Testing & Analysis

Unattended Testing: Part 2

Today there is a way to move high sample rate structural tests, which were previously limited to a laboratory, out of the simulation setting and directly onto equipment in the field, where more authentic measurements can be gathered. Among the key advantages of this integrated testing approach is the ability to gather a month or longer snapshot of high-frequency data measuring such things as vibration and strain through dozens of channels, and all from a single site visit for the initial install.

Unattended Data Acquisition and Analysis provides the ability to gather, process, and interpret terabytes of data captured during months long, high-frequency tests of equipment on the fly.  As a result of these deep dive testing and analysis methods, manufacturers are gaining invaluable snapshots of in the field stresses that can then be used to troubleshoot equipment failures, tweak product designs or even adjust validation tests to more accurately reflect real world environments. This long-term approach to field testing and analyzing off-highway and construction equipment provides engineers with a far more complete picture of the actual environment and stresses that lead to structural failures.

 How Does it Work?

Employing sophisticated testing software, the system captures and streams data to a portable USB hard drive with on-board analysis results files and data plots uploaded to a cloud server. Within minutes of a data set being recorded results can be viewed or downloaded on a PC or mobile device. Allowing data to be remotely accessed, downloaded, and checked provides a whole new level of visibility and control. Furthermore the two-way communication process allows testing to be modified without visiting the site or interrupting the operation.

In the past testing was limited to collecting only low frequency data. Today, one might need to sample at a rate of 5,000 Hz (or 5,000 data samples per second). Now employing an unattended testing approach a tremendous amount of data can be sampled, up to 30 to 200 channels, taken over weeks or months and stored on the equipment for analysis.  This has ramifications throughout a wide variety of industries: Off-Highway, Construction, Aerospace, Transportation, Medical and so on. In fact it’s difficult to imagine an industry where unattended testing will not have an impact.

Example: Emission Standards

As an example: The recent announcement of tighter Tier 4 Emission Standards sent the off-highway industry scrambling for answers.

  • How are exhaust treatment systems best mounted on equipment?
  • Will the design/structure withstand long-term engine vibration and operating conditions? 
  • What is the normal and extreme range of conditions to which the exhaust treatment system be subjected?
  • To what degree will electronic components withstand vibration?

Because engines and electronic emission control components are subject to different environmental, operating, and vibrations a way was needed to determine the best design for mounting the emission control system to the engine.  Accurate long-term field data was needed to create baseline data for simulation, laboratory, mass table testing and accelerated testing.  This proved to be an excellent application for unattended testing. 

With this detailed information, off highway manufacturers can incorporate the necessary changes to meet rigid emission standards without introducing new mechanical problems.

Next up: Putting the data to work.

 

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