TEST BED INTEGRATION
The HyperTest Test Bed Adapter (TBA) is a universal, powerful software solution for the efficient and cost-effective integration of test beds into the test process. It guarantees continuous and process-safe test management free of media breaks while meeting quality requirements like traceability and reproducibility.
The modular architecture of the TBA offers many possibilities to connect test management, data management and test bed automation systems using plug-in modules. Support of different communication methods and data formats ensures maximum flexibility.
The TBA comes perfectly equipped for a seamless integration of Werum's test bed automation system WTCS into Werum's test process management system HyperTest Boost. But it also integrates third-party systems without any hassle because the plug-in modules can be configured flexibly and, if necessary, can be expanded according to the application's specific needs.
In automatic mode, the TBA handles the transfer and conversion of data between test management, test bed and data management. In interactive mode, it is an elegant solution for test beds that do not have their own test order management. For users, the TBA is an easy-to-operate and efficient tool that affords the highest quality standards for their processes at low cost.
FACILITATOR BETWEEN THE SYSTEMS
Looking at the test field as a whole, you will often find a very heterogeneous landscape with many individual test bed automation systems. At the same time, digitalization initiatives to increase efficiency in all test fields are forging ahead in order to meet increased quality requirements. To this end, unified test planning and data management solutions are used to administer and support the entire test process, such as Werum's HyperTest platform.
The great diversity of test beds and the variations in the higher-level test process often make the integration of test beds into the test process a major challenge. The TBA acts as facilitator between all systems involved – from the test management system to test bed automation through to the data management. Being an interface application, it fetches data from the test management system and supplies them to the test bed automation. In like manner, it collects result data from the test bed and transfers them to a centralized data management or archive system.
The TBA fully integrates the test bed into the overall test process workflow and provides the important test management functions directly at the test bed. Next to order transfer and result data transmission, this also includes local editing and management of orders as well as execution monitoring and result data compilation. So it ensures efficient and process-reliable operation in the test field.
The TBA allows orders of the test management to be transferred to the test bed and result data to be transferred back to the data management without media breaks. This avoids manual transmission errors and increases process reliability.
The test bed operator can adjust the test order in an interactive user interface, and document the execution by adding free comments. For reasons of quality assurance, all changes are continuously logged. A completeness check of the result files additionally yields significantly improved data quality.
Automating manual tasks for order transfer and result transmission saves the employees valuable time at the test bed. The significantly simplified processes allow users to concentrate on the essential tasks. Owing to the reduced error-proneness, they can avoid time-consuming and costly test repetitions. As installation of the application is easy, it can be rolled out to the whole test field in no time.
Also, the need for employee training decreases as the same application is used at all test beds to connect to the test process. The operating concept is the same across all test beds, which causes the operator efficiency to improve and puts personnel in the position to flexibly operate different test beds.
The use of an established, uniform and modular platform solution offers a significant cost advantage over individual implementations through the purchase of licenses. The reuse of interfaces to central test and data management systems as well as central authentication systems reduce customization efforts significantly. In similar manner, local interfaces between the TBA and test bed automation systems can be reused for all systems of the same class. Often, parts of the interfaces can be generalized across classes, which makes it possible to reduce costs even further.
The high maturity level of a uniform integration platform like the TBA ensures high operational stability and efficient use of the test beds. The central, one-time implementation of the interface plug-ins also increases the maturity level as opposed to making individual adaptations at the test beds themselves. The continuous further development and maintenance of the platform through Werum as competent and reliable partner provides investment security and smooth operation in the test field.
Automated transfer of test orders.
Structured transfer of result data.
Automatic test monitoring. Interactive test management. Intuitive user guidance.
Comprehensive data collection. Integration of automatic evaluations. Complete documentation.
The TBA provides the essential functions to manage test orders and result data on the test bed and ensures that the data contained therein is exchanged with the systems involved.
The TBA makes it possible to accept orders from a test management system and to manage them internally. Both the acceptance of new orders and changes to existing orders are supported. Orders that have already been received but have not yet been executed can be put on hold or revoked in order to make changes to the utilization planning of the test beds.
The TBA interface displays the imported orders to the test bed operator sorted by their processing status. The attributes taken over for every order from the test management can be displayed and edited. Changes are automatically documented to enable end-to-end traceability of the actual test execution and to describe deviations from the original order.
The user starts and ends test execution in the interface. The TBA's modular concept allows very flexible processes: the test bed automation can be provided with suitable order files, which it takes over for further processing. It is also possible to implement complex processes, such as starting the actual automation application.
If test beds have a suitable test order management but no suitable interface to the test field's global test and data management, the TBA can be used in automatic mode. In this mode, the application runs in the background without any user interaction. It automatically retrieves orders from the test management system and makes them available to the test bed in an adapted form. The other way round, the TBA recognizes the end of the test based on suitable procedures and transfers the result data provided by the test bed to the data management. In this mode, the TBA serves as a facilitator between the systems and adapts their interfaces. The user can continue to work with the familiar automation system.
The TBA supports the conversion of data formats to facilitate the exchange between test management and test bed or test bed and data management when receiving test orders and when providing result data. This way, order data retrieved from an XML or JSON structure via web service can be provided as files in common measurement data formats to instruct the test bed. By the same token, a corresponding data plug-in can be used to convert result data into a uniform file format the data management applies with all the different test beds and to normalize them.
The TBA can monitor the execution status of the test if the test bed automation supports this feature. As a result, the processing status of the orders is updated in the TBA. When the test is terminated by the automation, such a status change can be used as trigger for result data collection and archiving.
