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m+p Analyzer Basics


Learn the basic functionality of our NVH software product m+p Analyzer. We will start with basic vibration data display and progress to data handling, filtering, and more complex features like post-processing and advanced visualization of data. Features will be illustrated by animated graphics.

All Issues

Issue 1: Basics of 2D charts

Screenshot m+p Analyzer 2D charts

m+p Analyzer offers four different types of charts for specific data analysis needs:
- 2D Single chart
- 2D Multi-chart
- 3D Waterfall chart
- Colormap chart

In the first issue we will explain 2D chart functionalities including chart layout, online data display and basic analysis features.

Basic Chart and Positioning

Single and Multi-charts are the key tools to use when acquiring and reviewing measurement data. The single chart can display up to 256 traces in a single diagram and is continually updated during a measurement. The multi-chart tool is useful for a more structured display of data. Scaling may be applied to several charts at once and groups of traces can be displayed together in separate sub-charts. Similar to a webbrowser, all charts may be arranged freely on the working plane either side-by-side or as tabs.

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Single Chart with Differently Scaled Axes

Charts can be configured to show a secondary axis on the right hand side with independent scaling, which streamlines acquisition of data with different units, e.g. acceleration [g] and force [N]. Comparison of signals, such as phase difference between sine waves, can be done automatically online during the measurement.

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Chart Formatting

Both the single and multi-charts are completely customizable. The size and color of titles, legends, annotations and the plot area can be tailored to the user’s preference. The grid and traces may be individually colored and styled.

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Chart Online Display

The 2D chart capability is not limited to the display of time data. m+p Analyzer’s real-time FFT feature allows for online display of different metrics calculated from measurement data. This includes real-time spectra of windowed time signals, histograms, auto- and crosscorrelations, power spectral densities, auto- and crosspower spectra and frequency response functions.

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Chart Axis Display

The display type of the chart may be individually customized to fit the requirements of a given measurement type, e.g. a frequency response function. Common axis types such as real/imaginary, amplitude/phase, logarithmic/phase and dB (referenced)/phase plots are available with different types of scaling such as peak, peak-to-peak and rms.

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Issue 2: Advanced 2D Charts Features

Screenshot m+p Analyzer advanced 2D charts

m+p Analyzer offers four different types of charts for specific data analysis needs: 2D Single chart, 2D Multi-chart, 3D Waterfall chart and Colormap chart. The second article of our series „m+p Analyzer basics“ will focus on the advanced functionality of 2D charts.


Chart Overview Zoom

The overview feature is useful when post-processing and reviewing large data sets. It allows to select a zoom region and pan this region in the overview field to get a close-up view of a subset of data.

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Chart Cursors on a Time History

To review the data values at specific time instances, vertical and horizontal cursors may be used. Besides the charts a display with useful metrics at the cursor location is displayed. Multiple cursors may be linked with the "band cursor" feature where slave cursors will move together with the master cursor at a given distance. Together with the "seek to peak" feature, extrema and their relative distances (in time or frequency) may be easily tracked and displayed in the chart legend.

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Chart Cursors on a Spectrum

2D charts offer specifically tailored cursors for the analysis of spectra (basically anything with a frequency axis). The harmonic cursor displays slave cursors at frequency locations of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ... harmonic based on the master cursor frequency. The sideband cursor displays slave cursors equally spaced to the left and right around the master cursor.

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Tacho Tool

The tacho tool can be used to extract RPM values from a tacho signal or sine wave. It is a simple tool that is real-time capable in that it can be used at acquisition time. More advanced features "tacho spline fit" and "RPM extractor" are part of the m+p Analyzer "Rotate" toolbox and allow for more complex RPM extraction methods such as smoothing of the extracted RPM signal and extraction of RPM from vibration data. In the following example we will show the basic tacho tool which comes with the 2D chart. Suppose a sine sweep from 20 Hz to 100 Hz was recorded. We can now configure the tacho tool displaying the rotational speed, which - in the case of our sine sweep - yields an RPM range of 1200 to 6000 RPM. The result may either be shown as a cursor on the original data or shown as a new signal "RPM over time". In this example we use a sine sweep, yet any rectangular pulse train - which is typically measured by tachometers - is applicable.

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Reference Traces

Reference traces may be overlaid in the 2D chart to compare previously acquired results to the currently acquired data in real time. Besides showing recorded measurements as a reference, this feature is also useful to show, for example, upper and lower limits when measuring time signals such as forces. In the following example we show how to set up a previously acquired spectrum as a reference trace and perform several impulse response measurements which can then visually compared to the reference response. Tip: Reference traces may be added quickly by holding the "alt" key while dragging and dropping a measurement into the chart.

