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Automation Technologies 4/2015

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Automation Technologies 4/2015


CONTROL AND DRIVE TECHNOLOGY previous page lenge becomes a software issue, which enables faster design cycles and provides improved field upgradability. The same principle can be applied from a software perspective when a hardware platform is combined with powerful software to create a unified solution. Now the challenge becomes neither hardware nor software focused, but instead about the application itself. The utility company mentioned above used this platform to move to an integrated, automated system. By doing so, they reversed the trend with respect to operators’ time so they can spend 80 % of their time analyzing data and only 20 % performing manual inspections. They were able to realize the IIoT by managing a huge network of machines and generating massive amounts of data. Additionally, they were able to remove their operators from a hazardous environment so they can analyze data and make better business decisions, faster. Re-programmable chip equivalent to design customization Platforms are proven to simplify the complexity of system design while increasing efficiency. One such platform is available with the NI CompactRIO software-designed controller, which is based on the NI LabView reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture. This architecture tightly integrates a real-time processor with a user-programmable FPGA (Field programmable gate array) and modular I/O and is programmed with NI LabView system design software. The FPGA is a reconfigurable chip that makes it possible for users to embed their algorithms into hardware similar to custom design. Users can reprogram the FPGA through high-level software to iterate on their design much more quickly than a custom design. This means users can provide firmware updates to the field when a feature needs to be added or revised. Additionally, by using an FPGA users can run with higher levels of reliability to develop a safer solution since many of the algorithms and logic can be embedded into hardware. By adopting a reconfigurable architecture users can benefit from a platform that is powerful and flexible enough to handle any application from condition monitoring to complex model-based control and everything in between. Understanding the solution in parts The NI LabView reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture is an integral part of the NI graphical system design platform. A modern approach to designing, prototyping, and deploying monitoring and control systems, graphical system design combines the open NI LabView graphical programming environment with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware to dramatically simplify development, which results in higher-quality designs with the ability to incorporate custom design. Architecture The NI LabView RIO architecture is based on four components: a processor, a reconfigurable fieldprogrammable gate array (FPGA), modular I/O hardware, and graphical design software. Combined, these components give you the ability to rapidly create custom hardware circuitry with high-performance I/O and unprecedented flexibility in system timing control. Processor About Company name: National Instruments Headquarters: Austin, Texas, USA Turnover: $ 1.24 billion Employees: 7,100 worldwide Products: Data acquisition systems, Embedded control and monitoring hardware, industrial communication busses, intrumentaion and control, hardware platform, programming environments and application software The processor is used to deploy code to communicate with other processing units such as the FPGA, interface with peripherals, log data, and run applications. NI offers RIO hardware systems in a variety of form factors ranging from high-performance multicore systems with symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) running the Microsoft Windows OS to small, realtime embedded systems such as NI single-Board RIO and CompactRIO. AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 4/2015

CONTROL AND DRIVE TECHNOLOGY Real time processor PCI Bus Analog Input Analog Output Digital I/O Sensors and Actuators FPGA Custom I/O RIO System Architecture 02 RIO system architecture FPGA (Field programmable gate array) The reconfigurable FPGA is the core of the RIO hardware system architecture. It is used to offload intensive tasks from the processor and provide deterministic execution with extremely high throughput. The FPGA is directly connected to the I/O modules for high-performance access to the I/O circuitry of each module and unlimited timing, triggering, and synchronization flexibility. Because each module is connected directly to the FPGA rather than through a bus, you experience almost no control latency for system response compared to other industrial controllers. Because of the FPGA speed, RIO hardware is frequently used to create controller systems that incorporate high-speed buffered I/O, very fast control loops, or custom signal filtering. For instance, using the FPGA, a single CompactRIO chassis can execute more than 20 analog proportional integral derivative (PID) control loops simultaneously at a rate of 100 kHz. Additionally, because the FPGA runs all code in hardware, it provides the high reliability and determinism that is ideal for hardware-based interlocks, custom timing and triggering, or the elimination of the custom circuitry normally required with custom sensors. Modular I/O NI C Series I/O modules contain isolation, conversion circuitry, signal conditioning, and built-in connectivity for direct connection to industrial sensors/ actuators. By offering a variety of wiring options and integrating the connector junction box into the modules, a RIO system significantly reduces space requirements and field-wiring costs. Additionally, with the NI cRIO-9951 CompactRIO module development kit, one can develop custom modules to meet application-specific needs. LabView development platform LabView is a complete development solution for the graphical system design of embedded applications to efficiently design, prototype and deploy the system on a single software platform. With this system design software, one can develop applications for the processor, synthesize your own custom measurement circuitry on the FPGA, and then seamlessly integrate the two with modular I/O to create a complete RIO solution. Photographs: National Instruments AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES 4/2015


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