System integration work is often the most important part of a project, as a system schematic, bill of materials (BOM), and mechanical drawings are the foundation of assembling and integrating a full system to proper specification.
Whether a simple benchtop setup, a half stack rack, or a full scale test rack, having the proper documentation and expertise to integrate your system will help future replications and ongoing maintenance.
We follow detailed test system design material in system schematics, BOM’s, and mechanical drawings that technicians and test engineers can use to assemble the system to specification. For example, below you can see an example of a mechanical drawing outlining the spacing and location where one should mount each DIN rail.
Building and Routing Cables
Maintaining proper signal integrity is paramount in test and measurement systems. Long cable lengths can often distort the signals and cause inaccurate measurements. Proper cable length is essential for easy maintenance and easy instrument accessibility.
Cable Securing and Bundling
Strategically bundling individual cables using sleeving and/or wiring ties helps protect cable assemblies, hoses, and wire harnesses from chafing, cutting, and abrading. It also helps by providing heat protection and defends against chemicals or abrasion. Lastly, proper labeling of each cable and sleeved bundle will help ease of maintenance and allow for quick debug on systems.
Proper Grounding and Routing of Signals
Ensuring a proper ground for your test system is critical, as it prevents ground loops and provides a common zero. We typically provide grounding blocks to the ground lug on the power distribution unit. Finally, we terminate everything to this single grounding block (shields, computer, rack, etc).
Installing and Activating Software
Prior to any software installation, the station architect will resolve all conflicts and system dependencies. Ultimately, the architect will provide a document showing the software installation order that includes details such as software version number, installer location, etc. A typical installation order may look like the following:
- Operating system
- Antivirus software
- Application software
- Software add-ons to application software (ex. LabVIEW FPGA Module)
- Hardware Drivers
- Specific software add-ons for hardware (ex. LabVIEW Sound & Vibration Toolkit)
- Test Executive
- Test Framework
- Additional software