Stansted Fluid Power design and manufacture components and systems to generate high pressures, typically for producing a motive force or to test parts under stress.
The requirement was for a system to generate the signals to initiate a controlled explosion, to measure the pressure profile and to display and store the profile. The software, written in Agilent VEE Pro, creates an entry in a test log database and saves the data with a graph to a spreadsheet.
Amplicon provided the central point for the system: from the hardware - a high-specification industrial PC housing all of the I/O modules - to the software - an application written specifically for the customer in Agilent VEE Pro. Finally, the system was delivered to the customer and commissioned on-site.
The semi-automated test software controls all aspects of the calibration and test process including digital and analogue status measurements used to augment a manual keylock and initiating the explosion itself. The block diagram shows a simplified layout of the equipment for the test. One of the main features required is to have a high confidence that the system is ready for the test when the 'GO' button is pressed. This is provided by checking the voltages from the power supplies and the quiescent state of the charge amplifier. Introducing an offset gives confidence that the sensor is connected to the charge amplifier, the amplifier to the PC controller and that everything is on and functioning.
Before running a test, the system is calibrated using another routine within the software which compares an accurate static pressure transducer with those used for the test. This also normalises the scaling and offset voltages from the charge amplifier and creates a piece-wise calibration curve. The main screenshot in the picture shows the calibration in progress with tolerance bands. If the curve is out-of-tolerance an option to change the calibration is given which is password-protected.
Finally a trace of the explosion profile is displayed, further measurements of the profile computed and options to print and save results are provided. The details of the test, including post-test comments are all saved to a database which serves as the test log.