Testing Facilities

Billingsley Aerospace & Defense’s Testing Facilities

Billingsley Aerospace is located in Brookeville, Maryland. The facility is in a rural, magnetically quiet location that is ideally suited for precise magnetic measurements. It consists of a 500 square foot “quiet laboratory” that is remote from the main building and an additional 1,800 square feet of lab and office space. The laboratory is completely equipped for assembly and characterization of magnetic sensors. Sensor calibration is done in a computer-controlled triaxial Helmholtz system. Field generation and data acquisition are completely automated, eliminating human error and speeding up the process by 10 to 20 times over manual methods. An automated non-magnetic environmental chamber in the coil provides the ability to test up to 12 instruments simultaneously over a wide range of temperatures. Measurement accuracy is assured by regular equipment calibration in accordance with MIL-1-45208A and regular comparison to the laboratory’s proton standard.

The Billingsley Aerospace laboratory has a full compliment of state of the art, fully automated testing equipment. Systems are computer controlled using GPIB buss and RS232C instruments. The laboratory has three fully automated triaxial Helmholtz Coil Systems: a 1 meter and two 2.2 meter coils. Custom software, Billingsley Aerospace Automated Test System (BMATS), was developed using Labview.

Features of BMATS

Automated testing expedites all facets of testing, enables the test facility to handle large production runs, and facilitates flexible, accurate reporting.

The Helmholtz coil systems have “closed-loop” servo controllers. These controllers maintain magnetic fields exactly at the desired level, even in the presence of large changes in the background magnetic field. These changes could be caused for a variety of reasons. Typical sources of change would be a diurnal variation in Earth’s field or the nearby movement of automobiles. If these changes were not canceled, they would appear as errors in the instrument and reliable testing would not be possible. Accuracy of these Helmholtz systems in maintained by regular calibration with a Proton Magnetometer Absolute Standard.

The excellence of Billingsley’s Helmholtz magnetic calibration systems has been recognized by customers such as the NIST (US National Bureau of Standards), NPL (British Bureau of Standards), Allied Signal, Magnavox Corp., Chrysler Corp., Digicourse Corp., Ithaco Corp., Westinghouse Oceanic, and Thomson Sintra in France.