Cyth Systems Upgrades Fuel Flow Control Valve Test Bench to Give Third World Countries Power

October 24, 2018

We use power every day to light up our offices and heat our homes. But what if we were stripped of a power source? Our world would stop turning. We all need a reliable generator with precise controls so that valuable power isn’t wasted. Cyth upgraded a Compact FieldPoint (cFP, or FieldPoint) system for a local turbine manufacturer to reliably and repeatably test turbines, ultimately helping those around the world who are deprived of this crucial source. National Instrument’s Compact FieldPoint has entered its End-of-Life (EOL) stage so the client needed to upgrade and migrate their system to a better platform immediately.

 

Client Request
This client had originally developed a metal test bench with a mounted generator that produces electricity. The bench is essentially an automated mobile power plant containing a valve that directs the fuel flow to the motor inside, built using the same technology as a jet engine. Inside the enclosure is a diesel motor and a hydraulic valve that directs the flow of fuel to the motor.

The bench is used to test the final production of the client’s motor, or to repair broken ones. The motor is placed on the bench and the operator controls the valve to calibrate it while measuring temperature, flow and pressure on multiple ports. However, the client was using National Instruments’ Compact FieldPoint and an old, outdated software that no longer worked. The client needed a software update as well as a new automated system to test their fuel flow control valve. 

 

 

Solution
Cyth’s software experts succeeded in recreating the client’s entire application software by rewriting their code and algorithms. The improved software was then deployed on a National Instrument’ cDAQ. Cyth also integrated the following:


•    Analog inputs 0-5V that were used to measure nine pressure transducers 
•    4-20mA analog output used to output 4-20mA to the manual valve
•    Several analog outputs used to control the flow, temperature and pressure. These were used to control the test environment
•    RTDs used to measure temperature for the feedback
•    Two frequency counters which were digital I/O used to measure the flow. The output of the flow meter was a full pulse with modulation, so the faster the pulse goes, the higher the flow. 

 

Challenge
The system contained a control loop to moderate the flow of energy, and the PID control was initially set up to work at high speed, which the FieldPoint could support. But when Cyth ran it on the cDAQ, the data transfer rate was much slower, presenting a challenge. Cyth’s engineers were able to alter the algorithm for the new cDAQ timing specifications and ended up building a tuning mode into their system, giving operators the ability to change the input values when running the test bench. 

 

Outcome

Updating the client’s technology will allow them to output even more mobile generators, enabling energy to be deployed anywhere in the world. From providing life support systems in developing nations to helping power up Puerto Rico after the devastating destruction of Hurricane Maria, Cyth is partnering with companies to provide them with the updated technology necessary to deliver power to those in need. 

 

Technical Specifications
•    National Instruments Compact FieldPoint (cFP 2020)
•    National Instruments CompactDAQ (cDAQ-9188XT) 
•    LabVIEW 2017 (32-bit)
•    ±10 V, 500 S/s, 16-Channel C Series Voltage Input Module (NI-9209)
•    4-Channel, 14 S/s Aggregate, ±80 mV C Series Temperature Input Module (NI-9211)
•    4-Channel C Series Current Output Module (NI- 9265)
•    25 kS/s/ch Simultaneous, ±10 V, 16-Channel C Series Voltage Output Module (NI-9264)

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