Saturday, June 11, 2011

CIP Testing

It is perhaps a good idea to sometimes remind what is CIP Testing.

"CIP" stands for "Commission Internationale Permanente". It was created in 1914 by the Director of the Liege Proofhouse. More: read here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

High accuracy Velocity Timer with USB connection

These pictures illustrate a prototype of a high accuracy timer.
It is fully programmable for various applications with time measurement from 1 micro second to several minutes.
It has a USB connection so that the measurement data can be logged in a computer.
It is self supplied in voltage through the USB plug, so there is no need for an additional power supply.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Reliability record reached

Yesterday we got an e-mail at 15:25 from a customer in France. Their system, including computer, acquisition boards and instruments that we installed in 1999 was down for the very first time in nearly 10 years of good operation. A complete reinstall was needed.

We started to assist the maintenance people over Internet yesterday 10 minutes later, immediately uploading all the necessary software right into the exact version that was delivered 10 years ago. On the way we recompiled it with very minor changes with our updated development tools.

The system was up and running today at 14:25 pm precisely. That is less than 11 workhours downtime.

Such maintenance work would not have been possible just a few years ago. For the occasion we used all possible tools available over Internet.

Again, we thank all our customers for their trust throughout the years.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Data acquisition done with Labview from National Instruments (

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pressure transducers calibration - an innovative dynamic procedure

The picture above illustrate a custom program used to calibrate pressure transducers, more precisely to dynamically compare the behavior of a working transducer (daily used in production) against a reference transducer. Both are mounted on the assembly, measures take place just as usual but with both acquisition chains in parallel. Then the program computes the linear regression making it possible to apply correctors on the working transducer so that the highest accuracy is always achieved over the time. Calibrations can be compared from week to week (the frequency depends on the case). By doing this, we see when a transducer falls below limits and needs to be ditched.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kistler instruments

We can provide our customers with all Kistler instruments available in the catalog.
If you have question or looking for a solution, please ask us.
We can assist you choosing the right equipment and incorporated it into a customized quality control system.

Our software includes a module to remotely control the Kistler amplifiers (especially the 5015A) through an RS232/USB connection.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ballistic system technical description

Software for use in ballistic laboratories in connection with timer modules, Kistler Instruments, National Instruments Data Acquisition and other various equipments.

Standard procedures :

The software complies fully with :
  • CIP decisions, text and tables, edition 2007.
  • ANSI/SAAMI Performance Standards books Z.299, edition 1992-1993 (most recent).
Target applications :
  • Proofing houses of any CIP member countries.
  • Schools & Research and Developments laboratories.
  • Ammunition manufacturing
  • Impact studies, helmets, waistcoat, etc.

Compatibility with existing equipments:

Our software is compatible with the following type of equipments :

Velocity cells :

Deby Laserblade, Oehler Research, Drello, Microbase or any kind providing a standard 0-10 V triggering signal. Connections with RG-58 cables and BNC plugs.
Signals adaptation upon request.

Action time: Typically using a ring with a pressure transducer or a laser system.

Transducers :

Any type, generally Kistler or PCB as long as they are connected to one of the charge amplifier listed below.

Charge amplifiers :

  • Kistler 5015A (recommended), 5011, 4643, 5041 5044A, 5058A
  • PCB 462A, 462B53, 400A21, 421A25
  • PM 2000
  • Bruel and Kjaer 2635.
  • Columbia Research 4601.
  • Endevco 2721A, 2721B.
Other types available upon request. We do sell Kistler worldwide.

Acquisition electronics:

Low cost version: Usb link to Kistler charge amplifiers acting as simple and accurate peakmeter. Embedded RISC microcontroller linked via Usb for velocity measurements. This version does not provide pressure signal analysis and other related functions.

Advanced version : The electronics is based on state-of-the-art National Instruments acquisition boards and peripherals. Upgrade from older electronics is possible as long as the output signals are standard (please ask us for checking)

Signals conditioning (advanced version only):

National Instruments signal conditioner with built in electronics for :
  • Triggering on firing pin, pressure rise, muzzle flash or velocity1 start.
  • Velocities signals crop to TTL level.
  • Pressure channels connection and shielding.
  • Forwarding of "chain ready" signal for proper timeout operations.
  • Interfacing to acquisition board via flat cable and NI connector 68pins VHDCI.
National Instruments acquisition board :

This board is mounted in the processing computer:
  • Pressure sampling up to 1.25 MSamples/sec. Can be set into one of the following configuration :
    • One channel 1.25 MSamples/sec for ultra high accuracy R&D measurements.
    • Two channel 500 KSamples/sec for normal compliance testing.
    • Two channels 500 KSamples/sec for analysis on secondary manometer (only for laboratories - not Standard compliant).
    • Four channels 250 KSamples/sec for various studies with multiple transducers.
    • 8 to 12 channels - 250 KSamples/sec for various studies with multiple transducers ("flute mounting" 2 or 3 boards may be required required).
  • One timer for action time - resolution 80MHz - Quartz accuracy 50ppm.
  • Up to 3 velocity timers - resolution 80MHz - Quartz accuracy 50ppm. (up to 3 boards - 12 velocity channels for specific trajectories-velocities analysis).
  • The board is delivered standard with National Instruments NI-DAQmx drivers compatible with Microsoft Windows 7.
Note : For fast maintenance and service, the entire electronic equipments described above are available from stock in any countries where National Instruments is present or represented : United States, Canada, all of European Communities, Switzerland, Russia, Slovenia, Romania, Israel, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Australia, China, Hong-Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New-Zeeland, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Uruguay.

