Data Collection Solutions

Oct. 2, 2007
See this month's data collection solution tools

Out-of-the-Box Solution
An extension of LabVIEW graphical system design platform, SignalExpress interactive measurement software helps engineers and scientists build data logging systems to acquire and store measurement data to disk or database. Using a few mouse clicks in LabVIEW SignalExpress, engineers quickly can acquire live measurements, log their data to a disk and export the data to a spreadsheet application, such as Microsoft Excel.
National Instruments; 800/258-7022

Paperless Graphic Recorder
6180 AeroDAQ paperless graphic recorder makes it easy for heat treatment shops to comply with AMS2750 Revision D, a subsection of the AS7102 audit that concerns pyrometry. AS7102 accreditation must be achieved in order for heat treatment shops to qualify for the Performance Review Institute’s Qualified Manufacturers List (QML) under the Nadcap accreditation scheme.
Invensys Eurotherm; 703/ 443-0000

Free Critical Process Data
Program offers free access to Proficy Historian plant-wide data collection software. The solution provides access to all production and process data, building a foundation for users to transform their operations with timely production information. Users can layer Historian with other plant systems including HMI/SCADA. Data can be exchanged in both directions. To download a free, 25-tag Proficy Historian, go to
GE Fanuc; 800/433-2682

Remote Data Collection
MatrikonOPC Buffer is an off-the- shelf solution for remote data collection, buffering and, with the optional History-Link module, historical data transfer to a central process historian. Easy to install off-the-shelf, MatrikonOPC Buffer with History Link can be paired in series to provide a quick and easy field-redundant data architecture. Will connect to any vendor’s OPC DA server. The dynamic rolling buffer archives data using minimal hard drive space. Optional History-link module schedules OPC data transfer to any OPC enabled process historian, CSV or formatted text file. Real-time data access via a supplied OPC DA server.
MatrikonOPC; 780-448-1010 ext. 4606

Scalable DAQ Tool
LAN-enabled 2680A data acquisition system offers 120 channels at a price-per-channel of $100. It is flexible and scalable to 2000 universal channels per system and is suited for large-scale data acquisition applications. Optional OPC server allows integration into existing application software.
Fluke; 888/492-7556

Into the Field
SM500F field-mountable videographic data recorder is a four-channel recorder that takes recording and monitoring out into the field. It can be installed in a panel, wall or pipe without enclosures. A fully sealed NEMA 4X and IP66 enclosure provides protection against water, dirt and dust. Choose either color or monochrome display to present process data in a variety of display formats, including chart, bar graph and digital indicator views. A built-in Ethernet communication link enables historical data to be remotely downloaded. Can interface with a SCADA system using Modbus TCP and send email notifications of process status and events.
ABB; 215/674-6580

Grab Bag of Data Acquisition Solutions
Web-based, higher speed and accuracy, smaller and less expensive, open architectures.
In a PC-based data acquisition tutorial produced by National Instruments, the company explains “that data acquisition involves gathering signals from measurement sources and digitizing the signal for storage, analysis and presentation on a PC. DAQ systems come in many different PC technology forms for great flexibility when choosing your system Scientists and engineers can choose from PCI, PXI, PCI Express, PXI Express, PCMCIA, USB, IEEE 1394, parallel, or serial ports for data acquisition in test, measurement and automation applications. There are five components to be considered when building a DAQ system: transducers and sensors; signals; signal conditioning, DAQ hardware, and driver software.”

  • Transducers
    “Data acquisition begins with the physical phenomenon to be measured. The transducer is the device that converts a physical phenomenon into a measurable electrical signal, such as voltage or current.
  • Signals
    The appropriate transducers convert the physical phenomena into measurable signals, either digital or analog.
  • Signal Conditioning
    Sometimes transducers generate signals to difficult or too dangerous to measure directly with a DAQ device. Signal conditioning maximizes the accuracy of the system, allows sensors to operate properly and guarantees accuracy.
  • DAQ Hardware
    DAQ hardware acts as the interface between the computer and the outside world.
  • Driver and Application Software
    Software transforms the PC and the DAQ hardware into a complete data acquisition, analysis and presentation tool.”

There are many supplier who provide the complete bundled PC-based data acquisition systems and others that supply the parts. It largely depends on your application what choice you make.

In the future, Bill McGovern, National Sales Manager at Dataforth Corp. feels that “smaller, inexpensive and networked are the three words that can summarize the future of industrial data acquisition systems. Already, there are “shoe-box” sizes and small “6 in. cube” sized DAQ products available and sell for less than $1000.

Soon, you will see instrument quality DAQ products in a 5 in. x 7 in. x2 in. wide package that can be networked via Ethernet TCP/IP or Modbus TCP/IP. These new products will create a “DAQ Appliance” where you simply access the data from anywhere using its IP address.”

James Gau, V.P. ADLINK Technology sees “data acquisition technologies continue to exhibit on-going advancement in three areas: speed, accuracy and cost. Yet development for the further progress is met with many challenges. For example, as signal frequencies climb, distortion and bandwidth limitations on front-end circuits becomes the primary factor affecting high speed data acquisition; amplifiers and high resolution A/D conversion can only improve the accurate measurement of small signals when algorithms for noise elimination advance; and FPGA devices can be designed to incorporate more functionality to reduce component count, and thus reduce costs.”

This Product Roundup shows a variety of products that can perform the data acquisition function, from Web-powered data logging to wireless remote monitoring devices. Technologies are shifting fast in the data acquisition and recorder marketplace. With this kind of competition, we are bound to see some very exciting announcements.

Embedded DAQ
Model4333 CellMite ProD embedded data acquisition and strain gage interface board is suitable for embedded applications that require high speed and high accuracy analog and digital data acquisition. It offers 24-bit independent strain gage channels with simultaneous sampling at 15K samples per second that can also be configured as quad 24-bit strain gage channels sampled at 5K samples/second. The CellMite ProD features 12 additional 12-bit analog input channels with a throughput of 1 M samples/second.
Electro Standards Laboratories; 401/943-1164

Watch the Trends
MW100 data acquisition/data logger system combines intelligent, built-in data storage for stand-alone data logging applications with Web-enabled Ethernet connectivity for shared real-time trend monitoring using a web browser. No special software is need for configuration and data monitoring. Designed for harsh environments, the MW100 can withstand temperature extremes and high vibration, and provides high levels of noise immunity and channel-to-channel isolation.
Yokogawa Corporation of America; 800/258-2552

Web-Based Collaboration
Historian 9.0 software license bundle combines Industrial SQL Server 9.0 historian and is bundled with Information Server’s capabilities for Web-based collaboration. The Historian software includes advanced data storage, filtering or compression and multiple retrieval modes. It also offers on-the-fly data aggregations for demanding real-time applications.
Wonderware, a business unit of Invensys; 949/639-1400

Time-Stamped Data
NET Concentrator System (NCS) collects data from sensors and other instrumentation residing in the field or in the control room, and provides process control and distributed I/O capabilities. An NCS system can store up to 64,000 points of time-stamped data and be configured to store data from one, or all, of its input channels. Sampling rate is user-selectable for any period between once per second, to once every 24 hours.
Moore Industries-International; 818/894-7111

Never Lose Data
MatrikonOPC Buffer is an off-the-shelf solution for remote data collection, buffering and with the optional History-Link module, historical data can be transferred to a central process historian. It allows users to trend and view data at the source for on-the-spot troubleshooting and data analysis without the inconvenience of access to the enterprise historian.  The Buffer with the History Link can be seamlessly paired in series to provide a field redundant data architecture. Typical application is loop performance analysis and tuning, and short term historical monitoring.
Matrikon; 877/628-7456

Web Empowered Data Logging
IntelliLogger with HyperWare-11 software is a portable self-contained data logger that provides network enabled methods of data collection and retrieval for remote monitoring applications. It creates simple to in-depth programs by connecting a series of graphical Program Icons to create the desired data manipulation. In addition to Input and Output Icons, HyperWare-11 includes 40 Process Icons for conditional and intelligent logging scenarios, mathematics and statistics. New icons added in HyperWare-11 include e-mail, FTP, messaging functions and user-created custom graphic Web pages. Optional model variations include Modbus TCP/IP capabilities for data interrogation via Ethernet.
Logic Beach; 619/698-3300

Large-Scale Data Collection
DAQ-2016 and PXI-2016 high-sampling, multi-function data acquisition cards have a maximum transfer rate of 800kS/s channel. They are designed for large-scale data collection and industrial automation. The four-channel DAQ-2016 and PXI-2016 offer a 16-bit resolution and a variety of analog and digital trigger sources and modes for multi-channel simultaneous sampling efficiency.
ADLINK; 970/377-0385

Sound the Alarm
6-channel APM4AM Bullhorn wireless remote monitoring device provides 100% coverage by utilizing digital cellular or satellite networks. It monitors inputs from equipment 24/7 and communicates on a scheduled and/or exception basis. Notifications of alarm events are available via e-mail, fax, page and/or voice. With secure access, data can be viewed via standard browser on the internet anywhere in the world, day or night.
American Innovations; 800/229-3404

USB Data Acquisition Device
Three 1 MHz, 16-bit multifunction USB data acquisition devices and a cost-saving expansion module for high-channel count applications offer synchronous analog, digital and frequency I/O in one compact package. The AXI-EXP48 plug-in expansion module coupled with any of the USB-1616HS series can quadruple the analog input channel count. These modules have a low-latency control output mode, whereby any input--analog, digital, or counter--can control an output—digital, analog or timer, based on pre-defined limits, including hysteresis.
Measurement Computing; 508/946-5100

Instant Access
The Commander software solution is a customized and integrated software program that works with the Everest Series industrial PC-compatible devices. It allows IT Administrators to access vital forklift information from their office PC using remote management programs. Users can monitor system activity, program function buttons, set optional Screen-blanking parameters and view detailed reporting on current and past temperature and voltage readings.
Glacier Computer; 603/882-156

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