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  • Writer's pictureAir Dynamics Industrial Systems Corporation

Environmental Test Chamber Offers Near-Perfect Accuracy

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

YORK, PA – A new edition of the Desert Wind Sand and Dust Environmental Test Chamber is being introduced with its first installation at the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. The world’s only computerized blowing sand and dust environmental simulator delivers verifiable data readings and results with near-perfect accuracy. The system’s real-time embedded industrial process controller provides variable control for each MIL-STD-810 test parameter in a real-time repeatable environment. With parameters that automatically readjust with changing conditions and data that is continually captured in a real-time test environment that can be repeated as often as necessary.

The new, upsized Desert Wind™, developed by Air Dynamics Industrial Systems Corporation, can test larger specimens with unrivaled accuracy. Upgraded from the original technology, the latest version significantly raises the bar for environment simulation accuracy with improved sensors and software programming. Additionally, test specimen chamber dimensions that reduce test variables to a mere plus or minus five percent in all test parameter settings. This new capability meets and exceeds MIL-STD-810X dust and sand concentration tolerances and improves the accuracy by reducing the current MIL-STD-810G particle concentration tolerance from plus or minus 70% to a measured and verified plus or minus .5% — an improvement of 92.8%. In addition, its enhanced thermal management system provides easy equipment access and lower energy costs for the user.

Unlike other sand and dust simulators that use technology that measures only a fraction of the airstream particle concentration, Desert Wind™ measures and verifies 100 percent of the air-stream particle concentration. Its processes are managed by a hard real-time industrial process controller which measures, detects, and confirms 100 percent of the particles delivered to the test chamber with a tolerance variable of only plus or minus five percent. The result is a repeatable real-time readout for all matter tested that is vastly more accurate than any other option in the world. This performance contrasts sharply with other available technology that typically detects one percent of test chamber particles in a recirculating pattern and produces data with a gaping plus or minus 90 percent margin of error.

It is this level of accuracy, combined with strong recommendations from users of the original Desert Wind™ technology, that has convinced the Army to install the newest version at its Redstone, Alabama, Arsenal this winter. Although Desert Wind™ is designed to test for both blowing sand and dust within a single unit, the Redstone simulator will test only for blowing dust. The chamber measures an unprecedented 8 feet wide by 6 feet deep by 6 six feet high and can accommodate a test item up to 52 inches wide by 52 inches high by 96 inches long. It is the only chamber of this magnitude that can measure and verify all particle concentrations delivered to the unit.

“The Army needs precise test readings in order to predict with high certainty how the equipment will perform in the field,” explains Air Dynamics president Daniel Lehman. “Fine silica dust, like that found in desert climates, is abrasive to mechanized equipment especially turbine-powered high rotational speed hardware. Our technology provides the Army with reliable test results to best predict equipment performance before it goes into the field.”

He adds “The Army Redstone Arsenal chose this technology for several reasons. Through a series of sub-systems, it produces approximately 3,000 data points per test. It confirms 100 percent of the particles delivered to the test chamber in a real-time computing environment with a response rate of six one-thousandths of a second (6 ms) and a tolerance rate of plus or minus five percent air volume to particle concentration ratio. Current Desert Wind™ users have verified its accuracy, performance, and especially the dollar cost value.”

Other technologies rely on an optical lens or triboelectric sensor inside the chamber to capture data on only one percent of particles that re-circulate past the sensor’s “view.” With each pass of the particles in the revolving loop configuration, these instruments become clogged, or abraded, and lenses become clouded from the re-circulating dust. In addition, particle concentration in the chamber can vary with each pass. The changing specimen concentration and polluted environment distort the readings and prevent the ability to obtain a repeatable test in real-time.

By contrast, Desert Wind™ technology relies on a central processing unit that controls the rate of change in real-time adjusting each of the four test parameters instantaneously with a response rate of 6 milliseconds! There are no optical lenses or in-chamber sensors to become cloudy or clogged. The process parameters are verified and logged every 10 seconds ensuring a known value is consistently present in the chamber. A system real-time clock synchronizes all elements of the process and allows for integration of all external parameters. This produces a verifiable, repeatable, real-time parameter-centric outcome.

“While other simulators claim to provide repeatable, real-time tests, Desert Wind™ is the world’s only system that can repeat the exact same function as often as necessary within a real-time environment,” says Mr. Lehman. The unit measures and verifies a precise concentration of sand or dust that is continually delivered to the test chamber, thereby eliminating the risk of reduced and contaminated specimen content. It uses clean sheet proprietary technology that was not previously available. Desert Wind does not rely on hand-written checklists; it is the only computerized blowing sand and dust simulator on the market.

“Equipment field performance in an arid environment is critical to the success of a military operation,” says Mr. Lehman. “Many times it literally is a matter of life and death. There is a need for mission planners to understand the effects of the environment in the anticipated theater of operations before entry into that environment. The Desert Wind™ system is a great leap over the capability gap in the simulation of desert environments.

“Now there’s a way to expect the unexpected, improve failure trend analysis, increase technology readiness levels, and reliably predict the functionality of a weapon system before a major equipment contract is awarded before the warfighter squeezes the trigger.”

With its proprietary technology, Desert Wind™ provides a controlled environment that can test all sides of a specimen on a rotating table. While it delivers the latest in technology for this type of test environment, it can also help contain material & weapon systems costs by producing highly accurate equipment performance tests in a precisely controlled environment before introduction into the field and by eliminating manual test procedures.

The Desert Wind™ Sand and Dust Environmental Test Chamber is designed and manufactured by Air Dynamics in York, PA. In addition to environmental simulators, the company also engineers and provides pollution control systems, industrial central vacuum systems, environmental process cooling, energy optimization, and new product development/engineering/design.

Learn more about the Desert Wind™ Systems here.

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