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Issue 3: 2D Charts – Data Manipulation

Screenshot m+p Analyzer data charts

In the last issues of our series “m+p Analyzer Basics” we showed basic features of 2D charts such as formatting and positioning and more advanced features such as different types of cursors and reference traces. This issue is dedicated to data manipulation. The m+p Analyzer provides a rich set of data manipulations within packages like "modal analysis", "rotational analysis" and "acoustic analysis". Yet basic analysis features are included in the 2D charts which come with the standard licence and are available to all customers.


Online Calculations

The 2D chart can be configured to perform basic calculations on the data it currently shows. These functions include integration and differentiation in time and frequency domain, octave spectra with A-, B-, C-weighting, orbit plots and many more. All calculations may be chained consecutively in arbitrary order and will be applied during run time. The following animation shows how acceleration data can be integrated to velocity or displacement during the time of measurement.

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Application Example: Orbit Plot of a Journal

For an application example we will use our demonstrator for rotational analysis such as balancing and orbit analysis.

On the left journal we placed two accelerometers to measure vibrations in X- and Y-direction. Within the chart we can now integrate these accelerations twice to get the displacement and then setup an orbit plot. This will show us the movement of the journal in the X-Y-plane during the run-down of the demonstrator.

Setting up the chart

In a real world application, one is typically interested in time histories and spectra as well. In that case we would setup different charts showing the desired metrics. The following animation shows a typical setup and how to export and import such a setup for repeated use.

Exemplary layout


Issue 4: 3D Charts - Online Waterfall and Colormap Plots

Screenshot m+p Analyzer 3D charts

m+p Analyzer offers four different types of charts for specific data analysis needs, a 2D single chart, a 2D Multi-chart, a 3D Waterfall chart and a Colormap chart. In this issue we take a look at the 3D chart and its online capabilities.

Basic 3D Chart Displays

The 3D chart displays a set of waveforms against a third axis such as time, frequency or RPM. Applicable waveforms include time histories, spectra, FRF, PSD and many more. Just like the 2D charts, the format and properties of the 3D chart can be easily edited and stored as a template, see also Issue 1: Basics of 2D Charts. The following animation shows different styles of the chart: Several spectra are recorded and shown in the waterfall chart during measurement. The user may easily switch between a waterfall and a colormap display by a double click on the chart. In this case we configured the waterfall chart to show a shaded surface, though several other styles are also available.

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Example: Using Cursors in the Colormap to Extract an Order

For the following example we recorded acceleration data of a rotating machine during run-up. We used m+p Analyzer (DSA-Pro license) and an m+p VibPilot acquisition front-end. In addition to the acceleration on the mount we recorded the RPM of the machine. The measurement was configured so that the 14.25 s of time data is automatically split into 57 blocks of 250 ms length. For each block a spectrum is calculated using a FFT algorithm and a Hanning window. The spectra are displayed in a colormap of frequency vs. time. As we also recorded the RPM of the machine, m+p Analyzer will automatically attribute every spectrum with the average RPM during the time of aquisition. Therefore we can easily generate a colormap of RPM vs. frequency, giving a clear indication of the machine’s rotating frequency and its harmonics (i.e. the orders). Exemplarily, a cursor is used to extract the amplitudes of the 1st order over the rotational speed.

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This example shows a simple and quick way to analyze a rotating machinery in m+p Analyzer. For more advanced analysis the rotate package may be licensed, which offers advanced tacho acquisition, RPM and time based colormap generation and more sophisticated order tracking features. Contact us for more information about m+p Analyzer and its rotate capabilities.


Issue 5: the Project Browser

Screenshot m+p Analyzer project browser

The project browser is the core element of the m+p Analyzer when it comes to managing projects, measurement data and calculated results. In this issue of our series m+p Analyzer Basics we will go through various neat tips and tricks on how you can use the project browser to its full potential and to help you speed up your work and get the job done faster!

Basics: The Two-Pane Layout of the Project Browser

Figure 1 shows the two-pane layout of the project browser: By default, the "Measurement"-tab is selected and the left side contains a tree with different projects and their workspaces. The right pane shows contained measurements and their corresponding meta data. Switching the tab in the top will change this view to show all available geometries, setups, layouts or the recycle bin for the current (active) project.

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Please note: The right pane will always show all measurements contained *below* the item that is selected in the left pane. I.e., when 'Project 1.sop5' is selected, measurements from all workspaces below ('Workspace 1' and 'Workspace 2') are shown on the right side - three in this case. But if a workspace is selected, only measurements from this workspace are shown, thus two measurements for 'Workspace 1' and one measurement for 'Workspace 2'.

