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During an airplane’s flight, hundreds of millions of lines of code will run. Software is present almost everywhere in the aircraft, from mundane components such as galley equipment to highly critical flight control systems. Each line of code must be checked for faults and each software unit must be tested to see how it integrates with other units, and then tested at a higher system level. Increasingly, cost overruns and delays in airplane development are linked to software testing.

Qualitest, a quality assurance (QA) and testing services company, tests every layer of a company’s product to ensure the technologies are secure and safe. The company’s automated testing systems allow multiple tests to run simultaneously, eliminating extra work, increasing test coverage, and reducing costs. Complex aerospace and defense systems often involve tight thresholds and layered security, so Qualitest’s solutions include technologies and processes such as mapping technology, logistics systems, control and management systems.

Client overview, business needs

Elbit Systems, an Israeli military systems and technology provider, offers complete UAV systems, including controlling and interfacing subsystems, to operate multiple missions on tactical and military operations with precision.

Elbit UAV systems develop multiple system-of-systems projects which are tested during development with acceptance tests at the system level.

Partnering with Qualitest, Elbit set goals to change its quality assurance processes to:

  • Continuously deliver software and system versions to internal, external clients
  • Shorten test cycles while keeping coverage, quality high
  • Manually lower test effectiveness erosion with high repetition
  • Raise coverage on complex, under-documented system parts
  • Build infrastructure allowing reusable test materials to justify investments

The solution

Qualitest integrated a test automation tool as part of its quality assurance solutions to streamline test cycles and allow for faster version deployment and approval.

It also led processes for designing the strategy, process, and framework for automation, providing code reviews on deliverables, technical accountability, and industry best practice advice.

Weekly reports and bi-weekly progress reviews enabled continuous visibility of automation scripts and delivery status. Progress reviews highlighted main achievements, issues, needs, or blockers during the week, and key tasks for the next stage.

The infrastructure accommodated two major and very different command, control, communication, computers, and intelligence (C4I) product lines, in which the technical similarities were analyzed and used as process building blocks to integrate with a process or scenario on each product. Qualitest delivered a reusable code infrastructure of one main suite of eggPlant Functional (ePF) with tens of reusable scenarios, each applicable with minor changes on both major product lines with coverage of 80% of the sanity processes and increasing percentage of regression and acceptance test procedure (ATP) coverage.

Where suitable, data input into individual scripts was abstracted into flat .csv or .tsy files. This abstraction enables the automated solution to be data-driven so that different test runs could explore different combinations of test data without altering test scripts.

The scenarios run in software development, integration, and system labs, allowing quick, repeatable testability as part of the testing cycle. The test effort has shifted from repetition of sanity and regression testing to testing of major changes and complex and hard to retrace defect paths.

Benefits from managed quality assurance included:

  • Expedited test automation implementation at a fixed price service
  • Access to an expert-level test resource
  • Faster regression testing for lower cost change decisions before main releases
  • Re-usable code, data-driven infrastructure to easily assemble, maintain test cases on all systems

QualiTest
https://www.qualitestgroup.com

Panel mount servo drive

The AB25A100 PWM servo drive provides centralized control, driving brushless and brushed DC motors at a high switching frequency.

The drive is protected against overvoltage, under-voltage, over-current, over-heating, and short-circuits across motor, ground, and power leads. It can interface with digital controllers or be used stand-alone and requires only a single unregulated DC power supply. Loop gain, current limit, input gain, and offset can be adjusted using 14-turn potentiometers. The offset adjusting potentiometer can also be used as an on-board input signal for testing. Quadrature encoder inputs can be used for velocity control.

Advanced Motion Controls
https://www.a-m-c.com

Single-section linear encoder

The LC 201 absolute linear scale meets the drive position feedback needs of long machine tool axes. The single-section Metallur tape encoder can reach high acceleration levels within linear drive systems of motor applications.

The encoder has an absolute 2-track graduation and a large single-field scanning window, using reflective light scanning, resists contamination, and eliminates homing routine requirements at startup.

Heidenhain https://www.heidenhain.us

Beckwood, KOMT deliver automated press for Spirit AeroSystems

Hydraulic press manufacturer, Beckwood Press Co. and machinery distributor Kansas Oklahoma Machine Tools (KOMT), recently delivered the first press with automated die change to Spirit AeroSystems for use in Spirit’s Joule Form manufacturing process.

The Joule Form process is a proprietary method for shaping metal parts at elevated temperatures in aerospace component fabrication. Using the automated press system, Spirit will be able to form lightweight titanium parts by directing energy only where it is needed, decreasing machined-part costs.

“This is an emerging manufacturing improvement for shaping metallic plate products that can replace more expensive techniques, such as die forgings and extrusions,” says Kevin Matthies, Spirit’s senior vice president, Global Fabrication. “Implementing this new technology will allow advanced production for parts such as those for propulsion systems.” MDA

Beckwood Press Co.
https://beckwoodpress.com

KOMT
https://komt.com