Test & Measurement

Defeating Commercial Drone Threats with Open-Source SDR

It’s nearly impossible to look at technology news without seeing an article about drones. Whether detailing how Amazon wants to use drones to deliver packages or revealing amazing aerial video of drones following Olympic snow-boarders, commercial drones are ubiquitous. Drone emergence has benefited many applications including sports broadcasting and wildlife preservation wilderness surveys. Offering powerful, intelligent software, drones are becoming less expensive and easier to use, with substantial operating range.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, RF & Microwave Electronics, Software, Test & Measurement

Air Caster Technology

If there is a prime example of the need for friction-free, precise and delicate equipment movement in the aerospace and defense industries, satellite positioning during the testing cycle should be at the top of the list. Whether in a clean room or another environment, there is no margin for error when it's time to move the “bird” even a short distance. Anything short of a smooth relocation means unacceptable property loss and project delays if this most intricate piece of aerospace equipment is damaged. Disassembly is hardly an option.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Positioning Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Operational Considerations for High-Reliability Interconnects in Military and Aerospace Applications

In the recent past, military acquisition has shifted from being locked into large long-term contracts to developing complex systems in discrete increments that can be further optimized in future design cycles. These shorter design cycles allow for equipment to be deployed more rapidly, thereby mitigating the risk of subsystems going obsolete as increasing proportions of budget dollars go towards operation and support (O&S). This transition to evolutionary acquisition (EA) leaves a major opportunity for vendors to develop commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components that are military-compliant.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Test & Measurement

Understanding Fiber Optic Transceiver Design and Test Rules

The design of avionics systems must balance several factors. First, engineers want to increase the performance of the systems installed in aircraft or spacecraft. Second, they want to reduce the size and weight of the equipment that must be carried. Third, they want to maximize the safety of the in-flight systems and maintain communication between the aircraft or spacecraft and other flight vessels and the command center, regardless of the circumstances.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Fiber Optics, Optical Components, Optics, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Peridynamic Modeling: An Alternative Approach to Analyzing Material Failure

A critical technology challenge for structural material applications in the aerospace and defense industries is to have a means for the reliable analysis of material damage and failure. Experimental structural assessments are typically expensive and often do not provide full information about coupled, multiscale damage processes. Computer-aided analysis has established itself as a useful tool for complementing experimental structural assessments. A comparative summary of current computer-aided approaches is presented in the accompanying table.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Materials, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Software, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Multi-Agent RF Propagation Simulator

A desirable interface between multi-agents is through over-the-air RF connections that include not only the intended direct RF communications paths but also highly variable multi-ray propagation, range attenuation, external RF influences, and near-earth influence. These influences are all difficult to predict, control, and repeat in an outdoor environment. This outdoor testing, as has traditionally been done, is extremely expensive while simultaneously providing fewer data points than more controlled events and the testing events are generally not repeatable.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Data Acquisition, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Simulation Software, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Getting the Most Out of Industrial CT Scanning

Quality assurance and flight certification of critical aerospace parts and assemblies have reached new levels of sophistication in recent years. Leading aerospace and defense manufacturers worldwide now consider computed tomography (CT) scanning to be an essential part of their non-destructive testing (NDT) toolkit. Far more powerful than the CT used to scan the human body, industrial CT can penetrate almost every material, from superalloys to lead, revealing hidden details that previously could only be found by cutting and destroying finished parts.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Ceramics, Composites, Materials, Joining & Assembly, Machinery, Mechanical Components, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Simulation Software, Software, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Underwater Drone Technology

Finding ways to overcome physical limitations so that humans can dive deeper and stay underwater longer has been an ongoing quest. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci drew sketches of a submarine and a robot. Had he thought to combine the two concepts, he would have created a prototype of an unmanned underwater vehicle, or underwater drone. Instead, the world had to wait another five hundred years.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power, Robotics, Sensors, Instrumentation, Transportation

Eyes In the Sky

Drones (i.e. quadrotors) are a popular and increasingly widespread product used by consumers as well as in a diversity of industrial, military and other applications. Historically under the control of human operators on the ground, they’re becoming increasingly autonomous as the cameras built into them find use not only for capturing footage of the world around them but also in understanding and responding to their surroundings. Combining imaging with other sensing modalities can further bolster the robustness of this autonomy.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Imaging, Automation, Robotics, Sensors, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Hydraulic Cylinder Position Sensor Technology

As the demand for greater control and functionality increases, position-sensor-instrumented hydraulic cylinders are becoming more important in the heavy industry, mobile equipment, and subsea worlds. Position sensors for feedback in hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders have typically used one of three technologies: Linear Variable Inductance Transducers (LVITs), variable resistance potentiometers (Pots), or magnetostrictive transducers (MLDTs). While other sensor technologies have occasionally been used in these applications, the focus of this article is a comparison among these three popular technologies. Ultimately, a user or systems integrator must determine the exact requirements of the application and which technology best satisfies them on a total installed cost versus performance basis. The strengths and weaknesses of linear variable inductance, variable resistance pots, and magnetostrictive sensors are all examined below, together with a feature-by-feature comparison chart.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Mechanical Components, Positioning Equipment, Power, Power Transmission, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement