If AdvancedHMI Is Free, How Do You Make Money?

This is a question asked quite frequently, so I wanted to explain how AdvancedHMI can be free. The parent company behind the AdvancedHMI software is a company named Manufacturing Automation which is based out of South Carolina. Manufacturing Automation is a system integration company that does various things such as software development, control system design, electrical panel design, PLC programming, etc. In order to better serve customers and provide them exactly with systems they request, the AdvancedHMI software began it’s development in 2006. The software was originally intended for internal use only. After a few years, a decision was made to publish the software and let others use it for free. The driving factors behind this decision was believing that a larger user base meant the software would be more extensively testes and it would be a great way to show our capabilities in software development. Along the way this model hit a few bumps and was refined, but has proven to reach the intended goals.

Although one of the primary purposes was to be used as a marketing tool, it has missed target slightly and became more of a stand-alone product with less association to the parent company of Manufacturing Automation. Instead of forcing the association, it wad decided to let it continue the path of becoming viewed as a separate product. In the future you will begin to see more things to expand the AdvancedHMI product line such as various hardware that has been tested and proven for use with AdvancedHMI.

But for right now, the primary income generating business of Manufacturing Automation is its system integration projects. Therefore it continues to be possible to publish AdvancedHMI for free. The future roadmap continues down this path as we want to offer freedom and flexibility that no other HMI/SCADA vendor has ever offered before.

Can AdvancedHMI do this?

I am frequently asked questions about the capabilities of AdvancedHMI. If asking whether it can do a certain task, the answer will always be yes. Since AdvancedHMI is merely a toolset for creating applications with Visual Studio, any software that can be created with C#, VB, or any language supported by VS can be done with AdvancedHMI.

A more appropriate question to ask would “How much effort does it take to do this with AdvancedHMI?”. If a tool is already created for the task, it will most likely be very easy to do. If the tool does not exist, then the amount of effort will vary on how complex the task.

So if someone asks whether AdvancedHMI can do a certain task, the appropriate response would be…. Maybe you are meaning to ask how easy is it to do this task with AdvancedHMI.

How Fast is AdvancedHMI? Communication Speed

The AdvancedHMI drivers have been repeatedly refined to tap every microsecond of speed possible. This has taken AdvancedHMI to the top when looking at communication speed and efficiency. To demonstrate this, a quick test was conducted to measure the speed and compare it to another well known hardware based HMI (because I wanted to “See More”).

The test was very simple. Add a single numeric display and tell the driver to update as fast as possible. In AdvancedHMI this is done by setting the PollRateOverride to 0. Then a Wireshark capture was done and analyzed to get a measure of how many milliseconds it took between each update of the value. And here are the results:

  • Competitor’s hardware based HMI (Priced at $1290) – Update times 21-23ms
  • AdvancedHMI – Update times 5-6ms

Depending on how you calculate it, this competitor’s model took 4 times as long between updates or AdvancedHMI was 200% faster.

Not only are the panels we offer and software lower in cost, but they outperform the competition easily in the area of communication speed capabilities.

Watch for more blog posts showing how AdvancedHMI exceeds the competitor’s in many ways