DAQ Engineering and Design

Data acquisition (DAQ) engineering and design systematically gathers, processes, and analyzes data from diverse sources, bridging analog and digital realms for precise acquisition of data in various industries.

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Overview of DAQ

Before digital design became pervasive Data Acquisition (DAQ) was an analog design function which required “signal smoothing”, logarithmic linearization, and other processing circuitry – transmitting signals over long distances; most commonly via a 4-20 mA current loop.

Engineering Services started by designing analog DAQ circuits for hazardous gas detection instrumentation used on exploratory and production oil rigs and in petrochemical plants – providing detailed characterization of various detection sensors (electrochemical, catalytic bead, and Metal Oxide Semiconductor). Today, data acquisition design is more of a mixed-signal design function.

Fundamentals of DAQ

  • Sensors and Transducers: These devices convert physical quantities like temperature into electrical signals.
  • Signal Processing and Conditioning: This minimizes noise and enhances signal-to-noise ratio through amplification and other operations or data acquisition interfaces.

Sampling Rate and Resolution: This measures how often an analog signal is sampled; resolution determines bits per sample. Balancing these factors is crucial for precise capture of fast-changing phenomena.

Significance of DAQ

  • Real-time monitoring and control for observation and control of unfolding processes.
  • Quality assurance to ensure products meet quality standards.
  • Research and development for engineers to collect experimental data and refine designs or processes.
  • Fault diagnosis and maintenance in complex systems.

Advanced data analysis techniques and machine learning for uncovering patterns, correlations, and trends.

DAQ Technologies

DAQ technologies can be categorized into sensor technologies, signal conditioning techniques, and wireless DAQ systems and they are important in areas such as remote monitoring, scalability, edge computing and analytics, and security.

  • Sensor Technologies: Sensor technologies like temperature sensors, pressure sensors, accelerometers, light sensors, proximity sensors, and more convert real-world phenomena like light and temperature into digital data that can be analyzed, monitored, and controlled.
  • Signal Conditioning Techniques: Sensor data accuracy relies on signal conditioning techniques like amplification, filtering, isolation, linearization, and more to mitigate external factors such as noise, interference, and signal distortion for reliability.
  • Wireless DAQ Systems: Wireless technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and Low-Power options enable high-speed connectivity in DAQ systems, ensuring reliable real-time data acquisition and transmission for various applications.

Applications of DAQ Engineering

Some industries where DAQ systems are used

  • Automotive Sector: Automakers use DAQ systems for safety assurance, crash testing, environmental testing, and validating vehicle reliability. These systems also enable performance monitoring of vehicle dynamics, engine performance, and telematics. 
  • Aerospace Engineering: In flight testing, DAQ systems assess performance, conduct stress testing, and verify flight control systems. They also monitor aircraft structural health, enabling continuous monitoring, predictive maintenance, fatigue analysis, and more.
  • Industrial Automation: Industrial automation uses DAQ engineering systems for optimizing processes through predictive maintenance and real-time decision-making, resulting in enhanced productivity, cost-effectiveness, and operational excellence.

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FC Engineering Services helps teams and organizations meet their DAQ engineering goals through custom solutions and expert guidance.

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Challenges in DAQ systems

Implementing DAQ engineering systems is crucial for data management but can pose challenges like compatibility, data security, scalability, quality, and data acquisition accuracy.

Addressing these challenges includes:

  • Conducting thorough system audits to identify potential points of conflict.
  • Implementing robust encryption protocols for data transmission to address security concerns.
  • Choosing Data acquisition designs with scalability features.
  • Implementing data validation and cleansing processes to identify and rectify errors.
  • Conducting comprehensive training programs for end-users and administrators.

DAQ Engineering Best Practices

How to Create Efficient DAQ Systems

  1. Define clear objectives and requirements.
  2. Select appropriate sensors and instruments.
  3. Consider scalability.
  4. Implement data validation and quality assurance techniques.
  5. Choose the right DAQ Hardware and Software.
  6. Implement real-time monitoring and alerts.
  7. Ensure data security and compliance.
  8. Plan for redundancy.
  9. Establish documentation and training protocols.
  10. Consider regular maintenance and upgrades.
  11. Contact an expert for your DAQ implementation.

Featured Projects

Our electrical engineering services expertise derives from working on several projects, such as fixing the Polycom soundstation’s audio issues, the second-generation design of the One Touch Systems digital audio board, and many more.

Machined aluminum drive plate designed in SolidWorks

This drive plate was designed to specific tolerances as a critical component in a system demanding optimum performance levels.

One Touch Systems digital audio board

Design incorporating digital audio and an RF converter that converts base-band video to NTSC channels 3 and 4. Functions also on this board are Analog telephone interface (FCC Part 68); RS485 serial communications; Display and front panel I/O; ISA bus interface.

Polycom SoundStation

High-end audio-conferencing equipment with audio quality achieved by grounding and power distribution techniques, as well as acoustic separation of the microphones and speaker – designed using a full-room anechoic chamber.

Acutus AcQMap System

Designed to provide a clear image of a heart’s electrical activity in real time, displayed as an electrical charge density map on three-dimensional surface anatomy reconstructed from ultrasound imaging.Designed to provide a clear image of a heart’s electrical activity in real time, displayed as an electrical charge density map on three-dimensional surface anatomy reconstructed from ultrasound imaging.

Phoenix ICON Ophthalmic Camera

Designed with low-power LED and CMOS sensor to provide highly-detailed ophthalmic imaging with low-light – improving patient comfort and care.