoring and maintaining crucial variables such as temperature, silo level and volumes going to different processing areas.