Case Study:

Aerospace Fuel Systems Test Facility 


HORIBA MIRA’s Test Facility Engineering (TFE) consultancy won the contract to provide the control and data acquisition systems equipment for a state of the art aerospace fuel systems test facility. A facility which allowed for full scale testing of an aircraft fuel systems and needed to comply with ATEX explosive atmospheres legislation.

The HORIBA MIRA team designed, built and installed the complete data acquisition and control system, integrating it during the facility construction. The system was user configurable, and provided automated or manual control and monitoring of up to 72 aircraft fuel valves and 32 aircraft pumps via four stations containing high voltage power supplies. Each of these stations was located within the hazardous boundary of the fuel test area and therefore needed to utilise an ATEX protection concept to ensure that an explosive atmosphere could not exist where there was a risk of ignition. In this case that was achieved by use of a “leaking” pressurised enclosure that ensured no explosive atmosphere could build up within the enclosure.

Communication between the control room and the high voltage power supply located in the pressurised enclosure of the fuel test area was achieved using Ethernet and fibre optic technology to ensure isolation of the hazardous and non-hazardous areas.

The system also provided 320 channels of 4-20mA data acquisition; each channel capable of simultaneous sampling at a rate of 20kHz with precise data alignment. Four terminal stations located within the hazardous boundary of the fuel test area utilised a protection concept of 4-20mA inputs routed to the non-hazardous control room equipment that contained instrument specific isolation barriers to segregate the hazardous area from the non-hazardous control room.

The first phase of the system was completed in 2005 and included provision for expansion. An expansion project was completed during 2009 to achieve the capacity described.

HORIBA MIRA provided a turnkey solution and included the following processes to ensure traceability of the design and installation:

  • Production of a functional design specification and design schemes
  • Software programming
  • Detailed design of the electrical control and data acquisition systems incorporating instrumentation hardware
  • Design and safety reviews
  • Procurement and manufacture of the equipment
  • Factory acceptance testing
  • Site acceptance testing
  • Production of manuals
  • Training in the operation and maintenance of the equipment supplied
  • Supply of CE and ATEX certification; the latter included supply of the system descriptive documentation required to support the client’s total facility documentation