ITM Uses 3-D Printing to Improve Wireless Torque Measurement Designs

One of the ways ITM sets itself apart is that our engineers don’t flinch when it comes to finding creative ways to make tough measurements.

For example, as you can see in this video, we have begun using our in-house 3-D printer to customize plastic collars — embedded with sensors and transmitters — which allow us to wirelessly measure torque on rotating machinery.

In this example, we’re recording a signal as the drill bit enters the wood, but the same solution allows us to model and print a larger fixture to measure the stresses on an industrial drive shaft or other piece of rotating equipment.

Where once we might have turned to an area machine shop to mill a similar type collar, we can now model an even more precise tool and print it out overnight — saving valuable time and at a fraction of the cost.

3-D Printing is just one more example of how ITM uses cutting-edge tools and new technology to solve problems.

— ITM President Tim Carlier

ITM Installs Paper Mill Thermocouple Monitoring System

In search of a system that would send feedback to further optimize their production efficiencies and reduce energy costs, a paper mill company turned to ITM for help measuring the temperature of steam tubes inside its Recovery boiler.

The challenge our engineers faced was to not just log temperature measurements, but also to transfer this information to a remote computer, perform complex measurements and output results that would serve as a watchdog to ensure normal conditions.

Our solution was yet another example of finding a creative way to use existing National Instruments hardware and software to solve a complex problem.

See the complete Case Study.

— ITM President Tim Carlier

Wireless Strain Based Silo Monitoring

Keeping up with more than a million pounds of plastic pellets a year would seem a near impossible task.

But at ITM, we’ve developed a wireless strain based monitoring solution to help manufacturers — particularly those in the injection mold business — easily alter existing storage silos to keep a more accurate eye on the levels of dry goods contained in them.

Industry partners report the difficulty of keeping exact measurements of the amount of ever-changing raw materials they have stored in on-site silos. With our solution, however, we’ve removed the guesswork with a system that won’t require manufacturers to go through costly structural modifications.

As we demonstrate in this video, we are able to build a measurement system that will report silo levels by using strain gauge sensors, a wireless signal transmitter and a remote signal receiver. Notice in the lab test, as the valve is opened and the water begins to drain, the signals on the user interface respond accordingly as the values decrease. Though a seemingly simple test, I’m convinced the results hold important real-world implications.

Similarly, we think manufacturers will value being able to monitor multiple silos from a single customized interface and ultimately maintain efficiencies and keep their production lines humming.

— ITM President Tim Carlier

ITM Presents on Rugged Data Acquisition at NI Week

One of the highlights of our summer at ITM is our trek to NI Week, the annual conference in Austin, Texas, presented by National Instruments where thousands of the world’s brightest minds in engineering and science come together to learn about the latest technology in our field.

NIWEEK RAC Pres Small

For the last couple of years, we’ve had the privilege to not just attend but also to present during the interactive technical sessions. This year’s co-presentation on developing a Rugged Data Acquisition solution gave me the chance to share how ITM’s line of Rugged Data Acquisition (RAC) Systems allow us (and our customers) to gather data under even the harshest testing conditions.

Our portable RAC Systems include our LabVIEW-based iTestSystem software and can withstand environmental elements, shock and vibration in the field. Among the many features — whether you need to measure strain, acceleration, voltage, speed or temperature — these units can store terabytes of data that is all synched.

I love talking up the products that come out of our lab at ITM, but getting to share more about our Rugged DAQ solutions in a forum like NI Week takes it to the next level. I’m already looking forward to returning to Austin in 2015.

— ITM President Tim Carlier

ITM Engineers Earn Pinnacle LabVIEW Certification

While I’m not surprised at their achievement, I’m excited to announce that two engineers from our team at Integrated Test & Measurement have reached the highest LabVIEW Certification Level from National Instruments.

Mark Yeager, an engineer and lead programmer, along with Chase Petzinger, a programmer and computer engineer, have reached Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) status.

With only a half dozen CLAs throughout all of Ohio, ITM now employs a third of the engineers in the state who have mastered NI’s rigorous CLA exam.

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A Certified Architect is the highest level of certification from NI and signifies mastery in architecting and project managing LabVIEW applications as well as the ability to lead complex projects from conception through completion.

A National Instruments Gold Alliance Partner, ITM’s LabVIEW Development Team has provided professional engineering applications to our customers since 2001. We specialize in developing both windows-based and real-time applications that transform mechanical data into useful engineering data by monitoring such things as vibration, strain, temperature and load.

These impressive certifications reinforce ITM’s expertise in the field of software development.

— ITM President Tim Carlier