Simplify Embedded System Design With CompactRIO: The Ultimate Multipurpose Controller

Publish Date: May 13, 2016 | 3 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print

Improve the way you design and deploy advanced control and monitoring systems for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with the unrivaled performance and flexibility of the CompactRIO platform.

 

Embedded System Design is Evolving.  Are You?

Designing control and I/O systems for industrial machinery and advanced equipment is no small task. Design teams must deliver profitable and differentiated products while meeting stringent technical requirements and tight schedules. Performing full custom embedded design is a significant challenge for small teams and carries significant costs in terms of time, resources, and expertise.  The length and complexity of these designs also prevents teams from leveraging the latest advancements in processing and heterogeneous computing elements, because advancements in silicon outpace current design cycles. The process is further complicated when teams must incorporate numerous hardware subsystems – usually from multiple vendors -- and program these subsystems with disparate software tool chains.

 

There IS a better way to design control and I/O systems - one that simplifies complexity and reduces risk.

Fortunately, there is a better way to design control and I/O systems for advanced machines and equipment. A way that simplifies complexity, improves integration, reduces risk, and decreases time to market. With a rugged, reliable, and industry-proven embedded design platform that is fully customizable through software, teams can go up a level of integration in their design and spend less time on system integration and board-level design and more time delivering value-add features and competitive differentiation. 

 

Figure 1.  Simplify system design with the endless capabilities and unrivaled performance of the CompactRIO platform.

 

Endless Capabilities, Unrivaled Performance

The CompactRIO platform combines rugged, reconfigurable hardware, intuitive software, and an open ecosystem of IP, support, and partners. Eliminate the need for separate subsystems or controllers in your design by connecting cameras, motors, drives, displays, and sensors directly to CompactRIO. Leverage a complete and integrated software tool chain to customize functionality and harness the power of the onboard FPGA for advanced processing and complex control, even without any knowledge of hardware description languages like VHDL or Verilog. Explore this white paper to learn about the endless capabilities and unrivaled performance of the CompactRIO platform, which can help you simplify embedded system design and deliver innovative designs to market faster.

 

 

 

Machine Vision and Image Processing

Incorporate your machine vision and image processing tasks directly into the CompactRIO controller.  With CompactRIO as your vision controller, you benefit from built-in IP, the Vision Assistant to help you develop custom algorithms for advanced image processing, a user programmable FPGA to manage computationally intensive image processing, and open support for any third-party camera that conforms to industry GigE Vision and USB3 Vision standards. Furthermore, by bringing your image acquisition into the CompactRIO controller, those images can directly interact with I/O and other processes, such as motion control, in your application—effectively bringing your image processing into the control loop.

 


Figure 2.  Incorporate your machine vision and image processing tasks directly into the CompactRIO controller.  

 

 

 

Motion Control

You can also use CompactRIO as a high-performance motion controller. With native support for both NI and third-party motors and drives, CompactRIO gives you the ability to connect directly to your motion hardware and use built-in motion IP to simulate and configure axis settings, tune motors, and implement custom control algorithms without the need for a separate motion controller. With the user-programmable FPGA onboard the CompactRIO controller, you can design highly deterministic, and highly-complex motion control algorithms without the knowledge of traditional FPGA hardware description languages such as VHDL or Verilog.  Furthermore, with CompactRIO as your motion controller, you can customize motion functionality down to the lowest level of control IP to meet your specific application needs, and integrate your algorithms with measurement I/O and vision acquisition for force feedback and vision-guided motion applications.

 

Figure 3.  Connect NI and third-party motors and drives directly to CompactRIO and integrate your motion algorithms with measurement I/O and vision acquisition.

