The AFRC choose Indentec for Automatic Hardness Testing
The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is a collaborative venture between the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and leading multinational engineering firms including Rolls-Royce, Boeing, Titanium Metals Corporation (TIMET), Aubert and Duval and Barnes Aerospace.
Based near Glasgow International Airport, the AFRC develops forming and forging technologies to support the design and manufacture of new products, including components and structures for aircraft, cars, ships, medical devices, power generation and wind turbines.
The centre operates from a dedicated high-quality, purpose-built facility that reflects the state-of-the-art in forming and forging. The 3000m2 building houses cutting edge machinery to enable the research team to develop new technologies on production scale equipment. The equipment is housed in 5 dedicated workshops.
One of these workshops is the Materials Testing Laboratory which is responsible for destructive and non-destructive materials testing. The laboratory is required to prove work materials' characteristics and the reaction of the final product with environment. To achieve optimal performance of products in harsh environments an extensive test program is required and many different raw materials are evaluated.
In order to achieve this, the equipment in the laboratory had to be carefully specified and the testing machines chosen provide the optimal metrological excellence and functional efficiency required.
Material hardness is an essential property for products performing in aerospace, automotive and other similar environments. Therefore, the AFRC was aware that it would be highly likely that many hardness tests would be required and that traditional manually controlled hardness testing machines would be a significant drain on the time resources of highly qualified technical staff. It was therefore decided that an automatic hardness testing machine would be a valuable asset to the Materials Testing Laboratory.
ZHVμ-A Micro Vickers hardness tester
The AFRC undertook a rigorous investigation to determine the most suitable machine available. Machine specifications from leading manufacturers were investigated and trials were conducted on the leading machines before the Indentec ZHVμ-A automatic Micro hardness tester was finally identified as the machine best equipped to meet the AFRCs stringent requirements.
The ZHVμ-A was chosen for a number of reasons: the functionality of the equipment including the facility to test both Vicker and Knoop without exchanging indenters, the technical back-up supplied and the excellent reputation of, and experience with, other Zwick Roell test equipment. The AFRC were impressed with both the metrological standards of the Indentec product and the ease of use of the system and ZHVμ.HD software.
Since the Micro Hardness testing machine was installed, thousands of tests have been carried out, mostly in the automatic mode, which has enabled laboratory staff to concentrate on other vital tasks. The reliability of the system means that staff can "click RUN and walk away", and the planning of even long test runs has been found to be quick and easy. The ZHVμ-A has been a high performance instrument in a high performance laboratory.