Product Roundups: Gather Ye Data While Ye May

Aug. 1, 2007
Mature Systems, Intense Competition, and Rapid Technology Development Give Users More Choices for Data Acquisition

Every factory HAS data acquisition equipment—from a simple circular chart recorder to a sophisticated enterprise-wide system with wireless connectivity.

With that in mind, I asked a few vendors which trends are driving DAQ today.

Rick Daniel, president of Intelligent Instrumentation, says, “The trends toward higher resolution and speed continues, mostly as an offshoot of advances in A/D technology. A more significant trend is higher levels of connectivity. We see more users using Ethernet systems, rather than plug-in boards. The main advantages are making the data available to more users, and not having to disassemble your computer to install the system.”

Mark Cejer, marketing director, Keithley Instruments adds, “The cost of test in the semiconductor and electronic component market is crucial. Test engineers increasingly turn to hybrid systems to control cost. Hybrid test systems combine communication interfaces such as LXI, GPIB and PXI into a system based on application needs. Engineers can take advantage of each interface’s strengths without compromising development and maintenance costs.”

Jared Aho, data acquisition product manager at National Instruments says, “High-speed measurements and advanced control—due in part to leveraging the latest silicon designs—accelerate DAQ in industrial environments. New systems have integrated signal conditioning and portable PC-bus technologies, resulting in DAQ systems with more functionality, simplified use, added portability, and smaller footprints.”

Web-based technologies facilitate data acquisition and also control the operation. The server need not be a large PC. A single-loop controller or PLC can be a web browser.

Technologies are shifting fast in the data acquisition and recorder marketplace. The good news is that, for the most part, systems are becoming less expensive, smaller, and networked.

An Echo in Here

ProLinx 7000 application delivers communication protocols and embedded Echo data historian, logging of up to 500 tags of real-time data at sub-second speed. It’s fully customizable and programmable, includes C programming, and supports multiple automation programming languages. An OPC-HDA server can be added to allow open access to the historical data. Connectivity options enable controller platforms in computing gas flow calculations, and interfacing to motor controls, drives and other devices in machinery, packaging, and production applications.
ProSoft Technology;

Data Grabber

MW100 combines intelligent, built-in data storage for standalone data logging with Web-enabled Ethernet connectivity for shared real-time trend monitoring using a browser. No special software is needed for configuration and data monitoring. Built for temperature extremes and high vibration, it provides high levels of noise immunity and channel-to-channel input isolation. The system is scalable 10-60 universal inputs on a single chassis with scan speeds up to 10 msec.
Yokogawa Corp. of America;

Knows It All

Memograph M Graphic Data Manager internally includes up to 20 universal inputs, analyzes raw data and stores analog values, counter values or quantities and simultaneously up to six different operating times or switch states. Up to 100 alarm set point values can be monitored and be retransmitted using the six relays included in the basic version. A loop power supply and two analog outputs provide additional flexibility. The process values and reports are indicated on a high-resolution 7-inch TFT.
Endress+Hauser; 888/endress;

Control and Distributed I/O

Net Concentrator system collects data from remote sensors and other instrumentation, and provides process control and distributed I/O capabilities. It stores up to 64,000 points of time-stamped data, and can be configured to store data from one or all of its input channels. Sampling rate is user-selectable between once per second to once every 24 hours. Features include 20-bit measurement resolution, high signal-conditioning capabilities, and data rates up to 100 megabits per second.
Moore Industries; 818/894-7111;

Modbus Data Acquisition

isoLynx SLX data acquisition system is a modular, fully isolated data acquisition system with Modbus RTU and TCP protocols, enabling communications with a variety of existing third-party software drivers and HMI/SCADA packages. It can interface with more than 650 SCM5B analog I/O modules for factory automation, machine control, test and measurement and data-acquisition applications.
Dataforth; 520/741-1404;

I/O Triplets

CompactDAQ USB-based modular data acquisition system can triple its number of available I/O modules. Every chassis ships with SignalExpress data-logging software for acquisition, analysis, and data presentation in an interactive, non-programming environment. Users have 19 new module options, including ±20 mA current I/O; high-speed, high-voltage, and channel-to-channel isolated analog inputs; RTD sensor inputs; and high-density digital I/O; as well as a universal input module.
National Instruments; 800/258-7022;

