Sometimes, what you want to measure isn’t small or confined to just one place.
How do you effectively measure from locations across a lab, building, site or even country?
Distributed measurement systems take the measurement capability you would typically find on a lab bench and inputs it to a larger system. That system can then be installed across the network to collate and display data collected in the same way as the original.
Sounds impressive? It is, although it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, especially if it’s something that’s undertaken without the right expertise and support.
Several key areas need to be considered when introducing distributed measurement systems:
Computers aren’t great timekeepers. You need a way to guarantee that all internal clocks within the system are synchronised. It’s no good if data’s being captured simultaneously at different sites if one system is stating 10.00am and another 10.07am. It’s crucial because, once the data has been captured, there’s often no way of retrospectively verifying this.
There are hundreds of ways of communicating data, depending on the task and situation – and choosing the optimal one to match a given scenario often requires extensive experience.
How sensitive is the data? Protection from hacking – data snooping, unauthorised access and loss of system control – is vital, especially if you need to use the internet for data transmission.
How many systems do you have and, ultimately, need? This will often affect the choices of how you collect and view data.
Making 1:1 work successfully is relatively straightforward, but how reassured would you be if you needed to install multiple systems?
At Wiresmith Technology, we’ve worked on many distributed measurement systems.
We can design and build measurement systems distributed across multiple locations: saving you time, ensuring that nothing is missed, and, most importantly, guaranteeing success.
For example, we’ve created a distributed system for National Grid that, on completion, will comprise 135 measurement systems across England and Wales:
We were also pleased that additional expertise could be brought in as required. James was very professional in handling our requirements and was always on hand when we needed him.
An agile method of developing software was adopted. This suited our needs as we were defining our specification as we explored options for building our system. It enabled us to work quickly and to improve our system incrementally.
We would recommend Wiresmith Technology’s services as they have delivered what we required to a high quality of workmanship."
Peter Haigh, National Grid UK
We can help you build a system that you trust. Whether it is simply advising on system design or programming the devices, server and/or data inspection system, we’ll make sure you get the data that you need.
Requesting external support can be unsettling, particularly when you don’t have expertise in that specific area. We can relate to that as we’ve used external contractors ourselves to support us on languages that we’re less familiar with.
Programming capability is especially hard to capture objectively or through an absolute value, so we would invite you to:
Even though LabVIEW is our most productive environment, it’s only one of our areas of expertise and can’t solve everything.
We’ve also developed expertise in web-based technologies and have working knowledge of other, less mainstream environments. This allows us to bring in additional expertise as required and integrate those solutions with LabVIEW.
In terms of writing custom software, we do that only when the job demands it. Often, we’re able to use our experience of other interfacing technologies to recommend and install an off-the-shelf solution.
With the proliferation of cheap measurement systems in the hobbyist sector, a compact RIO may appear expensive.
However, there are several key advantages over a number of cheaper platforms: