Building a System for Acquisition, Measurement, Analysis, Recording, and Monitoring With LabVIEW

Oscar Daniel Molina Galindo, Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.

"We accelerated development considerably by using NI software and hardware tools. With NI tools, we achieved our objectives within the time limit and reduced costs."

- Oscar Daniel Molina Galindo, Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.

The Challenge:

Designing and manufacturing a flexible and adaptable system for measuring, monitoring, and analyzing vibrations in complex machinery such as hydroelectric and thermoelectric generators and rotating machinery used in critical industrial processes.

The Solution:

Building a set of hardware-software systems called AMRO (Rotating Machinery Analyzer for its acronym in Spanish) that can be adapted according to customer-specific needs to diagnose rotating machinery using vibration analysis.


Oscar Daniel Molina Galindo - Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.
Gonzalo Hernández Prieto - Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.
Carlos Carrasco Henao - Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.


We developed the following two versions of the system that can be tailored to the customer’s needs without high implementation costs:
• AMRO -Port – A portable platform for taking sporadic measurements and conducting analysis.
• AMRO-Ded – A dedicated platform for systems that require real-time vibration monitoring and analysis because the systems are complex or critical in a plant or process.


Using the flexibility of the National Instruments platform, we developed products with a high degree of precision and functionality for a fair price. In addition, any company can integrate our product at any stage of a project; therefore, it can adapt to modernize existing systems or processes.


The solution is based on NI data acquisition (DAQ) hardware, including C Series modules with USB connectivity for portable systems and the NI Single-Board RIO platform for dedicated systems. We developed the software to be used on other data acquisition hardware families, such as PXI, in the event that the customer needs to increase the computational capacity.


System Functions

The AMRO system can perform a variety of functions including:


  • Analyzing rotating machinery in transitional states (start and stop) and stable states (nominal working speed)
  • Performing real-time measurement and analysis for peak, RMS, and peak-to-peak values
  • Analyzing frequencies up to 25 kHz, with up to 12,800 lines of resolution
  • Up to 64 multipurpose acquiring channels (relative displacement, acceleration, speeds, and so on)
  • Monitoring dedicated systems remotely through the web


The system also includes:

  • Auxiliary channels for other process variables such as temperature and pressure.
  • Outputs for signage, control, and alarm shot.
  • Settings to control the alarm levels, alarm transmission through a cellular network (TCP, UDP and SMS), and the frequency of logging measurements.
  • A database of customer configuration and measurement routes for portable systems.


The system can perform analysis functions on rotating machinery, including waveform signals in time domain, spectrum scalable on peak, RMS and peak to peak with different Windows options, waterfall plots for start and stop transitions, shaft centerline, measuring of phase, and orbit plots.


Additionally, we designed our system to ensure compatibility with different sensor types for displacement, velocity, and acceleration from companies such as Connection Technology Center, Inc., Vibromax America, Inc., Bently Nevada, Dytran Instruments, Inc., PCB Piezotronics, Inc., and others. Lastly, the system provides standard input and flexibility according of the particular application.


Hydrogenerator Applications

You can use the system to measure, monitor, record, and analyze vibrations in real time or sporadically. Hydrogenerators that have more than 10 sensors benefit greatly from our system because you can use AMRO to acquire, analyze, and process sensor signals. You can implement dedicated systems to simultaneously monitor and analyze multiple sets or machines. Figure 1.a shows a schematic of the entire instrumentation including bearings, stator, and air gap structure. Figure 2 shows vibration measurements being performed on 125 MW Toshiba hydrogenerators.





The user interface assists the operator with the preparation and placement of sensing systems by providing necessary information and instructions. This prevents safety hazards, such as operating the device outside its specified limits. Essentially, we built the following three applications to perform the described functions:


I. A viewing and recording application embedded in the touch screen panel or an industrial computer developed with the NI LabVIEW full development system and NI LabVIEW Touch Panel Module.

II. A measurement, recording, analysis, and control application embedded in the systems’ NI Single-Board RIO or CompactRIO that uses the LabVIEW full development system and the LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA modules

III. A supervising, monitoring, and reporting application programmed in LabVIEW and running on a remote PC


All these systems are integrated using NI technology.


Bently Nevada Instrumentation Support

Figure 3 shows an integrated application using the AMRO-port system with a Bently Nevada monitoring system. AMRO is taking the signals from nine sensors as follows: two for upper guide bearing, two for bottom guide bearing, two for upper guide bearing axially arranged, one accelerometer on the lower housing, and one speed sensor for the lower housing.




System Benefits

We accelerated development considerably by using NI software and hardware tools. With NI tools, we achieved our objectives within the time limit and reduced cost. The final system costs between $10,000 USD and $250,000 USD, depending on customer requirements. The AMRO system development enabled us to show our company as a supplier of vibrations measurement and analysis technology in Colombia, which is unprecedented in our country. It also enabled our company to participate in tenders and calls in which only multinational companies are typically involved. This gives local companies the knowledge and options they need to solve problems that involve vibration acquisition and analysis.


Lastly, the availability of acquisition hardware for dedicated and portable systems makes a big difference as opposed to traditional solutions because a company can use it to migrate from a portable to a dedicated system using hardware and software acquired in early implementations, thus allowing the company to update and grow its system without costly additional investments.


Author Information:

Oscar Daniel Molina Galindo
Kúspyde Ingeniería Ltda.
Tel: +57 1 247 2724
Fax: +57 1 247 2895

Figure 1. a: Typical measurement points in a vertical shaft Hydrogenerators: (1) upper guide bearing rotor, (2) Lower guide bearing, and (3) Bottom Housing
Figure 1.b: View start of the application of AMRO
Figure 3. Assembly made on a Toshiba brand hydrogenerator vertical type for 125 MW. With a six (6) proximity sensors, two (2) acceleration sensor and one (1) speed sensor, over CompactDAQ and AMRO-port.
Figure 3. Assembly made on a Toshiba brand hydrogenerator vertical type for 125 MW. With a six (6) proximity sensors, two (2) acceleration sensor and one (1) speed sensor, over CompactDAQ and AMRO-port.
Figure 2. Real time measurement of vibration on lower guide bearing Hydrogenerators: waveforms of time domain and spectral signals
Figure 2. b: Orbits