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Multi-core support allows control systems to run faster

06 August, 2007

National Instruments says that control systems designers will be able to develop faster-running, more efficient applications in less time using the latest version of its LabView graphical design platform, which has been optimised to take full advantage of the latest multi-core processors.

NI LabView multicore

LabView 8.5 has a host of improvements designed to deliver improved performance to machine-builders and control system developers. For example, it offers:
º  a new library of OPC (OLE for Process Control) drivers that nearly doubles the number of compatible PLCs and other industrial devices;
º  the ability to integrate advanced PACs (programmable automation controllers) with existing PLC-based systems to add high-speed measurements and advanced control functions;
º  enhanced vibration measurements and analysis tools for machine monitoring;
º  new virtual instruments for image acquisition and machine vision, and improved edge detection algorithms for image processing;
º  the ability to configure or edit hundreds of I/O tags via a simple spreadsheet interface;
º  an interactive drag-and-drop technique for linking I/O tags to displays running on Windows CE-based touchpanels and handheld PDAs; and
º  enhancements to the control design and simulation facilities, including analytical PID controller design and "model predictive control".

The multi-core support allows different functions to be performed simultaneously on separate cores. So, for example, time-critical code for high-speed motion control can run on one core, while other cores handle less critical functions such as HMIs and communications. The software can also be used to program custom chips known as FPGAs which can be configured to perform functions such as monitoring motor vibrations for maintenance and safety duties.

NI LabView

New OPC servers will allow users to connect any PLC to the software without needing proprietary drivers and protocols. The servers can also be used with NI’s PACs to add functions such as high-speed analogue I/O, custom motion control and machine visions to existing installations.

Another enhancement is a "statechart" module used to represent high-level systems. As well as accelerating the design process, this module can represent concurrently executing states and can thus help to manage critical applications such as safe shutdowns.




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