Author encourages reevaluation of HMIs, use of best practices

Who should design the human machine interface systems in manufacturing and process plants? Ian Nimmo says it ought to be a team approach, and include someone who knows both human factors issues and plant operations. Link to a book, Web seminar and workshops that can help.

02/26/2009


In a Web seminar sponsored by TiPS, Inc. - The Alarm Management Company, Nimmo conducted a mini seminar based on his book, “The High Performance HMI Handbook.” ( Click here to view a detailed Table of Contents). As a founder and former Program Director of the Abnormal Situation Management (ASM) Consortium and a 30-year veteran of the refining and petrochemicals industry, Nimmo knows whereof he speaks. He says, “Early DCSs had limited graphic capabilities. We defaulted to using P&ID views, and we have since discovered that they’re not the most useful for controlling the process. They look like a picture, and are convenient, but they are more useful for designing a process than for operating a system.”

Poorly designed HMIs have been cited as contributing factors to major industrial accidents—not to mention more chronic issues like operator fatigue and inefficiency. Nimmo’s online conference and book aims to help mitigate these risks by providing the tools for the assessment, justification and planning of a high performance HMI solution.

Some of the problems with HMI graphics, says Nimmo, are the product of their being designed by the least experienced person in the room at the time. Problems include the copying of P&ID mistakes into the graphics, inaccurate locations of instruments, and disproportion of the equipment to its importance (big pictures of tanks but no picture of the tank instrument.)

“Management has been reluctant to pay for HMI redesign,” says Nimmo. “They think they paid for the initial design, but often they didn’t. It was done as inexpensively as possible, and they have never put in a dollar justification for the poor design they have.”

Nimmo hopes to “bring the big picture back” and encourage reevaluation of HMIs and implementation of best practices. “High performance HMIs are practical and achievable,” he says, and now might be exactly the right time to take up the project of evaluating systems and creating style guides. Books and consulting services (including his) are readily available to help.

Said one fan of Nimmo’s work, Senior Technology Consultant Kevyn Renner

Ian Nimmo’s presentation on High Performance Graphics can be heard online. (A WebEx player needs to be downloaded to play it.) To purchase Nimmo’s book, The High Performance HMI Handbook, visit www.mycontrolroom.com/sitedata/company/hmibook.html

TiPS, Inc. - The Alarm Management Company sponsored Nimmo's Webex conference. A pioneer in alarm management software, TiPS produced the first version of its LogMate software in 1990.

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me