Simcenter Testing Solutions Simcenter Testlab Turbine Testing

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This article explains the functionality of a Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test data acquisition system. Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test data acquisition systems can acquire hundreds of channels at sampling rates up to 200,000 kHz per channel over several days continuously. 

A Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test data acquisition system usually involves multiple data acquisition PCs with corresponding SCADAS data acquisition units.  Data from each acquisition system is transferred continuously to a central network data server.  The data from the separate acquisition systems is synced together and stored in a single file on the server.

A Simcenter Testlab Turbine test system has several components that work together as shown in Figure 1 below:
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Figure 1: Components of a Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test system consist of test object (upper left), master control system (lower right), recording systems with SCADAS (middle), visualizations stations (bottom), network storage (middle right) and more.

In addition to storing all data synchronously on the server, users can monitor any data channel live from a remote visualization station.  Other users can start analyzing the data on the server while the test is still in progress.

While jet engine turbine tests are a common application for Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test, the solution can be used in any application where large amounts of data are acquired, and multiple analysts want to view and/or process data while the acquisition is in progress.  Other applications include acoustic arrays in wind tunnels, acoustic commissioning of large structures, etc.

This article has the following contents:
1.Master Control System
   1.1 Recording Setup
   1.2 Event Setup
   1.3 Measure
2. Recording Systems
3. Time Synchronization
4. Visualization Systems
   4.1 Visualization Setup
   4.2 Channel Setup
   4.3 Displays
5.    Alarming System
6.    Network Storage and Reporting
   6.1 Time Data Selection
   6.2 Time Data Processing
   6.3 Active Picture

1.    Master Control System

There is a single “Master Control System” used in a Simcenter Testlab Turbine Test system as shown in Figure 2.  
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Figure 2: The Master Control system (lower right) controls all subsystems of a turbine test setup.

From this system, and operator can start and monitor all recording stations, visualization stations, and the central data storage.

The software for the master control system is started by launching “Turbine Test Recording Manager” from the Turbine Test folder of the Simcenter Testlab installation.

1.1 Recording Setup

In the “Turbine Test Recording Manager”, the “Recording Setup” workbook shows status of all system.  The status is green when all systems are running (Figure 3):
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Figure 3: The Recording Setup workbook on the master control system gives the status of all recording and other subsystems. Status is green if up and operational.

If any of the subsystems are not started, or went down during acquisition, the status will be red as shown in Figure 4.
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Figure 4: Red colored status in the “Recording Setup” workbook indicates the systems are not up and running for data acquisition.  Pressing the “Start Recording System” button in the upper left will start the recording systems.

When the Turbine Test Recording Manager software is initially launched, the recording systems will need to be started.  This is done by pushing the “Start Recording System” button in the upper left of the screen.

Data is continuously uploaded to the network storage for hours or days.  In the “Recording Options” in the lower left of the “Recording Setup” worksheet, a time duration can be specified.  For example, if set to 300 seconds, this means that every 300 seconds time data is uploaded from the recording systems to the network storage.  Analysts would be able to post process the data after a 300 second “delay” from the network storage location.  

During the acquisition, analysts to view data (time, frequency, orders, octaves, etc) in real time on Visualization stations (covered in upcoming section).

The “Recording Setup” worksheet also indicates how much storage is available on the server and how much longer recording can be done at the current data rates.

1.2 Event Setup

There is an “Event Setup” worksheet in the Turbine Test Recording Manager as shown in Figure 5:  
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Figure 5: Events to log or record can be entered in the “Event Setup” worksheet of the Turbine Test Recording Manager.

Events are defined by the operator.  Examples include:
  • Exceeding a specified vibration threshold on a specific channel
  • Being withing a certain operating speed of the test object.
  • Stop acquisition if an overload occurs on a specific channel
As many events as desired can be entered.  These events will be monitored continuously.  Depending on the acquisition mode, one of two things happens:
  • Continuous Acquisition Mode: All time data is continuously recorded to the network storage. Events are kept as a log for easy retrieval for post processing of data.
  • Endurance Acquisition Mode: Only time data corresponding to the events are kept on the network storage. This reduces the overall amount of data stored versus the continuous mode.
1.3 Measure

Once the measurement is ready to be acquired, use the "Measure" worksheet to:
  • Enter a name for the recording in the "Run Name" field.
  • Press "Record" to start the measurement.
  • Use "Pause" to stop the measurement but keep the system armed.
  • Use "Break" to stop recording.
2. Recording Systems

A Simcenter Testlab Turbine test system may have several recording systems, each containing a single PC and corresponding SCADAS data acquisition hardware as shown in Figure 6.  
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Figure 6: Recording systems (middle, circled in red) consist of a single PC attached to a single SCADAS data acquisition system.

