Posts

iTestSystem Application: Notification Service

Get Your Engineering Data When it Counts using ITM’s iTestSystem Software 

In a world where we’ve grown accustomed to knowing about important events or crucial information nearly immediately, it may be of little surprise that the architects who build engineering measurement software included powerful notification abilities. 

An Amazon package delivery to your doorstep now prompts an email, a text or even a blinking light on your Alexa or Google Assistant. 

At Integrated Test & Measurement, the engineers behind iTestSystem applied this need-to-know concept to the latest version of their powerful and proprietary data-collection tool. In this blog, a new series by ITM, we’ll share details about iTestSystem’s “Notification Services” feature, which is commonly used to to pass crucial engineering data — think strain and vibration — to those who need it most and just in time. 

By pairing Notification Services with the Automated Analytics feature in iTestSystem, engineers are able to greatly simplify processes that require hunting down system operation outliers or damaging events. The Automated Analytics application allows users to analyze, build, and send sensor level reports only when specific vibration and strain limits are exceeded. In the end, that leads to a massive time savings. Instead of searching through streams of data files, engineers can easily review the report and download relevant data files from deployed systems for further analysis. 

Does your project involve the need to deploy unattended or “black box” data acquisition systems in the field? If so, iTestSystem may be the ideal solution. 

Here’s how Notification Services works: 

As mentioned above, users can pair the Automated Analytics feature with the power of Notification Services, an iTestSystem feature that allows reports — including helpful graphs — to be automatically sent to them daily, weekly or whenever most useful. This feature is especially beneficial if engineers do not have access to the equipment being monitored.  

Once you’ve configured your cDAQ hardware, project path and sensor channels in iTestSystem, set up your MultiDAQ and record a sample TDMS file. Then simply open Automated Analytics to set up and run a new automation. After that’s complete, configure Notifications Services on the schedule of your liking. 

Rather than getting buried in a mountain of raw data files that require processing later, users can easily set up an automated routine using iTestSystem’s Automated Analytics feature and configure Notification Services to dispatch regular reports or only ping over when a system achieves any of countless thresholds.

About iTestSystem

iTestSystem is an engineering measurement software platform that enables test engineers to organize, acquire, view, and analyze data from machinery, processes, vehicles and other complex systems.  iTestSystem was specifically designed for use with National Instruments (NI) cDAQ hardware for data collection and data logging.   

 For more information about our iTestSystem or ITM’s testing services, contact Ryan Welker @ (844) 837-8797 x702.

Automate Complex Analysis of Engineering Data Using iTestSystem

Does your project involve the need to deploy unattended or “black box” data acquisition systems in the field? If so, our engineering software known as iTestSystem, a proprietary product developed by Integrated Test & Measurement, may be the ideal solution. 

In this blog, a new series by ITM, we’ll share details about iTestSystem’s “Automated Analytics” feature, which is commonly used to to constantly analyze strain and vibration data on machinery, vehicles and industrial processes. 

By using the Automated Analytics feature in iTestSystem, engineers are able to greatly simplify processes that require hunting down system operation outliers or damaging events. The Automated Analytics application allows users to analyze, build, and send sensor level reports only when specific vibration and strain limits are exceeded. In the end, that leads to a massive time savings.  Instead of searching through streams of data files, engineers can easily review the report and download relevant data files from deployed systems for further analysis. 

Here’s how Automated Analytics works: 

Rather than getting buried in a mountain of raw data files that require processing later, users can easily set up an automated routine using iTestSystem’s Automated Analytics — just one feature among the many analysis applications built into the latest version of this powerful tool.

Once you’ve configured your cDAQ hardware, project path and sensor channels in iTestSystem, set up your MultiDAQ and record a sample TDMS file. Then simply open Automated Analytics to set up and run a new automation. 

Users assign a “Watch Directory,” and any TDMS files they pull into that directory will have the automated sequence of events they chose applied to those files automatically. Simply click into the properties for any file to reveal the newly embedded statistics or analysis data within. 

