The project built on the advances made in earlier EU funded Brite Euram projects to develop commercial prototypes of two types of materials testing machine (compression /tension and shear testing), which could be utilised under different temperature conditions. The objectives were to improve the design of the laboratory prototype machines and develop these into full commercial prototypes that could be validated and allow market assessments to be made. The project involved testing a range of different materials and the incorporation of feedback from the user interests in the consortium to develop the machines. Marketing assessments were made through trade exhibitions, literature, video and CD Rom. A patent application to the EPO was successful. The main constraint would appear to be the lack of sufficient manufacturing quality for the design of the commercial prototypes. At the completion of the final report, there was considerable further work to be done to ensure successful marketing.
The project aimed to develop industrial prototypes of the two testing machines for commercialisation. In this respect, a consortium including IMMG and a company called TNC Electronics provided the required sensors/controls and implemented them on the industrial version of the machines. In addition universities in materials research and equipment design (Imperial College, TU Clausthal) and a Ceramics-Refractory Company (CERECO S.A.) contributed to the validation of the industrial prototypes both by providing the necessary specifications for different categories of materials testing (composite, metals, ceramics) and by performing tests on an industrial scale with realistic specimens. Modifications of the loading train, extensometers, control systems etc. for each category of materials were also suggested and realised. Exploitation aspects and suitable promotional activities in the international market were given special emphasis.
Commercialisation of the testing machines could contribute to improving the competitiveness of material producers and manufacturers from the aeronautic and automobile industry by providing experimental facilities to simulate conditions developing in real structures. The new testing machines are capable of performing in a cost-effective manner valuable biaxial creep-fatigue and shear tests that cannot be carried out with the currently existing machines.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts