© Klaus Junk / © ITK Engineering GmbH
Intelligent and networked products are complex and require extensive testing already in the design phase, but also at the end of production. The development service provider ITK Engineering (Bosch Group) offers its customers the holistic development of hardware and software for modern test benches in development and production.
The challenge: Tests of smart products require customized test benches
Networked, smart products and services that exchange data on the Internet of Things and thus enable new business models – this is now standard for both B2B and B2C markets. This increasing intelligence in numerous products, especially in systems for industry, poses completely new challenges for testing.
Companies demand a realistic simulation of the environment of their systems. Dynamic interaction between test bench and test object is therefore necessary. In addition, there are specific requirements such as visibility, reproducibility and high availability. Furthermore, test environments must be able to be integrated into existing architectures – especially with regard to software, which is becoming increasingly important in smart products.
The development services provider ITK Engineering is active worldwide in industries such as automotive, industry, manufacturing, rail technology and healthcare. To complement its services, the company realizes development and manufacturing test benches. IKT takes into account individual requirements such as high availability, reproducibility or traceability. In most cases, these are single pieces that are adapted precisely to the requirements of the company using them.
The solution: Custom development of test bench hardware and software
ITK Engineering designs its test benches in close consultation with customers and provides specific specialist teams for this purpose. Some examples show the possibilities:
- The automated end-of-line tests of intelligent actuators required a robust and fast test system for the final manufacturing step. The software architecture should ensure the implementation of the test configuration, the handling of the variant diversity as well as an automated error handling. In addition, the comparability of development and production was to remain ensured. The test bench software that was ultimately developed had a modular structure and was individually adapted. It was designed for systems with and without external motors and at the same time for use during development and production. Automated error handling reduced plant downtime and increased plant availability.
- ITK Engineering developed its own platform software for end-of-line testing of smart sensors. The goal was to map the different requirements of the DUTs as well as to comply with the ISO 26262 test standard in various plants distributed around the world. The basis was standard hardware that works together with industrial PCs and industrial measurement technology. The platform itself had extensive features to facilitate the work: a user, configuration and variant management, possibilities to abstract from the hardware, test sequencing, event logging, measurement data storage as well as a plug-in concept for new sensor types. As a result, the solution can be extended at any time and requires little effort on the part of the company using it.
- Since no defective mechanical parts may be shipped by a manufacturer, the requirements – especially with increasing complexity – for quality assurance were enormously high. Another key issue for the customer was to maintain the competitiveness of its German production sites. The special challenge: Despite tough cycle time requirements, the customer was still using many systems with outdated hardware. For this purpose, ITK Engineering developed a camera- and sensor-based solution for end-of-line control. 25 existing machines received laser sensors through a retrofit. ITK Engineering has developed a repeatable overall solution at the limit of technical feasibility in algorithms and sensor technology, which also includes additional software for the operation and management of the complete test bed.
The result: Holistic development of test benches
ITK Engineering pursues a holistic development approach that leads from the definition and concept phase through the engineering of the entire plant to implementation and field support. During the conceptual phase, the company covers all requirements engineering (tool qualification and conformity to standards), specifications, technology consulting, and machine and test engineering.
The developers act independently of manufacturers and systems and take customer requirements into account. When setting up a plant, they rely on modular software architectures and modern data management. After project completion, ITK Engineering offers services such as maintenance support or lifecycle management.