Pump Test Station – Increasing throughput
Standardizing on testing technique & reporting
Increasing test throughput with automation
Client – Industrial pump manufacturer
Pump manufacturers typically test their product in the same facility in which the pumps are created. These tests are well defined and based on standards created by organizations such as API and ANSI to name a few. These tests are run to verify the performance of the pump as well as provide a report to the customer demonstrating that the pump they purchased will meet their needs. Sometimes these tests become factory witness tests where the customer sits in on the testing being performed on the pumps they had purchased.
This particular pump manufacturer had a test facility where many different sizes and types of pumps could be tested. The software provided to them by another integrator to run the test stand had the desired user interface screens, but did not function as requested, and was missing certain desired features.
Our client came to us with the following requests:
- Evaluate the software written by the previous integrator to assess whether any of the code could be reused in the new application.
- Ensure that existing cDAQ hardware would be compatible with changes and improvements to the software.
- Deploy the hardware/software solution on the test site to verify it performed as required.
The Pump Test Utility was used for end-of-line test and product validation.
It had the following features:
- A Pump Test application that can run one of the following tests at a time:
- Performance Test.
- Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) Test.
- Mechanical Test.
- All test configuration and data files generated by the software must be compatible with Microsoft Excel.
- Ability to show vibration data real time while the test is running.
- Standardization of testing technique –each pump will be tested with the same procedures and calculations/algorithms.
- Automated generation of report content and presentation – automation of this step will save hours of manually recording data and entering that data into a spreadsheet to generate the same report.
- Automation of the reporting and elimination of the need to manually record data will increase throughput of the testing facility.
We developed the Pump Test Utility application to allow our client’s engineers and operators to:
- Run one of three guided tests that visually provides pump performance feedback during the test.
- Create a test configuration user interface that will be used to store configuration information that can be recalled when testing a similar pump.
- Automate the collection of data during the test.
- Automate the population of report templates with the configuration and data acquired during the test.
- View and print out vibration graphs real time during the test.
The pump test software was developed in LabVIEW.
It interfaced with simple delimited text files and Excel workbook templates to save the configuration information necessary to set up and run the required tests.
The resulting data acquired during the test, both raw data acquired from the sensors and calculated data used to characterize the pump being tested, are saved to delimited text files.
Both high-speed (10 kS/s) and low-speed (10 S/s) data are acquired. High-speed data are graphed real time in a separate UI that allows the user to set cursors on the graph for visualization and printing to a pdf report.
Low-speed data is written to a delimited text file for archival storage and retrieval if additional analysis is required.
The high-speed data are for vibration measurements. The low-speed data are for pressure, temperature, RPM and flowrate measurements.
Flow rate and vacuum pressure were automatically adjusted using a PID loop and 4-20 mA controlled valves.
The pump test configuration is performed within the application from a series of drop-down selections populated with sensors found in an Excel workbook. The Excel workbook is updated and maintained outside the application. Once the test sensors and conditions have been selected, those selections are written to an Excel workbook for use in the reports.
The Excel ActiveX interface was used to develop the reports the client provided to their customers for the slow data. The Excel workbook template contained the formatting necessary for the reports. As the software wrote the data into the workbook, the reports were built from the formulas and formatting already configured in the Excel template.
At the end of the test, the software printed the appropriate worksheets containing the elements of the report required. The vibration (high-speed data) is written to a binary file and a pdf.
|3 Standardized Test Types|
|Generate Standard Table-Based Reports|
|Generate Pump Performance Graphs|
|Generate Vibration Graphs|
|Sensor Management Tools|
|Test Configuration Management Tools|
|NI cDAQ Signal Conditioning Chassis|
|Variety of NI cSeries Signal Conditioning Modules|