I would to like to control a simple set-up (valve, heater) and acquire data from some sensors (temperature, current, ...) and wonder if it would be possible to use cRIO or any other NI device by configuring it first (define time of valve opening, type of sensors, ...) and let it run without connection to a PC or Labview? + save the acquired data on this device so afterwards this can be retrieved.
A cRIO is an embedded RealTime computer with an FPGA backplane. It can absolutely run off on its own without being connected to a PC. You just need to build and distribution and deploy it to the cRiO through the LabVIEW project.
Maybe you would also like to make a windows client to access data, show info for the cRIO.
You can easily create an installer in the LV project for the client you have created.
This can be installed on any PC without labview.
Also, you can enable FTP service on the target (cRIO) to collect the recorded data.