ASAP Group brings lifecycle simulation systems to market for inverters/power electronics
The ASAP Group has supplemented its product portfolio to include lifecycle simulation systems with a modular basic concept, available immediately. These systems can be configured quickly to meet specific customer requirements and, crucially, are not limited to testing only one end product – such as inverters/power electronics. Additional functions can be added at any time and the individual models can also be added to create new (testing) systems at a later date if required. A multi-stage safety concept and the ASAP Smart Test Execution Platform (STEP), a middleware for test automation, are integrated as standard. STEP unites hardware and software to create a complete system and allows for straightforward commissioning up to 50 per cent faster than conventional systems.
The ASAP Group’s testing and trialling centre has used lifecycle simulation systems developed in-house for many years, with considerable success. The development partner to the automotive industry is making these systems available on the market with immediate effect. This means customers can now benefit from internally testing concepts which, thanks to their modular structure, offer numerous advantages. Testing systems can be configured individually and further modules for additional functions can be added at any time without significant expense or effort. As a result, the test system’s structure remains flexible and can be adapted to individual customer requirements even after completion. The lifecycle simulation systems are therefore not fixed to one end product but can instead be used as a test bench for many different com-ponents through the addition of corresponding modules. Customers’ own test systems and environmental simulation systems – such as shakers and climatic chambers – can be integrated in the overall system without any issues. These test systems are completed by a multi-stage safety concept in accordance with EN ISO 12100, which safely deactivates the system in an emergency and gives priority to protecting people, components and machinery. In the planning phase, ASAP coordinates closely with each customer to develop concepts for a customised lifecycle simulation system and, if desired, to integrate the system in existing testing infrastructure, including risk assessment. In the subsequent design phase, experts from ASAP Test Systems define all other details before manufacturing the systems in accordance with all applicable standards. Depending on the design and scope of the test environment, the ASAP experts apply either the Machinery Directive or the Low Voltage Directive and ultimately confirm conformity (with CE marking). “We are currently building twelve further lifecycle simulation systems for inverter testing at the ASAP testing and trialling centre,” says Christian Schweiger, Managing Director of ASAP Electronics. “Their modular structure means we are not only able to supply a large number in a short period of time but can also reconfigure them whenever we need to test other end products, such as on-board chargers or DC-DC converters. The ability to combine individually installed modules to create new test systems also makes the overall systems more sustainable in the long-term.”
Communication between test automation and test bench
The use of the Smart Test Execution Platform (STEP) in all ASAP lifecycle simulation systems makes it easy to scale up test systems. Any form of sensor technology can be integrated in the system and com-missioned quickly and easily with ASAP’s STEP software. STEP serves as a middleware between test automation and measurement technology and was specifically developed by ASAP for testing systems with different measurement and control hardware. The software allows test automation and the testing system to communicate and serves to relay sensor and actuator systems – whatever their source – as an abstracted channel to a single control system. The experts at ASAP Test Systems can support customers by developing the necessary test automation or adjusting existing test processes if required.
Endurance test for components
Following commissioning on the customer’s premises, the lifecycle simulation systems are available to test components 24/7. In some tests, the temperature on the test bench can fluctuate between -40°C to 120°C as many as ten times over the course of a day, while such variations would only occur at the corresponding time of day or night or following seasonal fluctuations in real-life test drives. The accelerated, repetitive nature of test bench testing results in a significant component load, not only for the component being tested but for the test bench itself. Durability is essential, as are precise actuator and sensor technologies. Close coordination between ASAP Test Systems and the ASAP testing and trialling centre has yielded a well-engineered testing system. ASAP will continue to implement potential optimisations identified in current and future testing in ongoing product development and thus make improvements available to customers.
Lifecycle simulation systems can subject the materials and electronics of vehicle components to particularly high-stress situations. In relation to the development of new vehicles, however, lifecycle simulation systems make it possible to implement tests quickly and yield reliable test results. Looking to current challenges in components and vehicle development – challenges such as short development cycles, constant cost pressures and increasingly complex products – the ability to conduct efficient testing using ASAP testing systems represents a particular benefit for development activities. At its own testing laboratory, which is certified in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025, ASAP has offered extensive testing services to its customers for many years. Customers can therefore have lifecycle simulation systems planned and produced by ASAP Test Systems entirely in accordance with their specific requirements – but are also very welcome to make use of the services offered by the ASAP testing and trialling centre. These cover all process steps in component testing, including creating test reports.
All benefits at a glance
The benefits are evident: ASAP is offering a safe, proven testing system that it also uses in its own testing activities. Its modular structure and use of STEP software enables the simple, swift and transparent integration of testing equipment, measurement technology and control technology, which ensures it is and will remain future-proof. The lifecycle simulation systems feature a highly sustainable design and can be partially or completely reused in new testing activities, which significantly reduces the long-term investment costs. Due to the systems’ impressive scalability, ASAP Test Systems can produce even large quantities of them in a short space of time.