DAQ systems head for the local store

This Product Round-up of data acquisition devices shows the handwriting is on the web and that web-enabled DAQ systems are on their way to becoming off-the-shelf commodities.

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In our temperature instrumentation Round-Up, “Temperature Instrumentation Is On the Web,” we said, “Almost half of the temperature instrumentation listed below have an Ethernet or similar interface that lets a device jump right onto a network … Soon, out of necessity every temperature device will have to offer similar capability or be forced out of the market.”

It looks like the same is true in this month’s round-up of data acquisition (DAQ) technology. Half of the products included below are Web-enabled, or have wireless or Ethernet interfaces. While RS232, RS485, fieldbus and proprietary networks are still offered, the handwriting is on the Web: Next year at this time, we expect to see half of the products available with web servers and nearly all with wireless or Ethernet networks. 

agrees. They predict the market for wireless Ethernet infrastructure components and network software will grow 34.7% per year. “The evolution of standards, enhanced security, and increased bandwidth has propelled the use of wirless Ethernet into harsh environments,” says the VDC report. 

As noted in September’s Round-Up, connecting devices is much easier via the Ethernet, wireless or Internet, and is vastly less expensive than  hardwiring through remote I/O devices, PLC networks, multiplexers, DCS networks, and so on. VDC agrees with this, too, saying, “The cost of connecting devices and infrastructure products to an Ethernet network, even when using industrial grade connectors and cables, is less than that of other open standard and proprietary buses/networks.”

On another DAQ front, the flood of low-priced products from Asia is causing intense competition and price wars in the data acquisition equipment market, says . "Asian competitors are making inroads into the market previously dominated by U.S. and European manufacturers," says analyst Sailaja Tennati. "Lower operating and manufacturing costs enable them to offer DAQ boards at lower prices." Frost & Sullivan projects the market for data acquisition boards, modules, software and interfaces will more than double, expanding from $398 million in 2002 to $823 million by 2009. They attribute the huge increase to recent wars and increases in U.S. military budgets, research and development, oil and gas exploration, and the need for safety on oil rigs and in mines. According to F&S, high levels of standardization among the Asian products will result in DAQ boards and modules becoming commodity products. 

If all this comes true, then we should see a flood of Asian DAQ products with web servers on the shelves of Best Buy and Radio Shack by this time next year.

Data Acquisition Systems
For more information about any of these products, click on the description of the product below to view all contact information, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, web sites, and a photo where available.

The EDAS CE can have from 8–192 channels of isolated analog/digital IO, supports up to 25 RS-232 ports for interfacing with serial devices, and has a built in 10/100 BaseT Ethernet port with a TCP/IP stack and Microsoft networking. High-speed analog modules allow users to achieve data acquisition speeds as high as 200 kHz. The web-enabled device gives users complete control via any available web browser. Intelligent Instrumentation

The Adam-6052 has 8 digital inputs and 8 source-type digital outputs with a built-in web server. Based on the Java programming language, the server can also be customized to meet exact requirements for data acquisition applications. A built-in communication watchdog and network failure safety function resets the outputs to pre-configured values if a network failure takes place. Advantech

The APM4AM-SAT wireless remote monitor uses the Inmarsat D+ satellite system for communications, making it suitable for acquiring data in remote installations where cellular coverage is not available, or from any location on Earth. The unit has six analog or digital inputs. It provides automatic notifications of alarm events via voice notification, fax, page and/or email. With secure access, data can be viewed on the Internet. American Innovations

Model 5200 web-enabled automation controller enables users to monitor up to 192 I/O points and up to six axes of motion, log data in real time, and control and upgrade processes securely via the Internet. Bidirectional email support lets the controller send alerts or production data via an email message. It supports popular protocols such as UDP, TCP/IP, HTTP, and Modbus Master/Slave TCP, and can be used with remote servers to provide redundant data archival. Control Technology


The panel-mount Daqstation DX200 provides graphical display, alarming, and archiving of up to 200 process values from external measurement hardware. It has FTP file transfer, a web server, and email messaging. Inputs come from built-in measurement channels and from any hardware platform equipped with serial Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP, DeviceNet, ControlNet or Profibus networks.  Applications include replacing paper-based recording systems. Yokogawa

The iTHX monitors and records temperature, relative humidity and dew point, and makes the data available over an Ethernet network or the Internet for viewing via a web browser. Its active web pages display real time readings and  charts of temperature and humidity. It can also be used log data in standard data formats for use in a spreadsheet or data acquisition program such as Excel or Visual Basic. Newport Electronics

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