Testing Philosophy (cont.)
Besides the two fundamental modules which make the test system a "dyno" system, there are other computer controlled components in the system to conduct the test as closely to real conditions as possible. This can be illustrated by the example of testing gears using the so-called Single Flank Method or SFT. During this test, both the gear and pinion are tested in dyno mode: the pinion is driven by the input motor at desired RPM and the gear is attached to the load. Sometimes it is critical to repeat the same test under different pinion and gear positions called mounting conditions and compare the results.
For other tests, such as a transmission test, there is a requirement to perform shifting during the test and to measure the shifting effort. All those additional controlled components during the dyno test, besides the main dyno parameters, are called environmental conditions and their nature and requirements can vary from test to test. GEI provides an interface and application programs to control these conditions during the test.
A significant part of the software and hardware components of our test systems are built based on modular approach with building blocks which can be reused in many different dyno configurations. These may have different parameters but in general they follow the same dyno philosophy.
After developing four or five different dyno configurations we can design practically any new dyno system by "recycling" the same philosophy again and again with high efficiency and flexibility without compromising the performance of the system.
Every one of our test systems is supplied with four major software packages:
- Profile Manager - Production Program -Manual Program - Viewer
PROFILE MANAGER. This package is written by GEI to allow the test engineer responsible for the product at the customer site to create a "flight plan" for each test based on specimen requirements and specs. The results of this program is a file called PRF (profile) which contains all critical information about the specimen as well as information on how to conduct the test. That information includes command files for both active dyno modules as well as parameters for environmental conditions. With a collection of profiles, the operator can conduct the test by just calling the right file name.
MANUAL PROGRAM. This program is used for manual troubleshooting of the system and calibration of different parts of the tester. This program also can be useful for manual testing of the specimen.
PRODUCTION PROGRAM. This is the main program to conduct the test with one button to push. This program uses the information from a profile file to conduct the test through every step, perform analysis and display and store the results.
VIEWER. This program allows the test engineer to view the test results stored from the test for offline analysis. This program has an option to play back results to recreate the test events based on stored information.
A majority of our application software is developed using the VB6 and LabView environment with some components from the DirectX development package. GEI has developed a line of proprietary electronics used in different test systems with computer interface boards from National Instruments Inc.
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