DAQ systems head for the local store

Oct. 27, 2004
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.

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

The WEDAQ in-vehicle, interactive, web-enabled data acquisition system with GPS provides real-time remote data acquisition, local data archiving, and remote data viewing using a standard web browser and an Internet connection. Data is stored on the local drive and streamed over the Internet to a remote location. With the GPS, the vehicle path is tracked in real-time, highlighted in red, and overlaid onto a map of the vehicle test area. Electro Standards Laboratories

The Sirec D family of video recorders has Modbus over Ethernet, RS-232 and RS-485 network interfaces, plus embedded web servers, allowing visualization using a browser on the network. Recorders range in size from 5-in. color LCD to 12.1-in., TFT displays, and have 6 to 32 inputs. The recorders have math functions, data storage capability using fuzzy logic data logging, data encryption, and multi-level passwords that meet 21 CFR part 11. Siemens Energy & Automation

The MC3000 Master Alarm Control System can be viewed locally or remotely over an Intranet/Internet using a standard web browser. It provides graphical trends of real-time and historical data, archives data for later viewing or analysis, e-mails alarm notifications to specified addresses, and provides audible and call out alarms. Alarm levels are user-defined with 128 available configurations. Tetragenics

The Mini-Sat Field Station can remotely monitor and control industrial sites via the Internet. A user can be notified of any changes through email or a pager, and data can be viewed on the Internet using a standard web browser. It uses solar power and satellite communications in remote areas, or standard networks in civilized areas. Automata

The WTS wireless transmitting system monitors environmental conditions in large warehouses and production plants. It includes a datalogger with a cradle, receiver, and MicroLab Plus software for remote tracking of temperature and humidity readings. Each cradle has a range of 400 ft. and transmits data in different time slots, according to their ID numbers. Options include remote sensors for current, voltage, and contact. A programmable alarm can alert users to out-of-range conditions at the remote location. Oakton/Cole-Parmer Instrument

HygroLog NT data logger and digital transmitter can measure data from up to seven humidity probes with accuracy of 1.0 % RH over a measurement range of 0-100%RH. It has FDA CFR 21 part 11 and GAMP 4 compliant software, a Flash memory card for data logging, local display and keypad, and is available with USB, RS232, or Bluetooth interfaces. Rotronic Instrument

DaqBook/2020, 2001 and 2005 data acquisition devices have an Ethernet interface, DaqView software, and programming support for Visual Basic, C++, ActiveX/COM, MATLAB, LabVIEW, and DASYLab. All have 40 digital I/O and a 16-bit, 200-kHz A/D, which can be expanded up to over 1000 I/O channels. Signal conditioning and expansion modules are available for thermocouples, strain gages, accelerometers, RTDs, and 4-20 mA inputs. Prices start at $2,499. Iotech

The RD8900 Series paperless recorder provides real time display of data in a variety of formats on a high resolution VGA color TFT display. A user can access data on the screen, as well as from a remote site via the standard Ethernet or optional RS233/422/485 serial interface. The historical data may be stored in a flash ROM, compact flash card, or collected in a remote host PC. Prices start at $1,945.00. OMEGA Engineering

The Data-Chart 2000 color paperless recorder accepts 2, 4, 6 or 12 direct inputs. It has touchscreen controls, up to 2 MB of non-volatile memory, IP65 front bezel, Ethernet or RS232/485 communications, and choice of  a 3.5 in. floppy disk or CompactFlash Card up to 128 MB. Monarch Instrument

The D5000 Series provides a digital recording replacement for tape-based video and avionics data acquisition systems. It records PCM telemetry, avionics bus and sensor data at speeds up to 256 Mbit/sec onto media contained in interchangeable cartridges, including tape, disk and solid-state drives. Cartridges connect via SCSI or FireWire interfaces. Three signal modules accommodate analog, MIL 1553, PCM, ARINC429, Ethernet, voice, serial, parallel and video inputs. Heim Data System

The Mini-VersaTrak mIPm RTU has and Ethernet port, up to four serial ports, and 26 discrete and analog I/O. It comes with open-source Linux and IPm firmware with data acquisition capabilities. It can be programmed using any mix of the ISaGRAF IEC61131 languages or I/O Tool Kit software to configure datalogging and I/O transfer routines to occur periodically or on an event, such as an alarm. Sixnet

DAQStreaming-A1 provides up to 40MB/sec real-time data recording throughput and up to 1.5-hour continuous recording on SCSI drives, making it suitable for recording high-speed signals for an extended period of time. Users can extend the recording time to a maximum of 1.5 hours by installing additional SCSI drives. The system includes software support that allows users to customize their applications and process acquired data. Adlink Technology

PACSystems Control Memory Xchange permits data sharing between up to 256 independent systems or nodes, allowing for plant-wide data transfer. Each controller or computer keeps a local copy of shared data for fast real-time use. It has a fiber-optic deterministic network that allows data transfer at rates up to 174 MB/sec, with node-to-node latency of 450 nsec. For example, a user can realize updates on 10,000 data tags in 1 msec. GE Fanuc Automation

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