Components such as digital panel meters, joysticks, emergency-stop switches and touch screen displays often have to be incorporated into the panel. Technology and functionality have become distinguishing features and, together with aesthetics and usability, are today the criteria by which a machine control-panel layout is judged. No surprise then that effective user-interface panel design is no longer a matter of mere functionality; rather, design decisions are increasingly becoming strategic for companies struggling to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Success is possible only when the entire process is fully understood, and each step is efficiently executed. Defining the customer’s exact requirement lies at the core of the process – get this wrong and it’s a safe bet that other things will go wrong too. Sticking to the old K.I.S.S. principle (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”) can help, often mandating the choice of the least complex operator devices appropriate for the functional requirement.
Read the full article in PBSI's March issue
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