Advanced Materials & Processes

NOV-DEC 2013

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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Automotive testing, circa 1960 In the 1950s, new measuring procedures led to new testing techniques for many consumer products, including cars. As equipment grew more sophisticated, it became too large and too sensitive to be carried onboard test vehicles. In 1960, the Mercedes-Benz Test Department converted a 300 to a custom "measuring car" to accompany vehicles undergoing testing. Connected to the test vehicle via a 100-ft cable, the hearse-like car recorded data for later analysis. The cable conveyed a variety of parameters such as acceleration, distance, and forces acting on individual components. A 160-hp six-cylinder engine with gasoline injection allowed the measuring car to keep up with the test car in all situations. The measuring car was used exclusively at the test track in Untertürkheim, Germany. Source: Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany. 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 measuring car. 24 ADVANCED MATERIALS & PROCESSES • NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2013 each specimen is, and which stage of the testing process it is undergoing." Once the test sequence is initiated, the robot takes a specimen from the distribution tray, reads the barcode, and applies this information to programmed tasks that correspond with the barcode. Specimens that require only hardness testing are distributed to the hardness tester, while specimens that must first undergo cross-section measurement are delivered to the crosssection measurement device. "This concept of intelligent distribution of specimens ensures maximum efficiency in testing and enables each testing apparatus to operate at full capacity," says Kaifler. Finally, graphic visualization of the testing process is a valuable tool for lab managers because it allows remote supervision of test flows. Robotic testing systems interfaced with devices such as tablet computers are able to provide real-time process visualization using a web browser. Remote monitoring also supports safety initiatives, imperative in applications such as destructive testing from another location in the lab or behind a safety shield. For more information: Robert Kaifler is robotics product manager for Zwick/Roell, Ulm, Germany. Zwick USA, 2125 Barrett Park Dr., Suite 107, Kennesaw, GA 30144, 770/4206555,,

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