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Materials & Manufacturing (MM) | embedded monitoring & control systems (emcs)

Embedded Hardware and Software System's primary focus is toward  on-platform health management and system automation hardware and software development.  The expertise in this department includes: embedded system development involving field programmable gate array,  digital signal processors,  and microprocessors; platform technology integration; real-time system hardware design and analysis; advanced user interface development and wireless communications.  

Application Examples of Key Competencies:

  • Torsional Vibration Prognostic System

    TVPS PhotoConventional vibration based prognostic approaches utilize translation vibration data, typically from  transducers such as accelerometers, to extract fault detection features, conduct data or model driven analysis and provide a remaining useful life estimate.  The results of the data processing are dependent upon the signal to noise ratio from the transducer which is greatly affected by the operational environment of the application system.  In order to reduce environmental effects on data and provide an optimum signal to noise relative to the faults of interest, ARL PSU has developed a torsional vibration based prognostic system.  This technology uses torsional vibration to detect and track damage in driveline component applications.  While traditional techniques use accelerometers and/or proximity sensor to look at amplitude and phase of 1X and 2X lateral vibration, the torsional vibration approach uses simple optical or magnetic style shaft encoders to track torsional vibrations. In past experiments it was shown that torsional vibration analysis outperformed analysis of 1X and 2X vibrations.  Lateral vibration approaches are affected by imbalances, deteriorating bearings and a variety of mechanical conditions thereby having the potential for false alarms.  Additionally, a crack must be severe to cause significant distortion to the rotor system before it may be apparent in the lateral domain.  Unlike lateral vibration, the torsional approach is unaffected by system loading.  Also, because the depth of the crack is directly associated with shaft torsional natural frequencies, estimates of remaining useful life are possible.

Chart Over the past several years, this work has been validated on laboratory desktop rigs, scaled mechanical models and full-sized equipment in the area of shafts, and partial validated for turbine blade cracking.  This method has been successful at detecting cracks in horizontal and vertical shafts in addition to conceptual turbine blade models.  This technology is been fielded to detect and monitor cracks in power plant reactor coolant pumps.  It is proposed that this non-invasive and proven technology could be utilized for embedded diagnostics of helicopter rotor blade and the tail rotor drive shaft.
  • Howitzer System

This condition based maintenance (CBM) system for the M777 lightweight towed howitzer was developed by the Applied Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University and sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM).  This program was initiated at the request of PM Fire Support Systems at MARCORSYSCOM in 2006, beginning as a proof of concept at technology readiness level (TRL) 3, and successfully concluded in June of 2010 with a technology transition to TRL 7 of a low rate initial production system demonstrated on multiple M777’s in a limited operational environment with active duty Marines.

Battery BracketThe system is mounted on the equipment tray with the digital fire control system  and performs calculations of the effective full charge  fired from the M777, as well as calculating the vibration levels the suspension system experienced relative to miles towed.  This information is provided in a format compatible with the Electronic Weapons Record Book, such that assessments can be made for performing maintenance based on weapon condition and operational usage.
  • Robot Systems

RobotARL PSU was tasked with designing a replacement battery pack for the Man-Transportable Robotic system (MTRS) Mark 2 Talon EOD robot.  The Talon Battery Module (TBM) designed by ARL PSU engineers utilizes from two to six BB-2590 Li Ion batteries. The ARL PSU TBM has been selected by the joint service Military Technical Acceptance Board to become part of the standard configuration package for the MTRS Talon system.


ARL PSU was able to comply with Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Divisions request to complete the engineering design portion of the program in a seven month period. Qualification testing has been successfully completed, and Battelle is tasked to complete the technical data package for the TBM, and to build prototypes for initial fielding of the module.

The ARL PSU TBM represents a significant improvement for the MTRS  platform.  The PSU TBM utilizes standard military batteries and battery chargers. It has significantly lower cost than the current solution, improved runtime, and also provides users with greatly improved battery diagnostic information. This is expected to result in improved platform reliability, lower supportability costs, and improved operational capabilities.