PTES Updates Toughness And Tenacity Tester

For many years PTES has offered equipment used for measuring  toughness and tenacity of bituminous materials (as outlined in ASTM D5801 – Standard Test Method for Toughness and Tenacity of Bituminous Materials). PTES is pleased to announce it has recently updated this offering with a highly cost effective test frame capable of running other tests in addition to the installed Toughness And Tenacity Module.

Toughness And Tenacity Fixture Installed An On AccuTest Prototype

PTES continues to manufacture all of the the toughness and tenacity fixtures as outlined in ASTM D5801, including the tension head assembly (stainless steel and brass), cup holder and related couplings for attaching to ADMET, PTES and other tensile testers.

If your company conducts testing of bituminous materials according to ASTM D5801 contact PTES for pricing and availability on test platforms and fixtures. Our toughness and tenacity package is very competitively priced in the industry. If you are interested in receiving a quote, have any questions or want to receive additional information contact PTES today.

 

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Upgrade Your Scott Tester For Computerized Testing

Scott Testing Machines, once the industry leader in a wide variety of tensile testing categories and still widely used in many industries, designed their equipment in the pre-digital era. With the rapid advances in digital technology in recent years mechanical testers have become less and less useful for product and quality testing.

Recognizing these limitations, PTES rolled out a Digital Conversion Program in September 2011 to extend the life cycle of many Scott tensile testers, dramatically improving accuracy, reducing cost of ownership and improving safety (see original post on 9/6/2011). This upgrade provides a very cost effective way to achieve a wide range of benefits for end users but it still comes up short in other categories.

Gage Buster 2 Processor And Load Cells

In order to meet the needs of even more customers PTES is rolling out another option: the second generation digital weighing system upgrade. This updated offering includes a digital processor, load cell, digital LCD panel display and software. That’s right….SOFTWARE.

Easy Integration. The Gage Buster 2 processor and load cell mount seemlessly into your existing tester and eliminate the moving parts in the weigh head. The drive system, clamps and sample loading all work the same way, reducing the “learning curve”.

The only change is the digital display and ability to save data and/or connect to a PC. The Gage Buster automatically starts when a pre-determined load is reached so you simply load a sample, pull the lever and the load is displayed on the LCD panel while the test is logged into memory.

LCD Controlled Processor. The Gage Buster 2 is a very versatile low cost processor capable of handling a wide variety of materials, test set ups and procedures. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Store up to 2000 test results to permanent memory
  • Store up to 6 test methods to permanent memory
  • Auto-Test-Reset feature allows the indicator to reset itself for the next test without operator interaction.
  • Stores up to 6 load cell calibrations for easy switching between load cells
  • Optional USB Flash Drive allows user to save set ups and results to a memory stick so they can be brought to a PC with software, emailed, or used on another Gage Buster processor if multiple test machines are in use.
  • Optional Gage Safe software allows users to import and view test data, graph and much more (more below).

For more detailed information on the Gage Buster 2 processor check out the Gage Buster Brochure and Gage Buster User Manual.

Screen Shot Of Gage Safe Software Package

Software. Many older Scott tensile testers used a manual chart recorder for completing a wide variety of tests. This set up is prone to many mechanical problems and requires ordering expensive chart paper to record results.

The real advantage to the second generation upgrade is the ability to review and save test results, set ups and other parameters on a PC in much the same way that you would with an electronic tensile tester. Gage Safe Software benefits:

  • Save, display and store test results in a variety of formats or export the data to popular software applications like Excel for further analysis.
  • Display test results live on screen, click on points for actual data values, adjust grids and see multiple curves on the same display.
  • Export test parameters, load cell configurations and other data to a PC for safe storage and use as a back up in the event of damage to the tester or processor.

To learn more about the software please review the Gage Safe Brochure.

Cost Effective. As with the original digital conversion, the second generation digital conversion provides many of the same benefits in terms of maintenance costs. The same mechanical parts are eliminated, costly chart paper is no longer necessary when graphing to a PC and time spent training is at a minimum.

And the upgrade cost is still far lower than the purchase of an electronic tensile tester. There are more configuration options with the second generation conversion, but a “typical” set up involves a total cost of around $3499 (does not include PC). Compared to the price of a new 500 lb single column electronic tester (about $11,300) this is significantly less expensive and all your clamps, fixtures, etc are ready to use. No additional mounting hardware is needed.

