NI, European sensor vendors adopt smart analog sensors; support IEEE P1451.4

Nuremburg, Germany—National Instruments (NI, Austin, TX) reported May 13 that European sensor vendors are joining NI's Plug & Play Sensors Program, a collaborative effort by NI and many sensor vendors to gain widespread adoption of IEEE P1451.4.


Nuremburg, Germany— National Instruments (NI, Austin, TX) reported May 13 that European sensor vendors are joining NI's Plug & Play Sensors Program. Launched in North America in 2002, this program is a collaborative effort by NI and sensor vendors to gain widespread adoption of IEEE P1451.4, a proposed standard for analog sensors. IEEE 1451.4 would reportedly make integrating 'smart' sensors into measurement systems as easy as connecting a mouse to a computer.

Several European sensor vendors already have joined NI's Plug & Play program to integrate new sensor technology, and support the IEEE P1451.4 standard, which recently went to ballot, and will be voted on by IEEE's applicable subcommittee and members. NI's group aims to improve system configuration and diagnostics, reduce downtime and improve sensor data management for its customers. The seven initial European vendors include:

  • Bruel & Kjaer (Denmark);

  • G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration (Denmark);

  • Kistler (Switzerland);

  • LEM Components (Switzerland);

  • RDP Electronics (U.K.);

  • Sensorex (France); and

  • WayCon Positionsmesstechnik (Germany).

'The IEEE P1451.4 standard makes it possible for us to deliver on a long- time customer demand for automatic configuration of analog sensors for measurement and automation systems,' says Loic Moreau, LEM Components' process automation manager. 'Embedded, standardized TEDS information on these 'smart' sensors greatly reduces setup and maintenance time, while increasing general system integrity and reliability for our customers.'

The contemplated standard proposes that sensors add an embedded, low-cost memory chip containing a standardized transducer electronic data sheet (TEDS) that stores important sensor information and scaling parameters for self-identification and self-description. TEDS eliminates the need to manually input this data when configuring a measurement system.

As part of its Plug & Play program, NI and the sensor vendors are working together to expand plug-and-play capabilities to legacy sensors. Through a proposed online database of TEDS data from sensor vendors at , users soon will be able to download TEDS binary files or Virtual TEDS to their systems to instantly give plug-and-play capabilities to their traditional sensors without a memory chip. With Virtual TEDS, engineers also will be able to take advantage of this new sensor technology with their traditional measurement hardware, providing a smooth transition to the next generation of measurement and automation systems. In addition, engineers can implement basic TEDS management functions into their NI LabView applications using the TEDS library for LabView, which is now available for download at .

'As the official vote for IEEE P1451.4 nears, leading sensor vendors worldwide are recognizing the need to join together to adopt and build on this standard,' says David Potter, NI's DAQ platform manager and vice chairman of IEEE's P1451.4 committee. 'Through the Plug & Play program, we are ensuring that developers and systems integrators have a standard for integrating 'intelligent' sensor technology into systems that can use both next-generation sensors and legacy sensors.'

Other members of the Plug & Play program include Celesco, Endevco, Lebow, Lion Precision, Macro Sensors, Measurement Specialties, PCB Piezotronics, Honeywell Sensotec, Transducer Techniques, Watlow, Weed Instrument and Wilcoxon.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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