ABB Improves Power Grid Reliability with NI Modular Instruments

  • April 13, 2004
  • National Instruments Corporation
  • News
NI Products Increase Surge Arrester Testing Accuracy by 14 TimesAUSTIN, Texas – April 13, 2004 – National Instruments today announced that ABB, a leader in power and automation technology, recently selected the 100 MS/s NI PXI-5122 high-resolution digitizer, NI LabVIEW 7 Express graphical development environment and MXI-3 high-speed interface link to improve the measurement accuracy of its high-voltage surge arrester test system. Compared to the company’s previous system, which was based on a 10-bit digitizer, the 14-bit resolution of the PXI-5122 digitizer improves measurement accuracy by 14 times. The system tests the air and gas insulated surge arresters that protect medium and high-voltage power lines from damaging overvoltages caused by lightning strikes or by certain switching operations in power systems.“We chose the 14-bit, 100 MS/s PXI-5122 digitizers to meet our 50 MS/s sampling rate and high-accuracy requirements,” said Stephan Hoffarth, head of test for ABB – Surge Arresters in Switzerland. “The PXI-based high-resolution digitizers greatly improved our measurement test results and data throughput, giving us a more complete characterization of the performance of our surge arresters.” ABB uses two NI PXI-5122 high-resolution digitizers, a component of the recently released NI mixed-signal suite, to accurately capture the voltage and current transient signals that occur during a 100 kA current impulse test designed to simulate a lightning strike. The company then uses LabVIEW analysis capabilities to determine peak value, rise time and time-to-half value. With the NI MXI-3 high-speed optical link, ABB achieves high data throughput and isolation, which increases measurement speed compared to the previous GPIB-based system.“ABB is one of many customers achieving success with the new mixed-signal suite of instruments from NI,” said Eric Starkloff, NI marketing manager for PXI and modular instrumentation. “The combination of modular hardware and powerful LabVIEW software gives engineers a fast, accurate and flexible platform to meet the requirements for a wide variety of applications.”About National InstrumentsNational Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.Readers may obtain investment information from the company’s investor relations department by calling (512) 683-5090, by sending e-mail to or by visiting

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