SAN FRANCISCONational Instruments (NI) Monday (Aug. 31) announced new field-programmable gate array (FPGA) capabilities for the NI 9144 expansion chassis.
By downloading the NI-Industrial Communications for EtherCAT 1.1 driver from NI's website, engineers and scientists can now run
National Instruments LabVIEW FPGA code directly on the NI 9144 chassis to execute custom triggering, inline processing and control within an application, NI said. By embedding hardware-level FPGA logic directly on the expansion I/O, engineers and scientists can offload processing power from the controller and reduce response time by making decisions directly at the node, according to the firm.
"By leveraging the continuous advancements in commercial technologies such as FPGAs, engineers and scientists are building solutions that only a few years ago were the domain of embedded and control design experts," said John Hanks, NI's vice president of industrial and embedded product lines, in a statement.
The NI 9144 provides the ability to create distributed real-time systems that need synchronized control across multiple machines, high-speed waveform measurements and processing at the node and hardware-in-the-loop simulations and feedback, according to NI. Each expansion chassis has a 2 million- gate Xilinx Spartan FPGA that can react to measurement data, conduct high-speed analysis and pass the final results back to the programmable automation controller via EtherCAT, an open real-time Ethernet protocol, NI said.
The FPGA and I/O data can be synchronized across multiple distributed NI 9144 chassis with less than 100 ns of jitter for highly deterministic performance in time-critical applications, the company said.
The NI 9144 is compatible with all NI C Series I/O modules for high-accuracy measurement quality, including the new NI 951x C Series motion modules that offer direct connectivity to hundreds of servo and stepper drives, NI said. The expansion chassis can be programmed with the LabVIEW Real-Time Module for fast and easy real-time expansion and with the LabVIEW FPGA Module for hardware-level timing, signal manipulation and onboard analysis, the company said.
Pricing for NI 9144 begins at $999, NI said. More information on the product is available on NI's website.