5/14/2003 - National Instruments announced that leading European sensor vendors have joined the NI Plug & Play Sensors Program. This program, which kicked off in North America in 2002, is a collaborative effort between NI and sensor vendors aimed at gaining widespread adoption of IEEE P1451.4, a proposed standard for analog sensors that would make integrating "smart" sensors into measurement systems as easy as connecting a mouse to a computer.
Several key European sensor vendors have joined the Plug & Play Sensors Program to integrate new sensor technology and support the IEEE P1451.4 standard, which has recently gone to ballot. The group aims to deliver improved system configuration and diagnostics, reduced downtime and improved sensor data management to their customers. These initial European vendors include:
The IEEE P1451.4 standard makes it possible for us to deliver on a long-time customer demand for automatic configuration of analog sensors for measurement and automation systems," said Loic Moreau, LEM Components process automation manager. "Embedded, standardized TEDS information on these 'smart' sensors greatly reduces setup and maintenance time while increasing general system integrity and reliability for our customers."
The standard proposes that sensors add an embedded, low-cost memory chip containing a standardized transducer electronic data sheet (TEDS) that stores important sensor information and scaling parameters for self-identification and self-description. TEDS eliminate the need to manually input this data when configuring a measurement system.
As part of the Plug & Play Sensors Program, NI and sensor vendors are working together to expand plug and play capabilities to legacy sensors. Through a proposed online database of sensor vendors' TEDS data on ni.com, users soon will be able to download TEDS binary files, or Virtual TEDS, to their systems to instantly give plug and play capabilities to their traditional sensors without a memory chip. With Virtual TEDS, engineers also will be able to take advantage of this new sensor technology with their traditional measurement hardware, providing a smooth transition to the next generation of measurement and automation systems. In addition, engineers can implement basic TEDS management functions into their NI LabVIEW applications using the TEDS library for LabVIEW, now available for download at http://ni.com/sensors.
"As the official vote for IEEE P1451.4 nears, leading sensor vendors worldwide are recognizing the need to join together to adopt and build on this standard," said David Potter, NI DAQ platform manager and vice-chair of the IEEE P1451.4 committee. "Through the Plug & Play Sensors Program, we are ensuring that developers and systems integrators have a standard for integrating 'intelligent' sensor technology into systems that can use both next-generation sensors and legacy sensors."
Other members of the Plug & Play Sensors Program include Celesco, Endevco, Lebow, Lion Precision, Macro Sensors, Measurement Specialties, PCB Piezotronics, Honeywell Sensotec, Transducer Techniques, Watlow, Weed Instrument and Wilcoxon.
About National Instruments
National Instruments (http://ni.com) is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,000 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2002, the company sold products to more than 25,000 different companies in more than 80 countries around the world. For the past four consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.
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