One system is needed for every 140 channels at 200 kHz sampling. If the sampling rate is lower, the number of channels can be proportionally higher.

The SCADAS data acquisition system (Figure 7) conditions transducers (accelerometers, strain gauges, etc) and performs analog to digital data conversion. 
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Figure 7: A SCADAS data acquisition hardware will power transducers (accelerometers, strain gauges, microphones, etc) and convert the collected output to digital format for storage on a computer.

On the recording system computer, the setup of the transducers is entered in an Excel like grid as shown in Figure 8.
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Figure 8: Channel setup grid for multiple channels on recording system.

Each row corresponds to one transducer. Information like conditioning (ICP, Voltage supply), channel name, sensitivity values, input range are all entered.

In the “Acquisition Setup” worksheet the sampling rate can be entered. It can also be set in the “Recording Setup” worksheet on the master control system.

More information on “Channel Setup” of a recording system:

3. Time Synchronization

In a Simcenter Turbine test system, dynamic data is acquired and streamed to a central server at rates up to 200,000 samples per second per channel.

All data collected is synchronized so there is no phase shift between channels.  One option to synchronize all the systems is an IRIG-B time code generator (Figure 9). 
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Figure 9: Subsystems use an IRIG-B time generator for time synchronization.

An IRIG-B time code generator (Figure 10) is a device that produces an absolute time code signal with accuracies on the order of one microsecond.  IRIG-B is an acronym for Inter-range Instrumentation Time Group, designation B.
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Figure 10: IRIG-B time code generator.

The signal is distributed to all subsystems using fiber optic links or coaxial cables.

In each recording system, in the upper right corner of the Channel Setup, there is a pulldown used to set the clock synchronization source as shown in Figure 11.  
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Figure 11: In the upper right corner of the “Channel Setup” worksheet of each recording station is a Clock sync setting.

The clock synchronization can accept either an analog or digital IRIG-B signal.

4. Visualization Stations

While a test is in progress, various groups of analysts or other concerned parties may want to view live data while the test is in progress.

This can be done with “Visualization Stations” (Figure 12) that are supported in the Turbine Test solution. 
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Figure 12: Visualization stations (lower left) allow multiple onlookers to view live data.  Each station allows users to view data independently of the others.

Viewing on each visualization station is independent of the others.  For example, a group of combustion analysts might be viewing dynamic pressures on one visualization station while a different group of analysts monitors vibration on another station.

4.1 Visualization Setup

Visualization is setup and initiated from the “Visualization Setup” worksheet of the Turbine Test Recording Manager on the master control system as shown in Figure 13.
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Figure 13: Use the Visualization Setup worksheet to initialize a viewing station.

Viewing is not done on the master control system itself, just the initialization is performed from the master control.  Viewing is done on a remote client PC.

The visualization client has two worksheets: “Channel Setup” and “Monitor”.

4.2 Channel Setup

The “Channel Setup” worksheet of the visualization client allows users to select a subset or all of the channels they wish to visualize. Unlike the “Channel Setup” of the recording systems, channels can only be selected for viewing, no altering of the acquisition settings can be done from the visualization client.

This is done by clicking the checkbox “Enabled” on the channels desired to viewed as shown in Figure 14.
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Figure 14: In the “Channel Setup” worksheet of the visualization, click checkbox “Enabled” to view a channel.

The channels that have been enabled are the available for viewing in the “Monitor” worksheet.

4.3 Monitor

The “Monitor” worksheet allows viewing of live data in different formats. Options include display options of time, frequency, XY, orbits, octaves, and colormaps (Figure 15).  
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Figure 15: A visualization station has a variety of displays for viewing live data on different channels. Displays are opened using the row of icons on the upper left.

From the row of display icons in the upper right of the screen, displays are created. Data to be viewed is selected from the “Data Explorer” in the upper right of the screen.

