|Signal measurement is the essential function of the device. This compact appliance, depending on the needs, can be equipped with dedicated modules for the measurement of signals from detectors with a current output (mA), voltage output (in mV and V), from temperature measurement detectors (by thermocouples and RTD elements) or modules with universal inputs that can measure almost any type of signal.
|Multichannel modules of progressive-reverse counters, tachometers and flow meters and multi-input modules of digital inputs which can read a state of the button and allow for a binary data input has been developed to process digital signals.
Mathematical functions allow the measurement results to be operated freely. MultiCon allows you not only to use arithmetic and trigonometric functions such as addition, multiplication, sine, raising to a power, but also logical ones (comparing to a constant, comparing the measured values or multiplexer) which makes the developing of the advanced applications much more easy.
Process control is a natural consequence of the availability of the aforementioned mechanisms. MultiCon, however, has many more control capabilities hidden within itself than simply standard relay outputs switching. PID control is the basis of modern automation systems and in this device every of 60 (or 90) measurement channels available can be set as an independent PID controller. What is more, a setpoint for this control process does not have to be a constant value set by the user.
Software built-in timing profiles (free programmable runs) allow for the unique freedom in shaping a run control and possibility to start the control process at a preset time or when a defined event occurs. Their functions enable the control to be stopped at a specific time/conditionally at any point of the run, to be looped and it is possible to carry any other operation on a setpoint. The results of the control must have an outflow point in a physical element that controls the object, and therefore the manufacturer has prepared many modules which can be used for it – diverse relay outputs, multichannel SSR electrical relay drivers and current outputs with full galvanic insulation against other I/O.
Various methods of data presentation
Various methods of data presentation are other advantages of the device. The user can choose between 8 data display modes – from standard digitally read indicators, through indicating instruments, vertical and horizontal bargraphs and charts (typical of brush recorders), to phasor diagrams usually seen in devices used in power industry – and all of it is available from a touch pad screen that allows for a swift switching between displayed data and between modes of presentation.
Data recording makes a kind of a value added to the tremendous possibilities shown above. MultiCon can record any 60 measurement channels at a speed of 10 samples per second. It has 1.5 GB built-in flash memory, intended for data registration, which, in the case of 24 measurement channels every second, is enough for about 2 months of continuous operation. The function of data registration has been also optimized for the use of hardware resources of this device - the channels for registration are grouped (1-6 channels) and in each group a speed of registration can be freely set. Additionally, there is a unique option of alternative (higher or lower) speed registration, which is set off only under user-specified conditions. This solution allows you to precisely trace the object parameters in critical situations.
Communication with the environment
Almost every modern electronic measuring instrument is equipped with some type of a communication interface - MultiCon has several of them. The primary type of an interface is USB Host. It allows you to connect the device not only with a standard mouse and keyboard, but also an external hard drive (e.g. flash) and to download registered data. More interesting, from the point of view of the communication with the environment, is RS-485 interface with Modbus RTU Protocol available in standard equipment. Like other interfaces, RS-485 and RS-232 available in an optional interface module, interface device, each of which can operate independently as Master or Slave at a different transmission speed. Thus, the use of MultiCon does not have to be limited to the presentation of measured data read from built-in modules and to the control of built-in outputs. Enhanced menu interface allows you to easily configure it, so that MultiCon will read data from any device equipped with Modbus RTU, and will control a condition of outputs in it, if it can be remotely controlled.
However Ethernet interface gives the greatest possibilities. Built-in Web servers, as well as Modbus TCP Protocol give user the possibility to use predefined data visualizations based on Java applications. If a dedicated process visualization is required, the presented mechanisms can be easily adopted to the individual needs of the customer. Basing on freeware tools for website building available on Web, almost everyone is able to prepare, within few minutes, their own visualizing application, which can be launched almost on every computer connected to the Internet.
MultiCon series appliances, which are equipped with ACM (Advanced Communication Module) also make it easy to control the measurement results remotely with a Web browser and provide a nice graphic layout in the form of built-in as well as user-created websites. The manufacturer provides, together with the device, a set of built-in Java applets that by using Modbus TCP Protocol give the programmers simple mechanisms for downloading data from the device, as well as ensure the ready-to-use forms of presentation of the results on a computer screen.
An applet is a program that can be supported by your Web browser. With it you can visualize your system and display data downloaded from CMC via Ethernet. Pictures of tanks with bargraphs indicating level of a liquid, pipes with valves that run to them, valve condition indicators, and also flow meters indicating the speed of a flow or a total amount of liquid flowed.
The manufacturer provides a free-of-charge DAQ Manager software to process data registered by the device. This software is designed to be run on Windows systems. With it you can download data from the MultiCon devices via the Web remotely, and also transfer them locally with flash drives. Input data are collected in a database and it is possible to view and analyze them in various ways (diagrams, tables), to prepare and print out the reports and to convert them to the general CSV file and further process in different applications. The possibility to connect the devices with the Internet gives additional function – the on-line presentation of measurement data online in the form of separate tables, as well as easy processes visualization management.