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Developing Custom Applications for iTestSystem

As the global market moves steadily in the direction of increased productivity through integration of software into the world of testing services, Integrated Test & Measurement finds itself at the forefront of the field.  Our other LabVIEW developers and I have been hard at work creating custom applications to help customers meet their testing needs with more efficiency and cost-effectiveness than ever before.

Since many of my co-workers come from both test engineering and software development backgrounds, it’s easier for us to scope, build, and deploy these custom testing applications while working hand-in-hand with on-site operators and field engineers, or even sending our own engineers on-site to test the applications.  Past projects I’ve gotten to work on have ranged from a small data collection and viewing application that allows a customer to perform materials testing and quickly generate reports; to larger systems like a power quality application which utilizes our iTestSystem platform and allows the customer to collect and perform real time power-quality analysis on large genset engines, view and quickly confirm results, and create multiple types of reports for both internal and external customers.

Thanks to ITM’s iTestSystem platform, we have been able to leverage our pre-existing data acquisition, data viewing, and application distribution tools to create and distribute these applications both faster and at lower price points than many of our customers expected.  Having this base platform allows me to create and test solutions quickly and to make revisions with ease.  As a LabVIEW developer on Team ITM, I have enjoyed the unique challenges presented in these applications and look forward to seeing how ITM continues to lead the field in this market.

Contact Information: For more information about our LabVIEW application development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

Building a Modern User Interface in LabVIEW

When we develop LabVIEW™ applications for our customers, a common request is for a simple, resizable and intuitive user interface (UI) for data visualization.  In these cases, we use a tree control and a subpanel.  This type of UI functions like a tab control that automatically resizes.  The main benefit of using a subpanel is to make your code more modular.

Figure 1: Modern User Interface with a Tree and Sub Panel.

To illustrate the modularity that this type of UI creates, I made an example LabVIEW™ project.  The main VI shown above uses a tree control to switch between a VI containing a graph and a VI containing a table.  I used our multi-queue event architecture for VI information communication messaging.  The image below shows the main VI’s significant functions.

Figure 2: Main VI’s Block Diagram – Significant Functions

The main VI’s functions are listed below.

Functions

  1. Initialize queues and events and then generate initialize event.
  2. Initialize tree and add tree items.
  3. When a user selects an item in the tree, generate data and then send it to the subpanel VI.
  4. Receive SubPanel Ready event from a subpanel VI and then insert the VI into the subpanel.
  5. Destroy queues and unregister for events.

In this example the subpanel VIs are very simple.  They populate an indicator (table or graph) and then generate a SubPanel Ready Event.  The two (2) subpanel VIs and block diagrams are shown below.

Figure 3: SubPanel VIs: Graph.vi and Table.vi

Contact Information: For more information on this example or our LabVIEW development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

Archiving CompactRIO Process Data to PI

The tool we most commonly use for real-time embedded process monitoring and control applications is the NI CompactRIO.  These controllers allow us to embed algorithms that acquire and analyze high speed process sensor data and then output derived key performance indicators (KPIs) to other control systems.  Most of the time, our customers also require us  to send the KPIs to a real-time data infrastructure like OSIsoft’s PI System so plant managers and engineers can use the data to find energy savings, monitor asset health, or optimize processes.

For our latest CompactRIO systems we have developed APIs that allow us to send or receive data directly to/from PI.  We utilize the PI Asset Framework and the UFL Connector to automatically generate PI tags from the device and update the process tag values either on value change or on a time basis.

These tools greatly simplify our CompactRIO to PI System communication process by eliminating intermediary data servers and automatically generating PI tags based on a CompactRIO system’s configuration.  If you are interested in using these APIs for PI or developing a CompactRIO system contact Mark Yeager or Chase Petzinger.

Chase Petzinger – CLED

Congratulations to Chase Petzinger on obtaining the status of National Instruments Certified Embedded Systems Developer (CLED).  Chase is 1 of 51 LabVIEW developers in the United States to achieve this Certification.  Contact Chase at Chase.Petzinger@itestsystem.com for questions about your embedded development projects.

Mark Yeager – LabVIEW CLED

Mark Yeager LabVIEW CLED Certificate

Congratulations to Mark Yeager on obtaining the status of National Instruments Certified Embedded Systems Developer (CLED). Contact Mark (Mark.Yeager@iTestSystem.com) today for help on your next embedded project.

CLD – Matt Satcher

Matt Satcher LabVIEW CLD

Congratulations to Matt Satcher on receiving a 99.9% on his National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD) examination. No one’s perfect Matt. Good work!  Let us know if you need help with any LabVIEW programming.

Contact Mark Yeager or Chase Petzinger at (844) 837-8797 for LabVIEW assistance.

CLD – Ryan Matthews

Ryan Matthews LabVIEW CLD Certificate

Congratulations to Ryan Matthews on passing his National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Developer (CLD) examination. Good work Ryan!

ITM Engineers Earn Pinnacle LabVIEW Certification

LabVIEW Certification Pyramid

While I’m not surprised at their achievement, I’m excited to announce that two engineers from our team at Integrated Test & Measurement have reached the highest LabVIEW Certification Level from NI.

Mark Yeager, an engineer and lead programmer, along with Chase Petzinger, a programmer and computer engineer, have reached Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) status.

With only a half dozen CLAs throughout all of Ohio, ITM now employs a third of the engineers in the state who have mastered NI’s rigorous CLA exam.

A Certified Architect is the highest level of certification from NI and signifies mastery in architecting and project managing LabVIEW applications as well as the ability to lead complex projects from conception through completion.

A National Instruments Gold Alliance Partner, ITM’s LabVIEW Development Team has provided professional engineering applications to our customers since 2001. We specialize in developing both windows-based and real-time applications that transform mechanical data into useful engineering data by monitoring such things as vibration, strain, temperature and load.

These impressive certifications reinforce ITM’s expertise in the field of software development.

For LabVIEW programming assistance contact Mark Yeager via email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or phone: (844) 837-8797 x 701.