Users can pair the Automated Analytics feature with the power of Notification Services, an iTestSystem feature that allows reports — including helpful graphs — to be automatically sent to them daily, weekly or whenever most useful. This feature is especially beneficial if engineers do not have access to the equipment being monitored.  

Stay tuned for additional iTestSystem features, including the ability to set up Trigger Analysis events so reports are only dispatched when the data reaches a certain threshold.  

About iTestSystem

iTestSystem is an engineering measurement software platform that enables test engineers to organize, acquire, view, and analyze data from machinery, processes, vehicles and other complex systems.  iTestSystem was specifically designed for use with National Instruments (NI) cDAQ hardware for data collection and data logging.   

For more information about our iTestSystem or ITM’s testing services, contact Ryan Welker @ (844) 837-8797 x702.

iTestSystem Application: TestView Plus

Tach Signal in TestView Plus

TestView Plus is an iTestSystem application for quick and easy viewing and analysis of data recorded in .TDMS files.  Test engineers can open data files and then simply drag and drop data channels into a variety of graphs and tables.  Data plotting algorithms allow for viewing and zooming into even the largest data files without running into memory issues.

TestView Plus has many features that allow test engineers to manage multiple data analysis projects at once.  TestView Plus Sessions allow for fast transitions between data processing projects.  A Session retains the current tab and graph information, analysis files, and data workspace.  TestView Plus Windows and Tabs allow for quickly adding and ordering new and existing data views.  The TestView Plus Reporting Utility allows for simple customized layouts sized to fit neatly in a report or presentation.

Besides data viewing, TestView Plus also provides access to the iTestSystem analysis functions.  Data analysis can be performed on data in an active Time History graph.  To run an Analysis tool, select an icon in the Analysis toolbar or select an option in the “Analysis” dropdown in menu toolbar.  Once the analysis is performed, the results will be graphed in a new window.

Collect Vehicle CAN Bus data with NI 9862 and iTestSystem

Automotive and off-highway engineers and designers often need to log vehicle bus data along with vibration, strain gauge, and other sensor data during normal operation to evaluate their design.  Using data from all these sources enables these engineers and designers to pinpoint a vehicle’s response to staged or damaging events.  For example, engineers can see how steering wheel position and speed effect structural response when the vehicle hits a pothole.

How does steering wheel position and speed effect structural response when the vehicle hits a pothole?

In situations where our engineers need to tap into the vehicle’s on-board diagnostics using CAN bus data and analog sensor data to identify and solve a problem, we will deploy a rugged measurement solution based on NI CompactDAQ (cDAQ) hardware.  These systems usually include an industrial compact pc or standalone cDAQ running the iTestSystem engineering measurement application.  iTestSystem logs data from the vehicle bus connected to NI 9862 CAN module and other analog sensors connected to NI cDAQ modules like NI 9234, NI 9236, and NI 9229 into one data file.

NI 9862 CAN Module Specifications and Connections

According to the NI data sheet, the NI 9862 modules is a single CAN port device that is isolated from the other modules in the system. The port has a Bosch DCAN CAN controller that is CAN 2.0B-compatible and fully supports both 11-bit and 29-bit identifiers. The port also has an NXP TJA1041AT High-Speed CAN transceiver that is fully compatible with the ISO 11898 standard and supports baud rates up to 1 Mbps.  This module requires +9 to +30 VDC supply voltage to operate.

The table below shows the connections between the NI 9862 9 pin D-Sub and the SAE J1962 connector that are required for CAN communication.  NI sells a OBDII9M-DB9F CAN Cable cable if you don’t want make your own cable.

iTestSystem CAN Channel Setup

Setting up a vehicle CAN bus connection can be difficult, especially if you need to acquire non-standard, proprietary messages and frames.  iTestSystem simplifies this setup by leveraging the NI XNET and CAN drivers to view and configure CAN bus data, import databases, and assign scale factors. iTestSystem then allows users to browse and choose which CAN signals to acquire.

