Capabilities Testing at Span Tech
Conveyors are mechanical assemblies, so it’s not surprising that most of the testing we perform is mechanical in nature. We need to understand the limits of what our products can actually do. We perform these tests to answer questions like:
- How strong will it be?
- How long will it last?
- What, when, and how is it likely to break?
To get these answers, we use a variety of tools and setups. We have a tensile testing machine to determine the strength of our chain links. This will not only tell us how much a chain-link can pull (ultimate strength test), but we can also use this device to predict how long the link will last under fatigue conditions. This machine will literally push/pull on a link for millions of cycles until it breaks. The data derived from these tests allow us to understand how to design better conveyor solutions for our clients.
Not only can we perform strength and fatigue testing on a single element (chain link), we can also do large-scale testing of entire conveyor setups. We have an extremely powerful Gearmotor/torque transducer setup which allows us to measure the amount of pull a conveyor is capable of with extreme loads. We’ve also done several tests using this equipment to determine how conveyors will wear out and eventually be destroyed under adverse conditions.
Tribology (Friction and Abrasion) Testing
We’re often asked: “What’s the steepest angle of incline/decline that your conveyors can do?” The answer is not as straightforward as most might think. The amount of angle for an inclining or declining conveyor depends on many factors, but the most important one is the amount of friction between the customer’s product and our conveyor chain. Even though there are scientific sources that tell us the coefficient of friction for many different materials, we go the extra step and do our own testing using a wide variety of materials to guarantee that we can do the angles that we state.
The materials that we use for our high-friction chain links are quite soft and compliant, and thus – very “grippy.” We can incline and decline some products as much as 25 degrees. However, like the tires on your car, the tradeoff for high-friction results in lowered wear capabilities. That’s why we have also done extensive testing to determine a scale for the durability of the various materials that we use for our chain links.
Thermal, Chemical, and Other Testing
Our conveyors are used in a wide variety of applications. From freezers to bread proofers, we’re dedicated to offering products that can work in a large range of environmental conditions. Additionally, since many of our components rub against one another, heat buildup is also a factor that plays into this.
We test all of our products under various operating conditions to make sure that we understand the limits of what is possible with the materials we use. We use a variety of measuring devices such as thermocouples and infrared cameras and detectors to measure the temperature of our conveyor parts under various operating conditions. We have also been known to do less-scientific tests just to see what happens when we venture outside the normal operating range of these materials (yes, that means we light these things on fire.)
We consider chemical compatibility, as well, since our conveyors are put into a wide range of industries – many with very caustic cleaning agents. In cases where we don’t have established scientific information on chemical compatibility with our materials, we often perform our own in-house tests to make sure that the materials we use will hold up in the environments our customers require.
But we’re not limited to the types of testing already covered. We also have the capability to do sound level testing, plus a wide variety of product tests that we set up and perform exclusively for some of our potential projects. For example, many customers want assurance that a particular solution will work with their specific product. We very frequently configure conveyors, transfers, pushers and all sorts of other devices at our disposal to show a customer that a proposed solution will work – by actually doing it with their actual product.