The customer is a leading Austrian-based provider of integrated solutions for testing of passenger cars, trucks and large engines.
A modern automotive test is a complex sequence of actions that often run for hours. The test steps and used measurement instruments vary from one test to another. The development of such sequence requires high engineering skills, deep knowledge of testing process and measurement instruments.
The challenge was to create a specialized tool for developing test procedures in the form of an intuitive environment for the application engineer. The tool shall provide clear visualization of the system logic and shall not require knowledge of text-based programming languages. Its usage should result in saving costs in the process of test procedures development.
Engineers are usually «visual thinkers», they think best in pictures, schemes, drawings. So we designed the programming environment for test procedures in the form of workflow diagrams. Our graphics editor defines the operation process of the procedure using standard workflow elements and specialized blocks controlling every aspect of the test sequence.
The test procedures defined as workflow diagrams have the built-in possibility of parallel execution. This helps to define complex test sequences controlling multiple measurement instruments. All the necessary commands to the particular device can be executed in the separate branch, not influenced by other instruments.
The editor limits the improper use of blocks, which reduces the number of potential problems. Embedded debugging instruments (breakpoints, variable inspections, step-by-step execution) simplify the process of detecting errors.
The advanced tools for comparing procedure help to find the changes made in the procedures during their lifecycle. This is especially helpful for commissioning engineers, who need to quickly find the problems on customer sites.
• A graphical workflow programming is understandable to an engineer;
• Good readability of flowcharts and simplicity of their modification;
• The extendable component library ensures the possibility of the teamwork and the code reuse;
• Validation of test procedures. Limiting the misuse of components and blocks;
• Interactive debugging tools;
• Built-in parallelism.
The procedure editor was implemented and supplied to the customer as a reusable component. The customer has integrated the editor into several products and successfully uses it to develop test procedures for different runtime environments.