Data Logger Applications - Remote Data Logger Systems

By: Jim Furness

The data logger has now become the indispensable tool for anyone requiring to monitor and record factory processes or environmental conditions automatically. Stand alone data logger systems are now used throughout the manufacturing, chemical, oil and gas, water and power generation industries. Data logger units are also commonly used for industrial R and D, medical research, and environmental monitoring.

However, whilst it is very useful to use a data logger to record a process, or environmental conditions. The data is no use inside the data logger, it has to be downloaded to a PC to be viewed by the relevant users. Typically a user will take a laptop PC to the site and connect directly to the data logger to download the data. This is OK where the site is nearby and data does not need to be downloaded very often, but for remote sites, or where the data logger needs to be downloaded often this is not very practical.

Many types of data logger now incorporate various means of remote communication to enable the data to be collected without a site visit. These can be summarized as follows:

Data logger remote communication via GSM.
The data logger is fitted with a GSM modem so that the host PC can connect over the worldwide GSM network.

Data logger remote communication via GPRS
The data logger is fitted with a GPRS modem and data is transferred via the internet utilizing the worldwide GPRS network

Data logger remote communications via SMS text messaging
The data logger sends it's data at regular intervals or on alarm via SMS text message. This is ideal for small amounts of data, such a daily totals from water meters, gas meters or electricity meters.

Data logger remote communications via Ethernet
The data logger connects directly via Ethernet TCP/IP to a host PC or network. Some data logger models are also able to publish web pages directly to the internet

Data logger remote communications via low power radio
The data logger connects to the host PC using license free low power radio. Ranges up to 10 KM can be achieved with this method.

Using remote data acquisition solutions such as these OEM manufacturers have the option to monitor equipment for fault conditions almost anywhere in the world. A typical example is of a manufacturer of steel mill equipment based in the UK being able to monitor faults in it's equipment installed in a mill in China. Where once an engineer would have been sent from the UK to China to investigate a potential fault, now the initial diagnoses and remedial action can be carried out remotely saving time and considerable expense. Portable systems with built in GPRS are now available as turnkey products, with the ability to email logged data direct to a user's inbox.

Omni Instruments has many years experience in providing remote data logging solutions for both machine and environmental monitoring together with relevant sensors for process measurement and also weather monitoring.

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