For more information about collecting CAN bus data with an NI 9862 and iTestSystem, or our testing services, contact Chase Petzinger via email at chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com or phone at (844) 837-8797 x704

Related Links

ITM Gathers Dam Spillway Data During Midair Strain Gauge Project 

Garrison Dam

Suspended in a harness 30 feet above a concrete spillway in central North Dakota, ITM engineer Ryan “RJ” Matthews instruments the gate of one of the world’s largest earthen dams with dozens of strain gauge sensors. 

Integrated Test & Measurement’s field service technicians and engineers have installed strain gauges on civil structures and machinery around the globe for decades, and this project represents one more example of rugged data acquisition. In this instance, the team rappelled from an overhead abutment on the Garrison Dam — a 2-mile-long structure along the Missouri River built by the Army Corp. of Engineers starting in 1947. 

Contracted by Cotech IRM Services, ITM was charged with collecting data to measure the strain on one of the 28 spillway gates which are designed to raise and close to allow water to pass from the reservoir during rare flood events. Just behind those gates is Lake Sakakawea, one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. 

Garrison Dam Spillway

Despite the complex location, Matthews and co-worker Zach Strong were able to successfully instrument the spillway gate with 44 single-axis strain gauges and solder signal cables which lead back to a NICompactDAQ system connected to their laptop, allowing them to successfully gather streams of crucial data using iTestSystem while the gate was put through its paces.

The project is yet another example of ITM’s ability to combine the use of strain gauge sensors, a cDAQ system and the firm’s iTestSystem software to create a structural health monitoring system. In this instance, the project required only one-time testing, but ITM can also establish a permanent structural health monitoring system as well. iTestSystem is an engineering measurement software platform that enables test engineers to organize, acquire, view, and analyze data from machinery, processes, vehicles and other complex systems.  iTestSystem was specifically designed for use with National Instruments (NI) cDAQ hardware for data collection and data logging. 

For Matthews, it was his first experience installing strain gauges while strapped into a bosun’s chair and dangling in midair, but he points out that ITM’s strain gauge process is essentially the same whether their engineers are standing on a bridge or inside a railcar.  All that changes is the method of access and environment. 

His field notes reveal that each strain gauge on this job was wired in a quarter bridge configuration, which provides one individual measurement of strain (positive tension or negative compression) per location. All gauges were adhered to the gate using M-bond 200 epoxy.  A final report submitted to the customer contained detailed instrumentation and test notes and results reported in a series of stress/strain tables and stress graphs.

Contact ITM for your Strain Gauge Needs 

Installing strain gauges in the field for structural and fatigue measurements requires expertise and experience.  Whether you use our iTestSystem software to stream and analyze strain signals for static measurements and real-world fatigue data acquisition or contract our software engineers to build a real time strain monitoring system, we will make sure you acquire quality strain data. Contact our strain lab and technicians to install strain gauges on test specimens or to design, build, calibrate, and test strain-based load cells.

Strain Lab Contact Info: Ryan.Welker@iTestSystem.com, (844) 837-8797

 

iTestSystem Application: MultiDAQ

iTestSystem MultiDAQ

MultiDAQ is a configurable general data logging and real-time data viewing application for iTestSystem (iTS).  An intuitive user interface allows test technicians and engineers to choose sensor channels, synchronize DAQ hardware,  change sample rates,  setup input data filters, configure data file triggering, and manage automated data file naming.  Once configured, MultiDAQ provides graphical, tabular, and digital real-time data views for test operators to visualize data trends during the data collection process.

Function List

  • Stream data from multiple C-series NI chassis.
  • Stream data at different sample rates.
  • View real-time data, including RMS and waveform data in tables, graphs, colormaps, spectra, and waterfall graphs.
  • Alarm when signals exceed channel’s minimum or maximum values.
  • Trigger acquisitions based on custom duration or value trigger statements.

For more information about MultiDAQ or iTestSystem, contact Chase Petzinger via email at chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

Industrial Monitoring Tools: cRIO-9046 Embedded Controller

CompactRIO cRIO-9046

One of the tools our embedded software engineers commonly use for industrial control and process monitoring applications is the NI CompactRIO (cRIO) controller. These controllers let our engineers deploy autonomous systems that use complex algorithms to generate process outputs or key performance indicators (KPIs) from structural, vibration, and process monitoring sensors.

