Test Solutions: Highly Configurable, High Density Data Acquisition Platform

Data Acquisition Platform FixtureCHALLENGE

Create a highly configurable, large channel count acquisition platform for monitoring and recording custom test data during centrifugal compressor mechanical testing.




A custom test cabinet built from off-the-shelf components and based on the National Instruments PXI platform with a LabVIEW application for data acquisition, system monitoring, data analysis, and reporting. 

“The system provides us an easy and reliable method for accommodating our customer's present and future testing requirements.”



A manufacturer of centrifugal air compressors needed an easy and efficient method for configuring, analyzing, and recording mechanical measurements during compressor verification testing. This testing process involves recording pressure, temperature, vibration, and speed data of various components of the compressor. They needed to improve their existing methods by greatly increasing the instrumentation channel count and setup while also automating data collection and reporting. 

The compressor verification process varies between customers, so the manufacturer needed a solution that was adaptable to different models and configurations. They approached Tecnova to design a custom test cabinet with the necessary hardware connections and a software application that provided their desired functionality. 

Tecnova engineered a solution using a test enclosure that provides connections for pressure transmitters, RTDs, accelerometers, key phasors, tachometers, and any custom 4-20mA transmitter. The system allows the operator to connect any instrument combination needed for a given test. An NI PXI Chassis is used for data acquisition and control and is connected to an internally mounted PC.

The computer runs a Windows-based LabVIEW application that provides the interface to configure, monitor, analyze, and record instrument channel data. The easy to use configuration wizard allows the operator to create test and channel configurations based on the unit under test. Limits can be applied to each channel and an alarm will sound if the channel is out of range, providing the operator with important feedback. 

The application provides a testing mode that automatically records data at user-defined time intervals and gives the ability to log high speed data to TDMS files when desired. Automatically generated PDF reports are saved and printed upon test completion. 

Tecnova's customer was able to improve their testing process by upgrading to a system that allows customization and streamlines automatic data collection. 


Topics: Automated Test, LabVIEW Insights