Simcenter™ Testlab™ software (formerly called LMS Test.Lab) is a data acquisition and analysis software for noise, vibration, and durability testing (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Simcenter Testlab software modules include acoustic, modal analysis, transfer path analysis, closed loop vibration control, and more…

Simcenter Testlab software:

  • Contains modules for acoustics, rotating machinery, structural dynamics, vibration control, durability, and high-speed throughput data.
  • Enables optimized test channel setup, documentation, measurement validation, reporting, and sharing of results.
  • Comes in two “flavors”: Simcenter Testlab and Simcenter Testlab Neo. Neo is from the Greek word “neos” meaning “new”. Both versions of the software are delivered together.
  • Works with Simcenter SCADAS hardware to acquire data.
  • Licensing options include node-locked, floating, fixed licenses, and token licensing.
  • Available on Windows PC based operating systems.

This introduction to Simcenter Testlab includes the following sections:

1. Types of Tests that can be performed with Simcenter Testlab
   1.1 Structural Dynamics
   1.2 Acoustic Testing
   1.3 Transfer Path Analysis
   1.4 Rotating Machinery
   1.5 Durability Testing
   1.6 Vibration Control
   1.7 High-Speed Testing
2. Key Features of Simcenter Testlab
   2.1 Simcenter Testlab Neo: Displays and Guide Me
   2.2 Simcenter Testlab: Workflows
   2.3 Processing while Acquiring
   2.4 Data Analysis
   2.5 Active Pictures
   2.6 Simulation and Test integration
3. How to get Signals into Simcenter Testlab?
4. File Formats supported by Simcenter Testlab
5. Simcenter Testlab Licensing

1. Types of Tests that can be performed with Simcenter Testlab?

1.1 Structural Dynamics Testing

Simcenter Testlab can be used for identifying the dynamic behavior of structures (Figure 2).


Figure 2: Simcenter Testlab for structural dynamics testing.

Structural dynamics capabilities of Simcenter Testlab include:

  • Impact testing to gather frequency response functions.
  • Multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) shaker tests, including: swept and stepped sine, normal modes testing.
  • Modal analysis, operational deflection shapes, order based modal analysis, operational data based modal analysis, and ground vibration testing.
  • Simcenter Testlab Modification Prediction to calculate the effects of additions or removals of mass, stiffness, and damping on experimental modal models.
  • Experimental modal results can be compared to simulation results. For example, NASTRAN FRFs and modes can be compared with measured results in Simcenter Testlab.

1.2 Acoustic Testing

Simcenter Testlab acoustic testing ranges from microphone recordings, material testing, sound metric assessments, to sound source localization (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Simcenter Testlab acoustic capabilities span from binaural recordings, to sound intensity, to material testing, to sound source localization.

Acoustic capabilities include:

  • Microphone and binaural recordings.
  • Sound quality metrics (loudness, roughness, prominence ratio, etc), and jury testing.
  • Material and component testing (ie. transmission loss and absorption).
  • Sound power testing and sound intensity software modules.
  • Array-based holography and focalization,sound source localization.
  • Pass-by noise testing including both exterior and interior.

1.3 Transfer Path Analysis

Siemens leverages the source-path-receiver (or source-transmitter-receiver) approach to vibro-acoustic issues. Noise and vibration could be structural, airborne, or a combination of these, and have multiple sources, paths, and receivers (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Uncover the greatest contributors of unwanted noise or vibration with Simcenter Testlab Transfer Path Analysis.

Simcenter Testlab Transfer Path Analysis offers solutions for:

  • Single or multi-reference (ex. road-noise) transfer path analysis (TPA).
  • Q-source exciters for quick reciprocal FRF measurements.
  • Time-domain TPA for interactive listening of paths.
  • Operational path analysis.
  • Blocked force and component transfer path analysis.

1.4 Rotating Machinery

Orders, torsionals, balancing issues? Simcenter Testlab Signature Testing module can be used to analyze rotating machinery dynamics issues (Figure 5).


Figure 5: Gain insight into both lab and field based rotating machinery dynamics with Simcenter Testlab Signature.

The following options are available to analyze rotating machinery dynamic issues:

  • Order tracking, including waterfalls, colormaps, orders, frequency sections, octave maps, and more…
  • Single and dual plane balancing to address imbalance issues.
  • Torsional vibration analysis including animations, zebra tape corrections, etc.
  • Angle domain processing to view data in the cycle/revolution domain rather than time.

See the article list at the end of this page for more rotating machinery analysis options.

