Testing systems suppliers Bloomy Controls and National Instruments have opened a technology demonstration center for aerospace and defense companies looking to leverage the latest hardware in the loop testing technology in their product development.
The Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) Technology Evolution Center in South Windsor, Connecticut aims to help aerospace engineers reduce the risk and cost of migrating test assets to updated technologies, such as new COTS hardware and software like NI PXI, SLSC and VeriStand, all of which are present in the Bloomy Simulation Reference System.
Experts at the Center can help to evaluate novel test approaches, without risking existing in-operation test assets. The HIL Technology Center also serves as a low-risk proving ground to manage hardware and software obsolescence issues and develop proven deployment plans so that existing test assets remain fully operational for the program’s lifecycle.
HIL test systems are used in systems integration labs (SILs) to simulate the IO (input output) of a vehicle during a mission so that Line replaceable units (LRUs) with integrated electronic controls and computers can be tested to ensure reliable operation across all mission scenarios.
The test systems in a SIL often contain a mixture of custom, legacy and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies and must remain in operation for decades.
Luke Schreier, vice president and general manager of the aerospace, defense, and government business unit at National Instruments (NI) said, “Building a test system in aerospace and defense is not a one-time event. Considerations need to be put in place for 10-15 years, or more, to support technology insertions, code migrations and other maintenance.
“As NI’s offerings have evolved to address complex LRUs and the digital transformation initiatives of our customers, so have our partnerships in delivering this long-term value. We’re excited to work with Bloomy to establish this center as a way to help reduce overall program risk and cost for our mutual customers.”
At the core of the HIL Technology Evolution Center is a system comprised of a variety of HIL/SIL technologies from multiple suppliers.
Bloomy and NI engineers can work alongside customers and use this system to collaborate in real time, conducting interoperability and integration testing with COTS technologies and customer components, models and simulations.
The system can be customized to reproduce customer configurations—everything from fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft to unmanned underwater vehicles. This flexibility enables HIL systems to adopt new technologies that can increase fidelity, streamline workflows, and interact with a digital twin – all key initiatives of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and digital transformation.
The center also enables Bloomy to fulfill long-term service agreements. Peter Blume, president and founder of Bloomy. Peter Blume, president and founder of Bloomy said, “Our customers are facing numerous challenges in maximizing their use of current test assets, including digital transformation, interoperability, obsolescence, and retiring experts.
“Not only do they want the latest and greatest COTS technology and benefits, but they also need long-term stability, uptime, maintenance and support. The HIL Technology Evolution Center is the only lab of its kind that allows aerospace and defense companies to reap the benefits of new COTS test technologies in a controlled environment while also ensuring long-term supportability and stability.”