Analysis and Reporting Features in LabVIEW 2010


LabVIEW 2010 includes hundreds of analysis and signal processing functions that give you the ability to better understand your measurement data, as well as report generation functions that let you summarize, package, and present your findings.


Inline Analysis and Reporting

Inline analysis and reporting is a term used to represent the integration of data processing or report generation functionality with a data acquisition application. Once you have acquired your data with a function such as the DAQ Assistant, you can simply branch the data wire into analysis function blocks, which then analyze the data acquired.

Figure 1. Using dataflow programming in LabVIEW, inline analysis and reporting appears in line with data acquisition.

LabVIEW 2010 includes hundreds of engineering-specific analysis and mathematical functions that are native to the development environment. Table 1 summarizes many of the built-in analysis functions. You can find domain-specific analysis functions via LabVIEW Toolkits and Modules.

Table 1. LabVIEW includes thousands of native, engineering-specific analysis functions.

LabVIEW 2010 further extends inline analysis capabilities by including several new and modified analysis functions that focus on everything from advanced filtering to signal and waveform generation and manipulation. Table 2 shows a list of some of the new or modified analysis functions in LabVIEW 2010.

Table 2. LabVIEW 2010 extends the inline analysis capabilities of LabVIEW by adding or enhancing several analysis functions.

MathScript Node

With the MathScript Node, you can import existing .m files into the LabVIEW graphical development environment, enabling a hybrid approach to programming that unites the benefits of text-based math routines with dataflow programming and allows you to reuse existing text-based math routines. This node is real-time capable, which means that you can seamlessly deploy your LabVIEW code with embedded .m file scripts to NI real-time hardware for analysis on real-time operating systems.  

For more details on integrating custom .m files with LabVIEW, see Deploying Text-Based Math to Real-Time Hardware with the LabVIEW MathScript RT Module.  

DLLs and .NET Assemblies

The LabVIEW Call Library Function Node gives your application the ability to call shared libraries such as DLLs (Windows) or Frameworks (Mac OS X) from your LabVIEW code. 

You can call into .NET assemblies using the LabVIEW .NET Constructor Node, and then call methods and access properties that the object’s class defines, complete with data structure passing to and from the .NET object. 

Generating Reports and Saving Data

LabVIEW 2010 includes a Report Generation palette of low-level VIs and several Express VIs designed to help you configure and create reports containing VI documentation or data acquisition and analysis results. Using these VIs, applications can generate text or HTML reports in line with their acquisition and analysis. You can save reports to file or even programmatically send them to a local or network printer.    

When you wish to create more advanced inline reports, the LabVIEW Report Generation Toolkit for Microsoft Office adds an extended set of functionality for programmatically generating reports in Microsoft Word or Excel. 

Figure 2. The LabVIEW Report Generation Toolkit for Microsoft Office gives you the power to programmatically generate more advanced reports in Microsoft Word or Excel.

With LabVIEW 2010, you can export data from tables, arrays, graphs, and charts to software such as NI DIAdem or Microsoft Excel. After exporting data from LabVIEW – by saving to file or exporting from a graph – you can use dedicated post-processing software such as DIAdem to interactively visualize measurement data, run analysis, or create, populate, and export What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) report templates.

Figure 3. In LabVIEW 2010, you can use the DIAdem WYSIWYG report editor by manually or programmatically exporting data directly from graphs or charts.

LabVIEW has functions to save data to a variety of formats, including text, comma separated values, and higher performance, flexible file formats such as Technical Data Management Streaming (TDMS).  

Offline Analysis and Reporting with LabVIEW 2010 and DIAdem 2010

By separating data acquisition and processing into two distinct pieces or applications, you can maintain two simpler applications rather than one complex application, and changes or additions to the acquisition or processing portion of the architecture can be done independently of the other.

Figure 4. Offline processing decouples analysis and reporting from acquisition, yielding a more modular, scalable approach.

With the offline approach to analysis and reporting, you can segment responsibilities among team members so that one developer can be responsible for acquiring the data and a separate developer can analyze and report on results. Offline analysis is also beneficial for scenarios in which you want to make comparisons among raw data between test runs over time, particularly when identifying process improvements. Finally, decoupling acquisition from analysis and reporting allows you to use external software tools such as DIAdem that are specifically designed for interactive offline analysis.

Dedicated post-processing software such as DIAdem is a natural extension to the LabVIEW 2010 tool chain for data acquisition. Using DIAdem – software specifically designed to handle and process large amounts of raw measurement data – you can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to get from the data collection phase of your application to ultimately reaching an educated decision from your data. 

Finding and Loading Data with DIAdem or LabVIEW Using the NI DataFinder

The DIAdem installation includes a technology called the NI DataFinder – available through LabVIEW applications via the LabVIEW DataFinder Toolkit – which automatically searches the local computer and indexes descriptive information stored in measurement files. Using DataPlugins, you can configure the NI DataFinder to parse descriptive information from any arbitrary custom data file format so that you can load information from the file with LabVIEW or DIAdem. 

Figure 5. The NI DataFinder works seamlessly between DIAdem and LabVIEW and can help you construct queries to quickly locate your data.

Using DIAdem for Data Analysis

Much like LabVIEW, DIAdem includes hundreds of analysis tools for common engineering calculations including statistical analysis and histogram calculations, common mathematics, curve fitting, signal processing and filtering, 3D arithmetic, and matrix operations. Every single analysis function is configuration-based, meaning that you can use configuration dialog boxes to make selections corresponding to calculation parameters and even get a preview of the result of the calculation before it is actually performed. No programming is required to perform complex analysis using DIAdem.

Figure 6. DIAdem includes hundreds of out-of-the-box analysis functions that require no programming to configure and execute.

Creating Professional Reports and Templates in DIAdem

After you have analyzed your measurement data, you often need to create professional reports to share results with colleagues, suppliers, or customers. With DIAdem, you can construct reusable report templates using a WYSIWYG editor and then export reports to HTML, PDF, PowerPoint, printers, and all common image formats.

Figure 7. DIAdem can create and export professional reports to PDF, HTML, PowerPoint, images, and more

Try LabVIEW and DIAdem 2010

Between LabVIEW 2010 and DIAdem 2010 – an extension to the LabVIEW tool chain – you have access to thousands of analysis functions and intuitive mechanisms for creating reports using both inline and offline processing techniques.

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