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AEROSPACE |Tracking T-Vac Tests with StrataCapture

Strata Blog | DigiVac captures how StrataCapture can aid in many applications through a series of interviews and testimonies. DigiVac Offers FREE Vacuum Data Logging Software, StrataCapture, To Enable More Efficiency In Your Processes!

We recently spoke with a customer that is tracking T-Vac tests with StrataCapture. Please read on about this Aerospace Vacuum Logging Case.

StrataCapture is an easy-to-use desktop software that allows users to seamlessly capture, view and record their system performance in real time, today’s session focuses on aerospace. The software was designed to record one or more sensors, allowing for a full view of a system’s operation. The computer software functions with the StrataVac, FYRA, and StrataVac Touch product lines to transmit the controller’s information directly to your desktop. With the software, you can view real-time graphs to determine how your system or pump is performing, and export that data for reference and analysis.

How StrataCapture is used to optimize your research and development | Aerospace

Case Study on Tracking T-Vac Tests with StrataCapture

Digivac recently Spoke with Andy Irwin of  Cayuga Astronautics. Mr. Irwin works in the aerospace industry testing components for spacecraft. His company uses the StrataCapture software to run a thermal vacuum test (or T-Vac test) , a standard protocol in the industry. During these tests their company primarily works with an aluminum crafted magnetic torquer bar, which is designed to line up with the earth’s magnetic field to orient the spacecraft and perform course corrections. When running these T-Vac tests, Mr. Irwin stressed the importance of being able to see time logs and the reports from the system.

StrataCapture Features

Strata Capture allows its user to have free access to it prominent features : 

1. Logging time vs. vacuum to a local file on the computer 

2. Connecting to the DigiVac Cloud so that system performance can be viewed from anywhere in the world

3. Allowing users to record and save reports from system runs

This function is especially useful for customers like those in the aerospace industry who need long-term insight on how their processes are running.

Vacuum tests designed to run for hours or days, or whose chambers need extra pumping time, can have their data smoothed out over the time period to illustrate larger trends and possibly identify component failures more easily instead of only observing the process in real time.

Data can also easily be extracted and interpreted by other programs and used to generate customer reports for procedural traceability. The data is instantly accessible in real time, enabling customers and colleagues to record and troubleshoot from anywhere in the world.

Machinery used with StrataCapture

Mr. Irwin described having a hybrid oven/chiller that controls the temperature to customer specs anywhere from -35C to 75C. The chamber cools and heats for however many cycles the customer requests, usually between 8 and 30. This process is to simulate the spacecraft heating and cooling during orbit as it is exposed to the sun. The temperature cycles constantly while the vacuum level stays continuous. The component must work throughout the entire test which is a pass/fail system. Cayuga Astronautics customers typically seek to pull vacuum down to 1.0E-5 Torr or in many cases 1.E-4 Torr. Their custom-designed vacuum chamber is supported by a rough pump that is backing a turbo pump and is approximately ten inches wide and six feet long.

StrataCapture functions

Using StrataCapture they can apply the software to their process to record several functions:

1. Document pump performance and baseline test results

2. Log data locally and on the Digivac cloud for sharing both real time and historical data

How StrataCapture has improved Testing process:

They find the StrataCapture software useful not just to log and record test data, but to record false pressure drops – electrical issues sometimes arise when the polyurethane in the components outgasses under vacuum which can cause a ‘spike’ in the vacuum readings. 

StrataCapture flexibility

Stratacapture isn’t just a program that benefits aerospace engineers. Here are some other areas where vacuum data logging software helps optimize performance tracking:

1. Pump rebuilders who want to share pump performance data with their customers in a professional format with unique branding

2. Operations technicians and engineers who want an easy way to catalog pump and vacuum system performance so they can compare with current performance and assess maintenance needs

3. Technical staff who want to catalog their vacuum runs for R&D


Overall Cayuga Astronautics was very satisfied with the efficiency of the StrataCapture software; they did provide some feedback on how we could improve the software from a convenience perspective. 1. Having the ability to choose the option of displaying vacuum data on a log scale. 2. Having the ability to have the software push regular raw vacuum data updates to excel since their tests typically are a weeklong, this would allow daily checkpoints of the process.

We truly appreciate feedback from our customers! DigiVac is focused on continuous improvement. Our vision is to pioneer measurement and control innovations that simplifies science. As with any innovation, sometimes “bugs” are found in the field. They helped us identify a power supply USB plug in issue that interfered with running the software. We were able to work with them to get them up and running, and now we will be able to squash that bug. LOL. Having hardware and software engineers on staff helps keep us nimble and keep vacuum science moving forward.

Want to be featured in our next Strata blog? StrataCapture users email: [email protected] to set up a meeting!

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