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HBK data acquisition plays a key role in aerospace structure testing at Dynetics

Dynetics has been making use of the latest structural testing tools to evaluate the capabilities of its Vulcan Centaur booster

The company’s Aerospace Structures Complex in Decatur, Alabama, has a 43,000 square-foot integration facility that allows for the assembly and test of large aerospace structures. To provide structural qualification testing, the complex includes a test stand that is 60 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 100 feet high and has a hoist capability of 35 tons. An adjacent 4,000 square-foot test control centre allows Dynetics engineers and customers to view live tests and analyse test data onsite.

It also includes a data system with thousands of measurement channels from Hottinger Brüel & Kjær (HBK), as well as a dedicated control system that provides closed-loop control.

According to Dynetics test engineer, Ben Beeker, HBK had worked with other suppliers previously and had all the infrastructure to make the connection between the other supplier system and the data system from HBK possible as it was already in existence.

Another service Dynetics provides is data acquisition from 3,000 strain gauges and more than 300 full-bridge pressure transducers on structures under test, plus additional sensors associated with the external equipment and a dedicated control system.

To acquire the data from all those channels, Dynetics use HBK’s MGCplus data-acquisition system, a versatile tool that can acquire not only strain data but also force, displacement, torque and temperature data as well as voltage and current. The MGCplus can include single- and multiple-channel amplifiers for almost all physical quantities and can scale up to 20,000 channels.

MGCplus acquisition systems works with HBK’s CANHEAD system, which allows distributed amplifiers to be located close to the strain gauges or other sensors, offering significant savings in wiring and installation costs.

Jonathan Newell
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