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Overcoming Hardware And Software Obsolescence With The LabVIEW And NI-DAQmx Platform


Company: TBG Solutions
Author(s): Georgios Vagenas
NI Product(s) Used: LabVIEW, cDAQ
Industry: Industrial Test & Automation

The Challenge


In recent months hardware, software and operating system obsolescence have become a concern for customers in a range of industries, hacks like wanna-cry have brought to the forefront the risks of running PCs and more importantly test and measurement systems on a network with vulnerable software and unsupported legacy hardware which inherently has high costs for repair or in some cases no available repair at all. Leveraging the ease of LabVIEW, the DAQmx API and the scaleability of TBGs standard OOP based QMH architecture, TBG were able to provide a solution that fulfilled the original project requirements and features as well as being a modern, up to date system for years to come.




The customer is a world leader in heavy industrial testing, from turbines to rail axles. They approached TBG with the requirement to update an existing system that ran on a decade old PC on an outdated Windows XP operating system with the application built on LabVIEW 7.1 and legacy NI-Fieldpoint hardware.




The system consists of two motors, driving two rail axles. The user selects a test profile and then the test limits are loaded, according to the test selected, and the motors run automatically. Temperature, vibration, current and speed of the motors are measured and, in case one of these measurements exceeds the predefined limits, the test stops and the user is notified. All the measurements are plotted real time in graphs in the user interface and, at the end of the test, all measurements are saved in a file and a report is created. The motors are controlled with a PLC, which communicates with the PC via an OPC server, which needed to be updated to be compatible with LabVIEW 2017.


Figure 1 - Example UI 1Figure 1 - Example UI 1

Figure 2 - Limit EditorFigure 2 - Limit Editor

 Figure 3 - Profile EditorFigure 3 - Profile Editor

The updated version of the application was written in LabVIEW 2017 and we leveraged a high performance new PC was an industrial PC running Windows 10. Also, FieldPoint was replaced by cDAQ, since FieldPoint hardware is now legacy and largely unsupported for LabVIEW versions newer than 2015 SP1. The cDAQ allowed for seamless integration of the same hardware sensors in a more intuitive and scalable manner using the DAQmx API within LabVIEW 2017. The footprint of the cDAQ platform enabled us to re-use the same DIN rail mounting within the system cabinet with no change to cable length or connection type.




As a Gold level Alliance Member providing control, test and automation solutions, TBG Solutions successfully upgraded software and hardware components seamlessly to meet customer requirements whilst retaining all previous functionality, giving the customer the same software user experience and ensuring the system is future proof for years to come.


Author Contact Details



Name: Georgios Vagenas



TBG Solutions

Address: 3A Midland Court

Barlborough Links Business Park



S43 4UL


Phone: 01246 819 100

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