New Joint Test Center to Rapidly Progress HIL Test Hardware, Software, and System Interoperability
Bloomy Controls Inc. (Bloomy) and NI experts in aerospace and defense test systems, today announced the Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) Technology Evolution Center. The center, an industry-first initiative, will be hosted by Bloomy at the company’s headquarters in South Windsor, Connecticut.
Line replaceable units (LRUs) with integrated electronic controls and computers are ubiquitous in nearly all aerospace and defense applications. To ensure reliable operation across all mission scenarios, these components are thoroughly tested using HIL test systems in systems integration labs (SILs) which simulate the vehicle IO during a mission. These test systems often contain a mixture of custom, legacy and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies and must remain in operation for decades.
The HIL Technology Evolution Center helps aerospace and defense organizations reduce the risk and cost of migrating test assets to updated technologies including the adoption of transformative new COTS hardware and software like NI PXI, SLSC and VeriStand, all present in the Bloomy Simulation Reference System. It also facilitates the evaluation of novel test approaches without risking existing in-operation test assets. The center also serves as a low-risk proving ground to manage customers’ hardware and software obsolescence issues and develop proven deployment plans so that existing test assets remain fully operational for the program’s lifecycle.
“Building a test system in aerospace and defense is not a one-time event. Considerations need to be put in place for 10-15 years, or more, to support technology insertions, code migrations and other maintenance,” said Luke Schreier, vice president and general manager of the Aerospace, Defense, and Government business unit at NI. “As NI’s offerings have evolved to address complex LRUs and the digital transformation initiatives of our customers, so have our partnerships in delivering this long-term value. We’re excited to work with Bloomy to establish this center as a way to help reduce overall program risk and cost for our mutual customers.”
At the core of the HIL Technology Evolution Center is a system comprised of a wide variety of the most advanced HIL/SIL technologies from multiple suppliers. Bloomy and NI engineers can work alongside customers and use this system to collaborate in real time, conducting interoperability and integration testing with COTS technologies and customer components, models and simulations. The system can be customized to reproduce customer configurations—everything from fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft to unmanned underwater vehicles. This flexibility is key for Bloomy’s customers to evolve their systems to adopt new technologies which can increase fidelity, streamline workflows, and interact with a digital twin – all key initiatives of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and digital transformation. The center also enables Bloomy to fulfill long-term service agreements according to customer lifecycle and uptime requirements.
“Our customers are facing numerous challenges in maximizing their use of current test assets, including digital transformation, interoperability, obsolescence, and retiring experts,” said Peter Blume, president and founder of Bloomy. “Not only do they want the latest and greatest COTS technology and benefits, but they also need long-term stability, uptime, maintenance and support. The HIL Technology Evolution Center is the only lab of its kind that allows aerospace and defense companies to reap the benefits of new COTS test technologies in a controlled environment while also ensuring long-term supportability and stability. Offering this unique capability to Bloomy and NI customers demonstrates the mutual commitment we have to our customers’ long-term success.”