National Instruments and Siemens Automation and Drives Group have agreed to develop measurement and automation solutions for a wide range of applications requiring precise measurement and control of manufacturing processes.
An announcement made at the Hanover Fair, outlined the working relationship between the two companies and suggested that the agreement will enable engineers to make more sophisticated measurements on their processes and then feed that information back to control systems.
The initiative begins with integration of National Instruments PC-based industrial measurement products and Siemens Simatic WinAC PC-based manufacturing automation systems. With time, NI and Siemens plan to develop higher-level measurement and automation solutions that span the entire length of a factory floor or other production facility.
Engineers will be able to use WinAC with NI measurement and signal conditioning hardware to higher-speed control applications that monitor the condition and performance of factory floor equipment.
Using WinAC control software with standard PCs, industrial computers or PXI systems, engineers will be able use Siemens Step 7 programming software to develop control applications that run on a PC with Windows NT. Step 7 is the standard software environment used for programming all Siemens PLCs, PCs, and operator panels.
NI also is developing an application for its Labview graphical development environment to communicate with Siemens WinAC control software. Engineers using WinAC will be able to integrate high-speed measurements from Labview into their control applications. With WinAC for control and Labview for higher-speed measurement and monitoring, such as vibration analysis, engineers can perform machine control and monitoring in a more integrated fashion.