From innovative components to fully automated solutions – the 17th testXpo Forum for Materials Testing covered every aspect of testing technology. Over 2,000 visitors from around the world came to Ulm to learn about current trends and development in a varied program featuring remarkable systems solutions for all branches of industry, trendsetting technologies and services - as provided by the Zwick Roell Group and 30 participating companies. Zwick on course for growth The end of 2007 saw Zwick achieve an ambitious goal first set in 2004: to be world market-leader in static testing systems.
“We are and will continue to be Number One for static testing systems and are experiencing strong growth in dynamic testing systems. Thanks to our strong customer orientation, we are set to continue to grow,” stated Dr Jan Stefan Roell, Chairman of the Zwick Roell Group, at the press conference. This year’s target is a turnover of €145m, following the €131m achieved in 2007. Last year’s continuous growth allows a high level of investment in new technologies, infrastructure and staff – to secure growth in traditional markets and allow expansion into new sectors and regions. Range of services expanded The Group’s guidelines place great emphasis on the wide range of services offered, which is subject to continual expansion and development. In a new fatigue and dynamic strength laboratory a team of highly qualified application engineers carry out wide-ranging quasi-static, cyclic, dynamic, impact and fatigue strength tests to customers’ requirements.
Included in the service is advice on a range of topics including the optimum test method and how best to perform it, the design and adaptation of testing devices, plus evaluation, documentation and interpretation of tests. An important feature of the fatigue/dynamic strength laboratory is the demonstration laboratory, where customers can observe pre-tests and demonstrations. Also on offer is a comprehensive service package including modernization, servicing, calibration, project planning, contract testing and remote diagnosis/maintenance, plus the Zwick Academy for training and seminars.
Further developments in testing software
Now in its third successful year, Zwick’s testXpert® II intelligent testing software is subject to continuous upgrading and development. It is used by scientists and engineers around the world for production control and quality assurance as well as for research and development. This year’s testXpo saw the presentation of version 3.1 which incorporates many new, useful and interesting refinements such as direct export to Excel, with individual spreadsheets for parameters, results, statistics and data points (X – Y graph data) – all activated by a mouse click. Add to that free configuration of the number of data points to be exported plus the measured value grid and the result is the ideal tool for off-site evaluations.
The equally new ‘Result Labeling’ function features a user-friendly default setting which, with one mouse click, allows all required results to be displayed in the specimen graphic with name, value and unit, whilst offering varied options for additional labeling blocks, all of which significantly enhance the information value of the graphics. The ever-increasing importance of environmental testing (temperature chambers, high-temperature furnaces) in materials testing is reflected in the feature, now standard in all test programs, which supports climatic chambers and high-temperature furnaces with multiple heating zones, eliminating the need for software adaptations. This version also permits freely configurable temperature sequences.
In response to strong demand, a data link between testXpert® II and SAP is now available, providing a straightforward means of importing parameter values from SAP and exporting test results from testXpert® to SAP and eliminating manual entry of test results – a source of potential errors. In addition to the proven RS232 interface, an Ethernet interface can now also be used for linking testControl electronics and the measuring computer. For all these innovations, the emphasis remains on simple, intuitive operation, achieved through intelligent assistants and practise-based default configurations.
Convincing industry solutions
Zwick’s approach is based on industry-orientated solutions, a concept reflected at testXpo with cross-company, application-based exhibits. The main areas featured included metals, plastics, automotive, medical technology and building materials, with numerous new developments in testing machines and instruments awaiting visitors’ attention. Particular interest was shown in the wide range of mechanical and optical extensometers, their various functions and properties and in using them in combination.
Specialist advice was on hand, with pre-tests in the manufacturer’s applications laboratory where appropriate, making it possible to find the ideal extensometer for almost any application. An initiative launched at Zwick in 2005 has seen the introduction of various new products and product improvements in the field of plastics testing. One new arrival is the instrumentation for the new pendulum impact testers in the HIT range, enabling the force - deformation on specimen impact to be measured in addition to absorbed impact energy.
Also on show at testXpo17 was the new HIT 230F drop weight tester for instrumented penetration testing and compression-after-impact pre-damage of composites, while tube-testing received a new extensometer for monitoring the inside diameter. Other exhibits included automated tensile, compression and flexure testing of duroplastic building materials both at room temperature and in environmental chambers, and a further automation project, ideal for research applications, for the measurement of color, glass and opacity.
The metals-testing product range has also been expanded, as seen with Zwick’s two new standardized Pellini drop weight testers rated at 550 J (Type P550) and 1,630 J (Type P1630) and featuring a particularly sophisticated safety concept. Of particular interest for steel manufacturers and processors whose production plants operate round the clock is the fully automatic ‘roboTest P’ testing system for Standard-compliant testing of steel dumbbell specimens up to 2000kN.
Great interest was also shown in a spring testing machine for the measurement of precision springs from 1 N to 2,500 N, which has extremely good overall measurement technology characteristics, surpassing even the requirements of Standard EN 7500. New to the ZHU/zwicki-Line is an innovative fully automatic universal hardness testing system for both classical and instrumented testing, with high reproducibility and a wide range of applications – fully automatic Jominy tests are now also available.
Also new is the X-force load cell series, which scores with low sensitivity to parasitic influences such as transverse forces and bending moments, plus a large measurement range, high accuracy and self-identifying sensor plugs. Zwick’s range of specimen grips is also continually being expanded with the aim of maximizing performance and quality of materials tests. New to the range are specimen grips for testing yarns, twines, cord, threads and ropes made of high-strength synthetic fibers and for steel wires, steel wire ropes, steel cords and steel strands.