Conclusion. This latest upgrade offering provides even more benefits to Scott customers than our previous conversions. And PTES is working to develop a variety of common test procedures into the set up of the Gage Buster 2. If you have always wanted the ability to save and display your test results on a PC but your company budget did not allow for it a Scott conversion may be for you.

Contact PTES to discuss your testing requirements and determine if a second generation conversion meets your needs.

 

 

 

 

 

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January Product Spotlight: Scott C-3 Clamps

This month’s product spotlight is for the Scott C-3 clamp. The C-Series clamps, engineered by Scott Testing Equipment decades ago and still manufactured by PTES, are a widely used clamping system in the rubber and elastomers industry.

Set Of C-3 Mechanical Clamps

Set Of C-3 Mechanical Clamps

C-Series clamps were engineered for use on rubber and rubber like materials, rubber dumbbell or “dog bone” samples and other elastic materials. Their compact yet durable body design allows for installation on virtually any materials testing equipment, from old Scott mechanical tensile testers to the latest electronic materials testing equipment.

The C-3 clamps have several key features making it ideal for rubber and rubber like materials:

  • Large 1 1/8″ long knurled roller provides a large gripping surface for dumbbell samples of just about every size, 1″ strips for peel testing, etc
  • Self-tightening lever action locks down on samples as thick as 5/8″ and self-tightens as the sample stretches and becomes thinner, preventing sample slippage.
  • Knurled section on inside of body provides additional gripping surface for extremely slippery materials or materials with high elongation.
  • Each clamp weighs approximately 1 lb, light enough to be mounted on just about any test frame, and is rated for forces up to 75 lbs.

The C-3 clamp is a highly versatile clamp with a variety of uses for testing of rubber products and other materials.

Order A Set During January 2012 And Save

20% ($235) Off The Regular Selling Price**!

Need a quote? Contact PTES at promo@ptes-inc.com today.

 

**=Terms and conditions apply. Contact PTES for details.

 

 

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Not All Calibration Services Are Equal

Materials testing equipment plays a critical role in the operation of many businesses. As such, having materials testing equipment regularly verified and calibrated to ensure it is operating within the proper parameters is critical to running a successful quality program and business.

Fortunately there are hundreds of companies that offer calibration services for materials testing equipment. But what they offer, or more importantly don’t offer, could be exposing your business to costly mistakes, lawsuits and lost sales. With the confusing array of calibration services available from so many companies a seemingly simple decision can become very complicated.

Price Is Not The Answer

All too often the decision to select a company for your testing equipment gets made by price.

  • “Company A costs less than Company B” so Company A is chosen.
  • “Company B costs more than Company A but they are the largest company in the industry so they know what they’re doing”.
  • “It’s not worth paying Company A to travel all the way out here when Company B does the same thing and they’re local”.

Sound familiar? But have you ever compared what Company A is doing versus Company B? What you’re getting for your money may be very surprising. The size of the calibrating firm and the fees they charge is rarely a good indicator of the quality of the service you are receiving.

  • Does the company complete preventative maintenance on the equipment and installed accessories?
  • Does the company assess the condition of the equipment you have before making any adjustments to it?
  • Does your company automatically adjust your calibration to more optimal levels even if it is already within tolerances?
  • Does the company provide any additional advice or recommendations for better performance?

It is not unusual to find companies that do most or all of these things for less money than those that do not offer them.

Preventative Maintenance

Surprisingly few companies actually provide meaningful preventative maintenance procedures or provide an extensive list of “action” items that have little or nothing to do with the accurate operation of the machine. Does your firm oil ball screws, check belt tension and oil levels on motors, replace mechanical parts such as bearings and washers, inspect the inside of gear boxes, check that cords aren’t able to be caught in moving parts, etc? A few examples:

  • Recently PTES was sent an electronic tensile tester to be repaired. The machine was being calibrated annually by an outside firm. The drive screws were so dry and clogged with debris that they actually “froze” in place leading to costly repairs.
  • A recent repair involving a Scott tensile tester was caused because the mechanical parts in the weigh head (which should get replaced every 12 months) had not been changed in nearly 7 years and had become so corroded that they were creating a drag of nearly 7 lbs on a 50 lb scale! Did the product certified on this machine really meet the customers specifications? A certification sticker from an outside calibration firm was on the machine and current!

