Plant HMI Goes Millenial

The new automation plant is getting revamped for the emerging generation of engineers who are savvy with consumer interfaces and expect the plant to operate with 21st Century multi-touch screens. For about a decade, plants have been running on interfaces from the last century, out of touch with young engineers adept at advanced tools on their smartphones and tablets.

The advanced automation plant is responding to the needs of the Millennial engineers. As an example, GE Intelligent Platforms has introduced consumer-like features to its operator interface, QuickPanel+. The HMI features multi-touch screens that offer the same functionality as popular consumer tablets and smartphones, including swiping and pinch-to-zoom features. Plant employees can swipe through data or schematics even while wearing gloves. The interface is plug-and-play, and compatible with a range of third-party controllers in addition to GE machines.

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