We surveyed OEMs and the results were eye-opening; just about every one of them shared a similar sentiment “we don’t want to be the HMI expert”.

Why was this eye-opening? It would make sense that device manufacturers wouldn’t want to spend time figuring out how to design touch sensors and membrane switches when that is exactly what the component supplier does…however, for whatever reason, it is common for OEMs to bring suppliers into the design process after time and resources have already been allocated to designing the component.

Suppliers certainly don’t expect you to have it all figured out or designed before coming to them (that’s where they shine), you can expect a number of questions. These questions give pertinent information so they can help develop an HMI (human machine interface) to perfectly suit your requirements at the lowest possible cost!

Some of these questions you have already thought about, others might be new but get the wheels turning. Here are a few of the main topics you can expect to cover with an HMI design engineer:

  • End-use environment
    • Where/how it will be used (end-application)
    • Temperature range
    • Indoor/Outdoor
    • Protection from the elements (dust, water, does it need to be manufactured to a certain IP-Rating)
  • User experience
    • Industrial design
    • Position and quantity of inputs (e.g. buttons) and outputs (e.g. LEDs)
    • Tactile feedback
    • Backlighting
  • Design for Manufacturing/Assembly
    • Volume (annual qty of parts to be produced)
    • Manufacturing capabilities/tolerances
      • Printing
      • Die-cut vs. laser cut
      • Assembly
    • Trace widths/spacing
    • Stack-up construction
    • Circuit schematic
    • Tail length and location
  • Quality and/or Regulatory Requirements
    • UL
    • PPAP
    • ITAR

Like most things, there are a number of tradeoffs to consider as there are often different potential solutions, each with pros and cons. It is incredibly valuable when you (the OEM) have a grasp of how you would prioritize user experience, reliability, price, and performance.

How can we help? Contact us today!