Material Characterization & Fatigue Testing Services
As the leading supplier of durability, test and analysis products with expertise and solutions in: Test & Measurement, Operational Monitoring, and Product Design. nCode have always invested in state of the art material testing technology backed up with the best testing expertise, fatigue specialists, and material technologists in the world.
The nCode test lab was originally set up to provide R&D and quality material data to assist in developing our fatigue and durability analysis software. Our lab isn't just about the test machines, the quality samples, or the accurate results but more about our research and technical expertise. This allows us to extract technical and commercially valuable data from those tests, to allow us to develop better fatigue analysis software.
Today, we also provide our many customers with the best quality fatigue and material test data available, fully characterized and interpreted by our in-house experts.
Fatigue is the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to cyclic loading. The maximum stress values are less than the ultimate tensile stress limit, and may be below the yield stress limit of the material. Fatigue life is affected by the following factors, often termed the 'five box trick':
More on why to test
In modern engineering, it is often fair to say that the in-service loads are reasonably well understood, from continued high level investment in product testing, data measurement, and usage characterization.
It could also be argued that with continued significant investment in CAD and CAE tools [and the highly experienced and qualified design teams that use them] has resulted in accelerated development cycles where the geometry to meet the target life is also well optimized.
Often engineers tasked to deliver these benefits are still using fatigue data which is either estimated, "guesstimated", or decades old!
Material testing, be it stress-life, strain-life, thermo-mechanical or crack propagation is still one of the most cost-effective solutions to achieving those targets.
Meet Environmental Targets
- Reduce final product weight
- Optimize manufacturing processing
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Remove Weight from Product
With a global focus on environmental issues, one way in which vehicle manufacturers are improving the environmental impact of their products is through weight reduction. This leads to improved fuel efficiency, increased performance and lower cost through the reduction in raw material mass. Material Testing enables this by providing the engineer with the ability to select lighter raw materials, or remove mass from a design.
Optimize Manufacturing Processing
The majority of manufacturing and environment costs come from the processes used in producing products from raw materials Significant cost or time savings can be gained by manufacturing products from different materials in different ways, such as using a machined stainless steel rather than chrome plating a forged part. Both parts will have a different performance under both static and dynamic loads, so material testing can be used to quantify these differences and understand how the change in material and process will impact in-service performance.
Achieve Real Cost Reduction
- Select materials and manufacturing processes to meet end-user performance
- Reduce raw material costs
- Reduce costs of over-design
- Quantify raw material properties from your suppliers
More on achieving cost reduction
Reduce Raw Material Costs
Often raw material suppliers will offer different material options, or nominally the ‘same’ material at lower cost. These may look attractive to organizations and their buyers, particularly where material costs are impacting more heavily on profit. Where a large organization spends millions on raw material, there will be a significant saving if a cheaper material could be used. Unfortunately, raw materials are often sought based upon a given international specification, which usually does not include requirements for fatigue life. Therefore, materials can be bought which offer business benefits in terms of cost that then cause problems in-service and instigate ‘fire-fighting’, re-design and re-test. This scenario makes material testing a core requirement of any material buying decision ensures that the material is fit for purpose.
Reduce Cost of Over-Design
nCode has helped customers design products which meet target life through a significant investment in product testing and an understanding of product loads. This has led to a good understanding of what these products see in-service and has also reduced warranty failures.
Many product lines are developed and sold to different applications or markets, where they will see different usage profiles. In this event, that product is designed to meet the ‘worse case’ and is thus over-designed for more benign applications. Good quality material data allows each product to be developed for each application.
Better Performance and Design
- Develop more durable products
- Meet fatigue performance targets
- Increase confidence in your end-product characteristics
More on better performance and design
Develop More Durable Products
The next significant gain in producing durable product comes from addressing the effect that material has on that performance. Considerations include: base material, production route, welds and joining, surface quality, residual stresses, material structure, grain size, environment, and temperature. The transition to novel composites is also a driver where material testing adds value.
Increase Confidence in End-Product Performance
The pressures on engineers in terms of environment, cost, weight, and development time whilst still developing products that people want to buy and enjoy using all converge to challenge us day to day. These conflicting requirements and the requirement to ‘sign-off’ a given product for market means we need confidence that the decisions we make are correct. The prevalence of decades old material data, varied processing, and the intrinsically statistical nature of fatigue all serves to reduce confidence. With the right software tools in place, the good quality data collected, and good design work done, then in-service failures result from either inconsistent material or the end user doing something it wasn’t designed for.