The world of test benches
In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and industry, where precision, reliability, and safety are paramount, the role of test benches cannot be overstated. These highly sophisticated setups ensure that products, components, and systems meet rigorous standards before they reach the market or enter critical applications. In this blog post, we delve into the world of test benches. We discuss their vital role in various industries and their profound impact on shaping the technology-driven world we live in today.
What is a test bench?
A test bench, also referred to as test bed, test rig or test stand, is a controlled environment or setup designed to test and evaluate various products, components, or systems. These tests and evaluations address, among other things, the functionality, safety, performance, and reliability of the DUT (device under test). In general, a test stand includes not only a mechanical structure holding the DUT, but also the proper sensors and controls to measure and record data.
Test benches are used across different industries, especially relevant in automotive, aerospace, electronics, telecommunications, and manufacturing. They play a crucial role in research, development, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance.
Why is a test bench important?
Test benches allow a way to test products under specific conditions, loads and scenarios in a controlled and repeatable testing environment without the need for real-world testing. This allows engineers and researchers to analyze and evaluate the DUT efficiently and rather economical, which improves performance optimization. In addition, a test bench helps identify potential failures, weaknesses, and safety concerns before real-world implementation. Plus, they provide a safe environment for training operators to operate, maintain and troubleshoot complex systems.
Overall, test benches bridge the gap between theoretical design and real-world application. They play an indispensable role in ensuring product quality, safety, and functionality.
Are there different test bench types?
Besides the classification of test benches based on the industry and the DUT itself, a general distinction is made between R&D (Research & Development) and EoL (End-of-Line) test benches.
R&D test benches
In practice, R&D test benches enable variable tests with different components and prototypes. They mainly, support engineers in testing and validating their ideas and designs.
Example: rotary bending test benches in material development for material testing and inspection.
Figure 1: R&D test bench for electric motors by tectos.
EoL test benches
This includes test benches that check the function of the newly built test items at the end of the production process. They are used for quality assurance and got their name because the test benches are usually located directly at the end of assembly or production lines.
Example: functionality test benches for checking all relevant functions of a product before sale (e.g. noise cancellation for headphones).
How to design a test bench?
Speaking frankly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the design of a test stand. The design and components of a test stand vary widely and must be selected according to the industry, the DUT and even more specifically according to the type of testing.
However, here are some example components that you might find in a typical test bench:
- Actuators to simulate real-world forces and movements. Examples: hydraulic cylinders, electric motors, or pneumatic actuators, …
- Sensors for measuring various physical parameters. Examples: temperature sensors, strain gauges, flow meters, …
- Controllers responsible for managing and regulating the test bench’s operations. Examples: programmable logic controllers (PLCs), microcontrollers, …
- Data acquisition system for recording data from sensors and processing it in real-time.
- Power supply and power distribution units (PDUs) to provide and distribute energy (especially important in electronics and electrical testing).
- Environmental control and/or cooling system to obtain desired operating conditions.
- Mounting system to securely position and fixate the DUT.
- Various software:
- control software
- DAQ software
- simulation software (e.g. to mimic real-world conditions)
- documentation software
To reiterate, the components mentioned earlier are for illustrative purposes to show what a test rig can include. The specific components depend on the nature of the test, whether it is for mechanical, electrical, electronic, or software systems. Overall, test benches are highly customizable to meet the unique requirements of each testing scenario, making them a versatile tool for research, development, and quality assurance in various industries.
DEWETRONs measurement systems for test benches
We are DEWETRON, your specialist in the field of measurement technology with the goal to produce measuring equipment that meets the highest possible quality standards, is modular and versatile, as well as easy to use. Our product range also includes (but is not limited to) DAQ optimized solutions for test benches in various industries. In the following, we show application examples from two different sectors. More precisely, in the area of electromobility and the energy industry:
Power analysis for drivetrain system and onboard charger
Electric vehicles consist of a multitude of different components that need to be tested both individually and combined. This starts with the electrical qualification and verification of batteries, covers performance testing of on-board chargers, thermal analysis of specific components, power analysis of powertrains and much more.
The DEWE3-PA8 multi-power analyzer is designed for the simultaneous analysis of multiple components and is the perfect solution for the aforementioned tasks. Whether portable or rack-mounted (RM), our precision power analyzers hold up to 8 TRION(3) modules, which can be easily adapted at any time. Another beneficial feature is the internal current transformer supply, which saves costs and installation space, as no extra device is required. All parameters are recorded synchronously during data acquisition, which greatly simplifies evaluation, and the ability to record and save all raw data directly also enables easy and convenient analysis with OXYGEN at any time. Further, it is possible to perform the postprocessing even for a pre-recorded measurement file.
Applications for the DEWE3-PA8(-RM) include for example Vitesco Technologies test benches for power and performance testing and analysis of drive systems and on-board chargers. For more details about how to implement our power analyzer into your test bench or the right configuration see our success story on high-precision power analyzers.
Figure 2: Application of DEWE3-PA8 at FH JOANNEUM in an R&D test bench for automotive tests.
Performance testing for photovoltaic (PV) inverter
Another application of our power analyzers lies in the energy sector, more precisely in the field of PV/solar inverter testing. The high bandwidth of the DEWE3-PA8 ensures precise recording which is particularly advantageous for fast-switching inverters and in combination with OXYGEN, the DEWE3-PA8 becomes a powerful data acquisition and analysis tool.
The implemented power group feature provides an easy and automatic performance and efficiency analysis. With just a few clicks, you can obtain comprehensive results including for example reactive, apparent and active power, DQ (direct-quadrature-zero) analysis, harmonics calculations and more.
Are you interested in one of our here mentioned systems? Follow the link below!
However, keep in mind we offer a variety of measurement systems. If the here mentioned devices are not perfect for your application see our product guide or website and you will find what you are looking for. All our products are easy to adjust and modify and can be tailored to your needs. For any questions or in case you need help choosing the optimal system feel free to contact us directly.