Case Study: Portable electrical bond test system
Lighting Strikes, EMC and stray currents are a serious threat to an aeroplane’s structural integrity. The electrical bonding on an aircraft protects the plane and passengers by reducing the effects from these risks.
Ensuring the bonding circuits are fully functional is critical to their reliability, and subsequently, the normal and safe operation of the aircraft control and communication systems. Our client has revolutionised testing equipment within this environment with a computer controlled, portable systems that are designed for use on the manufacturing shop floor, providing automated and intelligent electrical bond testing.
The system components had to be assembled in a fully portable, protective Peli case which was battery powered, our client needing enough charge for one full days day testing before recharging.
Our client had developed two prototype systems which, although functional, were poor in their assembly because of the original CAD designs concerning their ‘Design for Manufacture’. Additionally, certain components originally selected by our client weren’t on industrial lifetime programs potentially advancing unwelcomed obsolescence issues.
BVM’s challenge was to improve the test systems design for manufacturability with EMC/CE and additional certification in mind making the unit fully production ready.
BVM commenced the redesign by generating a ‘Requirements Specification’ (an MOU) to ensure the complete specification was captured, eventually serving as ‘sign off’ for our client. Using our in-house CAD package, “Solid Works”, BVM’s engineering team amended the current design to ensure best practices for the system’s manufacturability regarding both overall assembly – and included sub assemblies.
To ensure the maximum of battery availability, a 3.5” SBC was put at the heart of the system running an a Intel Celeron, Quad Core J1900 processor solution, selected both for its low TDP and availability on Intel’s embedded 15 year lifetime program. Additionally, BVM developed a Windows 10 IoT operating system, optimised to further lengthen battery usage.
HMI was provided in the form of 10.4” TFT display with integrated projective capacitive touch-screen.
- Our Operations team liaised closely with supply chain to drive down costs, utilising long standing, trusted partners to ensure stable pricing and safe availability for both ‘off the shelf components’ and custom machined parts (chassis and Peli case).
- Ensures all engineers test in the same way, through on-screen test guide.
- Reduces a two engineer process to a single engineer, reducing testing times by 80%.
- System automates test result data capture and uploads test results on completion, ensuring full traceability and test data integrity.
- Since the product has gone into manufacture, around 100pcs of the portable bond test system have been sold into aircraft manufacturers around the world – and will eventually replace the current 1,800 in-field install.
- Given the instilled confidences within our client, BVM now completes overall component procurement, assembly and functional test of the system. This also applies to peripheral equipment inclusive of build of the test probe