16.02.2022 | Technical topic

Human Machine Interfaces - Because First Impressions Count

Human Machine Interfaces

First impression counts

The abbreviation HMI stands for Human-Machine-Interface. This means something like human-machine interface. HMIs are the directly visible part of a machine with which humans interact and with which they can intervene if necessary. Today, smartphones are undoubtedly setting design trends - and this is also the case in industry and automation. First impressions count, and high-quality, sleek glass surfaces are the name of the game.

Seamless integration of the surface material with the electronics and sensor technology are basic requirements for an appealing, functional HMI. All these requirements demand special know-how: about modern materials, as well as about display and touch technology.  

But not only in terms of appearance, but also in terms of operation, the familiar mechanisms from the consumer world are pushing their way into industry. Appealing icons, intuitive, fluid user guidance are the benchmark. We are used to jerk-free operation of the end devices used to enable simple interaction. Swiping, multi-finger gestures and voice control are standards that are expected in embedded systems today.  

Appealing displays with high functionality

Graphical displays convey the first impression of a device. There are many requirements to consider when selecting the right display for an HMI:

    Brightness, contrast, brilliance and color spectrum

    Control, software and backlighting

    Shock resistance, impermeability, scratch resistance and surface material

    Use indoors and outdoors, as well as in sunlight

    Bonding, mounting and temperature range

    Long-term availability and price


When it comes to input systems and operation, it is important to find the right combination of intuitive touch operation or other input elements, such as joysticks, rotary-push encoders or haptic keys. Above all, it is important to consider the area of application right from the start. In the case of medical equipment, for example, it is important to ensure complete cleaning and disinfection. Construction site equipment and devices used in commercial vehicles, on the other hand, must be easy to operate even when wearing gloves. When used outdoors, liquids or environmental influences must not lead to operating errors.

It has also become normal for us to send search commands on our cell phones by voice command. Whether touch-free gesture control or multilingual voice recognition. For use in HMIs, it is particularly important to be able to separate one's own speech from background noises.  

HMIs made by Ginzinger

Ginzinger electronic systems has been a reliable partner for the professional implementation of customer-specific HMIs for 30 years. The company has years of know-how in hardware and software development, as well as the production of functional device interfaces. As a full-service provider, Ginzinger is responsible for the complete process of HMI development. From LED visualization to graphic display, intuitive operation is created for customer devices. No matter if switch or touch surface. Many years of display experience, countless realized display projects for various target markets and a competent supplier network enable individual man-machine interfaces of the future.  

Multifunctional HMI for fire engines

A successful example of a successfully implemented Ginzinger is the intuitive operating system "RBC LCS" for fire engines of Rosenbauer International AG. The requirements for the operating system were extensive: A robust and universal operating system was sought for use on and in the fire truck, which is used worldwide in harsh ambient temperatures from -30 degrees to +65 degrees. Demanding standards, such as those for leak tightness, shock and vibration, had to be met.

The operating system had to have a scratch-resistant, brilliant touch display that could be operated without any problems even in all weather conditions outdoors and with firefighters' gloves. Around the touch display, up to twenty illuminated buttons provide modular, individually configurable operation of lighting, signaling systems, built-in modules, and many other functions.

Als eine der größten Herausforderungen für die Entwicklung des Bediensystems stellte sich die Auswahl des geeigneten Displays heraus. Die hohen Umweltanforderungen an das Display und die Anforderungen an Helligkeit, Kontrast, Bedienbarkeit mit Handschuhen und langfristige Verfügbarkeit schränkten die Auswahl möglicher Lieferanten rasch ein.  Das Display musste im Feuerwehrfahrzeug außerdem immer von allen Seiten, selbst bei hellster Sonneneinstrahlung in einem Betrachtungswinkel von bis zu 85° optimal ablesbar sein, auch mit polarisierter Sonnenbrille. Automatische und manuelle Tag/Nachtumschaltung, eine Mindestauflösung von 1280x800 und die Helligkeit von 1000 cd/m2 waren Voraussetzung.  

Gemäß dem Ginzinger Slogan „Converting Challenges into Solutions“ fand das Ginzinger Projektteam nach intensiver Suche einen geeigneten Hersteller, der das Display in einer kundenspezifischen 10“ Variante mit erweitertem Temperaturbereich liefert. Das langjährige Ginzinger-Know-How bei der Entwicklung von grafischen Bediensystemen stellte sich als großer Vorteil bei der Suche nach einem geeigneten und robusten Display für diesen außergewöhnlichen Einsatzfall heraus.  

Mehr über das HMI von Rosenbauer finden Sie hier


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