4 Benefits of Using a Data Acquisition System



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: December 24, 2019

The amount of data that is being stored and collected by businesses is mind-boggling. Some estimates say that companies only use a small percentage of the data that they own. The primary reason for this is that they cannot find the data.

In the modern world, collecting data has become unbelievably cheap. Most people digitize data and then parse it to databases, spreadsheets, and the like. The data acquisition system collects all of the useful information that could help your business and should be a priority in the digital era.

What Is a Data Acquisition System?

The name, data acquisition system, implies a process that is designed to collect information, document something, or analyze a phenomenon. A technician monitoring the temperature of an oven and then logging this information on paper is in effect performing data acquisition.

Technology has changed. As a result, the process of data acquisition has become easier, more versatile, more reliable, and more accurate using electronic equipment. The type of equipment available for data acquisition has changed over the years. Now, you can use a simple data logger or a complicated computer system. Even a smartphone can be a portable data acquisition system.

The data acquisition system works like the central hub. It connects a variety of products, including sensors and other information devices, and gathers, displays, and stores that information.

The Benefits of Using Data Acquisition Systems

Improved Efficiency and Reliability for Machinery and Processes

Data acquisition devices are used in research labs, steel mills, utility companies, and more. These devices evaluate and monitor a preset parameter. The information gathered by data acquisition devices can then be used to make sure that machinery operates safely, specific processes are preformed efficiently, and that there are reliable outcomes.

Analyze Problems More Quickly

Real-time data acquisition systems make it possible for enterprises to take measurements and display the information in real-time. In the world of machinery, this allows a technician to intervene quickly when there is a problem, allowing their machinery to function at peak performance.

Take Human Error Out Of the Equation

Automated data entry was once carried out by hand. Data acquisition systems employ automation, which minimizes human error and misplacement. Additionally, storing information gathered digitally is cheaper, takes up less space than physical paper, and can be retrieved almost instantaneously. The data is also entered faster. These things don’t happen when humans are manually doing the job.

Data Acquisition System

Improve Quality Control

When used in the world of machinery, data acquisition devices can confirm that a system is meeting design specs and that what is being produced meets the need of the end-user. It allows products to be tested to make sure that they meet the quality needed for marketing. Products that are defective can be easily identified and faults can be corrected. The entire process can be tracked, monitored, and supervised without human interaction.

How Do Data Acquisition Systems Work?

Most data acquisition systems include the following steps:

  1. Physical system
  2. Transducer sensor
  3. Signal conditioning
  4. Sampling digitizing
  5. Analyze

It starts with a physical system that allows the user to measure preset parameters. Next, transducers and sensors are used to transfer the physical parameter into an electrical signal. For example, temperature may be transferred to DC volts and flow to AC volts, pressure to DC current or strain to AC current, etc. That information is then transmitted to an instrument that Kovacs the electrical signals being created.

The next phase is signal conditioning. When an analog signal is converted into a digital signal, it must be conditioned. This means that the analog signal will need to be manipulated so that it will meet the requirements of the sampling system. Signal conditioning could include processes like:

  • Filtering
  • Amplifying
  • Electric Isolation
  • Excitation
  • Linearization

Sampling/digitizing is the process where analog signals are turned into digital values. The device that receives signals and creates digital values should have the proper resolution, accuracy, and speed.

Resolution means the level of detail an instrument can measure. For most instruments, resolution is defined in bits. Bits are equal to the number of decimal places a particular instrument can display. An instrument with an 8-bit resolution can display 2.4 digits. Conversely, one with 24-bit resolution can display 7.2 digits

Accuracy describes just how reliable the values displayed are. Analyzing is where all of the information that has been gathered is shown in a way that answers the questions you are posing or the theory you want to test. The results can sometimes be analyzed by the instrument that gathers information. However, it is usually going to be gathered and analyzed in a software designed for this purpose.

How Data Acquisition Can Improve Your Efficiency

Data acquisition helps you solve problems faster. You are able to see the results you want in an easy to understand graphic user interface. Most data acquisition instruments can be set up quickly.

Data acquisition makes you more efficient because you are getting accurate measurements that you can easily document. Since the information is documented in digital form, it can be easily exported to software like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Google Docs.

As with all systems, data acquisition systems do have some drawbacks. These are usually minor when compared to the benefits. One perceived drawback may be the complex set up for certain systems. Hardware and software costs could be substantial. In the unfortunate event of the database being damaged, all applications and programs are affected. There are costs involved in moving from a file-based system to a database system. And there is the initial training required for programmers and users.

There is a reason why many businesses have embraced data acquisition systems. They allow users to reduce manpower, improve efficiency, get real-time feedback on their processes, make the changes needed, and then monitor the results of those changes.

What has been your experience with data acquisition systems? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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