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LabView speeds Lego toys to market

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TOY maker Lego has selected National Instrument's LabVIEW graphical development environment and NI PCI-based data acquisition boards in its quality assurance department to test and optimise the lifetimes of its electric motor-based products, including popular toys ranging from race cars to speedboats and the new out-door RC-car "Dirt Crushers."

With a LabVIEW-based data-logging and test system, Lego engineers increased the number of successful quality tests performed daily by up to 20 times, helping the company significantly reduce time to market for its new releases.

"Without LabVIEW, we could not have improved the effectiveness of our test systems as quickly as we did," said Niels Duedahl, vice president of the Lego global supply chain.

"Overall, we have experienced efficiency gains that were impossible to imagine a few years ago and improved our testing by a factor of 20. With the ability to perform many simultaneous tests on our motors and gear boxes and acquire more accurate data, we can more quickly deliver motor-based products that are more thoroughly tested and longer-lasting to our customers."

In the past, Lego quality engineers logged their test data manually and created individual test setups that constantly required modification for each product tested. With the easy-to-use hardware-configuration capabilities of LabVIEW and the flexibility of NI PCI-based data acquisition boards, they now can quickly design customized tests for each product and usually run eight separate tests simultaneously.

With these automated tests running continuously, Lego engineers avoid having to restart tests that failed while unsupervised overnight, thus increasing the throughput of their tests by 10 to 20 times.

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