Aerospace: High Channel-count dynamic measurements

By Keily SuarezRioja

Aerospace applications typically require the acquisition and processing of massive amounts of test data. The use of several hundreds of sensors (high channel-count) to measure vibration, acoustic, thermal or any other dynamic parameter is necessary to gain better insights into the dynamic response of aerospace structures and to validate their design without missing any hidden flaws.

Such large-scale test campaigns can be a challenge for engineers. Siemens Digital Industries Software has implemented several advanced technologies to support test engineers in large-scale test campaigns.

During the development cycle of a full aircraft, spacecraft or component, dynamic tests must be performed to confirm predictions from simulations, validate the design for certification or qualification and to help troubleshoot issues. The measurement system used during this process needs to offer flexibility to cover the test requirements, support multiple applications and make use of the widest variety of sensors.

The Simcenter SCADAS hardware and Simcenter Testlab software suite are suitable for multi-physics applications; including noise, vibration and durability, and provide integrated signal conditioning capabilities to support any kind of sensor. The system can handle all acoustic, vibration and durability test requests and can adapt to late-changes in instrumentation and test planning.

The modular design of the Simcenter SCADAS hardware allows the scaling of the measurement system to the test. Independent SCADAS frames can be mixed and matched to assemble a large channel-count system, with perfect synchronization between channels. Distributing systems becomes possible and enables easy set-up and improved accuracy by minimizing sensor cable length.

Instrumentation of the tested item happens at the beginning of the test campaign and must match the test requirements and ensure accuracy. The Simcenter Testlab Instrumentation App, installed on any mobile device, lets the engineer move around the structure while controlling the acquisition software to define the sensor parameters, document the set-up and take pictures of each sensor.

Once the measurement set-up has been verified, data is streamed at high speed from the acquisition systems to the host computer. Siemens Digital Industries Software provides a dedicated architecture to safely handle high-data streams with virtually unlimited channel counts. By using multiple recording systems in parallel, controlled by a central operator station, data is safely recorded and backed-up with no single point of failure.

In case of satellite vibration qualification testing, selected measurement points are typically used by a closed-loop controller to ensure that the excitation signal exactly matches the test specifications. The potential to acquire hundreds of channels in the Simcenter measurement system in full synchronization with the control system maximizes the safety of such sensitive tests.

Online and offline data validation capabilities allow processing of the data during or after the test, providing feedback on measurement quality and the confirmation of the validity of the results on-the-spot. It also allows engineers to make the best use of testing time by testing what is really needed.

Simcenter Testing Solutions combine accurate and reliable data acquisition with processing algorithms to methodically manage data, provide physical insights and enable smarter performance engineering. The Simcenter SCADAS Hardware and Simcenter Testlab Software successfully combines the latest technologies to perform large channel-count dynamic measurements accurately and efficiently.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at