This is my first time at NI Week and the first word that comes to mind is
“impressive.” Throughout the morning keynote presentations on Tuesday, you could really tell that the NI staff, from marketing to product managers and design engineers, truly love what they do here and enjoy making the products that will, in their words, “change the world.”
I have always been familiar with National Instruments’ technology but until those first presentations, I never realized the extent of where the company’s software and hardware is utilized. From medical device and semiconductor manufacturing, to outrageous applications including a 700-mph jet car from North American Eagle and even the study of dark matter, NI’s graphical system design’s are quickly moving us towards the coming fourth industrial revolution, where cyber physical systems will transform the industrial world.
In an introductory meeting, I learned how the company was visualized from the get-go. According to Norma Fu Dorst, Director, Global Insights at NI, the goal of its founders was to give engineers the platform and tools to customize their systems, instead of being shackled with an unchangeable box or being forced to build something from the ground up.
“Enginering is hard, and is getting harder,” Dorst said. “Our goal is to make it so engineers don’t have build from scratch.”
A brief introduction of NI’s new servo and stepper motors and drives was intriguing, as the company moves towards providing its users with a complete system. In 2008, NI partnered with Kolmorgen to offer servo drives and motors, and this year, NI is launching a stepper line through a partnership with Applied Motion Products. NI will be private labeling these components, so users will only get them through NI. The new lines include NEMA 17 to 23 integrated stepper motors with nine different options. A standalone drive option ranges from NEMA 8 to 34.
I look forward to today’s presentations, as I learned a bit about some of the applications NI will highlight then, such as a portable milk chilling system, work on the CERN Hadron collider, technology to help cure tumors, and more. I am looking forward to walking the exhibit floor and seeing NI’s systems in action in vision, sensing, robotics, test and measurement, and more.