#TBT Pushing the Limits of the CompactRIO – Almost 10 years later

Back in 2011, I gave a presentation at NIWeek in Austin, Texas titled “Pushing the Limits of NI CompactRIO.” It remains the best attended presentation that I have ever given at NIWeek, and it focused on the experience of implementing a production test system using a 9024 cRIO controller that combined acquisition, control, and automation on one hardware platform. The case study for that original test system can be found here.

I remember that project vividly. I beat my brains out trying to figure out how to eke the most out of the limited hardware platform that we were relying on. But, through that project, we at Signal.X cut our collective teeth on embedded development, and the lessons that we learned in that project became the foundation of our STAX platform.

Almost 10 years later, we were hired to upgrade that first set of end-of-line testers to improve cycle time by altering the mechanical tooling. Along the way, we also upgraded the software to the latest STAX platform. With cost as a major constraint, we chose to keep the existing 9024 controllers as part of this upgrade. This is no small feat – giving a customer almost a decade of improvements on 10-year-old hardware. But, we committed to doing it knowing that it was a critical part of extending the life of those test systems.

As STAX has evolved over the years, we have paid close attention to efficiency and optimization. This has allowed us to deploy huge gains in computation, diagnostics, interface, and automation capability while keeping a lean footprint that can be deployed to low power (and low cost) CompactRIO controllers. What does this mean for our customers? Both the ability to optimize costs and the ability to promise high levels of performance as processing power increases.

We are continually innovating and building on our software platforms that provide real value for our customers. But, innovating does not mean adding complexity and taking more resources. Real innovation comes in balancing “creature features” with the reality of 24/7 production in an environment that doesn’t tolerate imperfection, and is always driven to control capital costs. At Signal.X, this is realized through constant improvement and responsiveness to customer needs without sacrificing efficiency and reliability.

Contact us to learn more about how to be a part of this adventure!

This post originally published on July 19, 2019