Bloomy Controls, a National Instruments Alliance Partner, received a "Most Outstanding Technical Resources" award at NIWeek 2013. The award, given this year for the first time, goes to an NI Alliance member company with the most NI certified LabVIEW and Test Stand architects and developers on staff.
The award is given in three categories, for silver, gold, and platinum-level Alliance members. The levels are based on revenue of NI products resold in systems, member resources, and the Alliance member's relationship with NI.
Bloomy Controls designs automated test stations using National Instruments products. I asked Bloomy president Peter Blume what it takes to attain this recognition. "We have nearly 30 engineers who are National Instruments Certified LabVIEW or TestStand developers or architects, including 14 architects," he said. "We always thought we had the most developers and architects that other NI Alliance members. Now we know." The company also operates three certified LabVIEW training centers -- in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
I asked Blume, "What's the difference between being a developer and being an architect?" He explained that a certified developer is an engineer who develops application code in LabVIEW or TestStand. (LabVIEW is a graphical programming language for instrumentation and embedded-systems development. TestStand is a test executive.) An architect is the lead software engineer on a project that needs several developers. Achieving certified developer status is a prerequisite for becoming an architect.
Bloomy Controls has been an NI Alliance member for 21 years. When asked how he came to start the company, Blume explained that in his first job after receiving his BSEE, he was an applications engineer for a company that made data-acquisition systems. The systems were programmed through a series of three-letter commands. Then, a customer asked his employer to deliver a system that would download data to a computer running LabWindows for DOS. Blume wrote the LabWindows driver for the system. The customer engineers wrote the code (LabWindows uses C programming code) to perform statistical process control.
"That really opened my eyes to what you can do when you connect instruments to computers," he said. Blume has since written The LabVIEW Style Book
. Read my review, Use LabView with style
Today, we all use computers and many of you use computers to control instruments. What instruments do you control and what software tools do you use?