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Determinism, flexibility and reliability: Symplify on CompactRIO

The NI CompactRIO is a compact, rugged and highly deterministic platform to run a large any control or headless datalogging application. Described as Programmable Automation Controller (“PAC”), they offer similar reliability as PLC but more flexibility.

This flexibility comes from 4 key aspects:

  1. compatible with LabVIEW, a complete programming language
  2. Wide range of module for control and acquisition
  3. built-in FPGA to program any hardware timed control functions
  4. leverage Linux function since the CompactRIO uses Linux RT

cRIO System

Symplify and the CompactRIO

Symplify is written entirely in LabVIEW and Synovus completed all the development and validation to make its function run natively on the CompactRIO. From small changes in folder structure to decoupling every UI from the actual function (datalogging, System Log, Scripts and automation, etc.) our platform can be used in that deterministic target.

Typical Symplify based solution on the NI CompactRIO
Typical Symplify based solution on the NI CompactRIO

Symplify division of labor – Functionality and user interface

At the heart of our systems is the fast and lightweight communication between each function and its user interface. When a Symplify application is deployed on a CompactRIO, another Symplify application running on a PC can connect to it and monitor, in real-time and without impact on performance, any Tag or performance of each code section.

LabVIEW code example of performance monitoring in microseconds
LabVIEW code example of performance monitoring in microseconds

The user interface on the computer can also be used to configure the data logging, start a script or view thousands of points per second in real-time. The image below shows 2 section of codes inside a 1ms timed loop reporting on their execution time.

Symplify on CompactRIO code execution time monitoring in microseconds
Symplify on CompactRIO code execution time monitoring in microseconds

When no computer is connected to the CompactRIO, it can still perform all of its functions and store results locally or on a network location. At any time, it is possible to connect and view real-time as well as historical information while the application is running. This is very useful to troubleshoot in 60s, 24/7.

FPGA portion

Symplify doesn’t include any special FPGA functions. Those are usually application specific and most applications can rely on NI DAQmx drivers rather than custom FPGA logic. Symplify can expose on graphs any result of calculation from the FPGA, even at 1MS/s when those are transferred to the CPU portion of the application.


See the interaction between a PC and a Real-time target in the video below.

You can read about how Synovus virtualized a complete tractor from Versatile to accelerate their firmware validation: Versatile case study

Read more about interesting applications with the CompactRIO directly on NI website.

Visit our video gallery now to see Symplify in action

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