IPEmotion test bench integration – A case study for turbine fuel pump testing

Application note for IPEmotion control module and remote kernal

The customer UTC Aerospace is a leading international service company and tier one system supplier for the aerospace and defence industry. The UTC branch in Neuss is specialized on the calibration and overhaul of aero engine fuel pumps and regulators systems.

The challenge

The aero engines get their kerosene supply from fuel pump systems. Every aero engine has its specific fuel pump and
regulator system. It has to be send to maintenance and service in defined time intervals. It contains a two stage system including a  booster and a high pressure pump as well as regulators. With increasing operating time the mechanical wear out is causing a deterioration of performance leading to dropping pressure and mass flow levels. UTC is operating dedicated test benches equipped with
IPEmotion software to automate the performance tests and
to check if the pump systems meet the required
performance levels and acceptance criteria.

Requirements

  • Embedded computer for real time control loop process execution
  • Interface to Siemens PLC systems via ProfiBus
  • Serial interface to ECU test boxes
  • Excel interfaces for import of test cycle definitions and for reporting
  • Interface to BECKHOFF TwinCAT IO terminals
  • Interface to IPETRONIK Counter modules for flow sensors

The Solution

IPEmotion was selected as test and measurement software as its vendor independent PlugIn concept offered the required flexibility to interface various DAQ- and PLC systems. The major challenge was to integrate a new control software platform to the complex test-cell PLC environment. The interfaced hardware components are:

  • BECKHOFF TwinCAT IO terminals for analog sensor inputs
  • A ProfiBus DP interface to the test cell’s SIEMENS PLC system
  • An interface to specific LMM flow meter systems with pulse counter output signals (measured with IPETRONIK counter modules).
  • The flow meter interfaces calculate from various input parameters like kerosene pressure, temperature, viscosity, density the volume and mass flow rates.

In order to operate the pump system a serial interface to a test box ECUs had to be established to simulate the required signals. Finally a serial interfaces to a portable test bench calibration system was required to performance calibration and correlation test which are required when a new product is tested.

Additionally the customer required to build an interface to the existing test cycle management program designed in Excel which was used in the legacy system too. The test steps are defined by the operator according to the test standards in an Excel user interfaces. When the test step definition is finalized an import functions is loading all parameters into the control module of IPEmotion. The operator as only to execute the start button in IPEmotion and the test process with the PID loop control and the different ramp signal function generators are executed automatically. External applications like the Excel interface was covered by the IPEmotion COM and VBS scripting routines.

Remote Kernel

One particularity of this test bench design is the remote kernel architecture. The customer required that all data acquisition functions and the control loops and function generator are executed on a separate industrial grade embedded PC. This architecture separates the operator application form the actual test control operation which includes over 60 PID loops and ramp generators and threshold monitoring.

The advantages

The IPEmotion Software contains the following advantages:

  • Remote kernal architecture to separate PID control functions from the operator interface
  • PlugIn Interface to integrate existing PLC and data acquisition systems
  • Integration of VBA scripting and Excel for test cycle definition
  • Automated Excel reporting and documentation
  • User-friendly operator interface to operate the test bench
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