1.5 Durability Testing

How long will my product last? Simcenter Testlab Durability can be used for the acquisition and analysis of loads (Figure 6).

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Figure 6: Road-load durability testing in the lab and field utilizing Simcenter SCADAS Mobile acquisition hardware.

Simcenter Testlab durability testing spans from acquisition to analysis:

  • Measure strain gauges and other critical parameters like force, speed, displacement, and more…
  • Filter out high frequency noise and low frequency drift, remove spikes, etc.
  • Decompose loads into cycles via rainflow counting.
  • Understand fatigue life of a product using stress-life, strain-life, or infinite life.
  • Accelerate durability sign-off tests without creating unrepresentative failures.

1.6 Vibration Control and Environmental Testing

Vibration Control testing is used for the qualification of products and components, to ensure they survive and operate in harsh environments (Figure 7).

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Figure 7: Shock, random, sine, sine on random, sine dwell, acoustic control, etc are vibration control modes available in Simcenter Testlab.

Simcenter Testlab modules for vibration control include:

  • Pretest selfcheck diagnostics to prevent unwanted damage to shaker and test object.
  • Closed-loop random control and sine control testing.
  • Combined mode testing including random on random, sine on random, and more.
  • Sine notching and random response limiting.
  • Single axis waveform replication to reproduce an exact time history.
  • Multi axis testing where multiple exciters applied in multiple directions can reduce qualification testing time.
  • Shock response testing used to reproduce transient vibration events.
  • Direct-Field Acoustic Noise Testing (DFAN).

1.7 High-Speed Throughput Testing

High Speed Throughput Testing is used for acquiring large amounts of time data, typically with high-channel acquisition systems. Typical examples include turbine testing, jet-engine testing, and wind tunnel testing (Figure 8).

Figure 8:High speed throughput systems are used in demanding application like jet engine, turbine, and wind tunnel testing.

High-speed throughput testing system components include:

  • High-channel count Simcenter SCADAS systems
  • Distributed or multi-master configurations
  • Independently synchronized acquisition nodes and data server backup
  • Monitoring and alarming stations

2. What are the key features and advantages of Testlab?

2.1 Simcenter Testlab Neo: Displays and Guide Me

The recent release of Simcenter Testlab Neo provides advances in user task flow and efficiency. The platform was developed with the goal of further improving user experience and interface through instant data access and automatic displays (Figure 9).

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Figure 9: Data is displayed instantly when selected in Simcenter Testlab Neo.

Simcenter Testlab Neo also contains a “Guide Me” button for automatic assistance with testing tasks (Figure 10).

Figure 10: By clicking on the Guide Me button (lower right), users of Simcenter Neo are guided automatically through their tasks.

By clicking on the “Guide Me” button in the lower right, the each step of a given task is stepped through one at a time.

2.2 Simcenter Testlab: Workflow

Simcenter Testlab, which has been developed over the past two decades, offers a simple linear workflow and familiar layout. It guides users through all steps of data collection, and makes it easy to plot data, compare results across test campaigns, and analyze results.

Each workflow taskbar commonly includes “Documentation” and “Navigator”. Documentation allows users to upload reports, such as the general testing setup and technical notes, assign test technicians, and import/export documents, images, and reports to Microsoft Office (Figure 11).

Figure 11: The Simcenter Testlab Documentation worksheet can have photos, comments, and other attributes.

The original version of Simcenter TestLab guides users through the customizable workflow taskbar, depending on the add-in application module or desired type of test (Figure 12).

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Figure 12: An example workflow taskbar for sound diagnosis.

These custom workflows can be stored as a task file. By clicking on the task file, the test settings and steps are already setup for the test operator.

2.3 Processing while Acquiring

Simcenter Testlab optimizes the testing process by measuring and processing data in real time (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Data can be processed in realtime with Simcenter Testlab while simultaneously recording throughput time data.

Using online processing, users can:

  • Validate data while simultaneously acquiring and monitoring it.
  • Process data while simultaneously acquiring raw time data.
  • Use real-time displays to keep updated on incoming data.
  • View new data against references or previously stored runs.

Simcenter Testlab can be configured to perform all of this simultaneously on a single run to shorten overall testing time. Test engineers can get results instantly, instead of waiting weeks for additional processing and analysis.

