In the majority of wind tunnel test facilities, you will find our Diablo software as the main SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system. Fully and permanently integrated to the facility – Diablo, our flagship PC-based system, is used by leading Formula One teams and major automotive OEMs to maximise the quantity and quality of data obtained from wind tunnel and rig testing. Testing productivity is driven by automation, usability, user configurability and support for advanced hardware.
A renowned engineering company, driving major motorsport and automotive programmes, approached us to develop a “guest” data acquisition system. It is to work collaboratively with an existing wind tunnel control system to enhance existing development capabilities and improve testing efficiency.
We needed to deliver a portable system that could be run as a guest on a commercial facility, to achieve improved data rates, time alignment and configurability.
Our approach to delivering a solution was developed around Diablo to acquire and aggregate data streams from the facility, the vehicle under test and other customer sensors. Data arriving in real time over several interfaces, such as OPC, UDP, EtherCAT (via Beckhoff® TwinCAT), CAN and pressure scanners, is slotted into a single, fully time-aligned, data stream that is both logged to file and broadcast live to data analysis client applications.
Both Pi Toolbox and third party applications can be used to watch and analyse the live data stream and for the offline analysis of “.pds” time-traced data files.
This being a guest system, the Diablo test sequencer is run as a slave to signals from the facility controller flagging the start and end of test runs and of data samples. This allows the live calculation of data “metrics” at stationary test points through a process of data reduction, the results of which are stored in a database and immediately available to data analysis applications.
In order to meet the customers’ requirements of delivering a portable solution, the Diablo software, database and file server, analysis applications were hosted in a mobile enclosure, taking advantage of virtualisation technology.
With the full support and involvement of the customer and facility operator, we were able to remotely deploy and commission the system within the given timeframe without incurring facility down time. The key objectives of higher data rates (up to several kHz), improved time alignment and user configurability were realised “out of the box”, with further system enhancements and extensions expected over time.