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How we created a Thermal Data Acquisition System (TDAS) for one of the largest Aerospace Research Organization?

In 1963, IBM introduced data acquisition systems for data measurement, monitoring, and recording. This invention has changed the way how different industries gather information and work on it.

Contemporary data acquisition systems are always electronic. They are designed to process multiple input channels.

What is the data acquisition and control system?

Data Acquisition System is the process used to gather information from the hardware and machine to document or analyze some phenomena related to different industries. It sample signals to measure real-world physical conditions & convert the resulting samples into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer.

How does it work?

Data acquisition process involves the sampling and converting of the electrical or physical phenomenon into data and recording the data into a computer. Examples of such events include measuring of temperature, voltage, current, sound, fluid flow, relative humidity, pH level, and more.

Regardless of industry requirements and what the system wants to convert, all data acquisition software follow the same necessary procedure:

  1. Data acquisition sensors must gather the data.
  2. After data gathering, the sensors will output it on to signal conditioning circuitry for converting the data into an analog input.
  3. The analog-to-digital converters transform the analog signal data into digital form.
  4. The system inputs the singular digital form into the software. From here, now it can be accessed, and controlled by data acquisition software programs

The main objective of any DAQ system software is to continuously monitor the data and control the power supply depending upon different industry testing.
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Features of any DAQ software irrespective of any industry:

  • The software has to be flexible enough to customize with the end-number of channels.
  • Must come with control capabilities such as closed-loop PID control, analog outputs, and discrete on/off
  • Password protected graphical user interface (GUI) for local and remote system configuration, operation & maintenance with a text message and email alerts
  • Real-time data monitoring
  • Reusable data acquisition software library
  • Accurate timing and synchronization between multiple measurements including event triggering
  • Web server interface facilitates remote monitoring
  • An embedded computer for real-time processing, control and data storage
  • Multiple users for categorized working
  • Alarm setting for any technical issues

    Managing alert
    Managing alerts
  • Accessible customized reports gathering from the real-time data storage and monitoring
  • PID toolkit enables flexibility in adjusting the parameters as per the project’s requirements

What we worked on?

We developed a thermal data acquisition system (TDAS) for one of the largest aerospace research organizations.

We designed and installed computer-based data acquisition and power control system for conducting a thermal test at 6.5M thermal vacuum chamber. The system consists of four central units-

Temperature Signal Processing Unit (TSPU),

Power and Control Unit (PACU),

Spacecraft telemetry and thermal vacuum chamber facility data interface unit and

Data Processing Unit (DPU)

The software has the capability of monitoring 512 thermocouple channels, 700 spacecraft telemetry thermal related parameters, including chamber Vacuum level, chamber contamination level using Quartz Crystal Monitor data & 128 numbers of temperature control channels.

TSPU and PACU are VME based system. DPU is based on Pentium processor with hot redundancy using Redundant Array Of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) to handle the situation in case of failure of a server. Also, all the subsystems and peripherals are connected using TCP/IP on Ethernet.

The need was to record the data continuously every few seconds for several months.

  • We monitor numerous temperature sensors and telemetry & command signals of various types.

    Monitoring Temperature
    Monitoring Temperature
  • Perform user-defined calculations on the acquired data in real-time and control several heaters based on the temperature readings & calculations result.

    Different temperature readings
    Different temperature readings
  • Store the acquired data & status information and display the records in a highly configurable GUI.

    Displaying different channels record
    Displaying different channels record
  • PID control loops integrated into the DAQ system that would run parallel with the measurement tasks.
  • Allow the operator to view different windows with real-time image displays in animation.

    Replicating the inside view
    Replicating the inside view
  • Link requirement documents to test & control applications.
  • Use graphical coverage and impact analysis views to keep traceability relationships.
    Real-time channel comparison graph
    Real-time channel comparison graph

    Different industries that need data acquisition system 

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Measurements depending upon industries

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Choose the right DAQ software developer for your project

Before you start looking for DAQ software developer, check your application requirement and what you need to measure & control. Also, consider your timeline, applicable safety & compliance standards and most importantly, post-delivery support (installation assistance, training, etc.).

CTA for DAQ blog

We are involved in all aspects of developing, operating & maintaining a diverse computing system including servers, high-reliability acquisition systems, high-performance workstations & data storage systems, and computing infrastructure.

We provide software & computing for the data acquisition and control system for your industry.

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