How to make your test bed control better and safer with a quality-assured test bed automation system
It is very likely that the test beds for your various tests come from different manufacturers. Therefore, the test execution phase is of particular importance. While there are different procedures, applications, data formats and architectures in all phases of the test process, the test execution phase on the test beds is certainly the most diverse.
The suppliers of test beds almost always offer a control system, but rarely a fully-fledged and integrated test bed automation system. However, this is exactly the system you need for the quality-assured automation of your test beds.
3 Reasons for using a quality-assured test bed automation system
- Your test bed tests against defined requirements and with the planned resources at the planned time.
- Your test bed provides the test result data to be analyzed.
- Your test bed provides test-related data, such as comments, documenting images, findings and the like.
Although you often get a control system for your test beds from suppliers, the control systems are usually designed very differently. In the case of compact test beds, you may use individual PCs as a control system. In more complex designs, instead of PCs, it is large client/server systems that allow different users to exchange and store data.
Hardly anyone offers a well-equipped and integrated system for test bed automation, although it is so enormously important. After all, your test beds perform tasks whose results provide you with essential information.
Your advantages of a test bed automation system
A test bed automation system like our WTCS offers you significant advantages for complex processes on your test beds:
- Choose between a higher-level manual or an automated control of all connected subsystems and measurement systems and monitor the current status of your test bed.
- For the required modularity, you integrate devices via a hardware abstraction layer. This allows you to modernize, replace or add individual subsystems without having to change the overall system.
- There are different protocols so that you can integrate all sections of your test bed. Both established industry standards such as ProfiNET and Modbus as well as proprietary protocols based on TCP/IP, for example, are used.
Manual control of the test bed is facilitated by graphical user interfaces. You get direct visual feedback on the status of the test bed, giving you a clear overview of both essential test bed functions in system overviews and subsystem operator panels.
More safety of your test executions through reliable monitoring of parameters of your test bed
To ensure smooth test operation, you need to monitor essential parameters during both manual and automated test execution: the performance characteristics and limits of the test bed as well as those of the DUT.
Let's take the wind tunnel as a concrete example, where the wind speed must be monitored. Depending on the operating state of the test rig, a maximum speed is specified. This depends on various factors:
- If there are people in the test bed during setup, you must reduce the speed considerably so as not to endanger anyone. In unrestricted operation, on the other hand, you can approach the maximum speed.
- Set and consider additional limits if you have a DUT for which the standard limits of the test bed are too high.
In addition, you need further monitoring for different test procedures. For example, if you test according to the WLTP standard, you need to monitor limits for the standard deviation of essential test parameters, such as wind speed and ambient temperature.
Simplify processes around your test bed with efficient test and data management
The test bed automation system also handles the local test management. This gives you the advantage that the data taken over from the higher-level test process management is made available to the operator during the preparation and execution of a test.
The fact that you can adjust the data and document the execution directly at the test bed is an essential aspect. In the local data management, the information of the test order is linked to the measurement data. External data that measurement systems have recorded separately are also integrated into the overall data record by the data management and assigned to the test order.
Optimize the corporate process and integrate an automation system into your corporate IT. By doing so, you enable communication between test planning systems and data management systems.
More flexibility through fast analyses and modular expansion options for your test bed automation system
To do this, it is essential that you integrate certain analysis functionalities into your test bed automation system and keep them consistent with similar functionalities in the higher-level data management system. This allows you to evaluate data on the same basis and with the same methods not only locally, but also globally afterwards.
Not only test beds but also test bed automation systems are operated over longer periods of time, during which requirements for tests and interfaces as well as the technical possibilities may change. In order to be able to react to changes, it is essential for efficient operation that you have options for a modular expansion of the system. Thanks to the high degree of automation and a low level of effort in the administration of the system, you not only increase efficiency, but also achieve optimum utilization of the test bed resources.
Do you want a user-friendly test bed automation system that gives you maximum flexibility for expansions and optimum safety at the same time?