Integration and Programming

Using a PC, Laptop, Tablet to link to DAQ, PLCs, PACs and other Programmable Instruments.

The PCs are often Industrial Grade PCs or Embedded Windows based Computers.

Here are some of the technologies that have been used over the last 40 + years of making systems.

Analog and Digital Measurement Systems

  • PCs, Laptops to Network and Comms systems
  • Infrastructure monitoring, alarming and control
  • Laboratory & production line data acquisition, databasing and reporting
  • Microprocessor embedded systems
  • Data Acquisition, Analog, Digital, Imaging, Time, Counting, Event, Position
  • Automatic Test Equipment
  • Test & Measurement Instrument systems
  • Industrial Computer Measurement Systems
  • PAC, PLC and Controller systems
  • M2M, GPRS/3G modems and routers
  • Direct wireless RF,
  • Bluetooth, Zigbee & Wifi systems
  • DAQ and Loggers
  • Modbus Devices, PLC, PAC & industrial instruments

With all types of sensors, transducers and gauges.

End Result –

Smart System that can be Measuring, Alarming, Controlling, Recording, Logging, Displaying, Databasing, Printing etc

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Technical Capability

MasTec has integrated several hundred systems into NZ, Australian and Asian industry.

Software Capability

MasTec works in LabVIEW primarily for large projects and has used LV since 1987 when first introduced by National Instruments.

The LabVIEW methods used are called LCOD or LabVIEW Component Object Programming.

If you look in the section on MasTec books you can see 4 books written on this subject.

Main features of LCOD include.

Abstraction using State Engines that are Verb Driven using Enum Type Defs and each State being a Noun Function.

LCOD creates natural cohesion as each component is focused on a simple task.

LCOD also demands Hidden Data and the method developed by MasTec is unique with a method Called Cluster Constant Removals. All programs and components load at runtime their Constants back into the Component or Program.

LCOD also creates natural Low Coupling between Components as each component has its own Private Data source.

LCOD delineates between Public and private data strongly,

LabVIEW Notes


Mastec Projects, Books and Training

How to program more effectively in LabVIEW

These 5 books introduce a thorough development of LCOP – LabVIEW Component Object Programming methods.
Book 1 “Hidden Data”

That is, cleaning up LV Program’s by Removing Constants from Diagrams and putting them in Configuration Files for Loading at runtime.

This method does not use ini files but a far more robust LabVIEW centric method, not seen in other literature. It also cleans up Diagrams and Self Documents.

A Level on step lower than this LCOP method is to make Diagram Constants a Type Def Cluster Constant set that is placed in a TAB on the front panel and the values of the constants are set as defaults from the Run menu.

This is a simpler version recommended for beginners to middle level programmers.

Book 2 “Abstraction”

That is, removing complexity in the top layer of a LabVIEW diagram by building Abstracted Message Driven LV Components.

This shows how to build Message driven (Test Verbs) Abstracted named (noun) State Engine Components that are safe & robust. It also leads to better cohension of course and no/low coupling.

Book 3 “Real Time Cluster Constants Editor”

That is, Removed Diagram Constants that are loaded at Run Time from a config file, can now be edited, in situ, inside the Program /or its Component while it runs, allowing tuning of programs in Real Time.

Changes made to the Constants by the editor can also be saved back into their original configuration files at run time. This addition of the Real Time Editor removes the need to exit a component or program to edit constants.

Book 4 “Low Frequency Real Time Control”,

Is about how to use USB DAQ, DIO and DAC to control an Hydraulic RAM for Testing a UUT.

It is a close look at how to use State Engine for Control.

Simple but useful for anyone wanting to do closed loop control.

It embodies many of the LCOP methods discussed in the other three books.

Book 5 “An Off Line Constant Cluster and Calibration Editor”

For Editing, Loading and Saving Cluster Constants” and also built in into the editor “Adjust Calibration and System Data” off Line for easing commissioning. Plus more helpful bits.

This includes a section on setting up all Paths for an application as a large Cluster Constant, again easing commissioning, Typically a large Application will have in excess of 30 Paths to manage.

MasTec Training

“LabVIEW for Everyone”

MasTec recently under took a 4 day Training course for 15 Academics, (Professors and Grad Students), at one of Oceania’s largest universities.

