Material Testing Machine Interface

Background
Day International is a manufacturer of components for the textile and printing industries. Day International performs test on many of the polymers they use to gather data about the mechanical properties of the polymers. Day International currently uses a text-based software to gather and record test data.

Project Description
The objective is to design a windows-base software to replace an existing text-based system. The software will provide three main functions:

  • Interface a PC running MS Windows with a material testing machine using a serial port and the RS-232 communications protocol
  • Provide an interface to a database to allow additional data to be manually added in addition to the data obtained from the material-testing machine. Approximately 40 to 60 pieced of data are stored for each sample tested and half of these need to be manually entered.
  • Provide multiple reporting options.

Software Development
The software was developed using Java for the user interface and MS Access for the database. Java was chosen primarily because of my desire to learn Java and to compare it with other languages, such as Visual Basic, in creating a desktop application. MS Access was used at the request of the customer.

The software consists of five main screens. Three of the screens are for data entry, one for initiating communication with the machine and one for generating test reports. The machine interface was developed using the JavaComm API to provide the RS-232 protocol required for communication. The Java JDBC API and a JDBC-ODBC bridge were used to connect with the database and send SQL statements to query and update the database. The report generation, previewing and printing were all developed using Java.

The main difficulties in developing the software were in obtaining information about the communication protocol of the machine. This made developing a routine to process the input difficult.

Conclusion
The users will enjoy several advantages by having a GUI based interface. They will be able to enter and view data much more quickly than with the text-based system.

Advisor: Dr. Joe Daugherty

Image: 
Student Name: 
Arthur Fotos