The Disruptive Impacts of Human-Machine Interfaces in the Packaging Automation Industry


A Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a panel or interface that serves as a linkage between an operator and a machine, instrument, or system. Although the term can be attributed to any screen facilitating interaction with a unit, HMI is primarily employed within the domain of industrial processes.

In industrial applications, an HMI performs a range of functions such as data visualization, tracking of production time, trends, and labels, key performance indicators (KPIs) monitoring, and supervising machine I/O operations.

HMIs are available in diverse formats, from built-in machine screens to computer screens and tablets. No matter what form they take, their chief role is to convey data regarding operative performance and mechanical progression.

Typical HMI applications

The HMI operates by gathering data from Program Logic Controllers (PLCs) and machine input/output sensors, synthesizing this data and presenting it to the users in a coherent, understandable manner. As a central console, the HMI seamlessly interfaces with SCADA and MES systems, manages alarms, and provides real-time graphical representations (like charts and digital dashboards) of crucial information. Their operations can range from basic tracking and monitoring to more complex tasks like system shutdowns or escalating production speeds.

Essentiality of HMI Configurations in Packaging Machines

Advancements in packaging technology such as automated carton and box packaging machines, allow for a heightened versatility in product and packaging variations. This efficiently responds to the dynamic consumer trends and expectations.

These automated machines bring in robust returns on investment by increasing packaging efficiency, heightening precision and reliability, and boosting employee safety. They also help dispel issues associated with labor variability and common errors like inaccurate box counts and excessive product wastage.

Functioning of HMIs

With a suitable programming, automated carton box machines can follow multiple instructions for varying packing patterns. They are capable of managing simple, structured configurations to complex packing patterns, contingent on the sophistication of the device.

Integration of HMIs into Packaging Machines

Companies like ÉLITER Packaging Machinery have seen success by integrating advanced HMIs with their packaging machines. This integration has improved various functionalities including product feeding, carton creation, and affixing cartons using glue or foldable flaps.

By incorporating HMI, packaging machines have been endowed with advanced features that enable streamlined operations, heightened safety regulations, fault detection and display, among others. They can be used across varied industries, from food and everyday items to chemicals and pharmaceuticals due to their aptitude in handling a range of items from baked goods and frozen foods to medications.

To conclude, the installation of HMIs has significantly enhanced the operation of packaging machines, making them more intelligent, efficient, and user-friendly. As a result, they have revolutionised the entire packaging industry.