As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to modern, immersive user experiences – thanks to devices that employ sophisticated human-machine interface (HMI) designs. The same can’t be said, however, about devices used in industrial settings. One of the reasons for this lag is some significant design challenges facing developers. Standard-driven specifications, limitations on the physical size, and controls that may require being fitted to larger installations are a few of these obstacles. Added to these considerations, industrial devices are generally expected to maintain operation in environments where they are subjected to all kinds of stresses for years.
Bluetooth offers a compelling solution to these problems. This month, Silicon Labs is hosting a webinar exploring how it can be leveraged to improve security and reliability and simplify the development process. Silicon Labs Senior Product Managers Parker Dorris and Mikko Niemi will be hosting AMER and EMEA sessions on Wednesday, October 14th at 11 AM CDT and Thursday, October 15th at 3 PM CET, respectively. Senior Field Applications Engineer Aki Mizutani will be hosting a session for Japan on Wednesday, October 28 at 10 AM. They’ll walk through the advantages of Bluetooth and how it can improve future-proofing, security, and reliability. Additionally, they’ll cover how to simplify your Bluetooth design with preprogrammed modules and introduce our latest Xpress module.
There is no lack of guidelines or even standards when it comes to designing an industrial human-machine interface (HMI). Some organizations, such as ASM, have guidelines on how to improve operator efficiency using displays. International Society of Automation has an ISA 101 committee focusing solely on HMI design and publishes standards and other helpful content for designers.
Some of the recommended guidelines from ASM include
However, there is a very large number of industrial devices that cannot be equipped with bright, high-resolution displays. The devices can be small in physical size, making it challenging to add large displays; the devices can be located far off from the operator, or the devices are running from a battery. For these and other situations, Bluetooth provides an excellent way to transform the user experience.
Using a widely adopted technology, like Bluetooth, the designers can design the HMI on smartphone or tablet screens and apply much greater design tactics than if they had to fit everything to a tiny pushbutton and seven-segment display. The operator can read the device or adjust the settings remotely, improving safety and convenience. When comparing to galvanically isolated serial interfaces, Bluetooth can provide notable savings in the bill of materials.
The Bluetooth Xpress family of products from Silicon Labs delivers the easiest integration of wireless technology for an industrial HMI. The pre-programmed and pre-certified modules require no previous Bluetooth skills. The accompanying mobile application framework simplifies mobile application development.
If you want to learn more about how Bluetooth can help you to deliver great human-machine interfaces, check out our whitepaper or get your project off the ground by ordering the Bluetooth Xpress starter kit.