We have bought measurement amplifiers and bridges from HBM for 40 odd years, and it’s the quality and service that makes us want to continue doing business with them. Today we have some 28 MGCplus housing, some of them with 6, but most of them with 16 module slots.
The various HBM sensors are placed inside the platforms and ships to collect information about pressures, forces, torsion etc., under various weather conditions. Here, a model of an oil platform is tested in the high waves of the North Sea.
All measurement technicians agree that HBM hardware is the best that is available on the market. The instrumentation staff are enthusiastic about the quality. 24 bits resolution means a minimum of noise. And when the time came to get a new data logging system to replace the old Hewlett-Packard Coda that we’ve used for over 15 years, we asked several competitors. In the end we selected HBM catman Enterprise, along with a few modifications we needed to secure our specifications. One of our staff had seen the system demonstrated in Darmstadt. When he came back he was very excited and said “We just got to have that!” mostly because of the equipment flexibility and the ease of use.
SINTEF uses the catman Enterprise for collection of all measurement data during a trial run. The software manages the whole trial run workflow. It collects values from the model and is able to create calculated channels by carrying out calculations on several concurrent channels in real time. For evaluation of the collected data they use special software made by themselves.
One very great advantage is that catman Enterprise can be run without having an MGCplus on-line. It is possible to sit at your desk and create measurement channel lists in advance. Afterwards you simply load the channels into the real equipment, press “Play”, and the measurement runs.
Another very great advantage of the catman system is that a complex measurement with many channels can be split into several subprojects, enabling several technicians to work on their own channel subset, and saving it as a subproject. This makes things go much faster than if one was forced to work with all the, for example 50-200 channels at once that a large oceanic project takes.
Also, the customer can be seated at a client terminal in our courtesy room and view a limited set of channels, without being able to change any values. And if that wasn’t enough, the customer can actually be anywhere on the Internet. That’s a very great advantage.
We have been entirely satisfied with HBM’s support so far, as well as equipment quality and function. It works the way it should, when it should. We are also very used to the hardware and software now. It is an advantage to have the same equipment in all our laboratories. When running trials in various laboratories, feeling “at home” is very advantageous. One model might be run in the towing tank first off, and then in the ocean basin. It is a simple matter to just disconnect it from one set of measurement equipment and bring the model and channel list along and connect them to another measurement rack. The measurements will be consistent regardless of where they are made.
SINTEF is one of the world’s premier laboratories, but we do have competition. We have a vision of building another, larger, plant. Then, we’re going to require a lot more measurement equipment.
HBM's strain gauges are glued to various structural elements (rings) to measure e.g. line tensions in anchor chains and risers. Here, line tensions are tested on riser lines going down from a ship to a submerged production system on kilometre below on the seafloor.
We have always had good communications with HBM. They are with us all the way. We measure using MGCplus, catman shows and consolidates the values and catman drives the whole project as well. They have given us a complete solution.
All photos by Norsk Marinteknisk Forskningsinstitutt AS (SINTEF)