ITM Blog Posts

The Blog Post category contains blog posts associated with ITM’s testing services, LabVIEW programming, Test & Measurement Hardware, Boiler Monitoring Systems, and iTestSystem applications.

Co-op Student Finds Home at ITM – Literally

ITM Co-op Student Weston Graham with his Bus

Co-op Student Finds Home at ITM – Literally 

Weston Graham found a whole lot more than valuable job experience while co-oping at Integrated Test & Measurement (ITM). He also found his dream home — a 7-ton bus he would convert into a tiny house on wheels.

The University of Cincinnati aerospace engineering major had joined ITM on a NASA contract testing rocket components in Huntsville, Alabama, when a Facebook Marketplace search unearthed the ideal fixer-upper, a 1995 8-window International bus in his price range.

“I couldn’t find housing, and I didn’t want to pay $600 a month for rent,” he said. “I thought a bus would be fun.”

After all, Weston had the mechanical aptitude. Having spent his formative years tearing apart and selling enough go-karts to buy his first car, why not go big? Really big. Only problem was the bus he desired sat 3.5 hours away from his Huntsville hotel room. He talked a coworker into a midnight run through Alabama and eventually parked the bus in his parents Louisville, Kentucky driveway.

“It is the only school bus ever produced with a mechanical DT466 engine,” he fawned. “It is a wet-sleeve design, so you can actually change out the cylinders and rebuild the entire engine without ever taking it out of the vehicle.”

After months of driving home from ITM every weekend to rehab his Skoolie, he’s nearly finished with the RV conversion. With furniture, kitchen sink, bed, closets and more installed before Christmas, he had only some electrical and plumbing work left as he wrapped up his Fall co-op.

The student’s ingenuity was no surprise to the ITM team. The Milford, Ohio, engineering firm prides itself on landing co-ops who are problem solvers, then giving them real-world experience. In fact, CEO Tim Carlier believes deeply in giving students the same types of opportunities he received while in college.

While pursuing his mechanical engineering degree at Ohio University, Carlier worked summers and extended breaks at Manta Corp. in the early ’90s. At 19, he was scaling a roller coaster at Kings Island to instrument and test the ride overnight. It was extremely valuable experience, and he wants to pass it along to the next generation.

That’s why co-ops at ITM find themselves traveling the country on assignment, helping with research projects in the R&D lab or even scaling a massive recovery boiler to help the firm monitor and improve efficiencies in a pulp and paper plant.

For Weston, two co-ops at ITM gave him the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I was at the office getting acclimated and learning how to install strain gauges when they said, ‘Well, we have a contract with NASA down in Alabama , and we’d like to send you down there,’” he said. “I mean you can’t really ask for much more than that being a first-year aerospace engineering student. That was a really cool experience.”

In addition, he liked working at a firm where the company leaders are so accessible.

“I don’t think you would be able to say in most jobs as a student that you see the CEO every day and you talk with him and go out to lunch.”

For more information about co-op or other employment opportunities at ITM contact Josh Fishback at (844) 837-8797.

Happy Holidays 2021

Happy Holidays

A special thanks to all of our customers for helping make 2021 another successful year.  We want to wish you and your family a joyful holiday season with peace, health, and happiness in the coming year!

Integrated Test & Measurement

iTestSystem 20 Coming Soon!

Coming Soon! iTestSystem 20.0

When: January 2022

The latest version of ITM’s engineering measurement software platform will make gathering data easier and more affordable than ever.

For more information about iTestSystem, contact Chase Petzinger at (844) 837-8797 x704 or via email at chase.petzinger@itestsystem.com.

Waveform Resampling in LabVIEW

When measuring vibration and strain levels in LabVIEW, you work with a lot of waveform data.  Usually this waveform data needs to be resampled or quickly analyzed so it can be stored in databases and displayed as meaningful trends.  I put together the snippet below, so I could have easy access to the resampling and moving average waveform algorithms we commonly use.

For more information about this resample snippet, or our LabVIEW programming services contact Chase Petzinger @ (844) 837-8797 x704.

ITM Helps Miami University Students Succeed SAE Baja

The students and advisors huddled around the computer react as they watch the signal yield an immediate spike within ITM’s iTestSystem software…

LabVIEW Channel: Splitter Bars

Figure 1: Example LabVIEW Front panel with Splitter Bars

In some of my earlier LabVIEW channel blogs I showed how to use a subpanel to build scalable module user interfaces.  This blog describes another front panel layout tool for creating professional scalable user interfaces – the splitter bar.  Splitter bars allow the user to resize the adjacent panes while an application runs.  NI explains the functionality of configure of splitter bars here.

The labVIEW example described below shows how splitters can be moved programmatically to create clean professional user interfaces.  This VI contains five (5) controls/indicators and two (2) splitter bars on the front panel.  A listbox is used to select which channels are displayed in the graph, while a table displays each channel’s statistics.  Each splitter bar’s position is controlled by a radio button containing two buttons (left and right for the vertical splitter and up  and down for the horizontal splitter).  When a splitter control button is initially pressed, its respective splitter bar snaps to the edge of the window and hiding the listbox or table.  When pressed again, the respective splitter moves back to its original position revealing the listbox or table.

Figure 2: Programmatically move splitter bars.

