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The HMI market has been in constant growth in the last two decades due to the increasing need of digitalization in the industry. This need for digitalization comes for many reasons. Between them is the cost reduction of replacing the old indicator lights, push buttons, and other physical hardware. Besides, it would save a lot of plant space since HMIs require of less hardware in general, even the number of necessary displays.
In this article we are going to take a look to the manufacturers that are leading in the market of HMIs. Most of these names are recognizable for every engineer or technician in the field, since, at the end of the day, the big names of industrial automation are the ones that are going to step forward in the race to take the most part of the market. The competition is fierce and that is only good news for their clients. This list is in no particular order, HMIs are often chosen depending on the situation other than only the brand.
Honeywell has been one of the most important companies in the sector for many years, not only in the field of industrial automation but engineering in general. Focusing in the field of industrial automation, they provide to their clients with advanced automation solutions, and of course, HMIs. They have more than 30 years of experience in design of HMI infrastructure and provide a good variety of services for different situations.
Thanks to their Honeywell’s Experion HMIWeb technology, they ensure an HMI upgrade solution that won’t disrupt the current system in the plant. They provide services from PC based HMI, to a more Experion centered experience. It is stated that these upgrades won’t require shutting down the plant, and that it has a fair learning curve to ease the installation process. Last but not least, Experion HMIs do provide most advanced features like multi-touch and high-resolution screen.
Of course, the German giants won’t stay behind since they are one the most important companies worldwide, offering quality products and services, that have gained the trust of the industry. They offer their signature SIMATIC HMI systems, a series of devices that range from very basic viewing panels to more advanced SCADA systems.
Their more basic models offer what most plants need, touch and key capabilities, bright and high-resolution screens, and seemingly easy software integration that won’t require high IT skills. On the other hand, their more advance Comfort panels offer many other features la IP rating, much better screens, and offer a much better performance in general.
Rockwell has always been the most important company in North America, they have gained the trust from their clients mostly thanks to their excellent support system, even when their prices are not as competitive as other companies with similar technology. Obviously, Rockwell offers a wide range of HMI products in their brand of graphic terminals, PanelView.
PanelView products offer a wide range of products for different situations, perfect for having a custom installation depending on the solution needed. The trademark for Rockwell is the whole integrated system that they offer thanks to their software. Their most advanced panels even allow the user to build the application on panel if necessary.
Schneider is another company that resides in Europe, but they are present worldwide and have been actively providing services mostly in the fields of electricity and heavy industry. One important thing about them, is their huge investment in R&D, which has made them hold over 20.000 active patents.
This company provides great reliability and versatility with both HMI brands, Harmony and Magelis. Magelis is a brand that provides the most basic of the HMIs from Schneider, monochrome displays and on-board keypads. Harmony is their signature brand, offering basic panels for monitoring, more advanced panels ready for IoT applications, control panels, and even advanced Industrial PCs for more heavy applications.
ABB is one of the most important companies in the field of engineering in general, including robotics and, of course, industrial automation. They are based on Zurich, Switzerland, and have operations in over 100 countries. ABB offers their signature series of HMI panels, the CP600 Series.
These panels are characterized for their ease of use, and the possibility of using their PB610 engineering software or PLC web server as a source for their panels. They offer as well the CAN Keypad, which it is basically that, a keypad used for control, and have a small and simple text display to show information.
Although their principal division of industrial automation was sold to Emerson, General Electric’s Digital still provides the market with HMI and SCADA solutions with their brands iFIX and Complicity, along with their Proficy software solutions. They have a full featured solution that aims for no shutdown time and high reliability.
Emerson have gained a huge footprint in the industry since acquisition of the industrial automation division of GE, mostly thanks to the classic lines of PLC that they have available through that agreement. Of course, HMI market is not an exception for Emerson, and they provide a wide selection of monitoring and control solutions for their clients, from the simplest QuickPanel+ HMIs, to more advanced PC panels.
It is worth mentioning the addition of high-performance screens that are able to connect to hosted application in the web. All their panels are prepared to be used in industrial environments, guaranteeing reliability and safety.
The electric division of Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (or MELCO) have been around for a lot of time. Their trust is mostly condensed in Asia, but in the last few years they have been gaining trust in the rest of the world. They have done this by improving their costumer support, and maintaining their excellent and competitive prices.
Their line of HMIs devices is called GOT, which refers to Graphic Operation Terminal. As any other HMI series of products, they look to downsize the operation panel, and decrease expenses thanks to the standardization it provides, plus the customization of the panels on-the-go. They provide a wide range of options for every situation, and their software suite allows them to even operate through a personal computer.
Red Lion is part of Spectris Company, and have been around since 1975. They have always focused their efforts in the networking and monitoring in the field of industrial automation. They offer their series Graphite HMIs, which are characterized by a rugged construction, and by being the first HMI that combines an all-aluminum construction, a helpful I/O module architecture, and expansions ports to improve their characteristics.
They offer a more cost-effective solution with the name of CR1000 and CR3000 HMIs, which offer high quality wide screens with enough communication options to ease any the application of most situations.
Maple Systems is a relatability young company that has been around since 1983, and specializes in everything that has to do with HMIs. They offer a wide range of options for many situations, from the most basic and cost-effective HMIs, to the more advanced with integrated cMT Server, and even advanced headless HMIs. In general, their solutions offer high-quality in affordable prices.
The market of HMIs has been growing non-stop since they appeared, for that reason it is expected to see all these companies improving their technologies in a constant manner. Obviously, most companies in this list are those that you would see in other industrial automation lists, and this happens because they will usually offer an integrated solution. That means that they will have all the pieces of the puzzle to offer to their clients. This doesn’t mean that other smaller companies don’t have chance, they do have their advantages and there is a market for these companies as well.
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