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Heat distortion tester, MFI data acquisition software

Heat distortion tester, MFI data acquisition software-Atlas Electric Devices introduced two new testing products: the Vista6 heat distortion tester andWinPlast, a Windows-based data acquisition package for its MFI2 melt flow indexers (extrusionplastometer).

The Vista6 heat distortion tester was developed in cooperation with resin producers to include features that meet the testing needs of high-volume quality laboratories. The Vista6 hardware and PC-based Vortex software are designed for high sample throughput, increased automation, ease of calibration and operation and more data output and custom report options.

Unit has an immersion bath and dual-stirrer design for temperature uniformity. A pneumatic lift system semi-automatically raises and lowers the test station platform into the bath. This lift, in conjunction with the 'quick-set' LVDT transducer positioning, is said to provide fast and easy sample loading and test set-up by any technician.

Built-in twin water-cooling coils provide rapid cool-down; compressed air clears the coils of water during temperature ramping.

The software control operation involves a 'Methods Editor' window that allows users to access four main areas:

* The General Information section includes selection from ISO or ASTM test methods and units of measurement

* The Test Station Information section allows selection of the applied stress and contains other test station defaults and details

* The Specimen Informationsection contains information on specimen dimensions (exact measurements can be manually keyed in, generic default dimensions can be selected or automatic entry is possible when the unit is interfaced to an optional Mitutoyo micrometer)

* The Report Setup Information section allows grouping of test stations for statistical calculations and report formatting options, including header and user logo.

The Test A Sample screen selects from predefined test set-ups, provides for final editing of test parameters and sample information. Security functions include password protection for changing calibration or test conditions.

Other features include: test station calibration and correction, calculation of added weights to deliver the precise loading force based on actual specimen dimensions, the ability to graphically display and plot entire deflection/penetration curves, the ability to combine ASTM and ISO specimens in the same test run and the ability to easily change from HDT to Vicat testing. 

Testing software The WinPlast package consists of Windows PC software and a 'smart' interface cable to convert the MFI2 output to be compatible with a PC's standard RS-232C serial port. Noseparate cards are placed in the PC so installation, compatibility and networking is simple, according to the company.

WinPlast replaces the earlier DOS-based PC Communications Packageaccessory; up to nine MFI2s can bedaisy-chained to a single PC port. Each MFI2 is coded with a unique address so the software can identify the transmitting instrument in the chain. Test condition parameters, raw test data, calculated results (including rheological properties) and final reports can be sent after each sample run or stored and manually transmitted to the PC later.

From the PC, users can view, annotate and print all the same data. The data is automatically saved and named. A key benefit cited for WinPlast is that it can convert reports to Microsoft Excel format for custom analysis and formatting. Users can compare test runs, generate SQC charts and other graphics, flag off-spec results and generate customized quality or end-user certifications.

For security purposes, only operator or sample-related information and test comments can be edited in WinPlast. Actual test conditions and results are sent 'as run' by the MFI2 and can't be edited in WinPlast. This is done to comply with requirements of such quality systemsas ISO 25/17025 and ISO/QS 9000.Test method set-up is done directlyon the MFI2 and can't be altered bythe PC.

Existing MFI2s, and those currently using the PC Communications Package, can be upgraded to use the WinPlast system; a simple programming (EPROM chip) change is required. New MFI2s will beWinPlast-enabled. 

Atlas Electric Devices Co.
Chicago, IL

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