Data Acquisition Product Focus Study January 2004

Among those specifying, recommending, and/or buying data acquisition (DAQ) hardware or software, 82% do so for in-plant requirements, while 34% buy for OEM needs. One-fifth of respondents said 1% to 3% of their data acquisition applications use wireless technology.

03/29/2004


Executive Summary

Applications and Needs

Among those specifying, recommending, and/or buying data acquisition (DAQ) hardware or software, 82% do so for in-plant requirements, while 34% buy for OEM needs. One-fifth of respondents said 1% to 3% of their data acquisition applications use wireless technology. Thirtynine percent of respondents said SCADA is their primary application for DAQ hardware and software, followed by testing and diagnostics with 21%. When respondents were asked if they used a data acquisition system to mimic other instruments, 59% reported they did not. Among the remaining 41% of respondents, the majority use such systems to imitate multimeters and/or oscilloscopes.

On average, respondents need their data acquisition system to collect 1,310 variables per minute. In regards to resolution, 16 bit resolution is adequate for the data acquisition needs of nearly half of survey participants.

Platforms

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed use Network PC-based data acquisition platforms. The Windows operating system clearly dominates as the most popular operating system for DAQ. Seventy percent of survey participants use Windows NT or Windows 2000, while 43% use Windows XP.

Of those survey participants who use networks for implementing data acquisition applications, 79% use Ethernet TCP/IP.

Hardware

Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley was the dominant supplier of data acquisition hardware over the past 12 months. This is based on Rockwell generating sales to 56% of respondents, while the next most widely used supplier, National Instruments, was mentioned by 27% of survey participants.

Results indicate the average respondent spent $363,305 on data acquisition hardware in the past year. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 34% of those surveyed feel their spending will increase.

Respondents are slowly changing their purchase behavior towards more off-the-shelf data acquisition hardware. On average, control engineers currently purchase 71% of data acquisition hardware off-the-shelf, while the other 29% are for customized hardware.

Seventy-one percent of respondents indicate ease of use and/or availability are very important factors when selecting data acquisition hardware. Technical support rounds out the three most important factors to control engineering professionals, with 67% of the vote.

 

Seventy-three percent of those surveyed say their data acquisition applications require remotely located I/O. On average, respondents require 88 I/O points at each remote location. The average respondent utilizes the following I/O mix for data acquisition: 40% analog, 50% discrete, and 10% timing I/O.

Current and voltage are the leading types of analog input or output signals used. The most common analog input range among respondents is 4 to 20 mA. When asked which digital input and output signals are used, 72% of control engineering professionals note relay control. The 2nd and 3rd most used digital signal types are parallel/serial communications and TLL-compatible input. The most popular timing signal types are event counting and timing, as well as frequency input.

On average, respondents report 66% of their data acquisition installations need industrially hardened equipment, while 34% need standard office/laboratory equipment.

Software

Nearly half of those surveyed have purchased data acquisition software from Rockwell Software in the past 12 months. In the past year, control engineering professionals have spent an average of $105,427 per respondent on such software. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 54% feel their spending on data acquisition software will remain the same, while 37% feel it will increase.

Seventy-six percent of respondents indicate ease of use to be a very important factor when selecting data acquisition software. Technical support is the second most important criterion to control engineering professionals, with 70% of the vote.

Respondents are slowly changing their purchase behavior towards more off-the-shelf data acquisition software. On average, control engineers currently purchase 64% of data acquisition software off-the-shelf, while the other 36% are for customized hardware.

DAQ and Excel software packages emerge as the most popular destinations for data acquisition information, according to 58% and 49% of those surveyed.

 

Data Acquisition Product Focus Study





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