Special Testing Ltd Expands Testing Facility with Innovatest Hardness Tester

Bowers Group has supplied leading materials testing company Special Testing Ltd with an Innovatest hardness tester for its new hardness testing facility based in Sheffield. Typically used to test metallic samples of materials involved in the manufacture of components for the oil and gas, nuclear, marine, aerospace and construction industries, the Innovatest Load Cell Closed Loop Brinell Hardness Tester NEXUS 3200 Series is a high quality, compact, Brinell hardness tester with video measuring system. The unit boasts simultaneous conversion to Rockwell, Vickers, Brinell and Leeb rebound testing, an indent ZOOM function, and fully automatic indent measurement.

New Hardness Testing Facility

As part of its mechanical, metallurgical, corrosion and analytical testing services, Special Testing Ltd has recently invested in a new hardness testing facility. Continued investment in high quality hardness testing equipment means that the company can now carry out Brinell Hardness Testing, Rockwell Hardness testing, Vickers Hardness testing, Vickers Micro Hardness testing and Micro hardness analysis under laboratory conditions.

Alex Roe BEng, Mechanical Testing Technician at Special Testing Ltd said: “The hardness tester from Bowers Group is a really easy to use piece of kit; we use it every day. Unlike the old free standing hardness testers, this one can be mounted on a desk, so it’s really handy for the testing environment. Although it’s unlikely that we’ll move the machine now it’s in place, we do have the option as it’s quite easy to move.

Quick and Simple Sample Measurement Process

Measuring a sample is a quick and simple process; it’s easy to see the image on the screen and the useful measuring scope is very user friendly. We like the way that you can save the results and revisions in a table on the screen; that’s really handy when we are completing hardness surveys rather than just one off measurements.

The demand for hardness surveys has increased over the past few years as more people try to meet the very highest levels of accuracy, enabling them to sell material in the confidence that it is certified to a particular grade, and pass these assurances to their customers. The hardness tester takes away all ifs, buts, and maybes from the testing process. It is very accurate and removes all uncertainty for our customers.”

Accurate Hardness Testing Measurements Throughout the Day

Technicians set up the hardness tester every morning to ensure accurate measurement throughout the day, using gridded calibration blocks onto which the hardness tester makes circular indentations with a ball bearing.

Measurements are taken from a variety of samples; from metallic samples with small diameters, to large blocks of steel from which the component will be manufactured, to complete components. Samples provided from customers include ring segments in order to check variation across the wall thickness of the piece, with indentations made in set locations to ensure the full range of hardness testing across the component. The diameter of the indentations are then measured to accurately determine the hardness of the samples.

Special Testing Ltd adhere to BS EN ISO 6506-1, the standard that specifies the method for the Brinell hardness test for metallic materials in the UK, and the Active Standard ASTM E10, which is the standard test method for Brinell hardness testing for metallic materials in the USA. Tests can be carried out on all metallic materials including steel, copper, aluminium, titanium, and nickel based alloys. The majority of tested components are for the oil and gas industry and aerospace, as well as some components commonly used in the marine, nuclear and construction industry. Oil and gas components include tubing hangers, tree caps, valve internals like gates, seats and stems, nuts and bolts, and gaskets and seal rings.

Special Testing Ltd carries out hardness testing using the Innovatest on over 700 blanks and components per month. During busy times, the business can process up to 120 hardness tests per day across their machines. Technicians manually record results which are then transferred to the computer system, although the business is in the process of implementing the automatic data transfer process provided by the hardness tester and accompanying software in conjunction with the IT department.

UK Leading Materials Testing Company

Now one of the leading materials testing companies in the UK, Special Testing Ltd was originally established to support the Special Steel Co Ltd, one of the UK’s largest commercial subcontract heat treatment companies with over 50 furnaces. Special Testing Ltd now offers an enhanced range of services from its Metallurgical, Corrosion and Analytical Testing Laboratories.

The business prepares in excess of 1,200 samples each week, which consists of more than 800 production hours and 2,500 individual tests each week. While the majority of its testing is in the scope of its UKAS accreditation, Special Testing Ltd also perform alternative ‘customer written’ tests as detailed in customer specifications and constantly strive for, and achieve, the highest levels of accuracy and quality.

Temperature Controlled Laboratory

Special Testing Ltd’s mechanical testing is carried out by experienced technicians in a temperature controlled laboratory, with all equipment maintained and calibrated to national standards to ensure accuracy. Mechanical testing capabilities include; room temperature and elevated tensile tests, impact tests, stress rupture tests, harness tests, bend tests, and general inspection of test pieces. The company also carries out a number of metallurgical testing, analytical testing, and corrosion testing.