Profile: National Instruments Corp (NATI.OQ)
26 Oct 2016
National Instruments Corporation (NI), incorporated on May 3, 1994, designs, manufactures and sells systems to engineers and scientists. The Company offers graphical system design approach to engineering, which provides an integrated software and hardware platform for measurement and control systems. Its products include reusable hardware and software modules. The Company offers a range of measurement, automation and control products to work either separately, as stand-alone products or as an integrated system or as an integrated system. The Company offers products, technology and services, which include system design software, programming tools, application software, modular hardware products and related driver software, production test systems, NI education platform, software products for teaching and hardware products for teaching. The Company also offers NI Services, including hardware services and maintenance, software maintenance services, and training and certification.
The Company's products are used across various industries in a range of applications, including research and development, simulation and modeling, product design, prototype and validation, production testing and industrial control and field and factory service and repair. It serves the industries and applications across the world, such as advanced research, automotive, automated test equipment, consumer electronics, commercial aerospace, computers and electronics, continuous process manufacturing, education, government/defense, medical research/pharmaceutical, power/energy, semiconductors, telecommunications and others. It has base of over 35,000 customers around the world. It distributes and sells software and hardware products through a direct sales organization. It also uses independent distributors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), value-added resellers (VARs), system integrators and consultants to market and sell its products.
System Design Software
The Company's software product, LabVIEW, a development environment with hardware integration that engineers and scientists need to design and deploy measurement, automation and control systems. With LabVIEW, users program graphically and can design custom virtual instruments by connecting graphical icons with software wires to create block diagrams. Users can customize front panels with knobs, buttons, dials and graphs to emulate control panels of instruments or add custom graphics to visually represent the control and operation of processes. The LabVIEW programming environment is graphical, with engineering-specific libraries of software engineering functions and hardware interfaces. It also offers data analysis, visualization and sharing features. LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA are strategic modular software add-ons to LabVIEW. With LabVIEW Real-Time, the user can configure their application program to execute using a real-time operating system kernel instead of a general purpose operating system, so users can build deterministic solutions. In addition, with LabVIEW Real-Time, users can configure their programs to operate remotely on embedded processors in Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Extensions for Instrumentation (PXI)-based systems, on embedded processors inside NI CompactRIO distributed input/output (I/O) systems, or on processors embedded on plug-in personal computer (PC) data acquisition boards. With LabVIEW FPGA, the user can configure their application to execute directly in silicon through a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) residing on one of its reconfigurable I/O hardware products. LabVIEW FPGA allows users to build their own specialized, custom hardware devices.
The Company's LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite is a targeted version of LabVIEW that is built for wireless prototyping. This customized version includes new workflows, specialized Internet Protocol (IP), and offers a design environment closely integrated with NI software defined radio (SDR) hardware for prototyping communications systems, including FPGA-based SDR hardware. Users define and manage the entire prototyping process with a single design tool and deploy new algorithms to hardware. LabVIEW Communications also provides a plug-in architecture to offer productive starting points with open application frameworks.
The Company offers LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio as alternative programming environments, in addition to LabVIEW. LabWindows/CVI users use the conventional, text-based programming language of C for creating test and control applications. LabWindows/CVI also provides a Real-Time module to allow for C-based development of real-time systems in automated test applications. Measurement Studio consists of measurement and automation add-on libraries and additional tools for programmers preferring Microsoft's Visual Studio development environments.
The Company offers a suite of application software products, including NI TestStand, NI VeriStand, NI DIAdem, NI InsightCM Enterprise and NI Multisim. NI TestStand is focused for test and measurement (T&M) applications in a manufacturing environment. NI TestStand is a test management environment for organizing, controlling and running automated prototype; validation, and manufacturing test systems. It also generates customized test reports and integrates product and test data across the customers' enterprise and across the Internet. NI TestStand manages tests that are written in LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Measurement Studio, C and C++ and Microsoft Visual Basic, so test engineers can share and re-use test code throughout their organization and from one product to the next.
The Company's NI VeriStand is a software environment for configuring real-time testing applications, including hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test systems. With NI VeriStand, users configure real-time I/O, stimulus profiles, data logging, alarming and other tasks; implement control algorithms or system simulations by importing models from a range of software environments; build test system user interfaces, and add custom functionality using NI LabVIEW, NI TestStand and other software environments. NI DIAdem offers users with configuration-based technical data management, analysis and report generation tools to mine and analyze data. NI DIAdem helps users make informed decisions for testing environments, which require access to large volumes of scattered data, consistent reporting and data visualization. NI InsightCM Enterprise is a software solution with integrated hardware options for monitoring critical and ancillary rotating equipment. NI Multisim is a Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) simulation environment.
Modular Hardware Products and Related Driver Software
The Company uses technology, such as the microprocessors, Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs), FPGAs, and PC busses in hardware and solutions for a range of applications from automated test and data logging to industrial control, and embedded design. The Company's hardware and related driver software products include data acquisition (DAQ), PXI chassis and controllers, modular instruments, image acquisition, motion control, distributed I/O, industrial communications interfaces, General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB) interfaces, embedded control hardware/software and VERSA-Module Euro (VME) Extension for Instrumentation (VXI) Controllers. The Company's DAQ hardware and driver software products are instruments on a board that users can combine with sensors, signal conditioning hardware and software to acquire analog data and convert it into a digital format that can be accepted by a computer. The Company offers a range of computer-based DAQ products with a range of form factors and degrees of performance. Its CompactDAQ, is a portable, Universal Serial Bus (USB) data acquisition system designed for mixed-signal measurement systems. The platform also offers stand-alone systems for embedded measurement and logging. NI DAQ products also include X Series DAQ, which delivers measurement, generation, timing and triggering on a single device.
