Drives and Controls Magazine

Distributed control is downloaded via a network

01 October, 2001

Distributed control is downloaded via a network

Engineers can now build real-time distributed control and monitoring systems using a family of networkable I/O modules developed by National Instruments. Using NI`s LabView graphical programming software, they can create customised applications which are then downloaded via a network to processors in the FieldPoint 2000 modules.

The modules combine analogue and discrete I/O and signal conditioning functions and can connect directly to a variety of sensors, including quadrature encoders, voltage and current transducers, and relays.

Each intelligent node can act as an independent component in a networked system, while still communicating with a host PC. The modules are available in two-, eight- and 16-channel versions and allow I/O to be distributed across Ethernet, Foundation Fieldbus and wireless networks.

According to NI chief executive Dr James Truchard, the technology "takes the power and ease-of-use of a PC-based system and extends it to a networked system of intelligent nodes for measurement and control". The FieldPoint modules, he adds, "embody a convergence of major technology trends - from smaller, more embedded intelligent systems, to the growth of Ethernet on the factory floor, to Web-enabled applications".