QMT Features: April 2017
A world of material testing on show
Zwick Roell’s International Forum for Materials Testing, testXpo, is a company open house taken to a whole new level

Now in its 25th year, the event takes over the whole company’s headquarters campus in Ulm, Germany, with displays of equipment and live demonstrations from Zwick Roell and partner companies. To give an idea of the scale, on each day of the five-day event 1400 people from around the world sit down together for lunch.

The event gave visitors the chance to see the new testing laboratory at Ulm site, understand how it develops its product range in response to global megatrends, and see the latest version of its testXpert software.

The new lab is equipped with 50 static and dynamic testing machines and is available for pre-testing customers‘ specimens and for contract testing. It also acts as a showroom by providing a comprehensive overview of a large part of Zwick‘s product range.

As well as static testing machines from 200 N to 1,200 kN, the new laboratory possesses a wide range of fatigue testing machines designed to handle large components such as goods vehicle axles. The modular portal-type test bench employs hydrostatic-bearing single testing actuators for dynamic contract tests and features a test area height of 2,340 mm and a clear test area width of 2,000 x 4,000 mm.

The laboratory is also equipped with hardness testing, impact testing and melt index testing machines. The extensive pool of accessories, including specimen grips and test fixtures, allows special testing requirements to be implemented without delay. The new laboratory will allow Zwick to cater for the increasing demand from the medical, electronics and composites fields, as well as tests for customers in the metals, automotive and plastics industries.

Zwick’s latest testXpert III software aim to offer an intuitive and workflow-oriented approach for  materials testing machines, enabling efficient testing from simple standardized tests to demanding research and development requirements. This latest development is the result of close collaboration with users in materials testing and over 30,000 testXpert installations.

Global megatrends are driving materials applications to new extremes. To make turbines for jet engines and power generation more efficient they have to operate at higher temperatures and incorporate new high strength materials, while the trend towards lightweighting for carbon footprint reduction is leading to the use of more and more complex composite materials and new multi-phase and hot forming alloys that allow a variety of materials properties within a single component.

With materials used in automotive, aerospace and power generation now having to withstand a wide range of temperatures, Zwick has focused on a modular approach to materials testing that allows a wide variety of tests covering, for example, heat resistance and thermo-elastic behaviour, to be carried out on a single piece of equipment.

The company therefore now offers a versatile testing machine equipped with a temperature chamber and high-temperature furnace and capable of tensile, compression and flexure tests between -150°C and +1,200°C.

New lightweight composite materials require a variety of testing regimes – including tensile, compression and various types of shear testing for both research and development and quality control. Where a large number of different tests have to be carried out at a relatively low throughput, it makes no sense to have a number of different machines, so again Zwick offers a modular concept whereby a single electro-mechanical or servo-hydraulic testing machine is equipped to perform as many test methods as possible with the least amount of rebuilding.
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Rob Tremain Photographer
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