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January 2003 - December 2004
Project Description

ICON Technologies supplied Wespine with the control and monitoring systems for three stations that test the structural characteristics of timber beams: The MOR Tester, the Static Tester, and the Tension Tester

The general functionality of the three test stations is similar. In each case, load is applied to the beam over a period of about 10 secs – 60 secs, and the distortion of the beam is measured using position sensors. The detailed test procedures, and data analysis algorithms are different in each case.

The systems were implemented using the National Instruments Compact FieldPoint programmable automation controller. The systems acquire and analyse load vs position data, and pass the raw and processed data to the factory data management system via TCP/IP.

The MOR and Tension Testers test the beams to breakage. The MOR Tester applies load at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the beam, and the Tension Tester pulls the beam along its longitudinal axis. The capacity of Compact FieldPoint to support custom analysis algorithms was an important factor because the cellular timber structure can exhibit a range of fracture behaviours. Custom algorithms were developed that could reliably determine the correct fracture point from a range of breakage behaviours without operator intervention.

The Static Tester does not load to breakage. It is used to verify the in-line grading process, by testing a beam to its predicted maximum load. Reliable network communications with the factory data management system is critical to the process of matching the in-line grading process results to the test parameters and outputs of the Static Tester.

Integration Products

NI Compact FieldPoint, LabVIEW, LabVIEW RT, Sick laser position sensors, Q Vis terminals