NI Monitoring Devices for NI InsightCM™


NI monitoring devices are specifically configured for distributed monitoring with NI InsightCM. With this platform, companies can cost-effectively deploy online monitoring devices to a greater percentage of assets. These devices support a wide range of analog and digital sensory input options for continuous real-time monitoring and alarming. Through NI InsightCM, configurations for the channel and sensor information can be provided.


Introduction to NI Monitoring Devices

Fig. 1: NI Monitoring Devices


NI monitoring devices are designed to help acquire and process sensory data from assets in order to drive predictive maintenance programs. This rugged, industrial, and open platform is intended to be deployed at the edge near the asset, allowing for continuous edge acquisition, buffering, processing, and intelligent logging of data. Because of the onboard processing capabilities, NI monitoring devices can help acquire the data needed for condition-based maintenance programs and to alert maintenance staff of potential issues through real-time alarm detection.

Through NI InsightCM, users have the ability to remotely specify the NI monitoring device file collection conditions, channel settings, and to pair the channels with assets in a facility. Using these settings, NI monitoring devices continuously monitor the sensors connected to the system, allowing for the continuous acquisition and processing of asset health data. Alarm conditions are evaluated on this data and notifications are sent to NI InsightCM.


Condition Monitoring Systems

There are two main classes of assets: “High value” or critical machinery, which are crucial to business operations, and “ancillary” or “balance of plant” assets, or equipment that is often seen as secondary or low to medium risk in facility operations.
“High value” assets are typically operating at steady state, and taking periodic or event-based measurements is acceptable. However, at some critical times, such as the run-up of a turbine, subject matter experts need the ability to stream transient data in order to understand how the machine is reacting to the changing speeds.


NI InsightCM Installation

An example of a physical NI InsightCM installation is shown below. The NI monitoring device is mounted in a panel. Sensors attached to the pump/motor skid are connected to modules in the NI monitoring device.


Fig. 2: An NI Monitoring Device installed at the edge


NI Monitoring Device Sensor Inputs

NI InsightCM can be used with rotational, electrical, static, and process asset types. The following sensor types are supported:

  • Accelerometer (vibration)
  • Tachometer (speed)
  • Keyphasor (speed)
  • Proximity Probe (displacement)
  • Velometer (velocity)
  • Temperature
  • Voltage
  • Current
  • Digital Input
  • Read from Modbus slave


Triggering NI Monitoring Devices

NI monitoring devices can intelligently log data based on a configuration specified by the user, reducing the overall data volume and providing a means to isolate important asset events. This intelligent logging can be triggered by a few events:

  • Time, or periodic, capture: Data is captured in user-configurable regular time intervals such as once an hour, once a day, three times a day, and so on. This capture provides information to understand the historical trends of the asset.
  • Change in delta engineering units (EU): Data is captured when one or more conditions, such as vibration level, temperature, or spectral band, change by at least a specified amount. Both positive and negative changes in value cause a delta EU trigger to occur. The “baseline” level is first set on startup of the NI monitoring device and will reset when a delta EU trigger occurs. This captures provides context surrounding sudden changes in asset health data that may be important for review.
  • Alarm: When an alarm is generated, a data file will always be captured to allow an asset expert to examine the conditions that surround the alarm condition.
  • Force trigger: This trigger is initiated from various points in the NI InsightCM software. Data collected by a force trigger is useful when there is a need to observe the state of the asset in response to a previous alarm or other report of an issue.

When a data file trigger occurs, the waveform data leading up to the event and immediately after the event is stored, along with the calculated feature information in a single, publicly documented TDMS data file. This data file is then sent to NI InsightCM through the network connection to make the data available for review and to execute further processing. Having access to the data leading up to an event is often the most critical and helps subject matter experts better understand what caused the event. If no network connection is available when a data file trigger occurs, the NI monitoring device will store the data locally, with enough storage to remain disconnected for up to several months depending on configuration parameters, and continue to monitor the asset using the saved configuration. Upon reconnection to the server, any locally stored data will be forwarded to the server.

Data groups allow for device channels to share acquisition properties and to store the raw data and features together in a single data file. If multiple assets are being monitored with a single NI monitoring device, data groups allow for the grouping of acquisition, analysis, and file collection settings for each asset’s sensors. For example, multiple motors could be monitored using a single NI monitoring device. Having a separate data group for each motor will ensure that all the data associated with a single motor is stored together and can be easily analyzed individually without collecting unnecessary data from other motors.

Specifying operating states for data groups allows NI monitoring devices to dynamically switch between data collection behaviors. For example, an asset under a heavy load might require data to be collected more frequently. By defining an operating state based on a vibration RMS threshold (signifying increased load), the NI monitoring device can acquire data more often to provide additional context about the health of the asset. The conditions to enter or exit an operating state automatically can be based on features or time.

Sensory data provides a significant amount of context regarding asset health, but making correlations sometimes requires process information. NI monitoring devices have the ability to serve as a Modbus master to read information from third-party slave devices via Modbus TCP or Modbus RTU (Serial). Data from Modbus channels can be used as a source for delta EU triggers, operating state transitions, and for alarm condition evaluation. This data is made available for trending and correlation along with sensory data in NI InsightCM .


Getting Started

All NI monitoring devices are shipped with the measurement modules and software installed. NI InsightCM provides the capability to remotely discover and configure NI monitoring devices. Test panels are available to verify sensor installation and that the proper data is being received.



The underlying platform of NI monitoring devices, the CompactRIO, combines rugged, reconfigurable hardware, intuitive software, and an open ecosystem of IP, support, and partners. The default functionality of the NI monitoring devices can be customized using the optional NI InsightCM Software Development Kit. The ability to add hardware support, create new custom onboard processes, and to develop advanced data triggers and alarming capabilities allows for the creation of a customized solution unlike anything else found on the market. Users can build IP and take advantage of a complete and integrated software toolchain to customize functionality and harness the power of the onboard FPGA for advanced processing and endless capabilities without owning an entire software architecture.