Testing & Analysis

Avoiding Death by Data

Facing a mountain of engineering test results, 6D customizes ways to sift through a massive amount of data and deliver a succinct set of recommendations. 

A client calls 6D in need of complex validation testing. They need answers fast, but the analysis alone will require processing an avalanche of information to produce a thorough report that reveals potential design issues.

Need Answers Fast

A manufacturer needed validation testing done on an industrial 38-ton, on-highway vehicle due in their customers’ hands in just a few months.  Working closely with sister firm Integrated Test & Measurement, 6D oversaw several days of in-the-field testing on the multi-million dollar unit.

In the end, engineers instrumented the equipment and gathered nearly 300 channels of accelerometer and strain gauge signals at once while putting the unit through its paces during both operational and transport tests. By the time testing was complete, more than 275 test files were recorded for each and every signal — piling up close to 80,000 data sets in all.

Data into Information

“The challenge becomes what do you do with all that data once you have it,” said 6D Project Manager Garth Wiley. “We calculated it would take about 660 man hours to just open each file and view it. Then we figured by the time you processed it, it was easily one man year.”

The needed initial results in a matter of weeks as the equipment was due for shipment, and they needed to correct any critical design issues prior to delivery.

  • 6D implemented a big-data software solution to automate the process of searching through the thousands of files for significant events.
  • The solution isolated peak accelerations, velocities and displacements to discover significant damaging events far more quickly.
  • Several structural points of interest were quickly isolated.


The results indicated a clear problem with a key support structure on the unit, which 6D recommended structural reinforcement.

“If you spend much time manually looking at all of this data and trying to draw some conclusions, you really appreciate how important it is to have a process to separate the wheat from the chaff,” said Wiley. “We were able to grab 21 gigabytes of data, process it and get it down to these few areas of concern. And in this case, it was critical because they did have some problem issues and they were able to fix them quickly.”

A Systems Approach

​It is a rarity, particularly outside of the automotive industry, to have the ability to interpret such mass amounts of test data.  This is a strength of 6D based in the company’s systems-wide approach to problem solving.

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