At ADMET, we pride ourselves on working with customers to develop custom material testing machines. Located in our head office in Norwood, Massachusetts, ADMET Product Development and Engineering teams have designed custom testing systems specific to customer needs; whether it requires engineered test fixtures, custom software analyses, testing in high or low temperatures or in fluid baths for in-situ like conditions. This blog post outlines how we approach custom engineered solutions and provides detailed examples for three custom material testing systems: (1) a hydrostatic testing machine built per ASTM D5385, (2) a solid ice axial-torsion testing system, and (3) a peel testing system in a cryogenic chamber.

Company Culture Based on Engineering

ADMET was founded in 1989 by Richard Gedney, shortly after his graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Richard and a team of engineers from the Boston area initially worked on building software and controllers to retrofit and upgrade universal testing machines sold by Baldwin, Instron, MTS, Riehle, Satec, Shimadzu, Tinius Olsen, Zwick and others, regardless of age or machine type. The engineering culture that exists within the company today was built in those early days, solving a plethora of engineering problems in the mechanical testing and measurement systems world.

In the mid 90s, ADMET began manufacturing universal testing machines.  As its customer base grew, ADMET Testing Systems became integral to a wide range of testing applications for researchers and quality control personnel alike across all business sectors including automotive, aerospace, biomedical, construction, plastics, metals, test labs, and academia.  Since our inception, ADMET has remained steadfast to four main principles:

  • Make each system reliable, easy-to-use and easy-to-learn (training less than a day).
  • Always be willing to make product enhancements or customize a system to satisfy a customer requirement.
  • Offer the best value in the industry when comparing price to performance.
  • Make customer service our number one priority by responding immediately to any product support issue.

Read the ADMET Story here.

The ADMET Sales Process

At ADMET, we understand that the capabilities of standard testing machines will not satisfy all test applications. As a result, our initial engagement with each prospect is a discovery process that includes a technical conversation to learn about your testing requirements, performance criteria and testing objectives. Experience has shown that meaningful conversations can only occur if our sales personnel are technically trained, hence, each member of our sales team has an engineering degree.  Once the technical details are understood, ADMET engineers will “design “ a testing solution to meet your requirements and submit a recap document to you for review.  The recap includes the salient technical details and proposed solution with a cost for the various options.  Only when the customer is satisfied with both the technical and financial sides of the proposed solution, will a formal quote or proposal be generated. This collaborative process enables our team to learn the intricacies of your materials and tests and the critical factors key to a successful testing regime. This back and forth process also gives confidence that we understand your testing needs and objectives and know what is important.  Each testing application is different, thus, the questions we ask will vary but below is a sample set of initial questions to “discover” and “diagnose” your testing needs. 

  1. What types of tests are you looking to run? Tension, Compression, Bend, Torsion, Axial-Torsion, Planar Biaxial, Static, Fatigue.
  2. Are you following ASTM/ISO/EN test methods? Or performing your own product test?
  3. What is your test profile?  What are the maximum and minimum forces, strokes and speeds.  Are you loading at a constant speed to break or applying a cyclic load?
  4. Which material properties are you looking to measure? Tensile Strength, Offset Yield, Modulus of Elasticity, Elongation, Proof Load, Endurance Limit, etc.
  5. What are the dimensions, material, and geometry of your test specimens?
  6. Are your specimens to be tested at room temperature? Or in some other environment?
  7. Does the testing machine need to be integrated with other equipment?  For example, does it need to fit on a microscope stage?

Does your test application require a custom material testing machine?

The answers to the above questions will then be assessed to recommend the most suitable test system or systems, load cells, grips, fixtures, and accessories such as environmental chambers and fluid baths.  The answers will also tell us if we can offer a standard solution or one that requires custom engineering.

The Engineering Experience To Deliver A Solution That Meets Your Needs

The design process encompasses careful consideration of factors such as sample size and geometry, loading capacities, environmental conditions, and required data acquisition parameters. Whether it’s tension, compression, flexural, torsional, or fatigue testing, ADMET has the expertise to engineer the components and accessories of robust and reliable testing systems that deliver accurate and repeatable results.  

