Testream®/CS’ Interface Application (IA) programs automatically acquire test results directly from your lab instrumentation, regardless of manufacturer, and send that data to the Testream®/CS server. AcquiData boasts of a library of over 250 different test instrument driver programs covering a wide range of materials testing devices.  Interface Application programs run in an Internet Explorer environment and are downloaded directly from AcquiData’s server PC. IA programs not only automatically acquire test data, they provide a wealth of tools in order to edit, analyze, audit protect and display test data in real time.

Testream®/CS’ Interface Application programs can significantly improve your lab’s productivity and testing accuracy by freeing test lab personnel from time-wasting clerical tasks and guiding them through the proper instrument usage and calibration activities. Interface Applications promote top performance in the lab and deliver an excellent cost-benefit ratio.

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Enhanced Lab Productivity & Testing Accuracy

Testream®/CS Interface Applications are stored on the Testream®/CS Server and delivered to the appropriate PC over a TCP/IP network connection via the Internet Explorer browser. Once resident in their host PC, Interface Applications interact with the connected test instrument as well as the Testream®/CS Lab Server program to send and receive information.

Specifically, the Testream®/CS Interface Application lets you:

  • Automatically acquire the output signal from any lab instrument connected to the PC hosting the Interface Application program.
  • Tag the test readings with the appropriate sample identifiers (sample number, project number, reel number, etc.).
  • Be guided through the proper procedures for conducting the test.
  • Analyze, graph and/or mathematically compute acquired results.
  • Provide controlled editing options to correct errors.
  • Send the fully tagged, analyzed test results over the network to the target database.

Sample ID Imports

When exporting lab data to another database system (e.g., a production system or LIMS system), it is vitally important that the sample IDs known by both systems match exactly. Without a precise match, test data often gets misapplied and “lost.” To eliminate this problem, all Testream®/CS systems incorporate a sample ID import capability.

The Testream®/CS Lab Server program functions as a “clearinghouse” of sample ID information. External systems (e.g., production information management systems, process database systems, and LIMS systems) can send (via FTP transfer) a file containing IDs for the samples being tested. The Lab Server delivers this information to the appropriate Interface Applications; you need only select the sample to be tested from the list displayed.

Interface Application programs can hold up to 200 different sample identifiers at once. You can also enter sample IDs into the Application Program directly; you’ll have the option to keep the entered IDs locally in the Interface Application program or send them to the Lab Server for distribution to all other Interface Application programs.

Maintain Current Product Specifications

In a mill lab, it is important that an Interface Application know the current quality targets for the sample being tested. The Testream®/CS Lab Server accommodates this by downloading currently in-force sample specifications to the Interface Application.  The Interface Application displays and uses this information for data analysis purposes.

Accurate & Automatic Test Data Delivery

Once a test has been completed, the acquired readings can be sent to the Lab Server by user command (the standard method), or automatically (through the optional ‘auto send’ capability). If ‘auto send’ is used, the Interface Application first verifies that the required number of readings has been taken and that none are statistically `suspect’. If either of these conditions are not met, the data is not sent automatically, but waits for the user’s review. In combination with either a lab bench system or a test instrument with sample auto-feed, Testream®/CS can boost lab productivity by allowing unattended operation without sacrificing data integrity.

Broad Selection of Instrument Driver Programs

AcquiData software engineers have written over 250 different test instrument driver programs covering a wide variety of test instruments commonly used in today’s physical test labs. The connected test instrument’s make, model, and signal-output type determines which driver program is needed to link that instrument to its Interface Application program. One Interface Application program can support one test instrument driver or unlimited manual entry.

