Data acquisition and hardware range

Itasca Consulting Ltd’s (ICL) hardware range includes the data acquisition equipment which is used to acquire the measured AE data and sensor interface instrumentation used to the provide signal amplification and filtering of the AE sensor signals and the multi-channel logic functionality for multiple triggering.

ICL’s hardware range can be used for a range of applications including:

  • Microseismic (MS) and acoustic emission (AE) event monitoring;
  • Ultrasonic velocity surveying;
  • Vibration monitoring;
  • Research- and laboratory-based high speed data acquisition;
  • General applications requiring high trigger rates and multi-channel triggering.

The AE monitoring system acquires data in either trigger mode which is also referred to as trigger-hit based acquisition or continuous mode. In trigger mode, data are acquired on all channels and validated against defined trigger specifications so that only valid triggered data events i.e. events of interest are acquired and recorded to hard-disk. Analysis of triggered data can be performed in real-time or offline in the InSite-Lab seismic processing software.

In continuous mode all data are acquired and streamed to disk which provides the user with a full record of data acquired during testing. Analysis of continuous data is done exclusively offline.

For both trigger and continuous systems, data acquisition software utilities provide an easy to use graphical user interface for configuring the equipment and selecting the different hardware settings and options.

The trigger based acquisition and AE monitoring systems include:

  • Milne16 - The Milne16 is a multi-channel 16-bit data acquisition system, comprising a rackmount industrial PC (3U in height) with integrated data acquisition cards. The Milne can provide up to 32 channels of data acquisition with synchronous and simultaneous sampling at up to 40 MS/s (depending on Milne model) on all channels.
  • Cecchi - The Cecchi is a low cost USB based 4-channel unit providing 12-bit data acquisition at up to 50 MS/s per channel. Multiple Cecchi units can be combined to provide a large number of channels.

The Trigger-Hit-Count (THC) system which provides the trigger and hit count logic during acoustic emission (AE) monitoring and testing is used with either of the above acquisition systems to provide a trigger based AE monitoring system.

The continuous based acquisition and AE monitoring system include:

  • Richter16 - The Richter16 is a 4-channel 16-bit data acquisition unit, comprising a rackmount industrial  PC (3U in height) with an integrated data acquisition card providing simultaneous sampling at up to 10 MS/s on all channels. Multiple Richter units can be combined (in a master-slave configuration) to provide a larger system of channels.

The Sensor Interface Instrumentation includes:

  • THCThe Trigger hit Count (THC) provides multi-channel trigger logic for triggering data acquisition of discrete events. The hit-count analysis provides the number of threshold crossings counted per channel over a specified period. These user specified parameters (e.g. the number of channels that need to be hit before a trigger is generated, the trigger threshold value and timing window etc.) are setup and controlled within the data acquisition software modules.
  • PAS - The Pulser-Amplifier System (PAS) consists of the pre-amplifier units (PADs) and Pulser Interface Unit (PIU). It provides an innovative system of switching between pulsing and receiving mode for all transducers in a multi-sensor ultrasonic survey. The ultrasonic surveys can be used to ‘actively’ examine laboratory samples and measure changes in velocities and amplitudes, which can be interpreted in terms of changes in the material properties of the test specimen.

The system switches around all transducers in an ultrasonic array, allowing each to act as both a transmitter and a receiver, thus optimising ray path coverage and eliminating the need for dedicated transmitters.

Each PAD unit has selectable gains between 30 dB and 70 dB, and a broad frequency response with a plug-in filter circuit to tailor the unit to the desired frequency range (default passband is 100 KHz to 1 MHz).