Thursday 23 August 2012

Automation For materials testing machines

The powerful combination of NEXYGENPlus control and data analysis software and National Instruments data acquisition cards allows Lloyd Instruments' range of single column and twin column universal materials testing machines to communicate with a wide range of external equipment. This allows control and monitoring of external parameters of the sample as part of the materials test, with the results collected and presented in the required format by the software. This opens the door for a wide range of dynamic materials testing applications and a high level of automation.

Temperature is an important parameter in materials testing and the software can either simply monitor temperature values from a device such as a thermocouple, or take control of heating and/or cooling devices to allow tests to be carried out at controlled temperatures or through different temperature cycles. External signals can be plotted against force and measurements taken and recorded within NEXYGENPlus.

Another popular application is the interfacing of a video camera for advanced sample failure analysis, teaching purposes or simply for the presentation of test results. Entire tests can be videoed and synchronised with the stress/strain graph and replayed for detailed post-test analysis. By clicking on any part of the stress/strain graph, an image of the sample at that exact point can be displayed.

There are many other application examples. These include using multiple strain gauges to measure the elongation of a sample; switch testing where NEXYGENPlus uses voltage limits to control a test e.g. change direction once a switch contact is made; monitoring parameters in onboard chips in credit cards as the cards are flexed; monitoring transmission during optical fibre compression and measuring short circuits in electrical wires during crush tests.

This powerful interface also offers the possibility to control sample loading equipment as well as provide integration into production lines for sharing of part number data and informing a production line if a bad part is found.

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