National Instruments Corporation, incorporated in May 1976, is a supplier of measurement and automation products that engineers and scientists use in a range of industries. These industries comprise a large and diverse market for design, control and test applications. The Company provides flexible application software and modular, multi-function hardware that users combine with computers, networks and third-party devices to create measurement, automation and embedded systems, which the Company also refers to as virtual instruments. National Instruments Corporation’s application software products include LabVIEW, LabVIEW Real-Time, LabVIEW FPGA, Measurement Studio, LabWindows/CVI, DIAdem, NI TestStand, NI VeriStand and Multisim. Its hardware and related driver software products include data acquisition (DAQ), PXI chassis and controllers, image acquisition, motion control, distributed input/output (I/O), modular instruments and embedded control hardware/software, industrial communications interfaces, general-purpose interface bus (GPIB) interfaces and VME extensions for instrumentation (VXI) controllers.


Application Software

The Company offers a variety of software products for developing test, control and design applications to meet the customer’s programming and computer preferences. LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio are programming environments, with which users can design, prototype and deploy systems. With these software products, users can design custom virtual instruments by creating a graphical user interface (GUI) on the computer screen, through which they operate the actual program and control selected hardware. 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. LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio also have ready-to-use libraries for controlling thousands of programmable instruments, including the Company’s hardware products, as well as traditional serial General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB), PCI Express, PCI Extensions for Instrumentation (PXI), PXI Express, Ethernet and USB measurement and automation devices from other vendors.

The principal difference between LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio is in the way users develop programs. With LabVIEW, users program graphically, developing application programs by connecting icons to create block diagrams, which are natural design notations for scientists and engineers. With LabVIEW Real-Time, the user’s application program can be configured to execute using a real-time operating system kernel instead of the Windows operating system, which allows users to build virtual instrument solutions for mission-critical applications that require highly reliable operation. In addition, with LabVIEW Real-Time, users can configure their programs to execute remotely on embedded processors inside PXI systems, on embedded processors inside CompactRIO distributed I/O systems, or on processors embedded on plug-in PC data acquisition boards.

With LabVIEW FPGA, the user’s application can be configured to execute directly in silicon via a field programmable gate array (FPGA) residing on one of the Company’s reconfigurable I/O hardware products. LabVIEW FPGA allows users to build their own specialized, custom hardware devices for high-performance requirements or for unique or own measurement or control protocols. With LabWindows/CVI, users use the conventional, text-based language of C. Measurement Studio consists of measurement and automation add-on libraries and additional tools for programmers that use Microsoft’s Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual C#, and Visual Studio.NET development environments.

National Instruments Corporation offers a software product called NI TestStand targeted for test and measurement applications in a manufacturing environment. 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. TestStand manages tests that are written in LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Measurement Studio, C and C++, and Visual Basic, so that test engineers can share and re-use test code throughout their organization and from one product to the next. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company introduced NI VeriStand, a ready-to-use 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 variety of software environments; build test system user interfaces quickly, and add custom functionality using NI LabVIEW, NI TestStand, and other software environments.

Hardware Products and Related Driver Software

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. It offers a range of computer-based DAQ products, including models for digital, analog and timing I/O, and for transferring data directly to a computer’s random access memory.

National Instruments Corporation’s PXI modular instrument platform is a PC packaged in a small, rugged form factor with expansion slots and instrumentation extensions. It combines mainstream PC software and PCI hardware with advanced instrumentation capabilities. The Company offers a variety of modular instrument devices used in general purpose test and communication test applications. These devices include digitizers, digital multimeters, signal generators, RF analyzers/generators, power supplies, and switch modules that users can configure through software to meet their specific measurement tasks.

The Company’s motion control products offer a solution for motion system design. From automating test equipment and research labs to controlling biomedical, packaging, and manufacturing machines, engineers use our motion products to meet a diverse set of application challenges. Its distributed I/O products, including Compact FieldPoint, and CompactRIO, are designed for remote measurement, industrial control, and embedded data-logging applications. Compact FieldPoint is an intelligent, distributed, and modular I/O system that gives industrial system developers a solution for distributed data acquisition, monitoring and control applications.
The Company is a supplier of GPIB interface boards and driver software to control traditional GPIB instruments. These traditional instruments are manufactured by a variety of third-party vendors and are used primarily in time and measurement applications. Its diverse 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 standard parallel, USB, IEEE 1394 (Firewire), Ethernet and serial ports. National Instruments Corporation is a supplier of VXI computer controller hardware and the accompanying NI-VXI and NI-VISA driver software. It also offers LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Measurement Studio and TestStand software products for VXI systems.

Customer Training Courses

The Company offers fee-based training classes and self-paced course kits for many of its software and hardware products. Onsite courses are quoted per customer requests. It also offers programs to certify programmers and instructors for its products.

The Company competes with Agilent Technologies Inc.
National Instruments Corp is engaged in supplying measurement and automation products used in a range of industries. The company was founded in 1976 by President and Chairman Dr. James J. Truchard, a former managing director of the Applied Research Laboratories’ Acoustical Measurements Division at the University of Texas at Austin. It has its headquarters located in Travis, Texas in the United States.
National Instruments is a leader in developing computer-based instrumentation hardware and software products used in a broad spectrum of industries, spread across two large markets, namely, test and measurement and industrial automation. It has direct operations in nearly 40 countries. Its products were sold to more than 2,500 companies in 90 countries in 2005.
The company supplies instrumentation hardware and graphical software which convert standard PCs into industrial automation and test and measurement systems. These virtual instruments have different features like observing, measuring and controlling electrical signals and physical attributes such as voltage and pressure.
National Instruments is involved in offering programming environments for creating customizable graphical interfaces, controlling instruments and capturing and analyzing data. It is also involved in the provision of test management software for running automated factory test systems.

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