2.4 Data Analysis

Once measurements are completed, Simcenter Testlab offers a variety of analysis and processing (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Simcenter Testlab processing includes durability, modal, spectral analysis, waterfalls, orders, and more…

Offline processing and analysis includes:

  • Offline CANBUS or RPM extraction tools.
  • Sound Diagnosis tool to allow for further post-measurement filtering and sound metrics evaluation.
  • Time Signal Calculator can be used to calculate post-measurement time-file data, such as quantifying the duty cycle and carrier frequency of a pulse-width modulation control signal.
  • Modal curvefitting of measured FRF data.
  • Operational deflection shapes.
  • Fatigue damage calculations.

At the end of this article there is a more comprehensive list of processing capabilities of Simcenter Testlab.

2.5 Active Picture Reports

Reports are easily shared to non-Testlab users via Active Pictures exported to Microsoft Office documents with embedded data to perform further basic analysis outside of Testlab (Figure 15).

Figure 15: With the Simcenter Testlab Active Picture, graphs can be activated in Word, Powerpoint, and more without a license.

By double clicking on active pictures in a report, users have access to the full functionality of Testlab displays: cursors, zooming, integrating, smoothing, and more. No license is required to use an active picture. For a PC without Testlab installed, a free plug-in can be downloaded and installed.

2.6 Simulation and Test Integration

Simcenter Testlab interfaces with simulation codes, including Simcenter 1D Amesim, Simcenter Nastran, and Simcenter 3D:

  • Test results can be compared against simulation results. For example, NASTRAN FRFs and mode shapes can be compared to measured FRFs and mode shapes.
  • Simulation data can be processed with Testlab algorithms. For example, Simcenter Amesim simulation model time histories can be processed directly with Testlab.
  • Models can be used as virtual channels while processing test data. For example, Functional Mockup Interfaces (FMI) can be used in Simcenter Testlab Neo process designer.

3. How do I get signal data into Simcenter Testlab?

Sensors are conditioned and data is acquired by the Simcenter SCADAS front-ends. SCADAS hardware can convert analog transducers to digital signals with sample frequencies ranging up to 204.8 kHz (Figure 16).

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Figure 16: Simcenter SCADAS Hardware is modular and can be configured for any application.

SCADAS hardware can be equipped to read a wide variety of transducers, including microphones, accelerometers, strain gauges, LVDTs, tachometers, CAN bus, cameras, GPS, thermocouples, and more (Figure 17).

Figure 17: Typical sensors include accelerometers, microphones and arrays, strain gauges, displacement, force, torque, flow, pressure, thermocouples, voltage, current, tachometer, analog output, DAC, Digital (CAN bus, FlexRay), S/PDIF, velocity, camera, wheel-force transducers, binaural headset or Artificial Head, and GPS.

Note: Need additional SCADAS cables? Check out the SCADAS Cable Guide.

4. What file formats can Simcenter Testlab read, import, and export?

Finally, Simcenter Testlab is an open software platform, and exports/imports and reads a wide variety of file formats (Figure 18).

File Types.png
Figure 18: In Simcenter Testlab, right click on data for export files types…

File types include:

  • Simcenter Time Files (*.ldsf)
  • Simcenter Testlab Projects (*.lms)
  • CADA-X Database (*.idx)
  • Excel, ASCII, CSV (*.xlsx, *.xls, *.csv)
  • WAV (*.wav)
  • Universal File (*.unv, *.uff)
  • RPC3 (*.rsp)
  • Standard Data File (*.sdf and *.dat)
  • Matlab (*.mat)
  • TEAC TAFFmat (*.hdr)
  • NASTRAN (*.pch, *.bdf, *.op2)
  • ANSYS (*.rst)
  • ABAQUS (*odb)
  • Simcenter3D Motion Results Files (*.mres)
  • Simcenter Amesim (*.ame)
  • I-DEAS (*.ati, *.afu, *.ash)
  • ASAM-ODS (*.atfx)
  • MDF 3.0 and higher (*.mdf, *.dat)
  • GPS (*.nmea and *.kml)
  • IST RigSys (*.dmd, *.drv, *.acq, *.tgt)
  • And more…

5. Simcenter Testlab Licensing

Simcenter Testlab requires a license to run. Some licensing options include:

  • Node Locked, USB Key Locked, Floating – Licenses can be assigned to specific PC (node locked), assigned to a USB Key that can be moved between PCs (USB Key Locked), or served from a central PC (floating).

Figure 19: Simcenteter Testlab licenses can be node-locked to a PC, tied to a USB key, or floated from a central server.

  • Fixed versus Token Based – Simcenter Testlab software is modular. Individual fixed license modules can be purchased separately, or licenses can be purchased as tokens. For more information, see the knowledge base article: Simcenter Testlab Tokens.