National Instruments South Africa has just completed another series of seminars countrywide. The 'PC-based control and monitoring' seminar was conducted in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Durban and was extremely well received. It attracted record attendance and the feedback was extremely positive. The very successful PC-based sound and vibration solutions seminars were hosted in Cape Town and Midrand.
PC-based control has been around since the advent of PCs but is becoming more popular. The objective of this seminar is to introduce terminology and technology native to PCs and show how these can be used to create complex control systems.
Major topics were the selection of operating systems like Windows, Linux, Unix etc highlighting the benefits and limitations of each. Other important issues included the selection of computing platforms such as an industrialised platform like CompactPCI/PXI versus standard desktop computers. Another major topic is the selection of interfaces and how to interface signals to the computer platform.
The major technologies discussed were PCI, USB, Firewire and Ethernet. More traditional interfaces like DeviceNet and Profibus where also described.
In the field of predictive maintenance and machine condition monitoring, vibration analyses has become extremely popular. The ability to determine if a machine is operating outside its nominal vibration limits can save millions by allowing proper maintenance plans to be set in place. Traditional vibration analysis instruments are very expensive and cannot be left on a plant.
National Instruments DSA cards can be installed in a rugged PC platform like CompactPCI/PXI, with more input channels than traditional instruments. With the ease of interfacing to existing scada systems it is now feasible to have permanent monitoring systems in place.
This seminar introduced the participants to concepts like octave analysis for audio systems and order analysis for monitoring rotating machines. Techniques like using Gabor transforms to do order analysis on time-sampled data were also discussed.
For information on courses offered by National Instruments contact 011 805 8197.