As Found And As Left Checks

Most calibration companies have “levels” of calibration service. These services range from “standard” or “basic” services to fully accredited calibrations.  Many companies “standard” service involves single point checks of a force, not a range of forces as prescribed in most procedures. Just because you’re receiving a certificate in the mail doesn’t mean your equipment is being properly verified.

  • At a recent tensile tester calibration by PTES another company was observed completing a laboratory scale “verification”. The technician, from an ISO accredited company, was training another technician. They put a weight on the scale, completed the calibration menu on the scale, verified the same weight, put a sticker on the machine and left, all in under 5 minutes. Was the scale within tolerances when they started? Was the scale accurate throughout the entire capacity range? Was the scale level? There are significant implications for all of these questions.
  • Last year PTES was contracted to complete scale verifications for new equipment that had been purchased. The scales were accurate to about 50% of full scale but then a significant error was found. Ultimately it was determined that the shipping screws had not been removed when the scales had been purchased. A single point check like the one completed in the prior example above would not have found this. Substantial errors in the weights of compounds being used in the manufacturing process were occurring. Is a single point check really worth less money?

Advice And Guidance

Materials properties testing is a vast and highly segmented industry. Some calibrating firms are strictly limited to the procedural requirements of certifying a piece of equipment. Others have decades of experience with industry procedures, materials testing equipment, fixtures and other facets of your industry. Is that worth paying more for a calibration? Absolutely.

  • Can you pick up the phone and talk to the actual technician who works on your testing equipment? Do you pay for that service?
  • Is your technician familiar with your industry and the related test procedures? Does your technician know the common problems and pitfalls associated with your testing?
  • Does your calibration firm proactively remind you when certifications are due?
  • When was the last time your calibrating company came to you with suggestions for improving the performance of your equipment and/or processes without being asked to help?

Summary

Any reputable quality program involves regularly scheduled maintenance and calibrations of its materials testing equipment. Comprehensive, regularly scheduled calibrations of your equipment ensures it operates within tolerances and is reliable for many years to come. Compromises in this area lead to increased maintenance costs, machine down time, lost sales and lost customers.

As the new year approaches and quality budgets are finalized for 2012 be sure you select a calibrating firm that understands your business and is offering the right services at a competitive price.

PTES provides comprehensive maintenance and verification services for a wide variety of equipment. If you would like a more detailed explanation of the calibration services that PTES provides or a quote for your testing equipment please contact us at today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Most Common Clamp Maintenance Problem? Worn Out Rubber Jaws

Worn Out 1x3 Rubber Anvil Pad

A wide variety of industries use mechanical and air-actuated clamps with a rubber surface for holding test specimens. And one of the most common problems with this configuration: worn out rubber padding on the jaws (anvils) of the clamps. So if your quality control people start asking if the air pressure has changed in the lab, start complaining about having to do extra samples because the material is slipping, or insist there is something wrong “with the tester” the first thing to inspect should be the rubber pads on your anvils.

Most clamp systems, particularly air clamps, have a fixed distance between the jaws that is reserved for holding a sample. The thickness of the jaw(anvil), including the rubber, plays a key role in how firmly a sample will be held. As rubber wears out the distance between the jaw(anvil) increases.

Side View Of 1x1 Anvil Showing Rubber Thickness

Eventually this leads to samples slipping, especially as the amount of force increases. As the rubber wears out it also becomes slippery, leading to slipping and inconsistent test results.

Most companies let the rubber wear out well beyond the time frame it should be changed. This time varies based on the amount of testing completed but generally should never be more than a year or so.

Replacing rubber padding, fortunately, is a very quick and inexpensive process. PTES has resurfaced jaws(anvils) for years and at a very competitive prices. Our customers simply ship their jaws(anvils) to us in a box with a purchase order and in 2-3 business days their resurfaced anvils are on their way back. Pricing is as low as $59 per jaw(anvil) plus return shipping.

Contact PTES for more information today!

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Upgrade Your Scott Tester To Digital Weighing Systems

Scott Conversion

Scott DH With Load Cell And Digital Indicator

Scott Testing Machines, once the industry leader in a wide variety of tensile testing categories and still widely used in many industries, designed their equipment in the pre-digital era.

