Last year, the Composite Material Laboratory at the Inholland University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands installed a Moog Portable Test Controller for single-axis testing of composite materials like fiber-reinforced polymers. The test machine is a 700 x 300 x 1600 mm, 100-kN hydraulic bench. Manufacturers and consumers want lightweight materials in all sorts of products and parts, so the lab had to speed up the number of tests it performs on composite materials.
Historically hydraulics has been used for its combination of high load and velocity. The Moog test system consists of a hydraulic actuator, test load frame and test controller. Initially, the lab used the system to perform material tests for aerospace, but then extended its scope to cover things ranging from car parts to hockey sticks. The composites lab was now able to use the testing machine for a wider range of applications.
For example, while developing a bio-composite scooter, the Inholland University lab was able to conduct full scale testing to simulate certain road profiles. Another example was the testing of cargo straps for aviation to prove compliance with the new EASE regulations. Also, composite materials require significant testing for the determination of material properties. These tests are mainly static destructive tests; the integrated test suite allowed Inholland do all these tests on a single machine. And because the test controller is portable, the lab can also now integrate more I/O devices and obtain real-time and realistic measurements from the lab’s climate chamber.
The software running on the test controller gives engineers more options than other software they’ve used in the past, so researchers can change the force they apply to a part during a testing sequence. The Integrated Test Suite is the most versatile software Inholland has used yet. The Moog test controller uses an EtherCAT fieldbus interface that allows connecting EtherCAT compatible slave devices with precise time synchronization. The lab is currently using a Q.bloxx measurement system from Gantner Instruments linked to the test controller. The ability of connecting a modular measurement system to the test controller over EtherCAT provides flexibility and has become a key feature to the test lab.
Filed Under: Actuators, Hydraulic equipment + components, Software