Finesse Push Boundaries With New Test Machine
Matrix International recently approached Finesse Control Systems with a project that would break new ground for both companies
– to test innovative new high inertia brakes at 5000RPM. Successful delivery on the project would allow Matrix to safely carry out true to life tests at higher speeds, more efficiently than ever before. The timeline was challenging and the technical challenges significant - analysis, design and construction of a test rig capable of data logging at a 1000 samples per second for high speed, high inertia brake. Electrical and mechanical reliability and safety would need to be built in, with tests able to run around the clock, largely unmanned. All these requirements are second nature to the team at Finesse - however putting them all together in this unique fashion and in a very short time frame was never going to be easy. The Finesse mechanical, electrical and software teams would have to work particularly closely to ensure success. Working together Finesse delivered a machine that delighted the clients. The bespoke machine offers simple, easy to work with data storage in a safe and efficient manner allowing Matrix to run true to life tests at higher speeds than before, both vertically and horizontally in multiple configuration. The Finesse team involved in this project commented “This was a challenge, however we could see the potential benefits and importance to the client. It meant a lot to us to be able to solve their problems so we were willing to do whatever it took
Finesse MD Fraser Dunphy commented that;
“Our young and enthusiastic mechanical design team did a fantastic job creating a machine that allowed these exciting new tests to be performed in vertical or horizontal orientations for extensive lengths of time. They had to overcome a number of mechanical design challenges with significant mechanical analysis and precision engineering involved to ensure dynamic balancing and coupling strength to cope with the high inertia and energy involved. Additionally, their design required increased user safety with guarding around all moving parts while maintaining easy access to the test piece utilising safety interlocked control. This was identified as an essential feature at risk assessment stage due to the high rotational speed and inertia involved. I am extremely proud of the quick turn-around we achieved for our client, while still keeping our core values of quality, value and safety at the fore”.
Data Capture & Analysis
Control System Hardware Used:
Normally high speed datalogging requires expensive data acquisition systems. These are generally great for logging but put a lot of workload on the user. These systems also don’t offer safety integration which was critical in this system. A Siemens S7-1500F was identified as the ideal fit for safety and control of the system. The ability of this PLC along with the features of WinCC Advanced meant that we could explore the data capture rate into the PLC directly. As a Siemens solution partner FCS contacted the technical support at Siemens to discuss this idea and to look at ways this could be achieved. This resulted in some intensive collaboration between the companies and ultimately a solution that gave the required result. Now we have a single safety, control, visualisation and data logging platform all built around a solid, well supported test rig.