DOT Structural Health Monitoring

As engineering consultants, it’s the nature of our business for our work to take us out on the open road. It is for this reason that we are proud to support several state Departments of Transportation (DOT) with their structural testing and data acquisition needs.  We travel the very roads, bridges and other major infrastructure that they work so hard to design, build and maintain. 

Over the years, our field-testing experts have provided DOTs with the manpower needed to install and maintain the structural sensors for monitoring bridge and infrastructure usage/health, as well as the custom enclosures that house the precision data acquisition (DAQ) equipment used to process and trend data from the structural sensors.  We are looking for more opportunities to provide DOTs with the manpower and tools needed to keep tabs on our aging infrastructure.  

If you need help or advice on a structural monitoring project, contact Ryan Welker (ryan.welker@itestsystem.com or 1.844.837.8797 x702).  

Strain Gauge Shunt Equivalent Calculations in iTestSystem

When making strain measurements it is important to perform a shunt calibration both before and after the actual measurements are acquired.  Shunt calibrations ensure accurate strain measurements by adjusting the sensitivity or gain of the data acquisition equipment to compensate for leadwire resistance and other scaling errors.

iTestSystem takes advantage of the shunt calibration circuits included in the National Instruments (NI) cDAQ strain modules.  The NI-9235, NI-9236, and NI-9237 strain modules contain an internal shunt resistor that when switched on “shunts” across one leg of the strain circuit’s wheatstone bridge.  When active, the shunt resistor offsets the strain measurement by a constant strain which is calculated using the equivalent shunt calculation.  The equivalent strain/shunt value is dependent on the strain gauge configuration, gauge resistance, shunt resistance, gauge factor, and material properties.

In the latest version of iTestSystem we added a built-in strain gauge shunt equivalent calculator that can be accessed from the strain configuration page.  This calculator has allowed us to speed up the calibration process and eliminate hand calculation errors.

For a free trial of iTestSystem and the equivalent shunt calculation tool, contact chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

ITM Presents Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) Technology @ BLRBAC Spring 2019 Meeting

We would like to thank the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) for allowing us to present our patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 meeting in Atlanta, GA.  SFD is ITM’s patented technology for measuring fouling/slagging along the path of an active sootblower in recovery and utility boilers.

During this presentation, Tim Carlier described the original SFD concept, the system’s Key Performance Indicator (KPI) outputs for closed or open loop control, and the system’s potential sootblower steam savings of 1-4% MCR.  He also highlighted the safety and maintenance benefits that the system provides.

For more information about the SFD technology or to schedule an online presentation or site visit to audit your specific application, contact Tim Carlier or Ryan Welker.

Contact Info:

Tim Carlier, President, tim.carlier@itestsystem.com, 513.608.4811

Ryan Welker, Business Development Manager, ryan.welker@itestsystem.com,  513.405.0181

Developing Custom Applications for iTestSystem

As the global market moves steadily in the direction of increased productivity through integration of software into the world of testing services, Integrated Test & Measurement finds itself at the forefront of the field.  Our other LabVIEW developers and I have been hard at work creating custom applications to help customers meet their testing needs with more efficiency and cost-effectiveness than ever before.

Since many of my co-workers come from both test engineering and software development backgrounds, it’s easier for us to scope, build, and deploy these custom testing applications while working hand-in-hand with on-site operators and field engineers, or even sending our own engineers on-site to test the applications.  Past projects I’ve gotten to work on have ranged from a small data collection and viewing application that allows a customer to perform materials testing and quickly generate reports; to larger systems like a power quality application which utilizes our iTestSystem platform and allows the customer to collect and perform real time power-quality analysis on large genset engines, view and quickly confirm results, and create multiple types of reports for both internal and external customers.

Thanks to ITM’s iTestSystem platform, we have been able to leverage our pre-existing data acquisition, data viewing, and application distribution tools to create and distribute these applications both faster and at lower price points than many of our customers expected.  Having this base platform allows me to create and test solutions quickly and to make revisions with ease.  As a LabVIEW developer on Team ITM, I have enjoyed the unique challenges presented in these applications and look forward to seeing how ITM continues to lead the field in this market.

Contact Information: For more information about our LabVIEW application development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

ITM adds NI-9202 compatibility to iTestSystem

The NI-9202 Voltage Input Module can now be used with the latest version of iTestSystem (16.1). The NI-9202 has excellent flexibility to meet the needs of your applications.  