The TBA collects the result data from the test bed. This may also include data from subsystems, log files and files that were added manually by a user in the TBA interface. The result is a data package that is transferred to a data management or archiving system together with the test order description in its fully documented actual state of execution. In order to prevent data losses, the data is kept locally until the target system has confirmed its storage.
The TBA can provide interfaces for test bed monitoring systems and use them to communicate which test is currently being performed on the test bed managed by the TBA. If the test is divided into several measurements, it can also indicate the stage of progress. An extended solution is possible to implement the transfer of select online data from the test bed automation system to a superimposed test field monitoring system following a standardized procedure.
A user authentication can be integrated to restrict the use of the TBA to certain users. When they are permitted, users can log in with their Windows account. If designed accordingly, user information can be aligned with a central rights system, such as Active Directory. The TBA can also query the necessary access data for test and data management systems using an appropriately designed authentication plug-in.
System administrators can configure the essential aspects of the TBA core process and large parts of the specific plug-ins. This includes internal storage directory structures and the automatic or manual operating mode for order or result data transfer. Thanks to these comprehensive customization options, the TBA platform offers a wide range of application possibilities where essential setups can be made flexibly by the user.
The TBA provides all the essential functions needed to manage test orders and result data on the test bed and to exchange the data they contain with the systems involved. For this purpose, it offers interfaces to test management, data management, test bed automation, and authentication services. The interfaces are implemented in nine plug-ins which present logical function blocks of the test execution workflows.
The Order Loader plug-in is the interface to the test management system to retrieve or receive new orders. From the TBA's point of view, it basically provides a function to collect new and changed orders and can inform the TBA core process on an event-driven basis.
There are many different ways to implement the interface to the test management system in application-specific plug-ins in order to support the various communication methods. Retrieving interfaces can be implemented just like receiving interfaces. File-based transfers, web services or database queries can be used as means of communication. Also, a wide variety of data formats can be realized.
The Order Converter plug-in converts test orders from the format provided by the test management into the format required by the test bed automation.
The conversion is implemented specifically for the order formats of test management and test bed automation. Different text-based formats such as CSV, XML and JSON, but also test data file formats such as TDMS can be used as source and target formats. The parameterizable conversion makes it possible to use the same plug-in for different information contents of the test beds. Elements of the input file are mapped to elements of the output file based on a configuration table that can be customized for each test bed. This allows efficient solutions to be created even in heterogeneous environments.
The Activator plug-in exercises the process control in interaction with the test bed automation to start a test. It can perform the steps required to provide the test order and the directory structures for automation and to actuate test execution in the test bed automation system.
The implementation is adapted to the needs of the relevant test bed automation. The same plug-ins can be used for systems with identical processes. The range includes the simple provision of an order in a defined directory that is monitored by the automation just like complex, dialog-guided processes to add and configure required companion files and to match floating licenses for automation systems with license servers before the TBA starts the automation system.
The Status Monitor plug-in monitors the progress of test execution by the test bed automation and updates the test status internally in the TBA. When detecting the end of a test, the plug-in triggers the process chain for data collection and archiving.
The implementation is aligned to the processes in the test bed automation system. This way, trigger files required for test completion can be waited for in the result directories. It is also possible to use suitable interfaces to query values, such as web services or process servers like OPC UA, and to determine the processing status this way.
The Result Collector plug-in summarizes the test results. Next to the result files created by the test bed automation, this also includes logging information, operator comments and files added manually in the TBA.
Function modules are available to implement the specific plug-in, which wrap the contents of configured directories in ZIP archives or add files to the archive based on name patterns and timestamps. Another functionality is the adding of files that were manually assigned to the test in the TBA, which allows for an efficient compilation of perfectly fitting solutions.
The Result Converter plug-in can convert files that the Result Collector plug-in has collected into other formats. It can also align parameter names, units and enumeration values to achieve uniform standardizations throughout the entire test field.
The implementations of this plug-in can also create interfaces to analysis systems, such as DIAdem™ or Matlab™, and script languages like Python. Hence, comprehensive individualization options are available.
The Result Transmitter plug-in provides the interface to the data management or archiving system to transmit result data and the test order in its actual state and with locally made changes. It also ensures that the data has arrived in the target system.
The implementations of the interface to the archive system can cover the same range of communication methods, transmission paths and data formats as the test management connection through the Order Loader plug-in. If test and data management are combined in one system, as in an integrated solution based on Werum's HyperTest platform, for example, parts of the implementation can be used for both plug-ins.
With the Remote Access plug-in, an external system (e.g. the test management) can query the current status of test processing from the TBA. There also is the option to pause tests in the TBA from the external system - provided the connection between the TBA and test bed automation permits it.
The plug-in is specifically tailored to the requesting interface of the test management system and the scope of functions includes the provision of TBA status information. By specific adaptation the plug-in can also be extended to query status information from the test bed
Purpose of the Authenticator plug-in is to authenticate users who log on to the TBA. That makes it possible to work with technical users as computer-related accounts in the operating system while still identifying the user who operates the TBA. By the same token, the Authenticator plug-in may use central authentication systems to obtain access data for partner systems.
Common implementations use system functions of the operating system to log users on to the TBA and to authenticate them. To provide partner systems with access tokens, functions can be implemented in the plug-in, which connect an Active Directory server, for example, and use stored user data to generate a current, valid access token for a partner system. This token can then be made available to the plug-in that wants to establish the connection to the partner system. This way, the TBA can be integrated into the company's IT in process-safe manner.