The Company's PXI modular instrument platform is a PC packaged with expansion slots and instrumentation extensions for timing, triggering and signal sharing. It combines mainstream PC software and PCI hardware with instrumentation capabilities. The Company offers a range of modular instrument devices used in general purpose test and communication test applications. These devices include digitizers, digital multimeters, signal generators, radio frequency (RF) analyzers/generators, power supplies, source measurement units and switch modules that users can configure through software. The Company's machine vision platform includes a range of hardware platform options, from embedded NI Smart Cameras that integrate the sensor and processor in a single package to plug-in boards for PCI and PXI systems. The Company offers two software options for use across the entire NI vision hardware portfolio. A user can configure a system with NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection, a stand-alone package for machine vision, or program it using the NI Vision Development Module, a library of imaging functions. With NI Vision hardware, a user can build high-performance, PC based systems using the latest processor techniques with NI Frame Grabbers.
The Company's motion control products offer a solution for motion system design. The motion control products are applicable in automating test equipment and research labs to controlling biomedical, packaging and manufacturing machines. The Company offers NI LabVIEW Reconfigurable I/O (RIO) Architecture. All RIO hardware systems, which include CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, R Series boards and PXI-based FlexRIO products that combines a floating-point processor, reconfigurable FPGA and modular I/O. Engineers can program all RIO hardware components with LabVIEW, including the LabVIEW FPGA Module, to create custom timing, signal processing and control for I/O. The Company offers interface boards for communicating with serial devices, such as data loggers and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) targeted for industrial/embedded applications, and bench top instruments, such as oscilloscopes, targeted for test and measurement applications.
The Company offers hardware and driver software product lines for communication with industrial devices, such as Controller Area Network (CAN), DeviceNet, Foundation Fieldbus, and RS-485 and RS-232. The Company is a supplier of GPIB interface boards and driver software to control traditional instruments. Its portfolio of hardware and software products for GPIB instrument control is available for a range of computers. The Company's GPIB product line also includes products for controlling GPIB instruments using the computer's parallel, USB, Ethernet and serial ports.
Production Test Systems
The Company offers enclosed PXI-based systems targeted to specific applications, in addition to modular software and hardware components that engineers combine to create systems. The NI Semiconductor Test System (STS) series combines modular instrumentation and system design software for RF and mixed-signal production test. These systems feature production-ready test systems that use NI technology in a form factor suitable for a semiconductor production test environment. The STS combines the NI PXI platform, TestStand test management software, and LabVIEW graphical programming inside an enclosed test head. Built on PXI, multicore, and FPGA technologies, the NI Wireless Test System (WTS) offers measurement speed to help its customers. The WTS integrates into a manufacturing line using reference test sequences, integrated device under test (DUT) control and remote automation control for system deployment.
NI Education Platform
The Company's NI education platform combines software, hardware and courseware. The Company has a range of products designed for education that allows students to start learning at the primary and secondary school levels using the programming language and platform they will use in engineering classes at the university level, for post-graduate research, and in the industry once they enter the engineering workforce. Its solutions offer academic institutions an integration across various science and engineering disciplines.
Software Products for Teaching
The Company has developed NI Multisim Circuit Design Software is SPICE simulation environment. Multisim Education Edition provides the ability to move students from theory to simulation to the lab. Its LabVIEW for Education is a graphical system design environment used on campuses to deliver hands-on learning to the classroom. LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is a version of LabVIEW specifically designed to extend the LEGO MINDSTORM set's teaching power. LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS prepares students for university courses and engineering careers where LabVIEW is already in use.
Hardware Products for Teaching
The Company's National Instruments Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS) measurement and prototyping platform delivers hands-on lab experience with an integrated suite of the commonly used instruments in one compact form factor specifically designed for education. NI LabVIEW graphical system designs software, NI ELVIS, with data acquisition and USB plug-and-play capabilities, offers users the flexibility of virtual instrumentation and allows for measurement acquisition and instrumentation across various disciplines. NI myDAQ Measurement and Instrumentation Device is engineered to work with LabVIEW. A user can start with built-in virtual instruments, or get creative and connect the user's own sensors and controls. NI myDAQ combines hardware with eight ready-to-run software-defined instruments, including a function generator, oscilloscope, and digital multimeter (DMM). These software instruments are also used on the NI ELVIS hardware platform. NI myRIO places dual-core real-time processing and FPGA customizable I/O into the hands of students. NI Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) is a radio that turns a standard PC into a wireless prototyping platform.
The Company offers hardware services and maintenance, including system configuration and deployment, and calibration, and warranty and repair; software maintenance services, and training and certification. Its trained technicians install software and hardware and configure its customers' PXI, PXI/SCXI combination, and NI CompactRIO system to their specifications. NI provides calibration solutions, including recalibration services, manual calibration procedures, and automated calibration software. It offers standard and extended warranties, and provides repair services for its products, express repair and advance replacement services. Its Standard Service Program (SSP) and Enterprise Agreements (EAs) provides the end user with regular product upgrades and service packs, professional technical support from local engineers, 24-hour a day access to self-paced online product training, and access to older versions of their owned software.
The Company competes with Keysight Technologies Inc.
National Instruments Corp
11500 N Mopac Expy
AUSTIN TX 78759-3504