Siemens and National Instruments Deliver Integrated Automation and Measurement Solutions

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1 Siemens and National Instruments Deliver Integrated Automation and Measurement Solutions

2 The Need for Integrated Automation and Measurement Manufacturing lines consist of numerous decoupled systems for automation, control, measurement, machine monitoring, and many other functions. Historically, these systems have stood alone both from each other and from company enterprise networks. Each system performed its function in relative isolation controlling the conveyor system, monitoring compressor bearing vibration, performing end-of-line electronics functional test, and so on. Pulling together these systems can deliver significant benefits to manufacturers easier integration through the use of industry standards, greater enterprise access to manufacturing operations information, and advanced diagnostic information from devices for predictive maintenance, to name only a few. Thus far, no one has optimized connecting automation and control systems to test and measurement systems to exploit the resulting advantages. In particular, higher speed measurement techniques, such as those used in end-of-line electronics functional test or machine monitoring systems, can help improve efficiency and quality when results are fed back into assembly and automation subsystems. National Instruments and Siemens are now working together to better integrate the domain of automation with the domain of measurements. Siemens is among the world leaders in automation and control systems across a variety of industries. National Instruments PC-based and network-based measurement solutions are used for industrial applications ranging from general-purpose data acquisition to end-of-line electronics functional test. The cooperation between Siemens and NI will span a wide variety of applications, so that engineers can make more sophisticated measurements on their processes and feed that information back to their control systems. With this information, they can make better decisions that ultimately improve their overall manufacturing quality and efficiency. This white paper gives an overview of the products and the application areas in which Siemens and National Instruments are working to better integrate solutions for automation and measurement. This document also includes a practical example of how a user would integrate the companies products. PC-Based I/O and Control The role of the PC in manufacturing continues to expand to a wide variety of applications. While initial use of the PC focused on HMI and supervisory control applications, PCs are increasingly used in demanding control and high-performance test systems. Users are moving applications to the PC for many reasons to take advantage of greatly increased performance and excellent connectivity via the Internet, to lower system costs by exploiting high-volume computing platforms, and so on. The PC is becoming the dominant platform for enterprise connectivity and as an integrating platform for automation and measurement systems. 2 ni.com

3 Depending on the application, PCs are being used in place of traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs). For example, many smaller scale machine control applications use a PC as the primary control platform. Compared to a large scale manufacturing system, these types of applications are typically smaller in scale and less mission critical. They too require very high performance and reliability, which are well addressed by today s Windows NT based PC solutions. These applications also benefit from the improved connectivity offered by the PC. Siemens SIMATIC STEP 7 automation software is used to program and control Siemens PLCs as well as PC-based hardware. Users configure their system hardware and identify the target for their control application, whether it is a PLC or a PC. WinAC, a component of SIMATIC STEP 7, is the Siemens PC-based control solution, which runs under Windows NT. Using WinAC and STEP 7, Siemens PLC users can move to PC-based control applications in a familiar software programming environment, which relaxes their learning curve considerably. Users moving to PC-based control applications inevitably look for PC-based I/O solutions. PC-based I/O can offer higher performance, tight integration with the PC platform, and high-density local I/O. National Instruments measurement solutions consist of PC-based hardware, such as analog and digital measurement devices, signal conditioning hardware, and measurement software such as LabVIEW. For 25 years, National Instruments has provided measurement solutions that take advantage of the latest computer technology. National Instruments and Siemens have developed a link between National Instruments measurement hardware and the Siemens WinAC software environment. Users can now take advantage of National Instruments extensive line of data acquisition and signal conditioning solutions in their PC-based control applications. The first step in this process is to download the free Siemens WinAC NI-DAQ driver files at ni.com/siemens. The applicable measurement hardware from National Instruments includes all plug-in DAQ devices for desktop PCs as well as PXI/CompactPCI modules (see Figure 1). These hardware devices offer multifunction input and output for analog and discrete measurements along with a complete line of signal conditioning hardware necessary to acquire any signal from any sensor. This product offering gives end users high-speed measurements with high accuracy and NIST-traceable calibration. Figure 1. PXI/CompactPCI Modular Data Acquisition System National Instruments Corporation 3

