Control & Measurement Integration Advances

New data acquisition release from National Instruments integrates measurement systems to reduce the need for multiple components and a new controller targets advanced industrial control applications.

Product introductions are commonplace at technology supplier conferences, and National Instruments’ (NI) conference is no exception. In fact, their annual conference—NIWeek—is known for its plethora of new product announcements. And while there were several intriguing announcements on the first day of the 2014 event—particularly about a forthcoming condition monitoring system currently in beta testing—two announcements in particular caught my attention for their wide applicability to the Automation World audience.

The first of these products is the CompactDAQ 4-slot controller. This controller integrates the processor, signal conditioning and I/O to reduce the number of components, connections and wiring needed.

The CompactDAQ controller features an Intel Atom dual-core processor that can run either Windows Embedded 7 or NI Linux Real-Time. NI points out that, by pairing industry-standard OS options with LabView, users can port LabView code from existing measurement systems to the new CompactDAQ controllers.

NI announced that an 8-slot version of this new controller will be released later in 2014.

Also announced at NIWeek 2014 was the CompactRIO performance controller, which features an Intel Atom processor and a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA. Like the new CompactDAQ described above, the new CompactRIO performance controller supports LabView 2014 and NI Linux Real-Time to provide high-performance processing, custom timing and triggering, and data transfer from modular C Series I/O. According to NI, the new controller is designed for advanced control and applications in harsh, industrial environments.

Other key features of the new CompactRIO controller include:

  • Embedded user interface, which allows a local HMI device to access the control system for HMI tasks;
  • The ability to add USB3 or GigE Vision cameras using NI Linux Real-Time to integrate vision acquisition directly into an application; and
  • The controller’s new Vision IP can be used to turn the FPGA into a high-performance vision coprocessor.

The video below from NI explains the new CompactRIO performance and CompactDAQ 4-slot controller.

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