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10.

VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTATION (LabVIEW)

10.1 INTRODUCTION Virtual Instrumentation uses off-the shelf mainstream computer technologies combined with innovative, flexible software and modular high-performance hardware technologies to create powerful computer based instrumentation solutions. The objective in virtual instrumentation is to use a PC to mimic real instruments with their dedicated controls and displays with the added versatility that come with software. Virtual Instrumentation combines hardware and software with industrial standard computerized technologies to create user-defined instrumentation solutions. Virtual Instrumentation can be used to create a complete and customized system for test, measurement and industrial automation by combining different hardware and software components. If there is any upgrade required in the process the same system can be used with some modifications, there is option of extending present components for the further use. 10.2 VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTATION APPLICATIONS Virtual instrumentation is applicable in many different types of applications, starting from design to prototyping and deployment. The LabVIEW platform provides specific tools and models to solve specific applications ranging from designing signal processing algorithms to making voltage measurements and can target any number of platforms from the desktop to embedded devices with an intuitive, powerful graphical paradigm. The VI can be implemented in normal programming languages like C, C++, Pascal, etc., but the advent of graphic languages (G languages) like LabVIEW, Test point, Agilent VIEW etc., has made the VI implementation easier. 10.3 INTEGRATED HARDWARE PLATFORM

A virtual instrument consists of an industry-standard computer or workstation equipped with powerful application software and cost-effective hardware such as plug-in boards, and driver software, which together perform the functions of traditional instruments. Virtual instruments represent a fundamental shift from traditional hardware-centered instrumentation systems to software-centered systems that exploit the computing power, productivity, display, and connectivity capabilities of popular desktop computers and workstations Although the PC and integrated circuit technology have experienced significant advances in the last two decades, software truly offers the flexibility to build on this powerful hardware foundation to create virtual instruments, providing better ways to innovate and significantly reduce cost. 10.4 THE 3 LAYERS OF VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTATION SOFTWARE
Virtual instrumentation software can be divided into several different layers.

10.4.1 APPLICATION SOFTWARE: Most people think immediately of the application software layer. This is the primary development environment for building an application. It includes software such as LabVIEW, Measurement Studio, Signal Express.

MENT SOFTWARE: Above the application software layer the test executive and data management software layer. This layer of software incorporates all of the functionality developed by the application layer and provides system-wide data management. 10.4.3 MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL SERVICES SOFTWARE: The last layer is often overlooked, yet critical to maintaining s/w development productivity. The measurement and control services layer includes drivers which communicate with all of the hardware. It must access and preserve the hardware

functions and performance. It also must be interoperable it has to work with all other drivers and the many modular I/O types that can be a part of the solution. 10.5 LABVIEW - IDEAL FOR VIRTUAL INSTRUMENTATION National Instruments LabVIEW is an industry-leading software tool for designing test, measurement, and control systems. Since its introduction in 1986, engineers and scientists worldwide who have relied on NI LabVIEW graphical development for projects throughout the product design cycle have gained improved quality, shorter time to market, and greater engineering and manufacturing efficiency. By using the integrated LabVIEW environment to interface with real-world signals, analyze data for meaningful information, and share results, we can boost productivity throughout our organization. Because LabVIEW has the flexibility of a programming language combined with built-in tools designed specifically for test, measurement and control. We can create applications that range from simple temperature monitoring to sophisticated simulation and control systems. LabVIEW offers powerful features that make is easy to connect to a wide variety of hardware and other software. One of the most powerful features that LabVIEW offers is its graphical programming paradigm. The result is a user-defined interface and user-defined application functionality such as:
Operating the instrumentation program Controling the selected hardware Analyzing the acquired data Displaying the results

With graphical programming, engineers and scientists can develop systems more rapidly than with conventional programming languages, while retaining the power and flexibility needed to create a variety of applications. LabVIEW is an open

environment that includes ready-to-use libraries for everything from serial, Ethernet, and GPIB communication to motion control, data acquisition, and image acquisition.

10.6 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LABVIEW LabVIEW is an entirely graphical language. LabVIEW is hierarchical in that any virtual instrument that we design can be quickly converted into a module which can be a sub-unit of another VI. This is entirely analogous to the concept of a procedure in conventional Programming. LabVIEW is also designed to be extendible. We can add modules through various means. A manufacturer of an interface card or an instrument may provide us details with a LabVIEW driver which appears as a VI representing the card and its functionality in the LabVIEW environment. We can also write modules which interface with LabVIEW in other languages such as C and C++. These are known as sub-VIs and are no different from VIs except that the interface has been defined to the next level. 10.7 FRONT PANEL: Front Panel window is the interface to the VI code, containing visual waveform charts, knobs, switches, indicators, tables and all other virtual things needed for easy interaction with the project designed. 10.8 BLOCK DIAGRAM: Block Diagram window contains graphical program code such as icons of different functionalities, wires, loops, sequences, structures, conditions, data and all the things needed for programming graphically. If LabVIEW does not contains the graphical code required for us, then it can be created by our self easily by graphical codes provided by LabVIEW itself or even by other programming languages, without actually using that particular software.

10.9 BUILDING APPLICATION (.EXE) Building stand alone application is a method in LabVIEW for constructing the software part which works independent of NI-LabVIEW installed in PC, but it will be the final part of the project where we cannot get the Block Diagram window to alter the graphical LabVIEW program. It will be helpful to designers who can sale their software in which user cannot change the program, but can use it. Steps used in this project for building application:
Construct all VIs needed for the final project (.vi). Link all those VIs with in a project file (.lvproj). Build library for the corresponding project (.lvlib) optional step, but

preferred.
Verify each and every links and set the main VI for user interaction. Construct Application, by giving icons and key requirements to it.

10.10 BUILDING INSTALLER (SETUP.EXE) Application may need hardware driver software to be installed in the PC, but building installer is like designing complete software itself for building the project without the need of any driver software pre-installed in PC. All the steps involved in building application is needed, after which all the hardware drivers required are to be attached to the project and installer is build by giving right license file, readme file, icon file, installer key, project designer details and all other requirements. After building, installer can be provided to users, who can work with the designed project, even without a single pie of knowledge in LabVIEW.

10.11 REMOTE CONTROLLING Either Application or installer of the final project is installed using setup.exe on controlling system attached to plant and also to the remote system. Connection can be created by internet/WAN/MAN/LAN or any kind of standard connectivity between the two system softwares. Then main system at the plant area is set to be as master. Remote system can login to master by valid authentication and can view or control the status of plants temperature according to the type of authentication given. On either side of the PCs screen we can look the front panel (only), through controlling can be done easily.