Study and implementation of data acquisition tools in an industrial automation system
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As global price competition intensifies and complexity of the product increases, machine processes push the physical and operational limits of the system manufacturers. The most important result is increasingly narrow tolerances for the parameters controlling the machine process. In the present study the various parameters of a deposition machine such as flow rate, gas pressures, RF voltage etc. are controlled and regulated with narrow tolerances using a software tool and a high resolution data acquisition board (DAQ). A comparative study is made of two of the most widely-used data acquisition software tools in the industry, Matlab and LabView. A qualitative analysis is performed, and it is found that LabView is better suited towards the case in point, due to its higher flexibility, better driver support and wide-ranging I/O capabilities. To accomplish the objectives a user interface and a block diagram for each parameter is developed in LabView using NI-DAQmx programming. DAQ board is used to make the analog interface between the instruments and the personal computer. The acquired data can be seen in real time in LabView for instant calibration. Simulations for controlling and regulating all the parameters using LabView were performed to account for any discrepancies in the automation of the machine. Using TDMS File Viewer and Microsoft Excel, a database was created to load the real time data for export into graphs for later comparison. Modular development style also allows future improvements and advancements as one can easily remove or substitute industry systems in LabView. It was found that automation of an industrial machine with sophisticated data acquisition and control process can be accomplished using low cost Personal Computer (PC). Also, the system integration and software development are greatly simplified, and the total cost can be reduced. In addition, interfacing the software with the database for storage, recall of all the machine configuration parameters, and measurement results helps the user to search and sort the resulting database files in highly flexible and customizable data management architecture. The motivation of the study came from the need to develop an automated machine which can be controlled, regulated and able to store the data for later purposes. Display of real time data from the parameters also helps user to visualize the data flow of each parameter separately.