Try the LabVIEW snippet above to see the splitter functionality.  When you drop this snippet into a new VI, you will have to add  vertical and horizontal splitters to the VI. See figure 1 for a reference for where to place the splitters. Right click on the splitter to get a reference to each splitter, left pane and bottom pane to run the VI.  Wire these references into the appropriate bundle function.  Set the graph to scale with panel.  Do not set the listbox and table to scale with pane.

For more information about this splitter example, or our LabVIEW programming services contact Mark Yeager @ (844) 837-8797 x7041.  You can also email me at mark.yeager@itestsystem.com if you would like me to send you the example vi or download it here.

Identify Damaging Events with Statistical Analysis

Quickly Identify Significant Events in Large Data Sets with Statistical Analysis

Use statistical analysis for TestView Plus and Automated Analytics to extract statistics like minimum, maximum, and mean from each sensor.  The results of the selectable analysis is embedded within the data file as searchable meta data.

Automated Analytics users can quickly identify data files within large data sets that contain sensor events of interest.  When paired with Trigger Analysis and the Notification Service, these data files can be automatically selected and sent via email in remote monitoring applications.

About iTestSystem 

iTestSystem is an engineering measurement software platform that enables test engineers to organize, acquire, view, and analyze data from machinery, processes, vehicles and other complex systems.  iTestSystem was specifically designed for use with NI cDAQ or FieldDAQ hardware for data collection and data logging. 

For more information about our iTestSystem or ITM’s testing services, contact Ryan Welker @ (844) 837-8797 x702.

Acosense & ITM Present @ TappiCon 2021

Come see us in the TappiCon 2021 Exhibit Hall at the Acosense Booth 769!

ITM’s Ryan Welker and Zach Strong will be there representing both Acosense AB and ITM  to showcase and answer questions about Acosense’s Acospector Acoustic Chemometer, a Clamp-on instrument measuring complex fluids in the process industry, and ITM’s boiler monitoring solutions.

When: October 3-6th

Where: TappiCon 2021

Cobb Galleria Centre
2 Galleria Pkwy SE
Atlanta, GA 30339

LabVIEW Channel: Sorting Cluster Arrays

Figure 1: Table with Sortable Columns.

Our LabVIEW programmers are often asked to build user interfaces to interact with configuration settings, data sets, file metadata, and databases.  Some examples of these interactive interfaces include, sorting data by parameters, plotting the top ten vibration peaks from a data set, or searching through data files for strain channels that exceed standard limits.

In LabVIEW, these types of data sets can be represented on the block diagram as an arrays of clusters.  A cluster is a LabVIEW data type that groups data elements of mixed types. A cluster is similar to a record or a struct in text-based programming languages.  An array is a group data elements of the same type. An array consists of elements and dimensions.

The VI shown in Figures 1 & 2 contains a table that is sorted when you double click on a column header.  The VI snippet in Figure 2 contains the VI with subvis removed.

Sortable Table VI Snippet Updated

Figure 2: Sortable Table VI Snippet

The VI snippet in Figure 3 contains some example array cluster sorting examples.  By Default A cluster is sorted by the first element and if there is a match the second element is used and so on. To control the sort priority, unbundle the elements you want to sort by then bundle them back above the original cluster. This new cluster can then be sent to the Sort 1D array VI.

Figure 3: Sort Cluster Array Examples VI Snippet.

For more information about interacting with large data sets in LabVIEW, or our LabVIEW programming services contact Chase Petzinger @ (844) 837-8797 x704.

LabVIEW Subpanel

Figure 1 – Radio Button control of VI insertion into subpanel.

One control combination that our LabVIEW development team uses to build modular adaptive user interfaces is the radio button, subpanel pairing.  Using the radio button to switch between vis displayed in a subpanel essentially allows you to  make a tab control that scales with the front panel during resizing events.

I built the vi shown in Figures 1 & 2 (linked here) to demonstrate how to insert dynamically called vi’s front panels into a subpanel.  In this example each radio button inserts a different 3D graph example vi into the subpanel by its reference.

Since the vis used in the subpanel are called dynamically, some extra steps may be required to build the exe.  The link below shows how to build an exe that uses dynamically called vis using the application builder.  I have also included some path tips that are useful when building LabVIEW executables (exe).

Related Link: Integration of Sub-Panel in the Front Panel of LabVIEW Executable – National Instruments (ni.com)

Figure 2 – Inserting a VI into a subpanel block diagram.Steps for Inserting a VI into a Subpanel

  1. Assign VI Name to a Button or Tree Item.
  2. Insert File Name into the Relative Path containing VIs to show in the Sub Panel.  See Notes
  3. Open a reference to the VI.
  4. If the VI is in the Idle state then run the VI.
  5. Insert VI into the Subpanel via a reference.

Notes

  • “..” will cause the Build Path VI to strip path once.
  • \ One extra \ is required per folder because the format into string function interprets backslashes as escape characters.

You can also use a tree control instead of a radio button to control which vi is inserted into the control panel.  An example of this method is illustrated in a previous blog titled “Building a Modern User Interface in LabVIEW“.   The vi shown in that blog uses a similar technique for building and selecting the which vi will be inserted into the subpanel.

Figure 3 – Insert VI into subpanel snippet.

Figure 3 above is a vi snippet of the Insert VI invoke node for a Subpanel. If you already have a subpanel, right click on the subpanel, create a reference and wire it to the subpanel invoke node.

To learn more about subpanels, other LabVIEW programming techniques, iTestSystem or our LabVIEW programming services contact Mark Yeager  @(844) 837-8797.