Test stands can be stationary or mobile devices, depending on the area of application, and are used for performing reproducible tests on technical objects. Test stands enable isolated components or assemblies to be tested under measurable, controlled loads or under environmental conditions. Test stands include mechanical fixtures for the test objects as well as sensors and controls adapted to the object. By the individual components working together, test properties can be generated and measurement values collected and logged simultaneously. Test stands can be used to measure and record mechanical, electrical and optical variables. Test stands can be divided into two different types.
1) Development test stands
Development test stands assist designers in checking designs and ideas during the development of a product. Product life cycles can be reduced to a few days or weeks by testing on test stands, which leads to faster product development along with reliable documentation. The following test procedures are common for development test stands:
- Testing of components over a predefined service life cycle.
- Testing of combustion engines for compliance with exhaust gas regulations.
- Testing how an object reacts to environmental conditions such as heat, cold or humidity.
- Testing mechanical strength of components under vibration or mechanical loads.
2) End-of-line test stands
End-of-line test stands are used to monitor the required technical specifications at the end of a production line. End-of-line tests can focus on the entire system, but also on subsystems and components. End-of-line test stands identify defective or insufficiently dimensioned components, so are primarily used for quality assurance. End-of-line refers to the spatial positioning of the test stand usually at the end of production or assembly lines. In practice, uses of end-of-line test stands include:
- Checking of all relevant functions of a product before delivery to the customer.
- Power measurements that record the power output of a product, such as a motor, determining whether the specified power is actually being achieved.
- Optical measurements that record deviations from the actual dimension or detect optical errors.
- Acoustic tests that detect unwanted noise during the use of technical products.
Test stands are used to test the properties of technical objects in a repeatable and verifiable manner. Test stands are widely used in the automotive industry, in mechanical and equipment engineering and in household appliance technology. Delphin Technology is a specialised, experienced partner for automating test stands. For any test stand, Delphin Technology can provide the appropriate technical solution, from optimised controls, precision measurements and data logging through to customised test stand development.
Test stands are available for a wide variety of tasks. Test stands in widespread use include:
- Household appliance test stands for testing household appliances for safety, energy efficiency, quality and reliability.
- Heating test stands for testing heating appliances and heating systems in accordance with standards.
- Engine test stands for the development phase and series testing of electrical and mechanical properties, temperature patterns and overload operation on drive engines.
- Pump test stands for reliable testing of miniature metering pumps, garden pumps, vacuum pumps and large pumps.
- Battery test stands for testing electrical energy storage devices, batteries and accumulators.
- Switch test stands for testing switching points, bouncing processes and switch opening and closing times.
- Valve test stands for testing the functioning of valves.
- Service life test stands for testing products in long-term operation and with specified service lives.
- Component test stands for testing all component types during development and production.
- Luminaire test stands for testing the safety and reliability of electrotechnical luminaires.
- Gearbox test stands for measuring in development phases or for acceptance testing in transmission production.
- Vibration test stands for testing products subject to vibrations and oscillations.
- Climate chambers as "test stands" for environmental simulations.
Despite being equipped with a wide range of technology, the actual function and mode of operation of a test stand is very simple. Parameters are defined by the operator of a test stand, which are interpreted by a computer system and implemented via the test stand. Crucial, however, is continuous monitoring and control of the parameters by hardware and software. This is the only way to compensate for any system-related fluctuations in the testing process in real time, and to provide meaningful, reliable test results.
