Structural Durability & Fatigue Testing
While computer based engineering tools provide timely performance prediction leading to reduced development time and costs, certain limitations prevent these tools from revealing unexpected or unknown phenomena during development.
Deferring discovery of these phenomena until production risks budgets and schedules. Supplementing development with physical testing is one way to avoid risks associated with late discovery. This approach promises to improve performance evaluation and diminish the overall need for prototypes, leading to reduced costs.
Most WESTEST clients want to go from design freeze to production start within a relatively short time. Meeting this goal requires a thorough understanding of how subsystems will perform and influence each other’s performance. To meet such aggressive development timeframes, this understanding must be gleaned well before the final prototype is available.
A Typical Test Program
- The machine or component is outfitted with instruments such as appropriate strain gauges, accelerometers, and ancillary measuring devices.
- Field data under actual working conditions is collected on Somat eDaq data acquisition systems. (Alternatively, client may choose to use data closely tied to design parameters).
- Somat in-field data analysis software and nCode GlyphWorks Fatigue Analysis Software may be used to compress lengthy field data for accelerated laboratory testing. A variety of standard inputs are also available.
- Field data is used to control the load and vibration simulation actuators to accurately duplicate field conditions.
- Machine or component is monitored for wear and/or fatigue to evaluate it's intended life cycle.
- Still photography or video documents failures and other significant events.
- Client is issued a detailed engineering report.
- Load Simulation: Actual forces and accelerations can be measured in the field and/or on the simulation system.
- Stress Analysis: Strain gauges provide an output that can be converted to material stress values. These gauges are attached to specimens and then subjected to simulated forces on the system.
- Durability Testing: Components can be dynamically loaded for many cycles or until a failure occurs. This provides a good determination of the components expected service life.
- Vibration Analysis: Components or machines can be subjected to repetitive dynamic loads covering the range of frequencies expected during field operation. The reaction of the specimen to these frequencies will illustrate harmonic vibrations and unstable conditions.
- Standards Compliance: Products often require dynamic testing to CSA, ASAE, and ISO standards to ensure structural integrity.
Benefits of Testing
- Prevents over-design and saves on unnecessary materials
- Ensures more reliable product testing reflected in increased customer satisfaction and fewer warranty claims
- Requires less time than field testing and gets products to market in a shorter time
- Permits testing of isolated components to measure their performance without machine interference
- Is independent of environmental factors and precisely repeatable allowing for direct comparison of competing designs
- Is an economical and convenient alternative to traditional methods
- Verifies computer models
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