ARMFIELD SOFTWARE SERIES: ARMSOFT™
LabVIEW™ ACQUISITION AND CONTROL SOFTWARE – aCORELV – Issue 2
Powerful LabView acquisition and control software with a wide range of features is available for many Armfield products.
In many cases, the latest software and interface systems are also available as updates to existing equipment.
|FEATURES (note, not all features are necessarily included in all products)||aCORELV|
|USB data interface, which can connect to any Windows computer||•|
|Open communications protocol enabling customers to construct their own software interface||•|
|Individual software packages tailored to suit the equipment and experiments||•|
|Graphical representation of the equipment or process||•|
|Real-time display of sensor readings and calculated values||•|
|Manual input of measured variables where appropriate (eg atmospheric pressure)||•|
|Digital variables show status of switches, valves, etc||•|
|Sensor values scaled to show engineering units||•|
|Calibration screens to enable adjustment of individual sensor scaling||•|
|Bar chart display of measured variables||•|
|Data filtering section to smooth fast transients||•|
|Ability to control hardware where appropriate||•|
|Digital controls enable switching of pumps, heaters, etc||•|
|Analogue controls enable users to set the level of a control such as pump speed||•|
|Software incorporates PID control algorithms to enable closed-loop control||•|
|PID parameters can be viewed and adjusted by the user||•|
|Oscilloscope page for capture of fast transient events (where appropriate)||•|
|Manual and automatic data sampling modes||•|
|User control over sample rate||•|
|Tabular display of measured and calculated data||•|
|Facility to add notes to a particular sample||•|
|Flexible graphing facilities for users to plot measured and calculated data||•|
|Automatic scaling and formatting of graph axes||•|
|Graphs update in real-time||•|
|Detailed help document||•|
|Automatic port recognition||•|
The software as supplied consists of a Display page, which shows all of the variables and controls, a Data page, which enables tabular and graphical data to be processed and displayed, and a Settings page, which gives access to control and communications settings. There is also an Oscilloscope page which enables one or two variables to be processed at much higher sampling speeds, for the analysis of rapidly changing processes.
The software is based around the National Instruments LabVIEW™ environment. The software is supplied with a runtime version of LabVIEW™, which enables full operation of all functions.
Customise and Develop
If the user has access to a full version of LabVIEW™, then they will be able to view and modify the VI (Virtual Instrument) files that form the basis of the software.
This means customised software can be produced in order to perform additional experiments with the equipment or investigate alternative control methods.
The communication between hardware and software on Armfield apparatus is controlled by a common interface unit, referred to as an IFD card. Common versions of the interface are the IFD5 which is a small black-boxed unit, the IFD7 which packages the interface with an inverter in a stainless steel housing, and is used to control Armfield Capture units, and a PCB-only version, which is fitted inside the electrical enclosure of more complex equipment. The interface connects to the PC via a USB socket. It is supplied with an information file which enables Windows to create a virtual serial port for the device. Information on installing the interface in Windows can be found on the software CD supplied with your apparatus. The interface connects to the equipment using a 50-way cable that carries signals from sensors, etc. The connections are described overleaf. By using the table in conjunction with that in the instruction manual provided with the equipment, the channel descriptions and scaling for each sensor can be determined.
The Armfield software is divided into four screens, which are navigated using the tabs at the bottom of the window. The available screens are Process, Data, Settings and Oscilloscope. The Oscilloscope screen is only applicable with certain products.
The first screen shown when the software is loaded is the Process screen. This generally shows a diagram of the equipment, or a process schematic, along with data boxes which display real-time data from the sensors connected to the equipment
The data tab contains numerous pages associated with storing and processing the experimental data. Pages are selected using a series of tabs at the left-hand side of the screen. Some pages are not available in all types of software.
The results table shows a tabulated view of the experimental results. Measured and calculated values are shown together with the time at which the sample was recorded.
The settings tab provides access to the data-logging options and sensor calibration screens. This tab contains a further set of options to the left-hand side.
On certain equipment where very fast transients occur, an oscilloscope page is provided to capture and analyse these events.
Computer: A Windows PC (not supplied)
For editing/modification: A full version of LabVIEW™ (not supplied)
ACORE-LV – LabVIEW™ builder