After opening the “Data Explorer” drag and drop from the list of enabled channels into the displays as shown in Figure 16.
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Figure 16: Drag and drop from the channel/function list in the Data Explorer to view live data.

In addition to viewing the data, cursors can be used to interrogate the data in progress.

More on display options of Simcenter Turbine test:

5. Alarming Systems

Dynamic data, like vibration at critical locations, can also be monitored by Simcenter Testlab Turbine Testing.  If levels exceed critical limits, the test cell can be sent signals to perform a shutdown as shown in Figure 17.
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Figure 17: An alarming system is used to monitor vibration levels.  If critical limits are exceed, the central test cell system can initiate a shutdown.

If the vibration exceeds prescribed limits, the central test cell system will be informed so an orderly shutdown of the test can be performed. The alarming system is not a required part of a Simcenter Testlab Turbine test system, it could be done by a independent alarming system.

6. Network Storage and Reporting

All data acquired in the recording systems is stored ultimately on a central network data storage as shown in Figure 18.
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Figure 18: All data collected from a Turbine Test system is stored on a central network storage.

Multiple analysts can start viewing and processing the data on the server, even while the test is in progress. 

6.1 Time Data Selection

Start “Simcenter Testlab Desktop” on any PC to view and process data.  The PC should have a network drive mapped to the data server.

After starting the “Simcenter Testlab Desktop”, go to “Time Data Selection” worksheet to access the data (Figure 19).
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Figure 19: In Time Data Selection, click on the “…” button and choose “TBT measurement”.

In the “Time Data Selection” worksheet, choose the “…” button in the upper left corner to change the data source.  Select “TBT Measurement”. TBT is an acronym for “Turbine Test”. Click on the “Browse…” button to select the data of interest.

After loading the data, click on the “View” checkbox on the left to visualize the data trace as shown in Figure 20.
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Figure 20: An overview peak data trace is used to quickly view data from the server on the local PC.

The data trace shown is a reduced sampled trace.  It contains all the peak values of the data.  This trace is used to select the data to process.   

Using the peak overview avoids loading all the detailed data for data selection. This saves time when selecting the section of data to analyze.

Using the peak overview, select a time segment and the channels to be processed as shown in Figure 21.
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Figure 21: In “Time Data Selection” choose both the time segment and channels to be processed.

In “Time Data Selection”, a segment and channels can be identified for processing:
  • Time Segment: Click and drag in the strip chart display  to identify time segment for processing.  The segment is the black area.
  • Channels: Highlight the row corresponding to the channel to be processed on the left side of the screen.
Once the segment and channels are identified, click on the button “Duplicate channel segments into a new measurement”.  The corresponding high-resolution data will be downloaded from the server and displayed (Figure 22):
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Figure 22: After pressing the “Duplicate channel segments” button, high resolution data is available for processing.

Now the data can be processed. More on using Time Data Selection:

6.2 Throughput Processing

With the high-resolution data in place the data can be processed.  Under “Tools -> Add-ins” make sure “Signature Throughput Processing” add-in is turned on.  A new worksheet called “Time Data Processing” will appear.

Go to “Time Data Processing” as shown in Figure 23.
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Figure 23: The “Time Data Processing” worksheet allows.

In Time Data Processing, choose some processing options include:
  • Acquisition Parameters: Set stationary or tracked processing, spectral lines and frame size, octave type
  • Channel Processing: Integrate or create derived channels
  • Section: Identify orders, overall levels
More information on using Time Data Processing in the knowledge article: Simcenter Testlab Throughput Processing Tips.

6.3 Active Picture

When making reports in Simcenter Testlab, active pictures is an interesting option.  With active pictures, any graph made in a Word or PowerPoint report can be activated (double clicked on) to be able to change limits, change axes formats, apply cursors, etc (Figure 24).
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Figure 24: Simcenter Testlab Active Picture in PowerPoint report allows axis formatting, changing of limits, etc.

Important information is also stored with the data in an active picture.  Information about how the data was processed and acquired.  For example, the calibration value used for the transducer is part of the report (Figure 25).
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Figure 25: Active picture contains the “Actual Sensitivity” value (i.e., calibration value) used to collect the data.

More information about active pictures in the knowledge articles:

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KB Article ID# KB000133233_EN_US



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