Instrumentation and Data Acquisition
NATC has extensive experience in the fabrication and use of
instrumented systems. These have included the construction and instrumentation
fitment of 15 Dynamic Force Measurement Vehicles for both in-house use and for
customers such as U.S. Army Cold Regions Research Experimental Laboratory,
Department of Defense Canada, and U.S. Department of Transportation, National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Other systems include the construction
and instrumentation fitment of a mobile dynamometer for the People’s Republic of
China and ground pressure/deflection devices for measuring footprint pressure,
damping and spring rates of very large low pressure tires.
NATC has an instrumentation department to support and conduct
instrumented evaluation of ground-based vehicles and weapons firings, and a data
analysis department to perform data reduction and analysis. A wide variety of
transducers is used to measure many different system performance parameters for
vehicles and weapons systems. Examples include accelerometers, strain gages,
All the equipment necessary to condition and record the
signals out of the transducers is available. Systems for recording 168 channels
simultaneously are available; however, typical commercial and military
applications on vehicles use approximately 32-64 channel configurations. This
equipment is currently on-site and available for test support.
Electrical Properties and Parameters - Secondary Reference Standards
Outputs from the above transducers are recorded on analog or
digital microprocessor controlled recorders. The recorders are ruggedized to
survive in an environment of dust, and high shock and vibration. Since multiple
techniques and equipment types are available for most of these measurements, the
methods chosen depend upon test plan requirements, resolution requirements, and
type of test. NATC utilizes an Optim Megadac 3407DC RAM-based data recorder
which has the capability to sample data at 25,000 samples per second and acquire
330 channels per mainframe. This can be a combination of any of the sensors
referenced above. Calibration documentation for all instrumentation is maintained on file.
Data analysis capabilities include time- and frequency-domain statistics,
spectral analysis, digital filtering, transfer functions, input/output models,
etc. For weapons firing applications and other shock-spectrum-analysis
applications, sample rates near one million per second are available.
For data acquisition and data analysis requirements from instrumented tests,
a variety of data acquisition devices are available. Nsoft data processing
software is used for signal-analysis.
Data Transfer and Exchange
NATC has previously established data transfer and data
compatibility with USATACOM, Warren Michigan, USAF BMO Norton California, USA
Picatinny Arsenal and various commercial sites. NATC can provide digital data in
virtually any required format. Due to the wide range of computer requirements,
NATC's testing facilities are augmented by several different computer systems
that perform various levels of word and data processing. Digital data can be
provided in IBM or Macintosh formats.
Data Acquisition Packages
Through nearly 40 years of vehicle test and evaluation, NATC
has recognized the need for ruggedized, reliable acquisition of dynamic vehicle
response data. Our engineering staff has developed and patented numerous
devices, procedures, and techniques for collection and analysis of test data
within the often brutal environment of off-highway
durability testing. Through
this experience and expertise, NATC is in a position to offer complete
instrumentation and data acquisition packages to testing labs and proving
grounds around the world.
Systems can be engineered to meet specific data collection
and analysis requirements in virtually any ground vehicle testing arena. For
example, NATC can provide a complete heating, cooling, control, and data
acquisition package for a vehicle-sized environmental test chamber. NATC also
can provide software to be used with off-the-shelf systems, as well as with NATC's exclusive components and devices. Traceable calibration of NATC-supplied
equipment is available in our on-site lab.