For example, in one of the latest industrial boiler monitoring applications, we embedded a cRIO-9046 controller with our Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) algorithms which are used to compute and then output equipment health and process efficiency KPIs. Let’s take a look at the cRIO-9046 controller’s specifications, functionality and programming.

cRIO-9046 is an 8-Slot CompactRIO Controller that has an Intel Atom 1.30 GHz Dual-Core CPU, 2 GB DRAM, 4 GB Storage, a Kintex-7 70T FPGA that can operate from -40 °C to 70 °C. The eight slots are used for C-Series conditioned IO modules that connect sensor inputs and data/control outputs and buses.

Its operating system, NI Linux Real-Time (64-bit), allows real-time performance with the usability desktop operating systems. Our engineers use Xilinx Kintex-7 7K70T FPGA to implement high-speed, (MHz) low-latency hardware-level data processing and decision-making . The cRIO-9046 also has several connectivity ports, including 2x Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, RS232, and RS485 ports.

Embedded LabVIEW developers can use these ports and standard communication protocol toolkits to develop standard or custom machine/system interfaces.

For a cRIO-9046 or other CompactRIOs to operate, custom LabVIEW RT applications must be developed and then deployed to each controller. Depending on the complexity of your application, you may also need to develop and deploy LabVIEW FPGA code to the cRIO’s FPGA. Over the years, our embedded software engineers have developed a standard architecture as well as software tools for communication and analysis routines to simplify the custom LabVIEW RT application development. They also have experience developing embedded LabVIEW FPGA code for advanced hardware-level signal processing.

For more information about the cRIO-9046 and our LabVIEW development capabilities, contact Mark Yeager via email at mark.yeager@itestsystem.com

Related Links

iTestSystem Application: Archive Manager

 

iTestSystem's Archive Manager Application

Managing data from autonomous data acquisition systems that generate megabyte and gigabyte data files can be a challenge. iTestSystem’s Archive Manager application simplifies this data collection challenge by allowing users to configure a local directory as a data file FIFO and a separate directory (usually on a USB drive) as a data archive.

When enabled, Archive Manager solves two problems common to DAQ systems: system crashes due to a full hard drives and removeable drive (USB/network drive) management.  The Archive Manager allows users to set a limit on the amount of data stored in a specific directory. It monitors this directory and removes older files to accommodate new data files (data file FIFO).  This application keeps track of all data files removed from the watch directory and all files moved to the archive directory.  This allows users to swap removeable drives on the fly without duplicating data files in the archive or interacting with the DAQ system’s HMI.

Another feature of the Archive Manager application that ensures autonomous DAQ system stability is the configuration backup process.  When enabled, the configuration backup service periodically copies all files added in the log file list to the archive directory.  Backing up files like the iTestSystem configuration file allows test engineers to keep track of setup changes that occur during a test or data logging project and restore previous configurations.

For more information about the iTestSystem Archive Manager or iTestSystem, contact Chase Petzinger via email at chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

High Channel Count Synchronous Datalogging

Faced with the challenge of testing a large and complex on‐highway vehicle, engineers from Integrated Test & Measurement knew it would take hundreds of channels…

Sound & Vibration DAQ Tools: NI-9231 Module

NI-9231 CompactDAQ Module

When measuring noise and vibration levels, our engineers use the NI-9231 sound and vibration module, a CompactDAQ chassis and a Laptop running iTestSystem for data logging and analysis. The NI-9231 module is an updated, higher channel count version of the NI-9234 module.

The NI-9231 is an 8 channel, 51.2 kS/s/channel, -5 V to 5 V, C Series Input Module with IEPE excitation that can be turned on and off, and open/short circuit detection. To increase channel capacity, these modules use 10-32 plug for its sensor input connections. NI provides a PCB Low Noise Coaxial Cable, 10 ft w/10-32 plug to BNC plug to accommodate most standard accelerometer and microphone connections.

For more information about doing data collection with the NI-9231, iTestSystem or sound and vibration measurements, contact Ryan Welker via email: ryan.welker@itestsystem.com or phone: (844) 837-8797 x702