Developing an industrial monitoring system for ultrasound-based sensing in a harsh environment
Client – Energy Research Lab
Our client was experiencing problems making temperature measurements in a hostile, irradiated environment. Traditional temperature sensors don’t last long in this environment, so our client was developing a sensor designed for these conditions.
Special equipment is required to drive this sensor. It’s an active sensor requiring an ultrasound pulser/receiver (P/R) and high-speed digitizer to make it function.
The prior attempt the client made at using an original set of special equipment was having reliability and connectivity issues. This reduced reliability was of critical concern due to the requirement for the sensor to operate for years without downtime.
In addition, the existing application was incapable of displaying live data and lacked a user-friendly interface. On top of that, data analysis had to be done after the application was run, causing delays.
Our client needed reliable and robust hardware to drive the sensors and an application that would eliminate the challenges associated with the existing system.
Viewpoint accomplished the following:
Evaluated two different ultrasonic P/R sensor driver hardware solutions to select a solution that would provide the connectivity robustness, configurability, and correct sensor driver characteristics required for the given sensors.
Decoupled the digitizer embedded in the original P/R by adding a PXI digitizer with better capability.
Provided backward compatibility with previous measurement hardware to aid in performance comparisons with the new hardware.
Developed a LabVIEW-based application that corrected all the issues with the existing application including real-time data analysis, real-time data visibility and a modern user interface. The new application also provided sensor performance traceability using the sensor’s serial number.
The enhanced measurement system offers the following benefits:
Reliable sensor subsystem to ensure uninterrupted data acquisition.
Measurement hardware configurability for sample rate, collection duration, and pulsing repetition rate.
Application configurability for automating the analysis, historical archiving, and results reporting.
Real-time data analysis.
Sensor traceability through serial number and data files.
Engineering mode to take control of the entire measurement system.
Improved data logging to include raw and analyzed data.
Improved application user experience via robust data collection and configurability.
The deployed temperature monitoring system consisted of the following components:
COTS pulser/receiver hardware for driving the sensors.
COTS high-speed DAQ for retrieving ultrasound signals.
A LabVIEW-based software application to provide real time data monitoring, error/alarm notification, data analysis, data logging, part traceability and backward compatibility with the older sensor driver hardware.