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At Caterpillar, we validate (test) all machines, components and software to make sure they meet our customers’ high expectations. In the past, we could validate the quality of Cat® machines and components only by building them in iron and then physically testing them – a hands-on, time consuming and costly process. Today, advances in simulation technology have infused greater speed, accuracy and efficiency into Caterpillar’s validation processes. This means our engineers can validate products and get them into customers’ hands faster.
Here are five ways we use zeroes and ones to ensure quality:
1. Machine Software and Electronic Control Systems
At our Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) labs in Mossville, Illinois, automated computer models simulate real-world applications, pushing our machines to limits that can’t be reached in physical testing. And the tests can be run anytime from anywhere in the world using HIL technology—improving quality, reducing cost, increasing efficiency and accelerating time to market.
2. Sound Emissions
Machine noise levels can cause hearing loss, stress and fatigue in both operators and bystanders near a job site, and are a significant purchasing consideration for many customers. Caterpillar engineers created Quiet by Design (QbD), a suite of validation tools that brings together all machine noise sources into one predictive capability, representing the information visually to guide engineers to make changes that will reduce sound emissions.
3. Machine Stress Analysis
Machine stress tests help ensure our machines achieve their quality and life targets, keeping our customers up and running. Today, we’re using Virtual On-Machine Stress Analysis (VOMSA) to perform stress tests, increasing the number of designs we can test and providing more accurate, detailed information in less time and at lower cost than traditional methods.
4. Virtual Vibration Tests
Cat® machines are designed to minimize vibrations. To test vibration levels, we use Virtual Shake Table (VST) and Virtual Mounted Equipment Resonance (VMER) tools to simulate the degree of shaking an engine or machine might experience and explore the impact the shaking would have on the life of the equipment. These tools help keep operators safe and machine quality high, while saving development time and costs.
Caterpillar leverages state-of-the-art simulation technology with AutoVISO, a tool that allows engineers to ensure operators have as much visibility as possible, to comply with international standards, and to help keep everyone on the job site safe.