Industrial Machine Operators Demand "User Friendly" Controls

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Even on the industrial plant floor, workers expect user friendly controls. Machine controls now resemble a video game. EMA recently purchased a small company in Pennsylvania to meet this demand.

Industrial machine operators have stereotypically been pictured as tough guys, grunting and perspiring as they manipulate huge switches and levers, forcing raw material into a resisting machine.    

Increasingly, the reality presents a far different picture. The term Human Machine Interface, or HMI, is commonly used to describe the computer age controls by which operators now control industrial machinery. Touch Screen computers, with color graphics depicting the various machine functions are more reminiscent of a college computer lab, than the traditional controls which have been used for generations.

EMA of Pennsylvania is a small town company in Hazleton, PA. EMA provides electronic motor drive systems, and state of the art Human Machine Interface programming and equipment. Company president Eddie Mayfield acquired the company in late 2005, in order to position his existing motor drive company to take advantage of the growing demand by American industry for HMI controls.

"HMI technology does much more than make life easier on machine operators," says Mayfield, "it provides a way for the plant executives to monitor, in real time, the production of any specific machine, anywhere." "It truly is, a marriage of computer technology, and industrial machinery." Younger operators, raised on video games, are using the new technology to push the ever increasing productivity levels of American industry.

EMA often uses off the shelf industrial computer equipment in order to avoid, what Mayfield terms "the stranglehold" traditional industrial technology companies try to have on their customers. The industry has been known for using equipment and software only available from a single source. Staying as much as possible with generic equipment, and readily available programs, replacements and upgrades are much easier for the customer as technology progresses.

EMA is headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross, Georgia, and operates other facilities in Buena Park, California, and Cortland, New York. The company website is


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