Test Method & Procedure Guidance

In addition to acquiring instrument output signals, Testream®/CS Interface Applications guide tester activity and provide instructions for proper test operation through the Interface Application’s Test Method. Depending upon the nature of the test to be conducted, the sample being tested, and the fact that testers frequently follow different operating procedures when using test instruments, the interface Application program lets you make decisions regarding:

  • Sample orientation (top or bottom, MD or CD, etc.)
  • Test position (front, front center, back center, back, etc.)
  • Instrument set-up (hard or soft backing, load cell size, dwell time, weight used, etc.)
  • Sample definitions (wet or dry, 4-ply or single ply, etc.)

Rarely does the instrument’s output signal contain information on the choices made, yet this information must be captured if test readings are to be properly stored in the database. To meet this need, the interface Application is “taught” the various operational steps a lab follows for proper use of a test instrument. Each set of steps is called a “test method” and can contain results for one test property only, or many different test properties.

The Interface Application program’s data acquisition display is in a spreadsheet style, with test properties (both acquired via manual entry or a calculation) as columns. Column headings and cursor movement across the columns are defined by the test method. Each method can be expanded to 32 columns wide, with each column holding up to 180 individual test readings.

Test Method Example

  1. Acquire tare weight. Do not display it.
  2. Acquire an initial weight. Display it in the first data column.
  3. Acquire a second weight after an elapsed time. Display it in the second data column.
  4. Subtract the second reading from the first reading. Display results in 3rd column.
  5. Repeat the entire process five times before sending the test data off.

Flexibility in Testing Methodologies

The Testream®/CS Interface Application supports a wide variety of test methodologies. Simply select the desired method from the list displayed (the most frequently used method is typically “pre-selected” as the default method). Depending upon the sample chosen, the Interface Application can also automatically select the appropriate method, then guide you through proper instrument use and correctly tag the data being acquired.

Easy Self-Training

Test methods can also be used by lab management as instructional tools. A complete Method Description page accompanies each method. Written by the laboratory, with full user control for updating and editing as required, these Method Description pages can be used to display standard operating procedures, work procedures, and other critical information. If a tester is unsure of a procedure, a single keystroke displays instructions.

Test Frequency Notification

In production testing labs, not all tests are necessarily conducted on every sample. Based upon the product type, certain properties may be tested every other sample, every third sample, once per shift, and so on. By viewing the Testream®/CS Lab Data Display, you can quickly see which tests need to be performed on each sample. In addition, the Interface Application marks a sample once testing has been completed. A quick look at the Interface Application’s sample ID list readily shows which samples have, or have not, been tested.

Maximum Control In Test Data Editing & Auditing

Testream®/CS supports Good Laboratory Practices in securing the accuracy and auditability of the data it acquires. A wide variety of editing privileges is available and lab management may apply the same—or different—edit privileges to each Interface Application program:

Full Audit Control Option

Test data can be totally secured from unauthorized editing or tampering with Full Audit Control in the Interface Application. No data acquired from the connected test instrument can be changed or deleted by the tester.

To accommodate errors, a “bad” flag may be applied to a reading you know is invalid. All readings carrying “bad” flags are excluded from Testream/CS reports, yet are stored in the Testream®/CS database for management review.

No Audit control Option

The No Audit Control option lets you perform any type of editing on the data acquired from the test instrument. For maximum flexibility, you can position the cursor over any test reading and delete it, reacquire a new reading, or key in a new reading over the original one (which is not stored).

Limited Audit Control Options

This option combines some of the ‘Full Audit’ option controls with the flexibility of the ‘No Audit’ option. During data acquisition, no editing is permitted (full audit control). When the SEND command is issued (either manually by the tester or automatically at test completion), the Interface Application program analyzes all the readings and identifies any statistically suspect readings. You can then edit the suspect reading by deleting it, reacquiring a new reading, or keying in a new reading. Non-suspect readings are not allowed to be edited. (“Suspect” may be defined as outside the normal distribution or as a percentage beyond product spec.)

