Nathan’s MET/CAL Course

Nathan’s MET/CAL Course

Day 1:
On day one we started out by going through the normal introductions and what we did and what we wanted to gain from attending the course which I felt was very important as everyone there wanted to go away with something different, one person was there to only figure out why one line of code wasn’t working in there procedure. But I’m sure they got more than that answered… From there we started out by learning how MET/CAL works via databases and how all the components come together to work as one package. As MET/Cal is the glue that ties all electrical calibration together.
As MET/CAL requires standards, we learnt how to add an asset (device) via MET/TEAM and assign a calibration record. So a Device can also be a standards so we added a Fluke 5500 calibrator, we also had to receive, return and process said asset which is the same process for everything that comes through MET/TEAM. MET/Team is basically the device manager for MET/Cal ie. the window into MET/Cal.

We then moved onto the Runtime part of MET/CAL which is the part that actually runs the procedures and writes the data to the database. We started by configuring it to suit our needs such as putting it into simulation mode so when we tested our procedures no commands were sent to the UUT or standard, then setup our IEEE boards and how many boards we need to select based upon the users configuration and also how to setup serial ports if you wanted to run your standards via them.
Also covered in the setup was how to use a humidity and temperature logger specifically a Fluke 1620A so if your environment was outside some set parameters it wont run the procedure.
Lastly we covered how to configure a user standard ie. our frequency counter which is a manually operated standard that we will program into MET/CAL with the accuracy specs etc into the procedure itself – a powerful feature of MET/Cal

Day 2:
This started out by outlining what each different type of file MET/CAL uses and the differences in them which I personally found VERY helpful as it pretty much cemented what type I’d like to use as some of the earlier types are rather vunerable to corruption for no reason at all, plus it means that any procedure I write can be run from almost anywhere. Then we set out definitions that the class would use to avoid confusion regarding tolerance, accuracy and references etc etc etc.
We then covered the new MET/CAL paradigm thats from what I , is new to version 8 and includes “solutions” and “projects” these are not what you think they are a solution is simply a container and a project is something that holds all the files etc for it run in MET/CAL…..Little bit confusing I know, but once you know its easy to remember, and how to save to what type you want the user to use.
Then we went onto how to actually create a new project from scratch or using an existing procedure and how to run each different type in the runtime part of MET/CAL. Next we went into the MET/CAL editor and what its built around (Microsoft Visual Studio) and how to customize the editor display regarding windows within the editor and how to save the preferred environment so you can load it up if things get changed (which I did). Next was the menu tabs and what was in each one and how some things might appear or not based on what your doing inside the editor program. Then we covered how to select a procedure and how the directory works and how to change which directory you want to use also how to delete a procedure (not that you would EVER rather move it) and how save one to the right directory…

Day 3:
Was started by learning how to compile check a procedure which checks the contents of the active procedure and reports any errors found into another “errors window” also are “warnings” these can be ignored or not depended on what you want to achieve from the procedure but I d say they would be at least worth looking at.
Then we got onto Debugging which is basically a test run but if its in simulation mode it wont command any instruments, This is very handy as it will let you know what the operator will see when they run the procedure from the runtime side of MET/CAL. You can also debug from anywhere in the procedure so you don’t need to go back to the start every time. After that we discussed the process around writing procedure which goes something like this:

1. Understand the problem
2. Plan and outline
3. Code the procedure
4. Test and validate
5. Publish procedure and put into production.

Then we went into the procedure header part that you see when writing/editing procedures, These are columns that contain certain codes that make up the body of the procedure.
Next we learnt what an FSC is which stands for Function Select Code and these codes are the backbone of MET/CAL and tells the system how to preform a required task. There are seven FSC code types:

1. Instrument – This controls the system calibration instruments
2. Display – Used to present instruction etc
3. Evaluation – Statements that preform non-instrument evaluations
4. Interface Control – For control of a UUT via serial etc
5. Memory Register Operation – Stores,retrieves and maintains data stored into the data registers
6. Procedure Control – Sets how the procedure runs and flows
7. Misc – Everything else

Day 4:
Was based around MATH functions and how they work depending on whats coded with them and also how the data is stored into registers either numeric or string and how you can preform evaluations on these registers, It can also be used to write and read data from an external file. This is a very powerful function as it is how MET/CAL reads and deals with data, We spent a fair amount of time on this. We also touched on very briefly the VSET/TSET commands that deal with uncertainty, which gave me a small insight on how we are going to do uncertainty for our calibrations.

Day 5:
We were told on Monday morning that one goal of the course was to write, Debug and run a procedure for a Fluke 179 multimeter and then have another person from the class run the procedure to ensure it flows and works, I had already started to write it by Tuesday evening. Spent about 2 hours with the class that day fine tuning my procedure and running it which ran fine…..
Then I left the class and got some special one on one time With Bill Spath to go over MET/Team and be shown around the Fluke Manufacturing facilities which was impressive.

So all in all it was a fantastic course and gave me a real insight into MET/Cal, so can’t wait to be using it in anger back at CPS.

Nathan CPS Labs – New Plymouth March 2015

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