Case Studies

Large-scale Airplane Assembly

High-Speed Motion Control for Aerospace with LabVIEW FPGA

Posted in Aerospace, LabVIEW, Manufacturing Automation and Intelligence, Motion Control, Test & Measurement Automation, Test and Measurement

Summary

DMC has worked closely with an Aerospace machine manufacturer to develop a high-speed control application for a highly coordinated process. Due to the nature of the process, an extremely complex and high-speed control strategy is required to ensure final product quality. The client recognized a proficiency gap in the processing technologies best suited to manage the controls application and reached out to DMC in order to supplement their development and design teams. DMC applied technology-specific expertise in LabVIEW Real-Time and FPGA to the complex control strategy outlined by the client’s designers. DMC was able to translate control requirements into control algorithms on the Compact RIO platform, allowing for a high performing and highly extensible controls component to be installed in coordination with the machine architecture.

Solution

DMC worked with the client’s engineering teams to collect requirements as well as to develop and deploy a highly coordinated controls system. The system requires the synchronization of multiple CompactRIO systems in conjunction with high performance motion drives. Custom FPGA was deployed to address critical timing and control requirements. In addition, the performance and reliability of the FPGA provided a robust platform for highly-available operation. With a relatively large amount of I/O, the flexible LabVIEW FPGA allowed DMC and the client’s development team to iteratively update control strategies to allow for optimal performance of application specific requirements. 


The Compact RIO platform extensibility allowed design teams to integrate it into the context of a much larger system. By componentizing the design, LabVIEW specific support personnel are minimized as part of system management and deployment. Utilizing a “firmware” style approach, the CompactRIO is an embedded component performing highly reliable controls processing, as is largely transparent to end users. By blending in to industry-standard application technologies, the client was empowered to deliver a highly capable system with a very familiar and widely accepted finish. 


The jointly developed application serves machine control for numerous Aerospace clients. As rigorous industry regulations and manufacturer quality standards continue to present engineering challenges, this solution provides the added flexibility to adapt to application requirements over time. With a reconfigurable software personality, new control strategies can continuously be applied to ensure compliance and performance for the end customer.  

Customer Benefits

  • Scalability for product evolution as new industry demands are introduced
  • Co-Development and training with client staff
  • Successful combination of complex technologies, not easily solved with other platforms
  • Rapid deployment of control strategy, allowing for iterative development
  • Flexibility of integration to easily extend the base machine architecture

Technologies

  • National Instruments LabVIEW Real-Time
  • National Instruments LabVIEW FPGA
  • CompactRIO (cRIO) and C-series DAQ