Vendors expand on remote monitoring

As the Internet of Things (IoT) rolls out and sensors monitor everything from rainfall on rooftop gardens to machine vibration, people will increasingly have the ability to measure, monitor, and control remotely via a variety of telecommunications, wireless connectivity, and even proprietary links. That's the conclusion of a special report on remote monitoring in our June print edition. Companies including Agilent, HBM, and National Instruments offer elaboration on the topic in this Web-exclusive complement to the June print report.

Andrew Smail, product and solutions marketing manager at the Software and Modular Solutions Division of Agilent Technologies, cited the 34980A multifunction switch/measure system as offering system switching up to 26.5 GHz. It can make DMM measurements and act as a counter and totalizer, offering digital I/O with pattern capabilities and analog outputs with basic waveforms.

The 34980A, he said, is used in product validation and manufacturing test and often includes temperature and other transducer/sensor measurements along with multiplexer, matrix or general purpose switching. For design validation, it can characterize design functionality through testing on a bench or in an environmental chamber. It can also perform functional test and data logging—monitoring measurements at many points (uses scanning switch/measurements). It can also operate in the field.

The 34980A is flexible and full of switch, measurement, and control features that suit it to many types of applications, Smith said. For example, engine test facilities can employ the system's data-acquisition capabilities to monitor a large number of sensor measurements. The system can also provide for engine control and analysis and display of data output.

Agilent cited these resources for further information:

Kamalina Srikant, product manager for embedded systems at National Instruments, said, “National Instruments products for remote monitoring applications include NI CompactRIO hardware and also real-time OS standalone products such as standalone NI CompactDAQ systems, NI compact vision systems, and the NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform.

“These are rugged, flexible products with a wide range of I/O capabilities that are designed to run reliably in harsh environments for long periods of time (continuous monitoring). The onboard processing power and integrated hardware/software architecture also provide onboard processing and intelligence, which is very useful for distributed applications.”

She cited specifically “…machine condition monitoring for predictive maintenance and improved operations in industries such as heavy equipment (for example, mining), transportation (marine, rail cars, and networks), power generation (more traditional power plants or wind, hydro), oil and gas pipelines and rigs, industrial manufacturing, and distributed over many lines or sites.”

She cited some specific references:

And finally, Walt Farchmin, director of sales at HBM Test and Measurement, said his company's PMX helps customers solve their test and measurement problems in a number of ways: “For instance, the unit’s built-in signal conditioning capability has excellent signal to noise quality, while each channel can be sampled up to 19.2 kHz. Also, the software is easy to use and does not require special programming skills.”

He cited several specific applications examples:

  • Component parts in rolling mills like bearing are subjected to high stress. When bearings wear out prematurely, product quality decreases. A manufacturer of aluminum products had this problem several times when SKF, the worldwide leader in bearing technology, used a PMX DAQ to find the problem’s root cause. (See “Machine condition monitoring using PMX.”)
  • Modern smartphones and operating units undergo an extensive development and testing process before they ever reach consumers. (See “Smart devices undergo intensive testing.”)
  • The PMX performs real-time tests on the reliability of switches at end-of-the-line test benches to ensure the devices will switch on and off reliably over their entire service life. (See “Quality control for switching devices.”)
  • Products that industrial presses produce range from coins to large automobile parts. Presses run at up to 800 strokes per minute. To ensure the quality of the workpieces, the PMX along with HBM sensors measure pressing forces. (See “Press monitoring boosts operating time.”)
  • Depending on the final product, steel must be available in a special shape, alloy and quality. The PMX is used to test the quality of sheet steel during production. A  Profinet card with IRT protocol ensures that predictive signals are directed via real-time Ethernet interfaces to the press controller so the press parameters can be readjusted. (See “Top-quality steel – reliably recording all parameters.”)
  • The more precisely powder presses can apply force, the higher the quality of the produced molded parts. The pressure must be accurately measured for exact control. In this example, a leading machine supplier uses the PMX to design a new series of powder presses. (See “It all comes down to the right quantity of force.”)

Farchmin cited additional resources, including a new video tutorial on PMX.

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