The focus was on getting students to the point where they can undetake projects by the end of the course. A big ask. However, the focus was not on how to use all the bits inside LabVIEW to make software but the development of strategies to allow projects to be undertaken.

The MasTec Instructor has trained all over the globe and has taught over 2000 students.

He will also come to your site and do training with your LabVIEW team, using traditional or these new LabVIEW methods MasTec has developed.

Keep up with MasTec’s latest LabVIEW Notes

Portable LabVIEW on Tablets

Some important information for those wanting to do Portable LabVIEW applications.

Did you know that LabVIEW 6.1 runs very well on older ATOM WIndows XP Tablets.

Also did you know LabVIEW 7.1 runs very well on ATOM Windows 7 Tablets.

Do not use LV 8 and above on ATOM CPUs, it just is too slow.

If you need a Windows 7 tablet buy any new one and rip out the Windows 10 and put on Win 7 Embedded or even Win7 32 bit and you are away.

These tablets can have a relativelylow spec ATOM Intel Chip and run just fine.

This includes doing DAQ with USB or Serial.

So do not believe the blogs that say you can’t do this, they are talking about newer LabVIEWs that are huge bulky pieces of software and full of stuff you never will use for small portable apps.

I haven’t tried it but I am guessing even Windows Phones will run it fine under Win 7 or 8 OS

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Over the last year MasTec has completed 6 major projects in sites through out NZ. Several hundred hours of programming work has been completed, as well as many hundreds of hours of commissioning, site management, and installation.
However, other projects using from LabVIEW 2010 up to the present version of 2015 SP1, which is good, but very processor hungry and much slower to develop in. We only recommend I7s CPUs with this software with SSDs for the OS and LV.

All these projects involved LabVIEW at the core. However, many of these projects also include PACs, PLCs, Process Controllers, with peripherals like Servos, Actuators, VSDs, Water measurement and control, Hydraulic Control and other real world systems.
Major new projects are still undetaken in LabVIEW 7.1 that run in Windows 7 32 Bit OS, very successfully. LabVIEW 7.1 is still (in our opinion) the best LabVIEW ever released. Fast, efficient and stable. Win 7 32 bit OS will be available for some time. Most large corporations are still running Win 7 due to its excellent stability and IT staffs familiarity and history.
MasTec has several large projects on its books, spread out over about 3-4 years. There are gaps in this schedule.
Many sites still run XP and Win 7 for their LABs and Production areas. MasTec is still undertaking new projects in legacy LV 6.1 /7.1/8.2 and 8.6 systems.

Projects – Some examples:

Mini Furnace Control Systems : ADLINK NuDAM DAQ Modules and LabVIEW

Analog and Digital Control of Furnaces. We wrote most of the LabVIEW and the LabVIEW drivers for the NuDAMs.

Packaging R+D Lab Upgrade : Measurement Computing DAQ cards and LabVIEW
  • This project was to integrate the various material testing systems in a QA Test Lab that use manual instruments, into one complete company wide intranet enabled solution.
  • The test instruments consist of weigh scales, shear and tensile strength machines, also crushing machines and a variety of other custom devices.
  • The final solution involved taking the old DOS programs previously being used on the testing machines and writing a modern GUI interface version in LabVIEW.
  • In doing this work the old instruments were converted to the equivalent or better of the modern models, with a PC controlling, doing data collection and analysis.
  • The LabVIEW programs are connected up to a central SQL database which offers the users both a “request booking system” for work and also being able to “store the results” of the testing done on each request.
  • Intranet based reporting using Crystal Reports, can then be done on the information in the central SQL Database.
Pocket PC programming : IPAQ and LabVIEW

MasTec has in house expertise in Pocket PC software development. We are using gadgets like the IPAQ to develop interfaces and comms intelligence for Wireless solutions.

Building and rebuilding Industrial Computer Measurement Systems : Advantech and iBase

Retrofit’s for Industrial Computers. We use our extensive connections in the Industrial PC markets to install new high performance SBC Intel Windows based boards in older chassis to bring thme back to a modern OS situation.

