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HMI Basics

March 27, 2018

HMI Basics



The role of the operator interface today extends beyond simple machine control. The operator interface/ Human Machine Interface (HMI) must meet the demands of our digital age.


Traditionally one or more HMI’s controlled a single machine.  An HMI today needs to be more than reliable and industrial. It must allow for fast fulfillment of design wishes, be secure and be connectable to the complete facility or the world.


The Siemens HMI offering allows for a solution to every customer’s needs. They have a basic panel that gives a user control for an individual machine at a cost effective price. Their comfort panel series offers a full feature, connectable HMI.  Their highest capability HMI’s are IPC (industrial personal computer) based HMI’s.



The Siemens offering goes beyond their standard product offering, they also have HMI’s for many other environments. Their PRO series is an offering that mounts to a pedestal or support arm without an enclosure.  These are rated for IP65.  The INOX version is designed for certified stainless steel equipment and is IP67 rated.  They also have outdoor versions, explosion proof versions and their SIPLUS versions that have conformal coated circuit boards for caustic environments. SIMATIC HMI provides a suitable panel version for virtually any production environment.


The programming tool is called WinCC.  It is embedded in the TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) software.  This programming environment allows the HMI to be very effective. 


The operator interface is the first impression of any machine. The Style Editor integrated in the TIA Portal has a full range of settings that allow you to create an effective & unique user interface that does justice to your design. Siemens provides numerous free templates, demonstration projects and libraries for its customers to download.


Diagnostic and alarming tools you can drop onto a screen on the HMI are seamlessly integrated to the PLC and other Siemens automation devices.  Once configured, these tools can provide a comprehensive signaling system via the TIA Portal that promptly notifies the operator whenever a fault occurs in your machine. If you wish to make the downtime even shorter, you can have automatic notification sent to your service technician. That way, you can save valuable time that would otherwise be spent on troubleshooting.


Usability is a critical aspect in visualization with a HMI.  To test the usability of your engineering, you can simply use the TIA Portal Simulation function. You can test and analyze your configuration under "secured" realistic conditions in a virtual environment. Even before your end product has been commissioned, you can be sure that it will work correctly.


The "Security Integrated" concept enables comprehensive protection of your HMI and all your sensitive data against unauthorized access. You can use the extensive user administration facility in the TIA Portal or the HMI device itself to set up access restrictions, based on passwords and many other protective measures to ensure effective protection against external manipulation.


Finally, the Siemens HMI addresses Data.  Backup functions are available on the HMI to make sure your application is secure. Web access may be enabled to allow remote viewing and/or control.  Data logging allows machine data to be collected and secured.  Siemens HMI’s are designed to be part of a comprehensive data and security solution.



Siemens HMI Panels are just one of many innovative solutions we offer, from the field level through to the enterprise level, to help you improve productivity, efficiency and connectivity.  Siemens and Baldwin have the technology, expertise and support to customize a solution that can transform your organization into a Digital Enterprise.