Basics: Customizing the Project Browser

Positioning: By default, the project browser is positioned on the bottom of the screen, but it may be docked to the top, left or right side as well.

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Auto-hide during measurement: During a measurement the project browser is often not required and may be hidden once a measurement is started.

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Custom columns: The columns headers on the right pane may be customized by the user through right-clicking any column header and choosing 'Select Columns...'. The user will be presented a list of all available properties and meta data applicable to the current project and may freely rename and use them as columns headers. (Learn more about measurement properties and meta data in our next newsletter issue.)

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Organizing Measurements: Grouping and Filtering

When dealing with larger amounts of measurements, the grouping and filtering options may come in handy. Grouping is done on the left pane and applies to workspaces: Within a workspace, the measurements may be grouped together e.g. by their function type (spectrum, time history, FRF, PSD, etc.), response or reference channel, measurement time or just their name.

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Filtering is done on the right pane: For each column a filter may be applied to reduce amount of measurements shown. Right-clicking on a column header and selecting 'Filtering' shows a menu with automatically generated filters and a free field, which can be used like the windows search field. As shown in the example, one may select all measurements whose 'Name'-field contains an upper case 'S' by putting *S*. Similarly one could filter for measurements taken on a special time by putting a filter like '*-12-24' on the 'Measurement Time' column, showing only measurements taken on Christmas Eve.

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Some general remarks:

  • Grouping is applied to workspaces - one may define a different grouping for each workspace.
  • Grouping can be expanded to all workspaces - right-click the project to select a grouping for all workspaces of the given project.
  • Filters are applied globally - once a filter is applied one may change the workspace and the right pane will still show the filtered result.
  • Filters may be combined by defining filters on different columns.
  • Grouping and filtering can be combined and used at the same time.


Issue 6: Working with Measurements and Metadata

m+p Analyzer data structure overlapping

The m+p Analyzer is all about measuring vibration data and providing traceable results that, even years later, can be reviewed and put into context. In this 6th issue, we will have a look at the data structure of the measurement object with its properties and metadata. You will learn how to work with metadata tags during measurement, in reviewing data sets and post-processing data.

Data Structure of a Measurement

At first glance, acquiring data is mainly about sampling a voltage signal - may it be acceleration, pressure, temperature, etc. - and saving those sample values to the hard drive. But that is merely what is required in a production setup: One might want to save not only time sampled data but spectra, PSDs, FRFs, octaves, etc. and while the actual sample values are the most important, properties associated to the measurement process such as sample rate, channel names, references, etc. need to be traceable as well. In m+p Analyzer, we solve this by having a data structure for the measurement that consists of three main parts: data, properties and metadata.

  • Data: real or complex valued arrays holding the measured/processes data in time/frequency/octave domain
  • Properties: values directly associated to the data, e.g. as sample rate or channel name
  • Metadata: additional user defined information, e.g. name of a specimen or calibration date of a sensor

Tag Measurements with User-Defined Metadata on the Fly

Many engineering tasks comprise repeated measurements of similar test specimen or measuring the same specimen in a slightly different test setup (ambient temperature, mounting, etc.). In these scenarios where repeated measurements need to be distinguishable, metadata and the auto-popup feature may come in handy. In fact, some of m+p Analyzer’s built-in measurement modes rely heavily on this feature, e.g. the shock capture which we will use as an example:

First open the “Configuration”, click on “Advanced” below and check “Meta-data”. Now you'll find a tab called "Meta-data". This tab allows the user to specify custom metadata tags suited for the given measurement task. It is specified by Name/Value pairs presented in a spread sheet. The Name field is how m+p Analyzer refers to a metadata, i.e. company, specimen no., operator and can later be used to filter data. The Value field is the actual content, which may be a text, a date or a predefined list of values. I.e. if only three specimens will be tested, one may specify a list and during the test campaign would just select the correct one from a dropdown menu instead of writing the name out every time.

The checkbox “Auto prompt metadata” enables the auto-popup feature, which will bring up a metadata screen when starting a measurement. The following example shows how to configure m+p Analyzer and enable the auto-popup metadata feature.

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Review and Edit Data, Properties and Metadata in the Measurements Editor

You can review and edit all data, properties and metadata of a measurement in the Measurements Editor. Select multiple measurements to block-edit several values of different measurements at once.

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Custom Columns and Filter Option of the Browser for Metadata

All metadata tags may be shown as column headers in the browser. The columns filters (see also Issue 5 in last Newsletter) can also be applied to metadata to filter for similar tagged measurements.

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