The module has 16 simultaneous sampled, +-10 V, 24-bit differential input channels for creating large, distributed systems in a rugged form factor. The NI-9202 has a maximum sample rate of 10kS/s and features configurable filters to eliminate noise in your system while maintaining low-latency in control systems. 

Click Here for more information about iTestSystem.

For advice about using the NI-9202 versus other voltage modules in iTestSystem monitoring applications or with custom cRIO RT and FPGA control applications contact Mark Yeager or Chase Petzinger. 

iTestSystem Update: Joint Time Frequency Analysis Tool

Over the past few weeks we have been updating our Joint Time Frequency Analysis (JTFA) tool for iTestSystem. In general, the JTFA tool is used to show how the frequency content of a signal changes over time. This tool is particularly useful for analyzing and visualizing vibration and strain data on rotating machinery.

After using the JTFA tool on an internal data analysis project with a colleague, we realized that with a few additions and changes, the tool’s capabilities and processing efficiency could be greatly improved. To achieve this, we added a configurable overall frequency band algorithm for trending frequency bands related to specific machine fault or vibration modes. We also added templates for quickly developing and switching between frequency band signatures and settings. Finally, we added the capability to export the results to a data file for later viewing in TestView Plus or Excel.

These changes are included in the latest version of the JTFA tool. For a free trial of iTestSystem and the JTFA tool, contact chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

Building a Modern User Interface in LabVIEW

When we develop LabVIEW™ applications for our customers, a common request is for a simple, resizable and intuitive user interface (UI) for data visualization.  In these cases, we use a tree control and a subpanel.  This type of UI functions like a tab control that automatically resizes.  The main benefit of using a subpanel is to make your code more modular.

Figure 1: Modern User Interface with a Tree and Sub Panel.

To illustrate the modularity that this type of UI creates, I made an example LabVIEW™ project.  The main VI shown above uses a tree control to switch between a VI containing a graph and a VI containing a table.  I used our multi-queue event architecture for VI information communication messaging.  The image below shows the main VI’s significant functions.

Figure 2: Main VI’s Block Diagram – Significant Functions

The main VI’s functions are listed below.

Functions

  1. Initialize queues and events and then generate initialize event.
  2. Initialize tree and add tree items.
  3. When a user selects an item in the tree, generate data and then send it to the subpanel VI.
  4. Receive SubPanel Ready event from a subpanel VI and then insert the VI into the subpanel.
  5. Destroy queues and unregister for events.

In this example the subpanel VIs are very simple.  They populate an indicator (table or graph) and then generate a SubPanel Ready Event.  The two (2) subpanel VIs and block diagrams are shown below.

Figure 3: SubPanel VIs: Graph.vi and Table.vi

Contact Information: For more information on this example or our LabVIEW development service contact:

Mark Yeager – Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM), LLC.  Email: mark.yeager@itestsystem.com or Phone: 1.844.TestSys

ITM Presents Boiler Monitoring Technologies at BLRBAC Spring 2019 Meeting

Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM) is presenting its patented Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) technology at the Spring 2019 Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee (BLRBAC) meeting in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

ITM’s SFD system effectively offers the following benefits to boiler operations:

  • Optimizes sootblowing to reduce boiler fouling
  • Reduces sootblower steam consumption
  • Detects sootblower mechanical faults
  • Identifies dangerous conditions around packing leaks

Find out more about ITM’s Sootblower Fouling Detection (SFD) system and other Boiler Monitoring Solutions at http://itestsystem.com/industrial-monitoring/

Conference details can be found at http://blrbac.org/meeting-registration

Have questions? Contact Tim Carlier @ Tim.Carlier@iTestSystem.com

DAQ Equipment Rental Service

Our engineers and technicians use National Instruments (NI) CompactDAQ (cDAQ) hardware and our iTestSystem software to collect structural, vibration, and temperature data for lab and field tests.  Many of these tests are unique and require different variations of data acquisition hardware and sensors types.  As you can imagine, we have accumulated quite an inventory of cDAQ test equipment and sensors from these tests.  This inventory includes both cDAQ chassis and C-Series voltage, strain, vibration, and temperature modules. 

For our iTestSystem users, we offer a data acquisition equipment rental service for available cDAQ hardware from our inventory.  If you need additional equipment to complete a design validation test or to troubleshoot a structural problem, check with us to see what equipment is available. 

Click Here for more information about Equipment Rental. 

For more information about eligibility, equipment availability or to request a quote contact Josh.Fishback@iTestSystem.com.