Automation of measurement and evaluation processes is an option when multiple test stands are to be operated in parallel or when test processes are to be carried out without personnel in attendance. Delphin products enable fast, effective and easy automation of test stands, and without the need for extra interfaces. Test stands are often connected to PCs. Delphin Expert Key devices provide simple automation upgrades at excellent value for money. Expert Key devices are capable of automating a wide range of measurement tasks, and feature full Office compatibility, easy data and graphics export, and interfaces to SQL and ODBC applications. Long-term measurements requiring PC-independence can be carried out with Delphin's ProfiMessage devices, which provide measurement, automation and evaluation functions in a single compact system. When used in combination with ProfiSignal Klicks, customised test stand applications can be created. Delphin also provides in-house application development for turnkey complete solutions for service life testing, endurance test stands, environmental simulations and process control systems.v
Each test stand is precisely optimised for the specific test task. Accordingly, no "off-the-shelf" prefabricated test stands are available in the industrial or commercial sectors. Combining mechanics, hardware and software is undertaken by specialised companies. Even though it does not build any test stands of its own, Delphin Technology is a specialist in automating test stands by offering a wide range of products. Delphin hardware and software solutions enable test stands to be operated highly efficiently, economically and with an impressive degree of automation. Delphin DAQ software and data logging solutions are being used in test stand engineering in the areas of control, measurement, automation and data acquisition. On customer request, Delphin also provides support for specialised test stand development in close cooperation with partner companies. Contact us about the options we offer. We will be happy to advise you in a personal consultation.
A test stand requires not only a precise PC-based control system or a PLC that regulates and controls the sensors, measuring devices and mechanics of the test stand, but also software that acquires and stores measurement data and makes it available to other programs for further use, such as visualisation or evaluation. Delphin Technology provides customised software for controlling test stands as well as for data acquisition and data sharing.
With the platform-independent ProfiSignal 20 software, users get clear, logically structured software with a versatile range of functions and outstanding usability. The measurement software can be used on desktop PCs as well as in the measurement system. With high-performance displaying of measurement data, extensive visualisation options at the touch of a button and modern user interfaces and operating concepts, ProfiSignal 20 offers both beginners and experts the ideal performance for automated test stands.
The Delphin Data Center enables measurement data from test stands to be centrally stored, analysed and monitored. The Data Center is a centralised measurement data management system that securely archives measurement data in a traceable way and provides access to the stored data within seconds, regardless of location. As a DAQ solution, the Delphin Data Center is optimised for loss-free data compression, long-term archiving, customised data pre-processing via software channels and automated export of measurement data or characteristic values. The latest 2022 version of the Data Center provides optimised processing of up to 100 million data records per second, 64-bit support, an OPC UA interface and secure data transfer using SSL encryption.
In the automotive sector, hardware-in-the-loop test stands are used to test connected electronic systems within a vehicle. A hardware-in-the-loop test stand consists of a computer that can meet the real-time conditions of the application to be tested, and digital and/or analogue interfaces. The process involves connecting an embedded system, for example a mechatronic component or an electronic control unit, to a hardware-in-the-loop simulator via the available inputs and outputs. The simulator is a replica of the system's real environment. For example, in vehicle development, the simulator might represent the system to be controlled, i.e. the car. Recurring processes are generally simulated on hardware-in-the-loop test stands. For example, a new version of a component can be tested under exactly the same criteria as its predecessor. It is then possible to verify with a high degree of precision whether a previous defect has now been eliminated. Delphin hardware and software support the high demands of hardware-in-the-loop test stands.
Demands on test stands in laboratories are high. Devices used on laboratory test stands need to be easy and intuitive to operate. However, the measurement and testing tasks to be performed are generally highly specialised. Physical sensors need to record temperatures, pressures, forces and torques in the laboratory and the measurement data obtained must be reliably stored in databases and visualised in a way that is accessible for evaluation. Delphin Technology has hardware and software solutions specially adapted to the needs of modern laboratories and is a competent partner to chemical and pharmaceutical companies and universities. Delphin solutions are meeting the increased regulatory requirements in laboratory environments with their preconfigured mobile test systems and the options for the detailed implementation of verification and documentation obligations. Interfaces such as Modbus, Profibus or SQL databases as well as compatibility with open standards such as OPC DA and UA enable connectivity to higher-level systems such as LIMS as well as to laboratory equipment from different manufacturers. Delphin systems can be customised for any laboratory task.