NI LabVIEW and CompactRIO Keep Power Plants Online

Boris Meško, VESKI

"The continuous monitoring of vibrations and other signals is critical to predicting mechanical behavior and efficiency and usually requires continuous data acquisition and online database analysis. VESKI, a Croatian-based consulting firm that specializes in vibration analysis and diagnostics, relies on LabVIEW and CompactRIO as the core of its CoDiS monitoring software."

- Boris Meško, VESKI

The Challenge:

Developing a cost-effective and reliable system to monitor power plant machinery in Croatia.

The Solution:

Using VESKI’s Computerized Diagnostic System (CoDiS) monitoring software with NI LabVIEW and CompactRIO to provide a continuous, local area network (LAN)-compatible vibration monitoring system.


Boris Meško - VESKI
Ozren Orešković - VESKI
Ozren Husnjak - VESKI


Mechanical vibrations can be detrimental to rotating mechanical components and, in many cases, severely reducing a machine’s operability and longevity. The continuous monitoring of vibrations and other signals is critical to predicting mechanical behavior and efficiency and usually requires continuous data acquisition and online database analysis.


VESKI, a Croatian-based consulting firm that specializes in vibration analysis and diagnostics, relies on LabVIEW and CompactRIO at the core of its CoDiS monitoring software.


We used LabVIEW and CompactRIO to build a customizable system with a software solution that would help 11 Croatian power plants reduce the cost of generator maintenance and repair.



Machine Monitoring and Diagnostics 

Online monitoring systems are especially necessary in power production plants where they are used to predict malfunctions and identify irregularities in system performance. These systems can also be used to streamline routine maintenance and prevent long-term and costly damage.


We installed CoDiS on more than 30 power generators throughout Croatia and Slovenia and in Lagarfoss, Iceland. Modern industrial monitoring systems typically need features that collect data on vibration, temperature, pressure, and flow while simultaneously maintaining accurate database management. We designed CoDiS to monitor vibrations of rotors, stator and foundations dynamics, air-gap conditions, electrical exploitation processes, power quality, and hydraulic quantities of large rotating machines. CoDiS is modular and adjustable, and can be designed and customized according to the user’s needs. The entire application is based on LabVIEW, and we created and adjusted all analysis and database procedures for customized online monitoring and data acquisition.


The system depends on CompactRIO for simultaneous diagnostic functions and protection and consists of four components: the CoDiS permanent diagnostic monitoring (DM) system, the CoDiS conventional real-time (RT) monitoring for signal and protection systems, and the CoDiS permanent diagnostic rotor monitoring (RM).






Diagnostic Monitoring

Transient Monitoring

Conventional Monitoring

Rotor Monitoring

Continuous acquisition, analysis, and database recording Continuous acquisition and trigger analysis recording according to trigger Continuous acquisition, analysis, and D/A conversion; protective functions

Continuous acquisition and analysis of signals on rotor; wireless transfer of all signals from rotor to stator






Detection and measurement of permanent condition change

Transient recording and detection


Application in signaling and protection systems Application in signaling and protection systems


System Configuration

With CompactRIO and NI FieldPoint, we built a highly configurable system and achieved high performance and reliability. CompactRIO is powered by reconfigurable I/O (RIO) FPGA technology and functions simultaneously as a condition monitoring and protection unit.


This monitoring system consists of a measuring component, which includes all sensors and hardware used to acquire data; a signal conditioning component; a CompactRIO processing unit with a personal digital assistant (PDA) local control unit used for data acquisition and analysis; and a central computer that houses a permanent database and analysis procedures for remote LAN users. The system also includes communication with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems using analog or field bus output. 


In addition, CoDiS includes permanent monitoring and diagnostics of relative shaft vibration, absolute vibration of bearing, axial position of rotor, air gap minimum values, rotor pole magnetic flux, electrical parameters such as current and voltage, phase symmetry, power angle, total harmonic distortion (THD), static and quasistatic parameters, temperatures and process parameters, hydraulic parameters (efficiency, η), and active and reactive power.


Condition Monitoring and Protection Unit Installed in High-Pressure Pumps –  Lagarfoss, Iceland

We configured the CompactRIO system to monitor relative shaft vibration and rotation speed and provide overspeed protection. The system monitors two hydrogenerator units in which each generator set uses CompactRIO as a process unit.


Each monitoring set consists of six displacement sensors used for relative shaft vibration, two displacement sensors used for rotation speed, one NI 9201 module for data acquisition, two NI 9265 analog output modules for trending of measured signals in SCADA, one NI 9481 module as an executive part of protection, and an NI cRIO-9002 with an NI cRIO-9101 embedded, reconfigurable chassis.


The CompactRIO system monitors six analog input signals in volts (three bearings in two axes, X and Y), two analog input signals in volts (redundant overspeed protection), six analog current output signals (SCADA trending), and four relay digital output signals, two for each direction (alarm and trip).


All relevant data, including waveforms and analysis results, are available as shared variables over a shared network. Using NI products, we reduced the cost of maintenance and repairs in these power plants by up to 50 percent.


Author Information:

Boris Meško
Ulica Dragutina Golika 63
Zagreb HR-10000
Tel: +38513667133
Fax: +38513667155

VESKI's Computerized Diagnostic System software with NI LabVIEW and CompactRIO assist the vibration monitoring system.