Dexter Axle Company is the premier supplier of running gear and components to the trailer industry. Committed to uncompromised quality, continuous improvement, and superior customer service, the company has invested heavily in manufacturing and testing technology.

Dexter performs routine tests of daily in-process manufacturing friction welds on axle assemblies using a Reihle electromechanical tensile testing machine. “The old machine was fine for friction weld bend tests,” said James Bryan, Dexter Axle quality technician. “We would dial the speed down and bend the sample until it bottomed out in the fixture.”

However, Dexter Axle’s main line of heavy duty axles, Torflex, uses rubber components that are integral to the product’s performance. A modulus test was designed for the Torflex assembly. It required more exact control of the testing frame and more sophisticated measurements.

In testing the rubber cord, the technician measures the cross section of the rubber sample to get the mean diameter and then divides the mean diameter in half. The technician then loads and unloads the sample twice at one inch per minute. Subsequently, the speed is reduced to ½ inch per minute and the load at ½ the measured diameter is recorded. “At the beginning I was using the manual system. It was very difficult to accurately control the different speeds. Our results were all over the map and I had no confidence in the results,” commented Bryan.

The solution was to retrofit the Reihle frame with ADMET’s MTESTQuattro, an advanced PC/Windows based controller capable of controlling and reporting modulus tests. Using MTESTQuattro to control and record the results for the bend and modulus tests, quality control inspectors could conduct up to 100 tests per week. Said Bryan, “Previously, I was completely tied to the machine during the test. Now, I can log information from earlier tests or do something else. It even shuts itself down at the end of the cycle.”

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