A helping hand with the HMI

Chris Stearns, Rockwell Automation, outlines five ways modern HMI design can help make cement producers more productive.

As the world changes, so does the need for cement. With a growing global population, an additional 2.5 billion people are expected to reside in cities by 2050, and global cement demand is expected to increase between 12 and 23 percent by then. With a growing need for green building and decarbonization in the years to come, the time has never been more urgent to find solutions that can help companies meet global emissions targets.

As more cement production facilities seek to meet increased demand and tighter global policy, larger operational changes will also need to be considered. These changes include an increased move towards modernization, while ensuring sustainable cement production, which further increases the complexity of plant operations.

Assess operator challenges

More complex processes and automated cement plants can overwhelm operators with information and alarms, with some operations generating over 60 alarms per minute. Based on extensive research into the effectiveness of alarm systems, industry standards such as ANSI/ISA 18.2-2016 recommend that operators can only effectively handle up to two alarms on average every 10 minutes .

Take the operation of the oven, for example. A typical single operator screen can display hundreds of variables, and the operator is responsible for controlling many of them – including furnace speed, fuel flow and material feed – while ensuring a stable and safe operation. To ensure operator efficiency, it is essential to pay special attention to the management of alarms and the design of the human-machine interface (HMI) as an essential element of a control system. modern distributed.

The Importance of Operator Situational Awareness

With greater reliance on information, HMIs have become central points for plant decision-making. However, with the evolution of graphics capabilities and information availability, there may be a tendency to develop bulky operator screens with colors, 3D objects, animations, shapes, background photos plan and other misused features that distract the operator and hamper their effectiveness.

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