Zwick Upgrade Testing Facilities at Röchling Engineering Plastics

With its worldwide subsidiaries, the Röchling Engineering Plastics Group is an international leader in the manufacture and machining of engineering plastics for the investment goods industry.

A flexural test using videoXtens.

Their products include semi-finished components (sheets, rods, profiles) and also machine finished components made from thermoplastics, fibre reinforced plastics and, laminated densified wood.

The test lab in Haren, Germany, had to extend its testing capacity and intended to upgrade an existing testing machine. As the lab was already familiar with Zwick  machines, Röchling requested Zwick to upgrade their testing machine. The objective was to perform tensile, compressive, flexural and cyclic tests at ambient and also in a temperature chamber for non-ambient testing.

A particular challenge when performing tests in a temperature chamber is the choice of extensometer:

  • Mechanical feeler arm extensometers require a slot in the wall of the chamber and can reduce the temperature homogeneity.
  • Clip on extensometers don't require a slot - but only offer a small measuring range.

Zwick's videoXtens extensometer, based on the latest video camera technology, seemed to be the optimal alternative. It could be positioned outside the temperature chamber, and during the test, the deformation of the specimen could be monitored through a glass window. As there is no need for a slot in the wall of the temperature chamber, the temperature gradient is negligible. By using interchangeable camera lenses the required measuring range of the extensometer could be easily configured.

As the testing machine to be upgraded was not a Zwick machine, it first had to be modernized:

  • The drive unit was upgraded using Zwick's modern testControl digital control system
  • The software was upgraded to Zwick´s testXpert II platform
  • Mechanical adaptations were installed for the temperature chamber, videoXtens extensometer and the specimen illumination.

The upgraded testing machine is in continuous operation together with other Zwick testing machines in the laboratory. The videoXtens has proved to be precise, as well as simple and fast to operate, and now the upgraded testing machine has an identical user interface to the existing machines. Operators have the advantage of a common interface when using many different testing machines which saves on training and support costs for Röchling.

The laboratory personnel are unanimous in their praise for the testing systems:

"The decision to work with Zwick has proved its worth both during the specification and implementation phases. The videoXtens integration into the test system gives us highly precise strain measurements. Furthermore, we can carry out tests under temperature with the same quality level - and the system saves us time and money".

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