Fastek International Ltd. Delivers Configurable Automated Test System (CATS) to University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas selects Fastek International’s Configurable Automated Test System (CATS), which will provide automated and manual data acquisition, test analysis and post-processing for high voltage electrical power grid and protection devices from companies around the world whose devices are tested at NCREPT.
The University of Arkansas National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission (NCREPT) has taken delivery of a CATS-2000 electrical test system manufactured by Fastek International Ltd. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The CATS family of test equipment is a new product line for Fastek, which produced the devices on a custom basis in response to requests for proposals in the past.
CATS, which stands for Configurable Automated Test System, will provide automated and manual data acquisition, test analysis and post-processing for high voltage electrical power grid and protection devices from companies around the world whose devices are tested at NCREPT.
NCREPT selected CATS-2000 due to its modular hardware/software architecture that easily allows the addition of new test capabilities as test requirements evolve.
Dr. Alan Mantooth, Executive Director of NCREPT at the University of Arkansas, notes: “Fastek’s CATS system proved an ideal solution to NCREPT’s ever changing test configuration needs. The flexibility provided by the Fastek CATS system is allowing NCREPT engineers to focus on testing and data evaluation rather than test equipment. This instrumentation is key to our ability to evaluate our smart grid prototypes.”
Companies that manufacture electronic or electrical equipment are candidates for one of the four CATS models available from Fastek International. Customers for the product include avionics manufacturers such as Rockwell Collins and Goodrich, industrial companies like John Deere and Kohler and research institutions like the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
The CATS products use the CATS Operating System, which runs on Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 7 platforms. They use National Instruments’ PXI, cRIO and CDAQ as the hardware platforms.
Models include the CATS-1000, CATS-1500, CATS-2000 and the CATS-2500. Model selection is based on the necessary requirements and computing speed requirements. CATS features a family of user selectable software modules that match the user selected hardware configuration within a plug-and-play hardware design. The CATS units also offer an Internet interface and the option of storing test data on remote servers. Post data processing and analysis tools also are available.
“Previous test equipment products we’ve created have demonstrated that the same test equipment can be used over the entire life cycle of the product, saving our customers money in capital equipment and test software development,” added Arvind Dandekar, President of Fastek. “It also has shortened the customer’s time to market. The success of our custom projects convinced Fastek management that a family of CATS products would be welcomed in the electrical testing marketplace.”
University of Arkansas – NCREPT, established in 2005, is a research center established at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, for the purpose of investigating solid-state solutions for high voltage applications such as the electric power grid including both protection devices as well as energy storage applications. The center is involved in five areas of research that impact the realization of power electronics solutions:
- Power electronic design and modeling
- Control algorithms for power electronics
- Power electronics packaging
- Power electronics test
- Mixed-signal integrated circuit design for the drive and control of power electronic interfaces