Advanced Software and Data Analysis

At ADMET, we understand that efficient and intuitive software is crucial for controlling, monitoring, and analyzing test data. ADMET MTESTQuattro® Materials Testing software is easy to learn and easy to use and offers the features and flexibility to accommodate a wide range of testing applications.  In addition, we are always willing to add additional features to meet the needs of your custom testing application.  MTESTQuattro® is a pc-based materials testing system capable of performing both static and dynamic tests for one and two axis testing machines. The software enables real-time data acquisition, visualization, and analysis, empowering users to extract valuable insights and generate comprehensive reports. 

Thorough Testing and Validation

Prior to delivering the custom material testing solution, ADMET engineers subject it to rigorous testing and validation procedures. This process ensures that the system meets the desired performance specifications, complies with relevant standards, and produces accurate and reliable results. By conducting thorough testing and validation, ADMET engineers instill confidence in the reliability and performance of the custom solution.

Ongoing Support and Collaboration

ADMET’s commitment to customer satisfaction extends beyond the delivery of the custom material testing solution. Our engineering teams provide ongoing technical support, maintenance, and calibration services to ensure the long-term performance and accuracy of the testing system. 

Custom Material Testing Machine Examples

Custom Hydrostatic Pressure Testing Machine

ASTM D5385 is a test method to determine and compare the hydrostatic resistance of waterproofing membranes. ADMET designed a custom testing machine to perform ASTM D5385 Hydrostatic Testing in both vertical and horizontal orientations. The testing system includes the ASTM D5385 Trunnion Tilt Mechanism and a custom test fixture. A top acting hydraulic cylinder with 6″ stroke, actuated by a three-way valve with extend, retract, and hold capabilities, is used to apply a compressive force to the sample and rubber gasket mounted on the baseplate. The baseplate features a 10″ diameter hole to accommodate test samples with various rebar sizes. The hydrostatic chamber compressing the sample is then filled with fluid via a needle valve with integral hose connection.

Additional features include:

  • A viewport to aid the user in filling the chamber with fluid to the correct level
  • A solenoid operated pneumatic valve to pressurize the chamber with air throughout the test
  • A safety cage with front and rear door with interlocks for operator safety
Pressurized Cement Seal Custom Testing Machine

Custom Solution: Cement Seal Testing Machine

Hydrostatic Pressure Test – Principles of Operation

Our Product and Software Development teams automated the testing for the customer by programming ADMET MTESTQuattro® controller and software to run ASTM D5385 testing that steps through increasing pressures with one hour hold times at each pressure. Once the user installs the test specimen in the machine, positions the three way hydraulic valve to the extend position, fills the chamber with water and verifies there are no leaks at 0 psi, the user can press the start button on the MTESTQuattro® control panel and the controller/software will automatically perform the hydrostatic test according to ASTM D5385.

Custom Axial-Torsion Testing Machine For Solid Ice Testing

ADMET designed a custom axial-torsion ADMET eXpert 8600 series testing machine in collaboration with the Rock and Ice Deformation Laboratory (RIDL) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Specimens tested were solid ice samples, prepared and cut into a cylindrical shape with the 1-in diameter and 2-in length. Test types included axial compression, torque testing, creep testing, and attenuation (oscillatory load). Tests would be performed at temperatures down to -30C inside the ADMET environmental chamber and samples would be loaded at very slow rates to simulate forces exerted on ice in real-world scenarios.

Solid Ice specimen custom axial torsion testing machine

Custom eXpert 8600 Axial-Torsion Testing System for Ice Specimen Testing

The engineered axial-torsion testing system featured a slow moving torsion actuator with speeds down to 0.8 degrees per minute. In addition, a custom test fixture was designed with hexagonal cavity for ice specimens to eliminate angular play and allow very precise angular movements. Specimens were placed in the fixture pocket and secured in place by sliding the grip locking door into the housing.

The machine was equipped with ADMET’s MTESTQuattro ® Axial-Torsion Controller, which includes monotonic, cyclic, and segmented control profiles with software selectable control channels. To simulate real-world conditions in the Arctic, the ice was subjected to complex loading profiles such as (1) apply a constant compressive force then cycle with a slow moving reversing torsional load for several days;  or (2) apply an increasing torsional load in 5 in-lb increments, hold at each step for several hours while applying a cyclic compressive load. 

