Data Acquisition and Instrumentation
Industry: Oil & Gas
INTRODUCTIONA client providing emergency services to the oil and gas industry needed a standalone data acquisition system to monitor structural and environmental conditions on and around oil rigs or floating structures. They system needed to could be run remotely without any user interaction and had to be small, light and portable enough to be hand carried into a remote location with minimal support, yet robust enough to provide dependable data.Before working with Optimation, the client used a full embedded PC in an enclosure. Wireless sensors in the past used a mesh network sensor from a third party; however it was difficult to program and send the data back to the acquisition system. The client had to make exact revisions of software and learn a new operating system, which was also difficult to work with. The client also had limited capability for expansion without major involvement from the manufacturer, making changes in the field very difficult.
SOLUTIONAt the client's request, Optimation implemented an NI Real-Time controller (NI FieldPoint Controller) in a NEMA enclosure with a battery supply and an array of sensors to monitor virtually any environmental condition, including wind speed, temperature, wind direction and hazardous gas concentration. The client wanted the system to use wireless communication to send the data back to the technician for monitoring. Using wireless results in increased safety and provides an un-tethered approach for situations in the field where using wires is impractical. Optimation used a 900 megahertz wireless Ethernet modem between FieldPoint and a desktop PC running another LabVIEW application to meet this need. The LabVIEW application runs on a desktop PC and receives data from the FieldPoint controller, and then logs the data and makes it available to client applications, also written in LabVIEW. National Instruments worked with Optimation by supporting the deployment of the Labview DSC run time engine, assisting in dynamic renaming and relocation of DSC databases, and providing pre-released product support for the wireless sensor network. This solution was best for both the client and Optimation; National Instruments provided point of contact, and since all of the products came from National Instruments, they integrated together well.
RESULTSThe customer now has a resource provider able to remotely monitor numerous conditions and potentially dangerous situations without needing a technician onsite to see the data directly, placing the technician in the hazard zone without putting him in harm's way. This new system also allows for greater redundancy and automation in the field, bringing an even greater value to the client. For Optimation, the National Instruments wireless sensor network provided a substantial reduction in the amount of time required to program the application because it was more efficient to use.
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