As lightweighting of vehicles to meet new regulations for fuel economy becomes more pervasive, OEMs and suppliers are collaborating on the development of new thermoplastics for use in various structural applications. Zwick/Roell AG, a global supplier of material and component testing systems, recently introduced a new generation of equipment that improves the accuracy, versatility and flexibility in the testing of thermoplastics for automotive applications.
The latest generation of Allround-Line systems from Zwick/Roell offers OEMs and suppliers a means to more accurately and efficiently characterize the mechanical behavior of thermoplastics at the material and component levels, according to Florian Liebert, plastics industry manager for Zwick/Roell.
"The Allround-Line systems deliver outstanding flexibility for busy characterization labs," Liebert said. "Engineered with dual testing areas that minimize changeover time between tests, Allround-Line systems boost throughput levels without sacrificing performance."
The Allround-Line systems have the capability to store and retrieve complete toolset data, creating a significant advantage of repetitive, quality assurance-level testing. Automatic positioning and recall of safety-related distanced speed changeover from one test setup to another, such as from tensile to flexure. Coupled with mechanical modularity, these elements combine to provide exceptional value for QA testing of components, an area that involves complex, varying geometry among test specimens.
Florien Liebert, plastics industry manager in the United States for Zwick/Roell, told PlasticsToday that testing of materials has become very important, with testing being done at all stages of the process - at the resin producer to ensure material's quality being sent to the processor, and after parts are molded to ensure that the properties of the part are the right ones for the final product.
The latest generation of Allround-Line is the testControl II control electronics, which feature integrated adaptive control with automatic setting of all control parameters, sophisticated strain rate control and online compensation for changes in specimen properties. High rates of speed in testing and positioning enable new options in applications while additional fast return enables short cycle times, the company said.
Ergonomic features that reduce the potential for operator fatigue and, subsequently error have also been incorporated into the latest generation of Allround-Line systems. Entire test procedures can be performed independently of the PC via the display-equipped remote control unit. The machine can also be controlled directly through the electronics or via the textXpert II software.