QA Image inspection : LabVIEW and Video Capture

Production line image capture and dimensioning inspector. This is a very easy to use system for camera inspection of precison products. The camera is a PAL vcamera with a 200X zoom ability. The software is able to capture, do gauging and also save the data as bit files or jpg for sending via email compressed. Very useful for factory settings and sending data (picts) back to the design or QA teams .

Production Line : Rabbit Micro & Dynamic C

Batch Weighing System stainless steel Nema 4. High precision automated batch scale system that is mounted in stainless steel to Nema 4. Data is accumulated in a localise micro and sent back via ethernet to a server.

ATE : Measurement Computing DAQ cards and LabVIEW

Automatic Test Equipment Multi-Tasking Board Testers. Multi-board tester, all scheduling and testing is independent of the other tests running, with fault trapping and pass fail indication.

Automotive QA Test : Adlink DAQ cards and LabVIEW

Disc Brake Measurement and Wear Testing system.A very sophisticated gauging system with resolutions to sub micron levels. Driven entirely by a PC feed with multiple sensors, gauges.

Universal Signal Conditioning Box : Dataforth

Connects any manufacturers DAQ Card. 5B Series analog conditioners and/or OPTO 22 backplane digital isolators or SSR modules Also special rack systems for DSP and DAQ connections

Wall, Facade, Door & Window Testing : LabVIEW, Dataforth, Measurement Computing

Complete test system. These New Zealand IANZ certified test systems are running in New Zealand, Australia and Malayasia laboratories. These unique test systems, have a measurement system consisting of many long stroke linear gauges, accurate to and repeatable to .01 mm, a highly accurate temperature measurement system, an equally accurate manometer and high speed cyclic pressure measurement system. Sophisticated algorithms allow calculation of air leakage, structural stability and many other window, door, facade, door parameters.

Roof Testing : LabVIEW, Dataforth, Measurement Computing

A Complete Calibrated test system. This unique test system, that conforms to AUS/NZ Standards, has a measurement system consisting linear gauges, a highly accurate force measurement system, an equally accurate manometer and high speed cyclic pressure measurement system.

Agricultural Weighing and Analysis systems: Measurement Computing DAQ and LabVIEW
Packaging R+D Lab Upgrade

The project was to Integrate the various manual systems being used by the R+D department into one complete solution. The solution involved upgrading the programs currently being used on the testing machine into LabView. These were then connected up to a central database which offered both a request booking system for work and also being able to store the results of the testing done on each request. Intranet based reporting can then be done on the information in the Database. A LabView application was also created as the main interface between the user and the database and enables users to perform the majority of the functions offered by the system.

Transceiver Voter Monitoring System

The project is designed to monitor the a Radio system, more specifically the Radio Voter modules can Vote which transceiver will be used to transmit the signal around the radio channel. The software monitor IO from the voter. Is anything should go wrong with a channel the program is able to see the live status of the IO of each voter on a channel and is therefore able to determine where the problem is occurring. They can then use the software to isolate that particular voter and the channel can then resume operation, obviously without that section of the channel not operating. So in short the project allows them to fault find there radio channels and then to isolate the problem.

And more work
  • 32 Channel Windows Testing system — Maybe the largest most complex window tester in the world!!
  • Mitsubishi Variable Speed Drive LabVIEW driver. Maybe first in the world??!!
  • AC Power Monitoring and Analysis system, measuring to the 20th Harmonic
  • Remote Low Power Micro based monitoring and control system linked to a central computer via IP
  • Wall Testing system, three stories high– Test Walls, Windows etc
  • Earth Satellite Monitoring and Logging system upgrade
  • Gas Turbine Monitoring system
  • Large Channel Count Digital I/O control system for Transceiver systems — remotely controlled over TCP and CDMA
  • Meat Tenderising measurement and control systems
  • Country wide intranetted, SQL DB and Crystal Report Laboratory QA System
  • Copper Tube Mill extruder and wider control system
  • Roof Testing system
  • New Window Testing system
  • Field Portable Acoustic/Audio data logger and analyser
  • Factory/machine performance data collection system
  • Rack mount DC power system with Distribution circuits
  • Road performance analysis and data collection system
  • Refit and refurbish a legacy ISA PC system for a Satellite data system