Base computer characteristics:

The electronics described above and the measurement software are installed on robust Advantech industrial computers :
  • CPU Intel or AMD 2 GHz or above.
  • 1 Gb RAM memory or above.
  • One PCI slot free for the advanced version (two or three for extensive lab systems).
  • Two USB 2.0 ports for the low-cost version
  • At least one more USB 2.0 port free for connecting various servicing devices.
  • One Wifi connexion for the servicing computer during site maintenance
  • One Ethernet connexion for LAN/Internet connexion
  • 80 GB Hard disk or above.
  • Windows 7 in the local language but with the possibility to switch to English for maintenance by us.
  • Anti-virus/Anti-spyware, Microsoft Essentials recommended (anti-virus causing to heavy load on the CPU must be avoided)
  • One main monitor 24 inches 1920x1080
  • One repeat monitor 19 inches at least
  • Standard keyboard and mouse.
  • A permanent Internet connection
    (compulsory for installation, automatic security update by Microsoft and remote maintenance).
Specific hardware and software installed :
  • Acquisition board as described above.
  • Signal conditioner as described above.
  • National Instruments NI-DAQ or own drivers
  • Own database system.
  • Own Standard executables.
  • Own ballistic software executables.
  • Any custom application upon request.
Note : Subject to our approval, any other useful software of good brand can be installed on the same computer without risk of interfering with the measurement application. Such application can include word processing, spreadsheets, ERP front end, electronic mail, internet navigators, etc.

Detailed software description:

Upon request, provided to customers only.

Notice :
  • The description above has no contractual value and is subject to changes without notice.
  • Pricing and quotation upon request.
  • All sales are subject to our terms and conditions provided with our first quotation to a new customer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

System upgrade

As of july 2009, we inform our customers that we have started a major upgrade of our ballistic system. Within weeks from now, we will be able to connect the system to the electronic acquisition boards of any older system from Canon Delcour or Exacom. Thus it will be possible to upgrade the computer only and recover a good support.

Further we proceed to a system totally paperless specially designed for high volume cartridges manufacturers. All reports are now PDF files fully searchable on the server. Connection to any ERP software is possible (currently running against SAP and Adonix)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Publications on ballistic issues

Take the time to read but if you know already the story, contact us to gain access to these documents.

A few months back some people came to us asking for a solution for their laboratory. They requested a complete proofing stand that follows strict CIP recommendations. We went on the market and noticed that some essential parts were cruelly missing. Or, if available, they were at a price far above the expectations of most people today. It was also of a poor quality, built with 30 years technology and very often beside the actual needs.

Some other people came asking us to replace the electronic and software part of their installation, also dating back as much as 20 years.

Some other, manufacturers of loading machines asked us for a ballistic systems to be offered together with their machinery. This is simple good sense.

Simple good sense, although, it may sound incredible, many of them just don't have anything to propose ! Long ago, 20 years back again, they had quality control solutions to offer but not today anymore. Some say it is linked to the slow decline of the small arms industry. My feeling is that it is linked to some psychological negativity and self sufficiency: “The customer do not ask for it, so we do not make it”. And on his side, the customer says “They do not come with it probably because it is not possible”. And so nothing moves..

Some other people asked us to control the quality, not destructively at the end of the chain (firing a cartridge is just another destructive QC method...), but they asked us for quality control all along the process, right to the place where the defects appear. This is also good sense.

They also asked for the delivery of software to better manage their laboratory. They also asked "How can we trust this velocity cell ?, Further to this subjective "trust", we are sure, they will ask “How do we calibrate it ?” and "How can we link it to ISO references ?" Just like in any other industry in fact.

And this is where all our business is !

But the rest, the mechanics and the electronics upstream and even the basic software is common goods :

  • The universal receiver which we attempt to describe now should have been “standard” since long ago. Although no standard body has so far taken the step to rule it.
  • The pressure transducers and charge amplifiers can be purchased off-the-self without any problem to renown suppliers such as PCB or Kistler.
  • The acquisition electronics that was, not so long ago, still a very complicated and expensive part can also be purchased off-the-shelf for a very little price. National Instruments or Keithley are the key suppliers. Their electronics are state-of-the-art, accurate, renown and cheap. They come all with their “software drivers” generally free of charge and they can be inserted in any ordinary computer running Windows. Ordinary computers that can in turn be connected to the local network to share information. And to Internet, to share it with customers and partners.
Despite all this... we have observed recently (early 2007) that Western Europe starts to be flooded with testing equipment of very poor quality, coming from the East or Asia. "Testing equipment of very poor quality" is nonsense in nature. Quality control must be made either with good equipment or not at all !

We have even seen loaders testing their product with 20 years old equipments that has never been recalibrated since their commissioning...

It is no longer acceptable at a time when quality is essential to remain competitive.

Seen also, very recent initiatives of systems completely “stand-alone” with virtually no chance to deliver data into the network. Even worse, they are still fighting with the printer tricks much like in the 80's: If the printer fails, the new one is not compatible and the whole system is down.

So what ?

The first paper is some though on how to simplify the administration.
The second is an attempt to define the "universal receivers".
Some others are coming.

Please contact us to receive your own copy and let's hope it will help.