NIWeek: National Instruments targets WiFi, Ethernet, adds LabVIEW 8.6

NIWeek 2008 starts today, Aug. 5, and National Instruments released LabVIEW 8.6, announced 10 new WiFi and Ethernet data acquisition (DAQ) devices, and is showing a partner-designed system being used by Chinese engineers to conduct structural health research on seven megastructures, including main venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics. See photos.

08/05/2008


Austin , TX NIWeek 2008 starting Aug. 5 and eager users flocking to Austin, TX, to find out what’s new, National Instruments has provided a preview. The company released LabVIEW 8.6 and announced 10 new WiFi and Ethernet data acquisition (DAQ) devices , extending NI measurement hardware and software to wireless remote monitoring applications. The company is also showcasing a partner-designed system being used by Chinese engineers to conduct structural health research on seven megastructures, including main venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics. interactive NIWeek 2008 conference program .

National Instruments NI WiFi DAQ wireless devices
National Instruments offers NI WiFi DAQ wireless devices that accept existing NI modules.

The WiFi and Ethernet devices include built-in signal conditioning and direct sensor connectivity for electrical, physical, mechanical, and acoustic signals. Engineers and scientists can combine NI WiFi DAQ with the NI LabVIEW software platform to meet wireless structural diagnostic, environmental, and machine condition monitoring application needs.

National Instruments DAQ software for LabVIEW, ANSI C/C++ and Visual Basic .NET is used to acquire data from millions of sensors, said John Hanks, vice president of data acquisition and control at National Instruments. “Now with NI WiFi DAQ hardware, developers can add wireless sensor capabilities to new and existing measurement applications without having to learn new software,” he says.

Using IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless networks, NI WiFi DAQ devices stream data on each channel at more than 50 kS/s with 24 bits of resolution and deliver measurement data to a host PC instantaneously for real-time viewing and in-line analysis of dynamic sensor signals. Built-in network authentication methods and 128-bit AES encryption offer high network security and meet National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wireless network standards.

Devices are shipped with NI-DAQmx driver software and NI LabVIEW SignalExpress LE , data-logging software for acquiring, analyzing, and presenting data with no programming required. The NI-DAQmx driver features the configuration-based NI DAQ Assistant with code generation for LabVIEW and text-based languages; more than 3,000 measurement examples; device simulation; and connection diagrams.

LabVIEW 8.6 programmable automation controllers (PACs) based on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) . PACs can reduce machine wear, increase system throughput, and consume less power in applications ranging from machine control to integration of complex measurements for optimized production.

LabVIEW 8.6 simplifies programming NI CompactRIO control and acquisition hardware with a new scan engine to integrate timing into the programming language. According to the company, the new scanning I/O architecture provides out-of-the-box I/O determinism of better than 500 ns. The technology takes advantage of the flexibility of the FPGA on CompactRIO without requiring lengthy compilations, said a spokesman.

Additional control logic tools are introduced by providing function blocks based on IEC 61131-3. To help debug systems, an Ethernet-based maintenance tool allows I/O forcing and displays current CPU and memory status plus current I/O values and status. A new rapid programming model accommodates more flexible, direct FPGA customization. With LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module , engineers can use enhanced model predictive control functions to optimize processes; advanced control tools include analytical proportional integral derivative (PID) design, linear-quadratic regulator (LQR), and state-space feedback, which can run in LabVIEW on PACs such as CompactRIO.

2008 Summer Olympics stadium uses National Instrument LabVIEW, CompactRIO.
2008 Summer Olympics’ Beijing National Stadium is being monitored for structural health with a system based on NI LabVIEW software and CompactRIO hardware. Source: National Instruments

Monitoring megastructures

National Instruments Alliance Partner CGM Engineering Inc. has developed a system, based on LabVIEW and NI CompactRIO, that helps engineers conduct structural health research . TheChina Earthquake Administration (CEA), a government body managing the country’s disaster mitigation, is using the structural health monitoring (SHM) solution on seven recently constructed megastructures in China. These include both main venues for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing National Stadium and National Aquatics Center.

Chris McDonald, vice president of CGM Engineering, said, “Our systems are designed to capture the vibrational signatures of structures and detect any sudden shifts of structural characteristics to improve structures and help reduce the loss of life and property when catastrophic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or fires occur.” The SHM performs continuous, real-time monitoring at each location, and engineers can remotely access locally stored data from anywhere in the world via secure Internet connections.

The nine 64-channel and two 36-channel SHM systems each contain multiple CompactRIO controllers that directly connect to accelerometers for vibration measurements and an external global positioning system (GPS) receiver for inter-chassis synchronization. Within each chassis, the LabVIEW FPGA Module synchronizes each measurement channel to withinand temperatures ranging from -40 °C to 70 °C.

Also read, from Plant Engineering : NIWeek puts‘Poetry in motion,’" which includes information about NI's increased emphasis on green or sustainable technologies .

–  Control Engineering News Desk
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