Field-MountableVideographic Recorder

SM500F field-mountable, four-channel videographic recorder can be installed in a panel, wall or pipe without enclosures. It has a fully sealed NEMA 4X and IP66 enclosure that provides protection against water, dirt and dust. The recorder offers a choice of color or monochrome display, and presents data in a variety of formats including chart, bargraph, and digital indicator views.
ABB; 800/435-7365;

USB Data Acquisition

Eight-channel USB data-acquisition modules have multifunction I/O, digital I/O, and temperature measurement capabilities. They include plug-and-play PC setup and a software suite. The modules can be used for temperature monitoring, thermocouple applications, or general-purpose data acquisition.
Cole-Parmer Instrument; 800/323-4340;

Log PLC Data to ODBC Database

KepServerEX OPC server suite includes a new plug-in component to easily log OPC items and tags to Access, Microsoft, SQL, MySQL and other ODBC-compliant databases. The data logger component is a plug-in to the server that allows users to standardize on KepServerEX to seamlessly log data from exisiting KepServerEX PLC drivers into their ODBC-compliant database of choice.
Kepware Technologies; 207/775-1660;

Cast a Data Net

DataNet OPC uses OPC technology to communicate live data from industrial devices to a Web page with no HTML programming required, and provides a more unified approach to data display and logging. Dynamic colors allow users to determine the status of their plant operations at a glance, and a math tool executes calculations on the raw data before it is displayed. DataNet OPC is compatible with any device that runs on an OPC 1.0- or OPC 2.0-compliant server.
AutomationDirect; 770/889-2858;

Data Logger + Software

Analyse-Plus software can be used to control Data Logger CVF2. Portability and electrical isolation make CVF2 suitable for diagnostic applications, optimizing automation equipment, maintenance and calibration of instrumentation. The self-contained unit, powered by AC, internal batteries, or an external DC source, connects to the printer port of any Windows PC or can collect data in standalone mode.
Givens Control Engineering;

In DAQ Cards

PCI-1742U high-resolution multifunction DAQ card with fast sampling rate for PCI bus provides 16x single-ended or 8x differential analog input channels, 1.0 MS/s single channel sampling rate (800 KS/s multi-channel), 2x 16-bit D/A output channels, 16x digital input/output channels, and 1x 10 MHz 16-bit counter channel. It includes a 1K analog input FIFO, auto calibration function, universal PCI Bus support (3.3V & 5 V PCI bus signaling), and board identification switch. The PCI-1742U comes with LabView drivers, Windows DLL drivers and ActiveX controls for programming with VB, VC, or Delphi.
Advantech; 800/205-7940;

Portable Machinery Diagnostics

Adre portable DAQ system uses high-resolution recording to a hard drive, eliminating the need for tape recording. It targets machinery test stands as well as field-installed machinery applications where up to 128 channels of data must be collected simultaneously for extended periods of time. Its highly scalable architecture allows users to populate the instrument with only the number of channels required for the application. Up to 32 channels of asynchronously sampled or 24 channels of synchronously/asynchronously sampled data can be acquired with one 408 DSPi.
GE Bently Nevada; 775/215-2226;

Eye on the Process

Eycon visual supervisors provide multi-function control, recording and visualization of processes in one unit. Considered a mini DCS, the system can be used as a building block in larger systems communicating via Ethernet. There are touchscreens, pop-up navigational menus, recipe management, commissioning, and diagnostic tools.
Eurotherm; 703/669-1324;

Data Historian

IndustrialSQL server historian integrates factory automation and IT information sources to provide a complete data record of operations. It runs on Microsoft Windows XP Professional and SQL Server Personal Edition in 100 and 500-tag counts that can be used standalone or readily added onto basic HMI historical data recordings. Advanced analysis and reporting tools can leverage all server software. Server software includes a storage algorithm to further reduce data storage requirements by up to 70%.
Wonderware; 949/727-3200;

