Why rugged HMIs matter

 

Human-machine interface (HMI) is the technology that enables users to interact with machines, systems, and devices. HMIs can range from simple buttons and switches to complex touchscreens and voice recognition. HMIs are essential for many industries and applications, such as manufacturing, marine, and energy.

However, not all HMI devices are created equal. Some HMI devices are designed to withstand harsh environments and extreme conditions, while others are for more controlled environments. At Beijer Electronics we design and manufacture HMIs to meet marine, rugged, and standard automation requirements. The rugged HMI is becoming more important and valuable as climate change and technological innovation pose new challenges and opportunities for various sectors.

Below we will explain why rugged HMI matters, how climate change affects the need for rugged, and how our company started the rugged HMI in the market with our first applications designing rugged UART boards for NASA space missions in 1981.

Why rugged HMIs matter

Rugged HMIs matter because they can enhance the performance, reliability, and safety of machines, systems, and devices that operate in harsh environments and extreme conditions. Rugged HMIs can also reduce the maintenance costs, downtime, and risks associated with conventional HMI devices that are more prone to failure and damage when in extreme environments.

Some of the features and benefits of Beijer Electronics rugged HMIs are:

  • They withstand high and low temperatures, vibration, moisture, extreme UV exposure, shock, and other environmental factors that can affect the functionality and durability of HMI devices.
  • They resist dust, dirt, water, and other contaminants that can interfere with the visibility and touch sensitivity of HMI devices.
  • They provide standard and high bright displays, responsive and accurate touchscreens, and robust and secure communication and data transmission, even in outdoor and remote locations.
  • They comply with various industry standards and certifications, such as outdoor certified, NEMA 4x outdoor ratings, UL, CE, DNV/GL, ABS, Class 1 Division 2, ATEX, and others that ensure the quality and safety of HMI devices.

Rugged HMIs can be used for various applications and industries that require high performance and reliability, such as:

  • Industrial automation and control, such as factory automation, process control, and refrigeration.
  • Transportation and logistics, such as fleet management, vehicle tracking, and traffic control.
  • Energy and utilities, such as power generation, energy storage, renewable energy, oil and gas, and mining.
  • Marine, such as offshore, ballast water, alarm monitoring, propulsion.
  • Healthcare and medical, such as fluid waste management and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
  • Outdoor and public, such as kiosks, digital signage, municipal water, and wastewater.

How climate change affects the need for rugged

Climate change is one of the most pressing and complex issues facing the world today. It refers to the long-term changes in the Earth's climate system, such as temperature, precipitation, wind, and sea level and have significant and diverse impacts on the environment, society, and economy, such as:

  • Extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, storms, and wildfires.
  • Sea level rise, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and flooding.
  • Loss of biodiversity, habitat degradation, and species extinction.
  • Food insecurity, water scarcity, and crop failure.
  • Human health risks, such as heat stress, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and mental stress.
  • Social and political instability, conflicts, migration, and displacement.

Climate change affects the need for rugged HMIs in two ways. First, it increases the demand for rugged HMIs that can operate in harsh and unpredictable environments and conditions that are caused or exacerbated by climate change. For example, rugged HMIs can be used for:

 

 

  • Monitoring and managing the effects of climate change, such as air quality, water quality, soil quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Adapting and mitigating the impacts of climate change, such as disaster response, emergency management, infrastructure resilience, and climate engineering.
  • Innovating and developing solutions for climate change, such as renewable energy, smart grid, carbon capture and storage, and geoengineering.
  • Second, it creates the need for rugged HMI devices that can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the enhancement of energy efficiency and sustainability. For example, rugged HMI devices can be used for:
  • Optimizing and controlling the energy consumption and production of machines, systems, and devices.
  • Integrating and managing renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, and decarbonization.
  • Enabling and supporting the circular economy, such as waste management, recycling, and reuse.

How we started rugged HMIs

We are a pioneer and leader in the field of rugged HMI panels. We have been designing and manufacturing rugged HMIs for over 40 years, and we have a proven track record of delivering high-quality and innovative products and services to our customers across various industries and applications.
We started rugged HMI in the market with the first applications with designing NASA UART boards in the late 1980s. NASA UART boards are special boards that are used for NASA missions and projects, such as the International Space Station, the Mars Exploration Rover, and the Orion spacecraft. Our company continued to build on our knowledge to provide rugged HMI devices that can interface with other processes in the market and have continued building further generations of rugged offerings.

Our company develops and manufactures rugged HMI devices that can meet the stringent requirements and specifications, such as:

  • High and low temperature resistance, from -30°C to +70°C operating temperatures, storage -40°C to +80°C
  • Vibration 4g
  • Shock resistance, 40G, half sine, 11ms shock.
  • Moisture and UV resistance, up to 95% humidity and 1000 hours of UV exposure.
  • EMI and EMC compliance, according to MIL-STD-461 and MIL-STD-810.
  • High resolution and brightness, up to 1024 x 768 pixels and 1000 nits.

Our rugged HMIs demonstrated the advantages and benefits of rugged HMI technology, and they established our company's reputation and credibility in the market “the first in rugged”. Beijer Electronics has the mantra in the design phase of “test early, test often” to ensure a robust quality offering.

Conclusion

Rugged HMI is a vital and valuable technology that can enhance the performance, reliability, and safety of machines, systems, and devices that operate in harsh environments and extreme conditions. Rugged HMIs can also reduce the maintenance costs, downtime, and risks associated with conventional HMI devices that are more prone to failure and damage.

Rugged HMIs matter because they can address the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change, which is one of the most pressing and complex issues facing the world today. Climate change can increase the demand for rugged HMI devices that can operate in harsh and unpredictable environments and conditions, and it can create the need for rugged HMI devices that can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the enhancement of energy efficiency and sustainability.

Check out our range of rugged HMIs here.