Control-ALT-Repeat

The latest development at IGB has been the upgrade of the Accelerated Lifetime Testing (ALT) program to include a Programmable Logic Controller.

Since October 2012, Remco Mettes has applied his knowledge of robotics and electronics to improve our in-house ALT facilities.

3D printed parts, sensors & stepper motor

More than 500,000 cycles on the clock

Oven test setup

As advisors to both design and certification departments, we recognized that significant gains could be made. The life-cycle testing of a product, such as door mechanisms, retaining devices or a waste bin flap, is an integral part of the design-to-production process.

In response to the increasing interest from our clients, we have taken ALT testing to the next-level.

Life-cycle testing simulates product usage within a condensed period of time under high stress conditions in order to predict failures, suggest design improvements and determine best maintenance practices.

An exclusively pneumatic set-up gets the job done. However, this method has limitations. As a result, IGB has been using a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) to increase the accuracy and data richness of the test results.

The PLC Added Value

This set-up consists of pneumatic actuators and stepper motors both controlled by a PLC. Test monitoring is based on the torque measurements combined with optical sensors. Audio and video capture at predefined moments during the test (e.g. every 1,000 cycles) is also available. The test automatically halts when the parameters exceed a certain value indicating a product failure.

With this “early warning system” in place, the ALT test will stop so that the test engineer can immediately determine the reason for the failure. The advantages of this system are:

  • More accurate diagnostics
  • Quicker turn-around time with design changes/recommendations
  • Increased product reliability
  • All of these leading to decreased costs

IGB is a valued certification partner to suppliers in the air, land and sea transport industries. Unlike some established testing houses, IGB offers its clients flexibility in terms of test customizing and execution turn-around.

To maintain this level of service, IGB is constantly positioning itself to be able to deliver quality test setups and reporting.

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