Original Date: 08/08/1994
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Real-Time, On-Site Data Reduction
With the high volume testing that CSTA conducts, reducing data and supplying it to the customer in a timely manner has been a demanding and tedious process. Until the early 1980s, five people were required to reduce test data for each test and submit the handwritten results to the Test Director. A typical data reduction loop (see graphic) could require up to seven working days to complete. CSTA determined that real-time, on-site data reduction was needed to better satisfy customer requirements.
Since 1989, CSTA has improved data reduction such that the Test Director and customer can now review test results as they occur. Advances in instrumentation, computers, and software have yielded test site integration capabilities for both automotive and ballistic data flow. Automotive testing on the 40 miles of test track can consistently be repeated through real-time data reduction.
Data from the automotive sensors are processed and recorded on-board and selected data are transmitted to monitoring stations. Should the data shift outside of the test parameters, the operator and the monitoring station are notified of the alarm condition. On-board recording (such as the profilometer monitoring test track consistency) is used to ensure test condition repeatability. Because of the amount of data recorded from the test track, predictive analysis can be conducted on new designs. Before a single part is produced, the vehicle design is run through the test track on the computer to determine weak areas.
Test site integration for ballistic data flow has also advanced. Depending on the data, sensor and processing requirements results can now be reviewed in real-time or up to a maximum turnaround time of ten minutes. High speed ballistic sensors provide data such as chamber pressure, blast overpressure, and acceleration. Projectile velocity and other information can be recorded from Doppler radar after signal conditioning. Flash X-Ray, target video, and high speed photography are also used. Previously, a black and white photo required one to two days to process at a cost of $45. The same image can now be obtained in under one second at a cost of less than $1.
In five years, CSTA has taken complex data reduction and made it user-friendly, on-site, real-time information that is easily accessible. Manpower and time have been reduced, and more data is available for the engineer. In addition to real-time test site feedback, personnel can monitor test results from remote locations through networks. Advances in areas such as data reduction, customer satisfaction and therefore increased demand has allowed CSTA to continually expand and improve their test facilities.
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