DAQstation anniversary charts evolution of chart recorders

01 September 2009

This month Yokogawa's DAQstation celebrates ten years of replacing paper chart recorders with digital data acquisition and display stations in control rooms around the world.

Two Yokogawa DXAdvanced R3 models are available: the DX1000 with 2-12 universal inputs and a 5.5-in. colour display (right); and the larger DX2000 with 4-48 universal inputs and a 10.4-in. colour display
Two Yokogawa DXAdvanced R3 models are available: the DX1000 with 2-12 universal inputs and a 5.5-in. colour display (right); and the larger DX2000 with 4-48 universal inputs and a 10.4-in. colour display

September 2009 marks the ten year anniversary of the Yokogawa DAQstation data acquisition and display station, a revolutionary replacement for paper chart recorders when it was introduced in 1999. The DAQstation found quick acceptance in fossil fuel and nuclear power generation plants, which might have had 20 - 30 chart recorders in a control room. "The DCS [distributed control system] may have run the plant," Yokogawa network solutions product manager Steve Byrom told Control Engineering, "buy for monitoring, power gen guys are used to paper chart recorders. In 1991, one million paper chart recorders were built."

By the late 1990s, Byrom explains, the Microsoft Windows 95/NT operating system was robust enough to create SCADA software applications to replace chart recorders. Yokogawa introduced a small videographic recorder in 1995, then introduced the DAQstation in 1999. It had full network capability including Ethernet as standard, and an optional OPC server for bring data into any third-party vendor's plant historian or SCADA/HMI station. "DAQstation was a stepping stone to a full-blown DCS, which is often a big shock to operators [when the interface changes so dramatically.] DAQstation's visually mimicked what the chart recorders provided, and added a whole lot more functionality, such as data connectivity and management," said Byrom.

The DAQstation has evolved over the years to provide even more process monitoring and recording functionality, from ultra reliable operation and secure data archiving to built-in PID control and integration with Yokogawa and other PLCs.

All DAQstations run non-Microsoft real-time operating systems and have the same core functionality, including universal data inputs and on-board data storage in non-volatile memory. The DXAdvanced R3, the newest and most capable version of the family, includes new functions such as user-customisable display screens and an intelligent annunciator system with data display and recording functions that can replace common annunciator lamp panels.

Historical data review is much easier thanks to a new calendar display and search tool, and enhanced trend history functions, says Byrom. Additional functions include multi-batch recording where channels can be grouped and recorded to discrete batch records with independent start and stop control.

In addition to Modbus RTU and TCP, new EtherNet/IP and Profibus DP protocols aid installation on control networks. The DXAdvanced R3 can interface with PLCs and other control products as a data source or to add graphical data display and recording functions. An external input option allows the DX2000 to handle up to 300 additional inputs from external I/O such as Yokogawa's MW100 data acquisition system, for a total system capacity of 348 inputs.

All DXAdvanced R3 models include 80MB or optional 200MB of non-volatile, internal flash memory, and use standard Compact Flash removable media for secure, long-term data storage. An optional USB interface supports data retrieval with USB memory devices and configuration with a USB keyboard.

Digital data acquisition stations have evolved, Byrom said, as the industry has, and has Yokogawa itself. Since its founding in 1915, Yokogawa has secured more than 7,500 patents and registrations, including the world's first digital sensors for flow and pressure measurement. It manufactures industrial automation and control, test and measurement, and other products through its network of 19 manufacturing facilities and 89 companies in 32 countries around the world.

Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

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