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Hardware enables high-performance inspection apps

Posted: 13 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:frame grabber? servo motor? FPGA?

National Instruments Corp. (NI) has released two additions to its famous NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology. This consists of a motion module for the NI CompactRIO platform and a reconfigurable Camera Link frame grabber for complicated embedded vision applications. Combining field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology with Camera Link interface, the NI PCIe-1473R frame grabber, which is a PC-based embedded vision board, helps create high-performance inspection applications and embedded imaging. The NI 9502 brushless servo drive C Series module consists of six custom NI motor options, which are directly from the reconfigurable CompactRIO system for advanced motion control challenges.

The NI PCIe-1473R frame grabber is ideal for advanced inspection and imaging applications that require pre-processing and high-speed control such as medical imaging, web and surface inspection, and high-speed sorting. Engineers and scientists program the frame grabber's onboard FPGA with the NI LabVIEW FPGA Module for customized image processing and analysis in real time, with little to no CPU intervention. The frame grabber combines the onboard FPGA with a high-bandwidth 850 MB/s Camera Link bus, which supports a range of Camera Link configurations up to 10 taps and 80 bits. The NI PCIe-1473R also supports Power over Camera Link (PoCL) to directly power cameras with no additional cables or external power supply. With such features, the frame grabber is an off-the-shelf solution that makes it possible to create high-performance imaging applications without spending substantial time and money to develop a customized design.

With the addition of the NI 9502 motion drive module for CompactRIO, brushless, stepper, or brushed servo motors be powered directly with NI C Series modules. This provides compact, customizable solution for integrating motion into advanced control, monitoring, and test systems. The NI 9502 offers 4 A continuous/8 A peak current and multiple commutation modes. To complement the module, NI is also releasing six three-phase brushless motors that are specifically designed for maximum performance and direct connectivity with the NI 9502. With these features, the NI 9502 helps implement proprietary customized drive control algorithms at the FPGA level through LabVIEW FPGA, eliminating the need for firmware from a drive manufacturer.

"With its superior I/O and motion control capabilities, along with the flexibility and reliability of its onboard FPGA, the new NI CompactRIO system helped us create a high-performance embedded monitoring and control system that matches our rigorous requirements," said Pascal Wattellier, automation products coordinator at Serimax, an international full-service welding solutions company. "The CompactRIO system was the only commercially available solution that we could use to integrate motion control, I/O measurements, and HMI functionality within one system."

An integral part of the NI graphical system design, the NI RIO technology combines LabVIEW system design software with commercial off-the-shelf hardware to simplify development and shorten time to market. NI RIO hardware, which includes CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, R Series boards, and the PXI-based NI FlexRIO, features an architecture with floating-point processors, reconfigurable FPGAs, and modular I/O. All NI RIO hardware components are programmed with LabVIEW to create custom timing, signal processing, and control for I/O without requiring expertise in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.

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