Developing a More Comfortable and Effective Operator Environment

Taking cues from the automotive industry, HMI component manufacturers are focusing their efforts on ergonomic and intuitive products to help OEMs create a more comfortable operator experience.

By Sara Jensen – September 6, 2017, OEM Off-Highway

GS Global Resources offers configurable displays which aid this desire for fewer screens within the operator compartment such as its Parker IQAN-MD4 Single, or Dual Vertical Bezel Ram or Panel Mounted Display Systems. It can be programmed to display and control many different components on a machine such as the HVAC system, radio and load management. Multicolored bezels enable navigation through the various display pages, even when the operator is wearing gloves or the machine is traveling over rough terrain, and use of the touchscreen is not possible.

Mark Smith, Business Development Manager at GS Global Resources, says many of the company’s customers are looking to remove components from the machine to achieve a more ergonomic, intuitive design, and use those that remain more effectively. Instead of four or five different controls and displays, he says customers want a single HMI device for the radio, camera, engine information, and climate control.


Creating an ergonomic operator experience

After attending CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017, EAO reported a more noticeable shift in the heavy equipment industry of a higher value being placed on ergonomics within the operator cab. One of the reasons for this is the amount of information now available to operators due to increased data collection from various machine systems. “With such an array of diagnostics available, ergonomic design is essential to the success of an HMI system,” says Pannone. “Similar functions must be grouped together with the most important information easily accessible and visible by the operator.


A Control System Solution that drops into OEMs machine

“As an engineering company and system integrator, GS Global Resources will work directly with an OEM to create an HMI system and overall cab design,” said Smith.  Earlier this year the company released a case study of how it had worked with mobile crane manufacturer Broderson Manufacturing Corp. to design a Configurable Cab Solution. Ergonomic and intuitive elements incorporated into the cab design included adjustable joystick pods, a light bar for displaying load on the boom and switch panels with clear markings. Gloved operation of all machine controls was also made possible to further aid ease of use.

“Unlike the past, HMI is now considered to be a critical element of the design process,” says Pannone. “It often serves as the focal point of intuitive use and can ultimately determine the equipment’s success or failure in terms of usability. HMI is the core control between man and machine.”