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Short Courses in Engineering Measurements

and Data Acquisition














You know the importance of engineering test data in the product development process.  Valid data is crucial.  Errors in measurements can be costly and lead to design errors, program delays, wasted time and materials, even recalls and litigation.  Midwest Dynamics understands the importance of making sure your data is valid and properly analyzed.  To that end, we offer several comprehensive short courses in measurement engineering, data acquisition, and signal processing.


Together, our courses thoroughly cover the entire measurement process from understanding and selecting sensors,to setting up data acquisition systems, to collecting data in the field, and analyzing the data in the office.  You will also receive in-depth training in strain gages and will be taught how to design, build, and calibrate your own custom strain gage force transducers from the actual components of your vehicles and machines.  With nearly 30 years of major OEM experience and expertise in the areas of durability, fatigue, in-field data acquisition, wheel force transducer design, laboratory testing, and CAE correlation, we know how data is used throughout the product development process and have tailored these courses to serve your measurement engineering needs.

Given the highly automated “turn-key” data acquisition and analysis systems being sold in the marketplace today, it is easy to take your measurements for granted.  However, we would argue that with increased automation, it is more important than ever to know what is going on behind that complex software interface.  You need to understand how your system is operating and how those software settings affect your data. We teach you to think critically about engineering measurements and emphasize those timeless fundamentals that are crucial to the successful utilization of any transducer or digital data acquisition system.

These courses are specifically designed for the test engineer and senior technician, but CAE engineers, design engineers, and engineering managers would equally benefit from this training.





Measurements and Data Acquisition: Days 1 and 2

Course Content: Day 1

Tranducers and Sensors

    Concepts and Definitions
    Accuracy, Precision, and Resolution
    Interpreting Specifications
    Natural Frequency vs. Frequency Response
    Selection of Sensors for Various Measurements
    Transducer Design, Construction, Implementation, and 



    Understanding Signal Conditioning
    Signal Conditioning Types and Responses
Frequency Response and Phase Shifts

    Using and Configuring Slip Rings
    Telemetry Considerations
    Data Acquisition System Architecture

Strain Gage Fundamentals

    Strain Gage Physics

    Wheatstone Bridge

    Bridge Output Calculations


    Thermal Effects

    Understanding and Preventing Lead Wire Errors

Course Content: Day 2

Digital Data Acquisition and Analysis

    Signal Types Commonly Encountered in Practice

    Digital Signal Processing Concepts
    Time Domain vs. Frequency Domain Analysis
    FFT, Leakage, Windows, FRF
    Filters and Application of Filters to Signal Analysis
    Integration and Differentiation of Signals
    Correctly Recording Signals with Digital Systems
    Sample Rate Selection and Prevention of Aliasing
    Data Validation

Data Acquisition in the Field

    Challenges of Recording Data in the Field
    Capturing the Duty Cycle
    Test Correlation
    Portable Equipment
    Installing Instrumentation

    Verifying the Setup
    Tips for Collecting Field Data
    Validating Data in the Field


Measurements and Data Acquisition: Day 3

Course Content: Day 3

Strain Gage Advanced Topics

    Strain Gage Selection and Installation
    Strain Gages for Stress Analysis versus Transducers

    Wiring and Soldering
    Excitation Voltage Optimization
    Calibration Errors Due to Lead Wires
    Using Rosettes for Stress Analysis
    Calculation of 3D Stresses from Measured Strains





Course Content: Day 3, cont.

Build Custom Strain Gage Load Transducers

    Design of Multi-Axis Load Transducers
    Load Cases
    Bridge Design
    Calculation of Bridge Output for Various Designs
    Selection of Materials
    Transducer Fabrication
    Bridge Protection
    Thermal Output
    Calibration Techniques and Fixtures
    Crosstalk Correction Techniques
    Matrix Transducers


Course Goals and Objectives

1) Develop a working knowledge of commonly used sensors and transducers in terms of principles of operation, design, performance, and application to specific measurement problems.

2) Understand, interpret and apply transducer specifications and calibration information.

3) Learn the theory and operating principles of strain gages and the Wheatstone bridge, including bridge output, calibration, thermal response, and the influence of lead wires.


4) Understand signal conditioning and digital data acquisition system architecture.


5) Learn how to properly record data using digital data acquisition systems, including the selection of sample rates, anti-aliasing filters, full scales, resolution, etc.


6) Study fundamental digital signal processing and data validation techniques.


7) Use digital filtering to successfully solve problems that require integration and/or differentiation of digitally recorded data. 


8) Apply course concepts to the task of recording engineering data in the field.

9) Learn how to design, build, and calibrate strain gage based load transducers (bending, shear, torsion, and axial) and apply the concepts to create custom transducers and instrumented components. 

10) Use Mohr's circle to calculate multiaxial stresses from measured strain gage rosette data. Learn how to calculate bridge outputs for custom designed load transducers. 





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