Connectivity and Remote Monitoring

Data Station Plus converts many protocols simultaneously for seam­less communication between disparate devices. The system collects data in CSV files that can be viewed by Excel and Access. Alarms and notifications to warn of pending problems or required maintenance can be sent via text-message or e-mail. A removable CompactFlash memory card stores logged data, allowing for virtually limitless memory expansion and data collection capability. The system offers data collection with built-in protocol converter and virtual HMI access.
Red Lion Controls; 717/767-6511;

Strip-Chart Recorder

RD-87 series of six economical strip-chart recorders monitor thermocouple readings, temperature, temperature/humidity, voltage, current or 4-20 mA inputs. All have an LCD and record on a 4-in. chart using one pen, except for the two-pen temperature/humidity model. The full-function alarm can sound when measurements exceed set limits. To prevent nuisance alarms, activation can be delayed by a specified time.
Omega Engineering; 203/359-7812;

Follow the Trend

Minitrend QX and Multitrend SX paperless recorders have touchscreens, increased input capability, input isolation, and scan rates to 20 ms. They also have advanced mathematical calculations, events, totalization, custom screens, health-watch/maintenance, OPC interface, and a standard NEMA 3/IP55 front-face protection rating.
Honeywell; 800/223-8947;

PCI/PXI Data Acquisition Card

DAQ-2016 and PXI-2016 high-sampling, multi-function, data-acquisition cards in both PCI and PXI form factors have a maximum transfer rate of 800 kS/s per channel. They are designed for large data collection and industrial automation. They offer 16-bit resolution and a variety of analog and digital trigger sources and modes for multi-channel simultaneous sampling efficiency.
Adlink Technologies; 970/377-0385;

In the Field

USB data logger family includes three models: USB-503, a 0-30 V dc voltage logger; USB-504, a 4-20 mA current loop logger; and USB-501-LT, a small version of the USB-501 temperature logger. Designed for both long- or short-term data-logging applications, they provide an interface to configure, download, display, and export logged data.
Measurement Computing; 508/946-5100;

Data via Cell Phone

This alarm and readout tool is a plug-in software module for use with HoboWare Pro software. It automatically notifies users via cell phone text messages or e-mail when temperature, humidity and other conditions exceed user-defined limits. It also enables data from networked Hobo data loggers to be automatically offloaded, and stored in a centralized computer. This is particularly useful in applications where many locations are being monitored throughout a facility.
Onset Computer; 800/564-4377;

Real-Time Data Across the Enterprise

XL800 “bolt-on” production monitor is a six-in-one product that combines a large-area visual display, production monitor, expandable I/O, a multiple-channel communication hub, a program executioner and a data warehouse—all in one package. The production monitor includes eight management modules. One module, the Visual OEE delivers a real-time overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) score concurrently for job and shift, as well as availability, performance and quality metrics.
Vorne Industries; 630/875-3600;

Vibration Analysis Software

Datastick Spectrum software suite 1.7 includes a review software utility for the company’s PDA-based VSA vibration spectrum analyzers for predictive, conditions-based maintenance. The software also includes a Manager file-management utility and a Reporting System for VSA software for machine histories and vibration analysis on desktop PCs.
Datastick; 408/871-3300;

LAN-Enabled DAQ System

2680A DAQ system chassis has six slots, allowing users to custom build a complete data-logging system. Five of these slots accommodate any combination of 20-channel, universal-input modules compatible to the new unit, eliminating the need for external signal conditioning. The sixth can be used for an additional analog input module, or for an available digital I/O relay module that adds an additional element of control to the system. It also features Ethernet TCP/IP protocols and network interfaces for 10/100 BaseT. Each analog module has a universal input module that allows users to connect and measure electrical or physical parameters without external signal conditioning.
Fluke; 888/492-7556,

Data Acquisition, Measurement and Control

The 220-page Understanding New Developments in Data Acquisition, Measurement and Control guide for high-performance test and measurement has nine sections, and includes topics such as computer buses, protocols and hardware; software; basic component theory and types of electronic components for data acquisition; and real-world applications.
Keithley Instruments; 440/498-2746;

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