Custom Peel Testing Machine In A Cryogenic Chamber

ADMET eXpert 5600 series testing machines are highly configurable systems and have been designed for a wide range of testing applications requiring flexibility and precise control. ADMET designed a custom 5601 1kN actuator mounted on a dual column frame that translates horizontally while pulling up on the test sample.  The test sample was adhered to a stainless substrate placed in an Azenta Life Sciences LN2 vapor based cryopod carrier and subjected to temperatures < 150C.

Custom testing machine for performing peel tests at cryogenic temperatures

eXpert 5601 – Custom fixture for peel testing at cryogenic temperatures

ADMET engineered a custom 90 degree peel fixture to fit in the cryopod carrier, hold the stainless substrate and pull on the sample at 90 degrees to the substrate. Since the substrate remained stationary during the test, the actuator translated up to 5 inches parallel to the substrate to maintain a 90 degree sample pull.  ADMET’s MTESTQuattro® Materials Testing software precisely controlled the rate of movement and automatically reported the average peel force at the end of the test.  The resulting custom engineered solution performed peel tests per ASTM D6252 Peel Adhesion Test Method at cryogenic temperatures.

Custom Material Testing Systems Engineered & Manufactured by ADMET

Powder and Bulk Solid Shear Testing

eXpert 5600 Bulk Solid Shear Testing System

Adapted from “ASTM D6128 – Standard Test Method for Shear Testing of Bulk Solids Using the Jenike Shear Tester”, the Bulk Solid Shear Tester is a bi-axial  system with a fixture designed per ASTM D6128 and a vertical actuator that applies consolidation force to eliminate the need for user to apply a heavy dead weight stack. The ASTM D6128 testing system is capable of both cohesive shear and wall friction tests by changing out test coupons.

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custom concrete fatigue

Servohydraulic Power Unit for Concrete Fatigue Testing

ADMET engineered a Servohydraulic Power Unit with MTESTQuattro to perform 2Hz force amplitude based fatigue tests on 4 by 8” cylinders. Parts supplied for this project included a 3,500psi pumping system to generate up to 175,000lbf of force and a linear encoder with 3” stroke for position measurement on the existing CM-4000 testing frame.

Click here for more information on our retrofit services.

Material Wear Testing Machine for seat cushions

“Squirmin’ Herman” Testing System for Seat Cushions

ADMET wear testing machines come with a dynamic actuator and the fixturing required to run the test of your choice. This featured configuration shows the dynamic foam testing system with the Squirmin’ Herman fixture, designed per the standard and is used to investigate the effect of aircraft passenger wear on seat upholstery fabrics and fire blocking layers.. The dynamic movement can be controlled by both position and load.

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small material testing machine with a 6 inch ruler for scale

eXpert 4000 in Vacuum Chamber

The vacuum-capable ADMET eXpert 4200 MicroTest System is engineered to measure the defect accumulation under stress in high-temperature composites. The system has been designed to fit within a Kimball Physics 4.50in Spherical Cube Vacuum Chamber and includes two 9 conductor vacuum feedthroughs each with a 2.75in CF flange.  Included with the feedthroughs are the cables for both the vacuum and the air sides.

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microtester with red hot heated grips performing a tensile test

eXpert 4000 Heated Configuration

The heated eXpert 4200 MicroTest System was engineered to perform Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) Analysis in Zeiss Supra 55 SEM. High temperature grips able to accommodate temperatures up to 650˚C were oriented in 30 degree increments from the horizontal and the load cell was mounted on the opposite side of the frame to provide adequate test space inside the chamber.

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Horizontal Pipe Tensile Tester

Horizontal Pipe Tensile Tester

This large servo-hydraulic testing system is perfect for customers who need to test entire pipe sections and their fusion welds.  The system, engineered to test pipes from 8 inches to 28 inches in diameter and from 5 ft to 10 ft in length, features a dual stage hydraulic power unit to allow faster speeds when jogging the actuator under no load conditions and a hand-held tethered controller to jog actuator from any location around the machine.

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