Automation Company Develops Controls for Wind Tunnel Testing

Thursday, April 29, 2010 Press Release
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For Immediate Release April 26 2010 HAMPTON VA – In the world of aerospace wind tunnel testing precise feedback is crucial. A new control system from Hampton-based Industrial Automation Specialists Corporation (IAS Corp) addresses this issue and
more. In traditional aerospace testing engineers set up monitoring instruments then bring the wind tunnel up to speed and measure the results. They then shut everything down physically make adjustments to the surfaces reset measuring devices and repeat
the process. The system designed by IAS Corp. automates those adjustments and also provides the measurements and even logs the data to a computer saving time and providing precise recording. “Our system controls the motors to move flaps ailerons stabilizers and similar control surfaces to precise settings” explains IAS Corp project manager Dave Wallace. “We control all the settings remotely. Then when the wind is flowing across the surface we also measure and record the actual position.” Wallace said the control system records the exact position of all moving surfaces multiple times every second. This system allows engineers to not only make adjustments during the live testing but also see the immediate impact of the wind force against the target movement. For example the remote control might tell the flaps to move to 20 degrees down. The motors will move the flap to the requested position and the sensors will record whether or not the flaps actually reached that position or if the force of the wind resulted in the deployment only reaching 19.5 degrees for example. “We operate all the air surface controls from a laptop” explains IAS Corp. owner Kathy Burton. “The laptop also records the data and provides a report at the end of the testing so engineers can see not only what happened at a point in time but also over the life of the testing.” Wallace added “We designed the controls the software the monitoring and data reporting system.” The system is currently being applied to a one-fifth scale model of a new plane that is in development with Advanced Technology Incorporated. Wallace said they can provide systems for just about any surface control testing scenarios for vehicles such as helicopters jets prop planes gliders performance automobiles high-speed trains and even some marine applications. Industrial Automation Specialists designs and builds custom machinery and controls from its headquarters in the Langley Research and Development Park in Hampton Virginia. The certified woman-owned company was founded in 1992 and has additional locations in Chester Virginia and Houston Texas. IAS Corp can be reached at 800-916-4272 or online at

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