4 Advanced PC-Based Measurement and Control The availability of high-speed PC-based measurement devices introduces a new class of applications for PC-based control with advanced measurements. High-performance measurements require not only high-performance hardware but also sophisticated software. Software intelligence can be used to transform raw data acquired from hardware and perform the analysis and processing required to extract the desired results. Consider an application in which a PC-based system is used to control a machine and also monitor machine operation. The most appropriate method for monitoring the machine operation may be through measurement of the machine vibration. A typical method for measuring vibration is with accelerometers sampled at relatively fast rates (compared to the control loop rate); the acquired data is then processed in software. A typical PLC control solution is not designed to perform such a high-speed, waveform-based measurement. But PC-based solutions from National Instruments commonly address such applications through the use of LabVIEW (see Figure 2) and high-speed acquisition devices. Figure 2. LabVIEW Graphical Programming Environment Consider another application in which a specialized device, an RF spectrum analyzer, is used to take specific process measurements. Such an instrument would be connected through IEEE 488 (GPIB), a bus not commonly available on control platforms. Through the use of LabVIEW and National Instruments GPIB interface solutions, customers easily integrate RF instruments into their PC-based measurement solutions. 4 ni.com

5 National Instruments and Siemens are enabling these advanced PC-based measurement and control solutions by developing a link between National Instruments LabVIEW and Siemens WinAC. Using this solution, a user can include a programming element in a Siemens STEP 7 program that would represent a LabVIEW input or output of either an analog or discrete value. That analog or discrete value, which would come from LabVIEW, could be intelligent results based on information gathered from various parts of the manufacturing process. Thus the vibration reading or RF measurements from the GPIB instrument can be processed by LabVIEW and then passed to WinAC for more decision making in the control application. Similarly, WinAC can pass data to LabVIEW to control some aspect of its measurement process. The marriage of LabVIEW and WinAC gives users a new level of capability to build sophisticated PC-based control and measurement systems. Configuring and Integrating Measurements into WinAC To configure the measurement portion of your application, the user will launch National Instruments Measurement and Automation Explorer (MAX). From within this user-friendly utility, you can specify your DAQ device, configure the available resources offered by the device, and assign user-defined aliases or virtual channels. During the creation of virtual channels, a series of configuration dialogs will be displayed in which the user can set parameters such as physical units, sensitivity, and range (see Figure 3). Figure 3. MAX Channel Wizard for Displacement Measurements with a Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) National Instruments Corporation 5

6 The end result is a virtual channel that can be used within the Siemens STEP 7 programming environment and executed by the WinAC control software. Another option would be for National Instruments LabVIEW to use this virtual channel to acquire the vibration signal, analyze it, and send back the result to WinAC (see Figure 4). Figure 4. Virtual Channels in MAX 6 ni.com

7 Once your measurement is configured, it is now time to bring that virtual channel into your Siemens STEP 7 programming environment. To perform an analog measurement, use function blocks from the NI Measurement Library in your control code. During configuration (OB100), which executes only when WinAC switches from STOP to RUN, use the NI function blocks to launch and configure your measurement channels as defined in MAX. Next, you will need to fill in the function block inputs with the virtual channels created using MAX. Then within your control code (OB1), use another NI Measurement Library function block to perform the analog read, which will place the measurement data into a user-defined memory location (MD). Your control code (see Figure 5) is now ready to download to WinAC, running on Windows NT. Figure 5. Image of STEP 7 Using National Instruments Measurements The Future High-Level Automation and Test System Integration Solutions from Siemens and National Instruments cover many areas other than PC-based control and measurements. Siemens control solutions are used in large-scale, mission-critical automation and control systems, such as surface-mount equipment in the electronics industry and conveyor control systems in automotive plants. Similarly, National Instruments manufacturing test solutions based on PXI and TestStand are the standard in many major electronics manufacturing facilities. Integration and connectivity must extend well beyond a single PC to encompass these sophisticated, large-scale systems. National Instruments and Siemens will continue to work toward higher levels of integration among automation and test systems throughout the factory floor. National Instruments Corporation 7

8 11500 North Mopac Expressway Austin, TX USA Tel: (512) Fax: (512) Copyright 2001 National Instruments Corporation. All rights reserved. Product and company names mentioned herein are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

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