Product Specification Comparisons

In production environments, laboratories usually want to know if the acquired test data falls within a certain appropriate range. Testream®/CS lets you define product quality limits on a per test/per product type basis. You can enter this information into Testream®/CS via keyboard or import it from an external grade management program. Each set of limits is tagged with a user-supplied product code or name. Each time the lab receives a new sample, the Testream®/CS Lab Server automatically checks the product code or name-tag and retrieves the related set of limits, which are immediately downloaded into each Interface Application program.

Up to 200 different sets of limits may be stored by the Interface Application at one time (limits are shown at the top of each data column). Each reading acquired is compared against the limits and appropriately color-coded if it is outside the ranges shown. You can also toggle `on/off’ the displayed limits to make more room on the screen for test data. (Comparisons and color-coding still occur even if the limits have been toggled ‘off’.)

Suspect Reading Analysis

When a test is completed and the SEND command is issued, the Interface Application analyzes all acquired readings before transmitting data to the Lab Server. It looks for readings that appear to be statistically ‘suspect’, ensuring that user errors never leave the test lab. ‘Suspect’ readings may offer different editing options than non-suspect readings, and can prevent test results from being automatically sent to the Testream®/CS Lab Server until reviewed by the tester.

Variety of Graph Options

The Interface Application program not only displays the readings acquired, but also graphs the data as it is received. A variety of graphing options is available for user selection:

  • Single property graph: Each data column on the data acquisition screen has its own landscape-style graph built in real time as data is posted to its data column.
  • Multiple property graph: Select this option to overlay multiple test properties onto one graph, with each line a different color to indicate the test property.
  • Profile graph: Use this tool to append multiple data columns (e.g., for cross machine positional data).

Summary & Individual Statistical calculations

The Interface Application program automatically calculates summary statistics on a per data column basis as test data is acquired. The summary banner constantly refreshes the average of the individual data points per column, the standard deviation of those readings, and so on. Test result calculations are also easily performed by the Interface Application program. Examples of method-calculated results might be the ratios between two data columns, the difference between a user supplied value and a data column, or a known factor multiplied by a data column.

Calibration Support and Maintenance

The reliability of test results generated by the lab instrument depends on the frequency and accuracy of that instrument’s calibration. To help manage instrument calibration, the Interface Application program monitors the passage of time between instrument calibrations and automatically alerts the tester if data is about to be acquired from an instrument that is overdue for calibration—helping Lab Management enforce the lab’s calibration schedules by preventing the use of a test instrument overdue for calibration. The Interface Application’s calibration history screen is as an audit log of calibration activity. The tester is prompted to enter his or her name, and the Interface Application program date and time ‘stamps’ that entry. Date/time stamp editing is not permitted, so Lab Management always knows precisely when calibrations have taken place.

Testream®/CS Interface Application: Benefit Summary


  1. Testers no longer write down test results or enter them into calculators, notebooks or log sheets.
  2. No time is spent transcribing data from one format to another.
  3. Keyboard data entry is eliminated.
  4. Productivity soars—many Testream®/CS users report a 50% to 70% increase in lab productivity.


  1. Test data flows directly from the instrument to the Interface Application program and on to the database.
  2. Human error in the collection and reporting of data is eliminated.
  3. Transcription errors and keying errors are eliminated.
  4. Math errors from manually scanned “look up” charts and mental calculations are eliminated.
  5. Test data is totally accurate.


  1. All test data is date and time stamped.
  2. All testing is performed when required.
  3. Individual data points are collected, ensuring proper statistical analyses.
  4. Lab management determines the extent of test data editing.
  5. Management can track data all the way back to the test instrument.
  6. Instrument calibration frequencies are monitored to insure accurate results.
  7. All data can be thoroughly audited for absolute reliability.


  1. You get the benefits of lab automation without replacing existing test instruments.
  2. You need not make changes in current lab operating procedures.
  3. Automation fits easily into current work patterns.
  4. Enhancements are a logical step forward, not a radical departure.
  5. Previous investment in test instruments, lab facilities, and procedural training are leveraged for improved performance.

Next: Real-Time Data Display Program