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A Better Aerospace LRU Test Approach


United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS), one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products, designs most of the components used in aircraft flight systems.

UTAS High Lift Actuation SystemUTAS High Lift Actuation System

As you can imagine, this require rigorous test. Companies like UTAS must test a variety of configurations and variants of one type of part for many OEM vehicle programs, from business jets, to commercial airliners, to military aircraft.


The Challenge: Operating a Multitude of Test Stands for Various Types of LRU Test


The design and test methodology from component to component is relatively similar, but the UTAS Actuation Test Group faced two big challenges:


  1. A fragmented test architecture using hydraulic actuators that was costly to reconfigure
  2. An aggressive schedule and resource constraints that didn’t allow UTAS engineers to modify the existing architecture quickly enough to meet the growing requirements


UTAS decided to build a universal test system that could be used across the design cycle in actuation test applications. To create this, UTAS engineers needed a single common test platform, modular hardware, and an open software architecture.


The Solution: Industry Technology With Minimal New Design Solutions


UTAS created a “cradle to grave” multipurpose test architecture that its engineers can use for a wide range of aerospace controller and component tests across the product development cycle and adapt to changing requirements. The company standardized on the NI PXI and CompactRIO hardware platforms, designed a software test architecture with NI Alliance Partner Wineman Technology, and developed the electromechanical actuation and instrumentation with NI Alliance Partner Sierra Peaks.


Together, they created a D3 test architecture to cover end-to-end program test needs from simulation through hardware validation and system-level flight certification.


See it for yourself in this video, and read the full case study.



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