What Should We Look for in HMI Software?


Thread Starter


Who has the best HMI software package?

I'm building a machine for a lights-out facility and need to recommend an HMI software package. I have not selected a PLC yet, so that is negotiable. The software package will need to do statistical process control (SPC), batch control, bar coding, charting, and job queuing and releasing. Any help, recommendations, or comments from your own experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

It is my belief that Rockwell Automation's ControlLogix platform of PLC used with Rockwell Software's RSView Studio and RSView Machine Edition provides superior operation above others. Your local Allen-Bradley(Rockwell Automation) distributor can assist you.


Jocko Harmet

Allen Bradley offers all of the components to put together a system like you are talking about, RSView is there HMI product and they have several plc platforms to choose from for your equipment in the plant. There PLC's also offer motion control, temperature control and many other specialty modules from both AB and third party vendors.
Given the Items that you are looking for; batching, bar coding, charting or trending, Job queing and releasing - you should consider that communication between the HMI and the Machinerey on the floor is important, but you should also consider the communication between the individual machines important also.

In a properly integrated system, a lights out system should be able to run without traditional operator type functions like starting and stoping individual components.

Allen bradley offers several networking options: Ethernet - High speed - not syncronized
DH+ - Token ring network
Controlnet - Network devices and processors on one network
DH485 - Serial Network
Devicenet - Self powered sensor network.

Of course my company is a systems integrator that uses Allen bradley for all of our HMI/PLC jobs.

Jocko Harmet

Mark Mullins

From your requirements I would suggest that most of the major PC based HMI/SCADA systems on the market will do the job. You will tend to find that your system integraters will offer you a solution that they are comfortable with which may not always be the best solution but as long as they are willing to continue to support your system and make it meet your requirements then you will get a good solution in the end. What I'm saying is that the customer support and competency of the system integrators and vendors is probably as important as particular system you choose.

I would suggest Citect, Ifix, Wonderware, PlantScape, Cimplicity, or most of the other PC based SCADA system can do what you want and the quality of your system Integrator is probably more important than the particular system you choose. So don't just look at the software but also the people who will make your system work.

I will agree with the Control Logix portion of your answer, but will have to whole-heartedly disagree with you on using the RSView Studio ME for an HMI package. I just implemented a VERY large graphical display using that package and I can safely say they released to early out of BETA testing. There are TOO many patches and bugs in this software and "REBOOT your machine" is NOT a fix in my book. I just recently got back from the RSVMTR class and had to reboot my PC no less than 10 times in two days. And I was given NO reasonable explanation as to why it happened or when this would be fixed!! It will NO doubt be a very viable program when all the snags a fixed in about a year!