Heavy-duty automation: shifting gears in Metso DNA testing


The people at Metso Automation wanted to see how fast and functional devops methods can be in a challenging industrial environment. Eficode’s Devops team got permission to crank up the testing of the Metso DNA automation system – and work wonders on the transparency of the testing process while they were at it.

Manual testing for automation applications

Metso DNA is a system the clients of Metso use to control their industrial processes. The system is used, for example, on ships, power plants and paper mills to do anything from controlling individual machines to performing process automation across the entire facility. Needless to say, there is no room for error.

Automation applications are traditionally tested fully manually, and by more than one employee. Test management is often based on Excel tables where information on up to tens of thousands of tested segments is entered. These tables are then forwarded by email. This process is very heavy, so the Metsonians asked us to set up a new kind of test automation system.

From POC to functional test automation

The project got underway when we provided Metso with a proof-of-concept version of a test automation system. Metso soon had in their possession a demo product that communicates with the Metso DNA system and tests the application automatically. This made the functionality of the idea plain to everyone in a concrete way. Soon we got to honing the features of the testing system to create a functional and practical system that covers the entire testing phase.

The browser-based testing system can now perform automatic tests that make use of the open source Robot Framework test automation tool in addition to manual tests. The system also independently monitors the progress of the tests.

Real-time visibility over tens of thousands of tests

The benefits of our work are not only visible in the automation of testing and significant reduction in time spent on quality assurance. The quality of this top-priority Metso product is also improved when error screening does not have to rely on human vigilance. Furthermore, implementation costs are reduced.

We see the benefits of the project as increased effectiveness and improved quality. These translate into a competitive edge.”

Mika Karaila
Manager of Research Programs
Metso Automation

Metso also got a little taste of the other clever principles of devops: transparency of software production and real-time monitoring. Test information moves directly into the system that then compiles test reports automatically. The status of tens of thousands of testable segments may now be viewed live: Have the test targets changed during testing, what has been tested, what has not yet been tested and which tests have failed.

With testing procedures tuned in the spirit of devops, everything can be traced and compiled into statistics. This also means that people are more on the ball about how different projects are progressing.

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