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SCADA and HMI Applications

Over the recent years there has been many developments in automation products, so much so that it can be considered that HMI's (human machine Interface) and SCADA's (supervisory Control and Data Aquistion) have become much the same.

In the beginning a clear difference was created where HMI's we dedicated electronics that had the ability to communicate with other dedicated electronics. SCADA's were PC based application with the ability to link to other windows based application in the share of data with control systems. This is no longer the case and end users should not be fooled into thinking that a SCADA application is always required when often a High end HMI will give the same functionality at a fraction of the cost and is a Windows based system.

What makes a good SCADA or HMI, over the past ten years I have been challenged with creating SCADA and HMI application's, through my experience I have picked up some feedback which makes SCADA and HMI developments more usable!

When creating any operator interface the end user should always be considered with any good system the end user is always considered.

At AC-Sys, we always design to the following criteria:

1. Keep it simple - don't use animations and spinning graphics they detract from the important info.

2. Use colour association - keep a designated colour for navigation through the project, but avoid green amber and red these should be reserved for status indication only.

3. Remember SCADA's are not just for engineers - The operator functions should always take president.

4. Use extended information; common face plates for devices can provide a lot of useful information but always apply the above design philosophies when creating them.

5. Use English, always create message in full length, were a PLC flag might be important to the developer the operator will surly find this information irritating.

Article written by Matthew Withe (also published on Ezine Articles & Article Base)

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