 

 

 

Integrated Software

Define—and redefine—the functionality of your CompactRIO system with intuitive software and use a single, highly optimized toolchain for every phase of your design cycle – from modeling and simulation, to prototyping and validation, to deployment and beyond. NI software reduces risk and enhances productivity by eliminating the need to create and maintain I/O drivers, OSs, and other middleware. CompactRIO controllers feature NI Linux Real-Time, a prevalidated, real-time OS based on standard Linux technologies, which combines the approachability of desktop Linux with the security and real-time performance needed for industrial applications. And with the openness of NI Linux Real-Time, users can program the onboard processor with LabVIEW or C/C++ through native support for the Eclipse programming environment. Furthermore, use the graphical LabVIEW environment to program the onboard FPGA and unlock the incredible power of FPGAs – even without the knowledge of hardware description languages like VHDL or Verilog.

 

Figure 4.  Define—and redefine—the functionality of your CompactRIO system with intuitive software and use a single, highly optimized toolchain for every phase of your design cycle.

 

 

 

Logging and Monitoring

CompactRIO can help you perform advanced data logging or online monitoring in even the most extreme environments. The platform offers a highly reliable, headless solution for continuous monitoring of critical assets. Gone are the days of schedule- or route-based monitoring – instead spend more time analyzing data and maximizing the life of your assets.  With CompactRIO, you can implement a predictive maintenance plan to maximize the life of your assets. And, the CompactRIO platform offers native APIs to store data locally or transfer it to the enterprise or the cloud for further analysis and storage.

 


Figure 5.  CompactRIO can help you perform advanced data logging or online monitoring in even the most extreme environments. 

 

 

 

Processing and Analytics

The architecture of the CompactRIO platform allows you to process and analyze acquired data in real time (and across the enterprise) to make informed decisions fast. Take advantage of hundreds of built-in signal processing, analysis, control, and mathematics functions to accelerate the development of your application. Whether the task is advanced analytics, signal or image processing, or complex mathematics, CompactRIO helps you handle the task directly at the edge, which makes CompactRIO the most flexible intelligent edge device for the IIoT.

 

 


Figure 6.  Whether the task is advanced analytics, signal or image processing, or complex mathematics, CompactRIO helps you handle the task directly at the edge, which makes CompactRIO the most flexible intelligent edge device for the IIoT.

 

 

 

Displays and Data Visualization

CompactRIO can help you visualize your data with a combination of local, remote, or mobile displays. Whether you’re using a simple component display controlled via RS232, a high-resolution monitor connected directly to the controller, or a remote or mobile web service–based thin client, you can design interactive, feature-rich GUIs and connect them directly to CompactRIO for streamlined data visualization and operator interfaces without the need for an additional HMI controller. 

 


Figure 7.  Design interactive, feature-rich GUIs and connect them directly to CompactRIO for streamlined data visualization and operator interfaces without the need for an additional HMI controller. 

 

 

 

Industrial Communications

With native support for common industrial protocols like PROFINET, OPC UA, EtherCAT and more, CompactRIO can connect to a variety of devices, equipment, and infrastructure. Have a brownfield application that requires support for numerous protocols? CompactRIO is an ideal IIoT gateway that can act as the translator between any of the nearly 20 supported protocols, and even custom communication protocols through the FPGA.

 


Figure 8.  With native support for common industrial protocols like PROFINET, OPC UA, EtherCAT and more, CompactRIO can connect to a variety of devices, equipment, and infrastructure.


 

 

 

Analog and Digital I/O

With the CompactRIO platform, take advantage of decades of NI leadership in acquiring high-quality signals with measurement-specific signal conditioning, built-in isolation, and industrial I/O to connect to a wide array of sensors and signals.  Choose from more than 150 NI and third-party I/O modules for measurement, control, and communication to connect your applications to any sensor or bus.

 


Figure 9.  Choose from more than 150 NI and third-party I/O modules for measurement, control, and communication to connect your applications to any sensor or bus.

 

 

 

Next Steps

Learn more about the endless capabilities and unrivaled performance the CompactRIO platform can offer to your application.

 

The registered trademark Linux® is used pursuant to a sublicense from LMI, the exclusive licensee of Linus Torvalds, owner of the mark on a worldwide basis.

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