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Air Valve Testing to Streamline a Manufacturing Line Throughput

Date Published: December 10, 2012
Application: Data Acquisition & Control
Manufacturer: ADwin
Measurements: Pressure
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ADwin-Light-16 DAQ System Records, Controls and Analyzes Critical Data

CAS DataLoggers recently provided the data acquisition solution for a factory supervisory team who were looking to solve a serious quality control problem on their main manufacturing line. Their process was experiencing issues from a valve controlling an air jet used to blow faulty-looking components off the line after they failed an optical inspection. The latency of the valve’s opening wasn’t optimal, so these parts often kept moving down the line rather than being immediately rejected as intended. Therefore the team needed a high-speed DAQ system to measure response times from the time that air entered the valve to the time when the valve actually opened. To record and view the exact latency time to eventually get the timing right, they contacted CAS DataLoggers to suggest an ideal device.

CAS DataLoggers Applications Specialists recommended an ADwin-Light-16 Real Time Data Acquisition and Control System to log and analyze data. Using this system, the line’s engineer found an effective way to approach the problem: the ADwin’s analog inputs were connected to high-speed measurements from 2 pressure transducers placed upstream and downstream at either end of the line.  The continual data from the pressure sensors helped distinguish between 3 milliseconds and 6 milliseconds of valve openings and closures, which made a big difference in valve effectiveness, and the ADwin allowed users to view this latency and exact frequency of missed incidences to provide real-time process monitoring.

The ADwin system’s main benefit was its local 32-Bit SHARC DSP which used its own local memory to handle system management, data acquisition, on-line processing and control of outputs. This way, the connected PC’s system resources were freed up for other tasks. Meanwhile the DAQ system’s digital line was used to trigger the manufacturing line. The 16-channel data acquisition system featured 8 16-Bit analog inputs, 2 16-Bit analog outputs, and 6 TTL/CMOS compatible digital inputs and outputs. The team made their choice from several system configurations including PCI, CompactPCI, and EURO USB configurations, or external USB or Ethernet.

Real-time development was performed using the included ADbasic software. With ADbasic, users easily optimized and compiled the program code. ADbasic’s functionality gave access to all inputs and outputs as well as functions for floating-point operations, process control and communication with a PC. A library complete with standard functions including filtering, various examples for counter use, closed-loop controllers, and function generators made for a quick implementation. CAS DataLoggers also helped the team by giving programming advice to get the project underway as quickly as possible.

Using the ADwin-Light-16 DAQ system, the factory’s supervisory team was able to correct their line’s quality control problem by getting a highly-accurate view of its air valve flow behavior. Use of the ADwin system allowed the valve’s latency to be detected in real-time. The system’s local DSP executed these real-time processes independently of a PC, and the included ADbasic software handled programming for mathematical operations and functions which were executed immediately after each sampling step.

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