Testing and Measurement equipment manufacturers provide a wide range of products and services to assist in the development of standards related to performance, safety, and quality. Many industries rely on testing and measurement equipment to comply with and improve processes, such as healthcare, automotive, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.
Calibrating services are performed to measure the reading, or output, of a device and compare it to accepted standards set by the manufacturer and the industry. Calibration devices use electrical signals to calibrate instruments. Once the margin of error has been determined and verified, the device can be adjusted to values identical with the standard in order to maintain a standard, high-quality output.
Clean rooms are enclosures designed to facilitate sensitive research, fabrication and other operations that must take place in the absence of dust, moisture and other airborne contaminants. Clean rooms systems were first developed in response to the needs of the aerospace and microtechnology industries in the early 1960s. As those and other high-tech disciplines like bio-technology and medical research developed, and as products and research subjects became smaller, airborne contaminants became increasingly disruptive. The rigidly controlled environments with which these professionals began to surround their work came to be known as clean rooms.
Data acquisition systems, shortened to DAS, are systems designed to convert analog waveforms into digital values, so that they can be used for processing. Industries that make use of this technology include aerospace, medicine, wastewater services, and industrial manufacturing. The process involves the sampling and converting of electrical or physical phenomenon or property into data and inputting the data into a computer. Examples of phenomena and properties include voltage, current, sound, fluid flow, gas pressure, force, temperature, and light intensity.
Once the data has been converted into a singular form, it can be accessed and controlled by data acquisition software programs that use a variety of programming languages, such a Pascal, Lisp, BASIC, C++, LabVIEW, and Java. In addition to allowing manufacturers to read data, data acquisition systems allow them to test a wide variety of technical products and make informed process adjustments.
Dynamometers, which are also known as dynomometers, dynometers and dynos, are devices that measure the force generated by something, usually an engine. They can also be used to determine horsepower, maximum rotary speed and maximum power absorption. They are sometimes called motor testers when used for these purposes, though the term "motor tester" is frequently used in reference to electric motor diagnostic equipment.
Dynamometers use a variety of devices to take measurements. For example, many dynamometers use small instruments made only of a transducer, strain gauge and display screen. These devices turn torque force into an electrical signal that they can amplify, convert and display as a measurement. Other dynos use motor testers, which work by using voltage and current probes bound to motor input wires to connect the system to internal voltmeters, ammeters and ohmmeters. Motor testers may be used to determine direction, torque, voltage, power, current, cut-out speed and efficiency. Still others use a non-contact speed sensor that can measure motor shaft speed and thereby ascertain its number of rotations per minute.
Environmental test chambers reproduce environmental conditions within a contained space for the purposes of evaluating the long-term effects of specific changes upon objects such as industrial products and materials, electronic products and other components. These conditions simulate those which a product will typically encounter in the span of its useful life. Test results can show the process of product decay and degradation and help predict the potential lifespan of a product or material.
For manufacturers, environmental chambers allow for the evaluation of product quality and reliability while also highlighting product flaws or weaknesses before the product is released to the public. There are many different kinds of test chambers which simulate various environmental conditions, and many chambers can control several different conditions at once. Some commonly tested conditions include: extreme temperatures, sudden temperature variations, humidity, moisture, and varying levels of salt water. These can be tested in temperature chambers, humidity chambers, and salt spray chambers, but there are many other kinds of test chambers like AGREE chambers, altitude chambers, thermal shock chambers, and vacuum test chambers.
Load cells are measuring devices that monitor and gauge forces of compression, tension and shear. They are a type of transducer that converts sensed mechanical force into electrical signals for measurement used in mechanical testing, ongoing system monitoring and as components in devices such as industrial scales.
Both compression and tension loadcells often use strain gauges; strain gauges are very small devices that measure the strain of an object by converting internal deformation into electrical signals, precisely measuring weight, force or strain. Force gauges use strain gauges in push-pull testing and flow measurement. While most load cells measure and test with strain gages, some use piezoelectric sensors, which utilize piezoelectric crystals to measure weight, strain, movement and vibrations.
Used in a wide variety of consumer, industrial, and commercial settings, scales are tools used to judge weight or calculate mass. They are used in doctors’ offices and hospitals, laboratories, roadside truck stops and weigh stations, restaurants, and manufacturing plants alike. To serve this diverse set of applications, scale manufacturers produce many types of industrial scales.
One of the numerous ways that industrial scales can be categorized is by the mechanism or technique they use to weigh a load. Any given scale may use springs, load cells, balance, hydraulics, or a combination therein to determine weight. Some common industrial scale types include: hanging scales, platform scales, and balance scales.
Hanging scales vary in size from pocket-sized luggage scales to crane scales. A type of spring scale, hanging scales suspend the load they are weighing from a hook or chain, while sensors above the load take measurements. Technically, crane scales can be categorized as hanging scales, but commonly, instead of using a spring, or along with a spring, they work using hydraulic power. In addition, as crane scales, which can also be used to weigh luggage and determine the weight of caught fish, become available in smaller sizes, the hanging aspect becomes less prevalent.
Thermocouple assemblies, also called thermocouples, temperature sensors or temperature probes, instruments that both sense heat and control temperature. Consisting of two connected, dissimilar metal wires, their operation is based on the Seebeck Effect, which theorizes that a voltage is always created between two dissimilar metals, and that said voltage changes in proportion to exterior temperature changes. Thermocouple assemblies are used for industrial, residential and commercial purposes alike. Systems and devices that use them include: water tanks, plastic extrusion machines, heat exchangers, parts washers, kilns, ovens, water heaters, furnaces, pressure chambers and thermostats.
A basic thermocouple consists of two metals connected at their bases and connected again at their tips with a bead. From here, there are a few different types of thermocouples. The most universal thermocouple type, for example, is the Type K, which consists of two alloy wires, alumel (aluminum and nickel) and chromel (chromium and nickel). Type K’s have a high temperature resistance to be used with everyday devices. Type K thermocouple assemblies are part of a larger group called noble metal thermocouples, of which all measure up to 2000°C.