The outdoor apparel and gear industry is a very frequent user of universal testing machines (UTM’s). Universal testing machines can be programmed to perform a variety of tension (pull apart), compression (crush), and flexure (bend) tests. Strength and stretch are important design criteria for outdoor and athletic products. It may not be extremely important that a soda bottle withstand a large compressive load but it certainly is important if a rock climbing harness doesn’t break.

This is a test of a side release buckle used to connect a lashing strap. As you can see in the video, this buckle would be fine for lashing a sleeping pad on a backpack, but you certainly would not want to use it for climbing.

The machine in the video is a standard ADMET dual column eXpert 2600 series universal testing machine. It has 16″ of space between the columns which satisfies most users. However, some need wider machines to test larger products such as this 26″ diameter mountain bike tire:

ADMET eXpert 2613 Wide Dual Column Universal Testing Machine

The following are a few examples of outdoor products that require testing and can be easily tested on a universal testing machine:

  1. Tested in Tension (pull apart)
    1. Climbing rope and caribiners
    2. Dog Leashes and Harnesses
    3. Zipper Pulls
    4. Seam strength of clothes, parkas, tents, backpacks, etc.
    5. Lashing Straps
  2. Tested in Compression (crush)
    1. Bike Frames and wheels
    2. Shoe soles
  3. Tested in flexure (bend)
    1. Skis and Snowboards
    2. Tent poles
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