Drastic Changes Happening in T&M With Arrival of 5G

By Deepshikha Shukla

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To ensure safety of travellers, aerospace and marine applications need high-end testing of every component in every possible condition.

When we travel by an aircraft or a ship, our safety relies on the operational accuracy and efficiency of these modes of transport. To ensure safety of travellers, aerospace and marine applications need high-end testing of every component in every possible condition. These are critical applications that need flexible and scalable test solutions to check their operational accuracy in harsh environmental conditions.

With the evolution of new technologies, changing standards and regulations, the global electronic test equipment market will undergo significant transformations. As per a Frost & Sullivan report, with the arrival of 5G, drastic shifts in signal generators, signal and spectrum analysers, network analysers and power meter segments of the electronic test and measurement (T&M) market are expected by 2020.

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With increased capabilities and thus complexity of aircraft and ships, customers face challenges in testing, validation and verification of the modern equipment. To mitigate these challenges, research on millimetre-wave frequencies (30GHz or above) for special-purpose radars and other equipment has been increased tremendously.

Aerospace

Different kinds of testing required for aerospace applications are flight, environmental, climatic, vibration, structural, instrumentation, fatigue, MIMO, wind tunnel, pressure measurement, lightning, gap measurement, air data, non-destructive, dynamics measurement, material, engine, corrosion, electrical systems, power supply, production and assembly. And yet the list may be incomplete! Following are a few examples of the latest in aerospace T&M equipment.

Gantner Instruments offers data acquisition systems for testing the strength of individual components and complete assemblies. This includes strain and force measurement, controlling and monitoring actuators, fatigue testing of turbine components, and testing of landing gear and hydraulic parts.

Q.station X is a high-performance edge controller for data acquisition, monitoring and control, remote configuration and universal connectivity. It provides accurate synchronisation of measurement data, high-speed redundant data logging, and parallel communication over TCP/IP, CAN, PROFIBUS, Modbus, and EtherCAT. It comes with an optional full-featured programmable application controller designed for complex control and automation tasks.

Q.station X (Credit: www.gantner-instruments.com)
Q.station X (Credit: www.gantner-instruments.com)

A wide variety of signals and sensors, as well as high channel counts from digital sources and aircraft buses, are acquired over multiple channels, monitored online and continuously stored in a common data server. A flight test system based on imc’s measurements and video technology (up to eight cameras) is a useful solution. All acquired analogue and digital values from a variety of sensors are stored in the aircraft and transmitted in parallel to the control station by pulse code modulation. Thus, it is possible to view and evaluate measurement data via imc Studio monitor at any time.

imc Studio offers numerous aircraft-specific indicators, such as a moving map with respect to position. These display elements can be freely placed on panels, thus allowing custom interface designs. Panels can then be distributed on multiple monitors (up to eight). This allows the test team to have everything in view, even during complex flight testing.

imc Studio (Credit: www.imc-tm.com)
imc Studio (Credit: www.imc-tm.com)

Keysight’s FieldFox microwave analysers are equipped to handle every task from routine maintenance to in-depth troubleshooting. FieldFox delivers microwave measurements like spectrum analysis, vector network analysis, antenna test and so on. These analysers have a robust structure with a water-resistant chassis, keypad, and a case that withstands shock and vibrations with a temperature range from -10ºC to +55ºC. FieldFox meets MIL-PRF-28800F class 2 standards in harsh environments.

FieldFox microwave analyser (Credit: www.keysight.com)
FieldFox microwave analyser (Credit: www.keysight.com)

Naval

There are different types of measurements in ship systems, to achieve a complete overview of any condition onboard ships. It is vital to measure navigation, operation of power plant, operation of cargo system, and ensure safety of crew and equipment, and to keep a check on the weather and environment in general for everyone’s safety.

Detecting acoustic emissions of ships and submarines (Credit: www.imc-tm.com)
Detecting acoustic emissions of ships and submarines (Credit: www.imc-tm.com)

For navigation, measurement of position of the ship and foreign ships’ coordinates to control its own movement along the desired trajectory, position stabilisation and use of anti-collision systems is required. For measuring safe and economical operation of the ship’s power plant, mechanical motion parameters of devices driving generators and engines should be measured separately.

Measurement of torque, power and revolution speed on the shaft of the main engine determines the economical operation of the ship’s propulsion. Measurement of quantities like voltage, current, power, frequency, power factor, insulation resistance and total harmonic distortion characterise the power grid.

An example of such a system is SeaPerformer developed by Enamor Ltd, Gdynia, Poland, which cooperates closely with Gdynia Maritime University. The system has been successfully implemented in dozens of deep-sea ships.

To examine the acoustic fingerprint of surface and underwater vessels, acoustic signals are measured, recorded and processed to calculate spectra. These are then directly transmitted via radio link to naval units under test in real time. imc C-series measurement system can be used for this application. Its batteries allow autonomy for at least twelve hours, and main power can be switched on or off remotely via radio control.

Hydrophone sensors are submerged deep below the buoy and are connected via cabling and waterproof connectors to the imc C-series data acquisition system, sampling at 50kS/s/channel. The system is connected to a GNSS high-performance satellite receiver from JAVAD for accurate position measurements and to synchronise data recording with GPS time. A Wi-Fi modem/router equipped with a booster is used to increase power of the transmitter and omni-directional antenna.

Today’s naval forces require reliable and secure interoperable communications, interception- and jam-resistant voice and data connections in any type of scenario. These need to be designed to maintain and improve the digital sovereignty of customers and make them technologically independent of manufacturers and industrial partners.

Rohde & Schwarz supplies integrated communications and network systems to naval platforms in addition to naval, joint or allied communication networks. Its Navics integrated communications system (ICS) can be used for all onboard communications, and Soveron for all external communications. These can be customised for all classes of ships with an all-IP architecture to offer maximum flexibility in design and service.

 Soveron AR software-defined airborne radio (Credit: www.rohde-schwarz.com)
Soveron AR software-defined airborne radio (Credit: www.rohde-schwarz.com)

Soveron stands for high-performance, fully integrated, modular communications solutions for all branches of the armed forces. The portfolio covers portable radios for dismounted soldiers as well as vehicular, stationary and airborne applications and complex systems for ships. One key element is an open source development platform that enables users to develop their own national, independent waveforms. Users can also adopt a suite of network capable, high data and jam-resistant waveforms to cover a wide range of communication scenarios.

Dependable and accurate measurement of pressure, temperature and other variables within various tanks is an important measure in preventing the escape of aggressive fluids, controlling water circulation systems in ship operations. Sensor technology employed here has to meet numerous stringent requirements, above all materials utilised must be robust enough for use over the longer term. Both wastewater and freshwater tank systems are monitored using built-in sensors, which guarantees an optimum water supply across the high seas.

Kistler provides high-precision pressure sensors with long-term stability and easy-to-handle diagnostic equipment for large ship engines. Offline cylinder pressure plays a key part in monitoring two- and four-stroke engines to optimise maintenance intervals, detect damage ahead of time, ensure compliance with emission limits and minimise fuel consumption. Rugged piezoelectric sensors and measuring chains from Kistler deliver high-precision data for continuous operational monitoring of large engines.

With sensor technology, errors are detected early and control of the combustion process is optimised. Sensors that can withstand high operating temperatures are mounted on the indicator valve for periodic measurements.


 

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