Create Custom Hmi Symbols

HMI symbols are used to automate industrial machines.

A Human-Machine Interface (HMI) is a software program and device on an automation system that is run by humans. Software Developers and engineers build these HMI applications to allow employees to run fabricating machines with the push of a few buttons and controls. Often the software interface shows HMI symbols on the computer screen indicating the functioning status of the machine. As a developer, you may need to customize HMI symbols to place in your software application.


Digital Image Software

1. Locate the machine diagram or original specification and drawings of the machine area from which you want to make an HMI symbol. Even machines that are specially designed and fabricated for a specific purpose within a company have a set of technical specifications and drawings. Scan these into the computer and open the drawing in any digital image-editing software program you use.

2. Scale the image to the size you need by clicking on the “Image” tab and selecting the “Image Size” option. Adjust the size to whatever you need for the application.

3. Make the background of the technical drawing transparent by clicking the “Background Layer” in the Layers window twice to change it to “Layer 0.” This allows you to make changes to the background. Locate the “Layer Mode” category in the Layer window and change it to “Overlay” from the list of drop-down options. This makes all of the white areas in the drawing transparent.

4. Add a new layer by clicking the “Layers” tab and selecting “New Layer.” Select the color swatch in the left toolbar and change the color to red, orange, yellow or green, as these denote the standard HMI colors of normal, caution, danger or volatile. Place the HMI color you want on the machine using the paintbrush tool. Drag and drop the top-colored layer below the machine layer to get the machine to colorize.

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5. Make additional versions using the other operation colors to diagram the machine HMI operations.

HMI Graphics

6. Visit an HMI graphics website such as the Symbol Factory, OPC Systems or Wonderware. Some websites offer a few free graphics while others require a purchased plan.

7. Choose one of the standard HMI graphics that fits with your application. Use the coloring and blinking light features on the HMI website, if available.

8. Mix and match symbols to make the custom HMI symbol you need.

9. Combine both these customized existing symbols with the symbols you make from scratch, using the machine specs and drawings.