A snapshot of the HMI market

Human-machine interface (HMI) technology is becoming increasingly more prevalent; not just in everyday life, but in industry too. A newly-released report reveals some of the current trends and future developments in HMI, Stephanie Stefanovic reports.

Defining HMI Human-machine interface is a component of devices that enable human-machine interactions.

This means the interface consists of software and hardware that allow user inputs to be translated as signals that provide the user with the required result. Prime examples of HMI technology include smart phones, personal computers and tablets.

However, HMI technology is not limited to personal use; HMI products of all kinds are being released for use across a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and oil and gas.

The HMI market Recently, a report was released by global market research and counselling firm Credence Research, entitled Human Machine Interface Market – Growth, Share, Opportunities and Competitive Analysis 2015-2022.

The report provides an analysis of the HMI market from 2015 to 2022, and states that the global HMI industry is expected to see significant growth throughout the forecast period.

The report begins with currently available statistics, which are from 2014. These statistics show that in 2014, industrial software for HMI accounted for the most global revenue when compared to other solutions including interface software, displays and touch screens and other miscellaneous solutions.

According to the research firm, this can be attributed to a number of factors.

Firstly, for some time now, global manufacturers have been integrating their technology on the factory floor with advanced touch screen technologies, in order to improve both the production process and their operators’ experience.

There has also been a shift towards bring your own device (BYOD) policies, which have increased the demand for mobile devices on factory floors. These factors are expected to fuel the demand for touchscreen technologies and industrial PCs throughout the forecast period 2015-2022.

The report also showed that in 2014, automation was the most popular application for HMI providers, accounting for a large percentage of the global revenue share, along with mining and oil and gas.

The research firm has forecast that the global automotive sector will maintain its dominating position throughout the forecast period, because HMI solutions are proving useful in reducing the operating cost and control and monitoring of manufacturing processes for automotive manufacturers.

While the automotive sector may remain the largest source of revenue, the oil and gas sector is predicted to see the fastest growth, due to an increasing demand to access information physically and virtually from remote areas.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are also expected to increase their adoption of HMI technologies. As far as regions of growth are concerned, in 2014 North America had the largest regional market, followed by Europe.

According to the research, this is explained by rising market competition that is encouraging manufacturers to replace outdated machineries with those which are faster and have more efficient control and monitoring systems, in order to improve productivity and reduce operating costs.

The report also showed that in 2014, automation was the most popular application for HMI providers, accounting for a large percentage of the global revenue share, along with mining and oil and gas.

This is coupled with increasingly stringent safety regulations that require the use of HMI technology to reduce workplace accidents.

Just as in the case of the automotive and oil and gas industries, while North America and Europe represent the largest regional markets, Asia-Pacific currently represents the fastest-growing regional market for HMI technologies and is predicted to become the largest regional market throughout the forecast period.

According to the research firm, this can be attributed to growing industrialisation, and the fact that manufacturers from developed regions are expanding their presence in this region in order to take advantage of low manufacturing and labour costs.

The majority of the demand for HMI solutions is expected to be from growing pharmaceuticals, automobile and food and beverage sectors in the region. Current trends

Current trends in HMI technology for industry include:

• The modelling of HMI technology based on current mobile technology, meaning bigger screen sizes, increased resolution and multi-touch capabilities.

• HMI solutions that support multi-node, multi-process applications with intuitive graphic interface for complex manufacturing and processing applications.

• HMI solution providers working with clients to provide customised solutions for control of their plants.

• Integrated SCADA and HMI solutions.

• Increased availability of remote monitoring.