Austin, TexasThese days, test and data-acquisition systems can gather vast amounts of data. But, without a useful way to analyze and organize it, how can you extract meaningful information? Test equipment vendor National Instruments (NI) says it has the answer.
NI’s latest NI DIAdem 10.0 software helps you manage and mine test data on PCs running Windows . DIAdem 10.0 is an upgrade to the firm's interactive software used for inspecting, analyzing, and reporting test data.
According to NI, its DIAdem 10 offers a new technology dubbed DIAdem DataFinder . It gives you the power to perform Internet-like searches across your data files, regardless of format. Several different engineers can even organize and find information at different times.
Moreover, NI claims its DIAdem DataFinder gives you sophisticated data management and data mining functions at a fraction of the costand without the maintenance challengesfound in conventional IT -supported (information technology) data management approaches. More on pricing in a moment.
DIAdem DataFinder gives you the ability to correlate test data, find trends, and troubleshoot problems. You also get fast data file access using virtual memory management.
As an improvement over predecessor DIAdem versions, you also get better support for third-party file formats, including Nicolet, PSpice, ADAMS , and Yokogawa formats. You can also output reports in formats such as Adobe Acrobat .PDF, HTML , and JPEG images.
”Minutes Rather Than Days”
Users are sanguine. “By using NI DIAdem, we turn our data into usable results in minutes rather than days,” notes Jim Knuff, principal systems engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems . Knuff says Raytheon Missile has documented an overall time reduction of 90% since integrating NI DIAdem into its system.
Another user reports DIAdem’s success in a test system designed to collect data on 16 or more channels, where previously the company struggled with saving and using collected data. Common challenges included formatting the data for optimal post-test use, handling results from long-duration measurements, and correlating sensor information back to the actual measurement.
High channel-count tests, by nature, impose set-up challenges that most test applications don’t. When dealing with hundreds of sensors, inadvertently swapping sensor connections, or having to deal with broken transducers, is a reality.
Self-identifying sensors such as TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) can greatly reduce set-up times for high channel-count applications, however oftentimes this information isn’t adequately captured with test data.
Resolving Inflexible Formats
DIAdem DataFinder also addresses multiple management challenges, including working with too many data formats, and relying on inflexible data formats. The DIAdem DataFinder uses NI's TDM (technical data management) data model as its internal data structure.
TDM files, written natively using NI LabVIEW data storage VI s (virtual instruments), or LabWindows/CVI storage functions, provide three levels of hierarchy to structure test data. The three levels are file , group , and channel .
Searching All Files
NI also says having a rich set of attributes increases the range of possible search conditions. Although optimized to work with TDM files, the DIAdem DataFinder is capable of searching across all data files for which there's an associated DataPlugin . DIAdem DataPlugin technology accommodates legacy file formats, making them searchable. The DataPlugin architecture lets you work with more than 100 billion data points.
With that, you can perform simple searches, or advanced searches, based on key descriptive information. For example, you can use the DIAdem DataFinder to search for all tests with a specific serial number, status, or test type. After narrowing the data set, you can then use DIAdem to perform further analysis and reporting.
DIAdem DataFinder also gives you the ability to establish and uncover anomalies or trends that previously might have gone unnoticed. This feature is beneficial if you're analyzing and reporting measurement and simulation data, or making recommendations based on results. You can readily share your findings with co-workers, too.
Pricing for a base edition of DIAdem 10.0 starts at less than about $1000. More sophisticated so-called professional packages are priced at about $3000. Among other functions, the professional edition lets you perform rainflow and order analysis.
An intermediate advanced edition, priced at less than $2000, gives you all the functions found in the base edition, plus you can generate reports that include 3D graphs and tables.
NI also offers DIAdem CLIP for synchronizing movie files with test data. And, DIAdem INSIGHT software projects test data onto multi-dimensional CAD models, while synchronizing movie files with test data. Neat!
Click for a datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
For more details contact Ernest Martinez at National Instruments, 11500 No. Mopac Expwy., Austin, Texas 78759-3504. Phone: 800-258-7022. Fax: 512-683-9300. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Instruments , 800-258-7022, www.ni.com/diadem