In an industrial environment it is always an important task to continuously measure and monitor the parameters of different processes. Data acquisition systems are used for this, which have a common characteristic: data collected from big distances is transferred to a central unit, which enables simple review of the specific processes. Data may be collected from various sources: thermometers, flow, pressure, oxygen measurement systems, gas analyzers or other instruments.
There is a gas emission measurement system under development in Gamma Digital Ltd, which will be used for measuring, logging and visualising data in power plants and garbage incinerators. Standard signals transmitted by local instruments are collected with analogue/digital transforming modules, and afterwards they are transferred through a standard serial line to the data collecting computers.
My thesis work is the creation of a communication application which can be implemented to a data acquisition system. The application is able to transfer data between the data collector PC and the modules used for measuring.
In the beginning of the creation phase I became familiar with the functionalities, hardware structure and ASCII commanding set of the tools. I understood the developer environment and the options provided by the Microsoft .NET framework, with an emphasis on the serial port handling class.
During the planning I took into consideration the expectations regarding the application - confidentiality of the communication was a high priority.
During the development phase I regularly had the option to test the application on the modules, which was a great help. I created a simple user interface for the testing, where certain parameters of the data collecting can be set and messages transferred during the communication can be observed.