Advantages of NI Compact FieldPoint

Publish Date: Mar 23, 2009 | 0 Ratings | 0.00 out of 5 |  PDF


Designed for industrial control, the Compact FieldPoint programmable automation controller (PAC) offers the flexibility and ease of a PC and the reliability of a programmable logic controller (PLC). This rugged system combines a real-time controller with a wide range of industrial I/O modules suitable for stand-alone data logging, analysis, and advanced control. Through its built-in Web and file servers, the Compact FieldPoint interface automatically publishes measurements over the Ethernet network. To boost the memory storage capacity, use removable CompactFlash or USB mass-storage devices for logging data.

Figure 1. Compact FieldPoint System


1. Platform Overview

The cFP-22xx controllers have an industrial 400 MHz PowerPC real-time processor with up to 256 MB of SDRAM for intelligent distributed applications requiring industrial-grade reliability. Common use cases include process and discrete control systems that open and close valves, run control loops, log data on a centralized or local level, and perform real-time simulation and analysis. With both Ethernet and serial ports, you can communicate via TCP/IP, UDP, Modbus, and serial protocols, as well as take advantage of the built-in Web (HTTP) and file (FTP) servers.

The Compact FieldPoint real-time controller connects to a 4- or 8-slot solid backplane and controls a wide variety of hot-swappable I/O modules. The modular I/O architecture with built-in signal conditioning and isolation provides direct connectivity to industrial sensors such as analog voltage, 4 to 20 mA current, thermocouple, RTD, pressure, strain, flow, pulse-width modulation (PWM), and 24 V digital I/O. Compact FieldPoint I/O modules filter, calibrate, and scale raw sensor signals to engineering units and perform self-diagnostics to look for problems, such as an open thermocouple.

Figure 2. NI offers a wide variety of Compact FieldPoint I/O modules.

All Compact FieldPoint modules feature industrial specifications, such as 50 g shock, 5 g vibration, and a temperature range from -40 to 70 °C, as well as comply with North American and European certifications, such as safety, hazardous location, marine approval, and EMC compliance. For more information, view the Compact FieldPoint virtual tour.

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2. Software Integration

NI LabVIEW is a graphical development environment that delivers unparalleled flexibility and ease of use in demanding industrial measurement, automation, and control applications. With LabVIEW, you can quickly create user interfaces for interactive software system control and easily construct simple or complex applications using an extensive palette of functions and tools – from simple analog PID process control loops to high-channel-count hybrid control systems. For time-critical systems, Compact FieldPoint controllers run the LabVIEW Real-Time Module to deliver deterministic, reliable performance on a small industrial platform. Develop your application on a host computer using graphical programming and download the application to the controller to run on a real-time operating system.

Figure 3. Simple LabVIEW Program for Reading Thermocouples

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