With the rapid advances in computer hardware and software over the past twenty years a whole new breed of electronic testers has emerged, with digital LCD panels, software and load cells capable of far greater accuracy. Mechanical testers have largely disappeared from the tensile testing landscape.

Time to scrap your old Scott Testing Machine and move on? Not so fast.  Many Scott test machines can easily be converted to a digital weighing system, allowing companies to stretch their quality budgets in many ways while achieving a wide range of benefits.

Improved Accuracy. A digital conversion replaces the old analog dial face and pointer with an LCD Panel with bright, easy to read numbers at operator level and a state of the art electronic load cell.

This eliminates all the guesswork out of lining up the pointer, putting step ladders at the machine so short operators can read the dial properly, zeroing the dial accurately, leading to far more accurate and consistent readings. The elimination of all the moving parts also eliminates all of the troublesome factors that affected the accuracy of readings like friction in the pawls and shaft, binding of the dial pointer spring, etc.

With a digital display, set ups and parameters can also be saved and, if needed, password protected so there is no variation in what gets measured and when. Data can even be exported to a PC for analysis.

Reduced Operating Expenses.  Perhaps the biggest benefit to a Scott conversion is the capital investment required. Most Scott DH, J, L, Q and X series mechanical testers can be converted for $1400-$1800. By comparison, a new entry level electronic tester with similar capacity ranges and basic controls starts around $10,000.

But the benefits don’t stop after the purchase. A digital conversion eliminates all the moving mechanical parts of the weigh head. Bearings no longer need to be changed every year, pawls don’t need replacing, cracked pointers and dial faces no longer need repair, etc. Most of the common repair items performed for these testers are eliminated.

Load Cell Attaches To Clamp Arm

Load Cell Attaches To Clamp Arm

And because materials properties can be more accurately measured, the amount of raw materials used in producing goods can be more precisely adjusted. This can lead to significant production cost improvements by shrinking the “margin of error” needed to manufacture a product that meets customer requirements.

Lastly, the cost of training new and existing employees is also greatly minimized versus the steep learning curve required converting to a new electronic machine. The Scott Testing Machine after conversion is used the exact same way it was before. The only difference is the LCD Display. In fact, there are less steps required of the operator with a converted machine. This can be a huge benefit to companies that use testers on the production floor where employees may have little or no quality training control training, companies that have a large number of employees or where established QC technicians have been using the machine “the same way” for many years.

Safer Operation. Because a  digital conversion eliminates all the moving mechanical parts of the weigh head operators no longer have to change heavy, cumbersome capacity weights, check pawls, make sure the lever arm doesn’t come crashing down on fingers or other parts, etc. This greatly reduces the chances of an employee being injured.

Scott Testing Machines were built to last. Heavy metal frames and gear boxes that have been in service for decades provide a solid foundation for materials properties testing. Adding the latest digital technology to this platform ensures your Scott equipment will continue to be in use for decades to come.

Want more information? Click this link and tell us about your equipment and testing needs.

 

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PTES Up And Running After Hurricane Irene

PTES is pleased to announce that Hurricane Irene has not affected its facility or operations despite wide spread power outages and flooding in Southern New England. PTES will spend Monday contacting vendors and customers to assess their status and make any needed adjustments to service and production schedules. If you have any questions about pending service appointments or order status please contact us at support@ptes-inc.com.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700174608/RI-wakes-up-to-catastrophic-power-outages.html

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PTES Facility Relocation

In June of 2011 PTES Equipment Services Inc will be relocating its business operations to Smithfield, RI. The relocation is expected to be completed by June 30.

The relocation effort should have a minimal effect on customers, with all scheduled June and July calibration services to be completed as scheduled and all existing orders being fulfilled by their original ETA’s.

During the transition, lead times for new orders may be longer than normal due to temporary down time of manufacturing equipment, additional labor committed to the relocation and temporary storage of many parts at off site locations.

As always, PTES is committed to delivering outstanding value and personalized service and will make every effort to maintain our service levels while we move into the new facility. Updates will continue to be posted at www.ptes-inc.com and email broadcasts will be made periodically sent to ensure our customers and suppliers are up to date on any changes they should be aware of during our move.

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