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Heavy machinery like backhoes, excavators, and bulldozers operate around us almost daily. The efficiency of these equipment comes from the design and materials that built them. There is constant research to find the appropriate materials that offer high strength while being cost-effective.
The materials need to meet design requirements, which is why testing is crucial. It is wise to always check the materials in a laboratory you can trust before getting into production. There are various tests based on client requirements, but the most common are as below: The main objective of testing is to determine if a material meets its specification requirements. These include mechanical properties (e.g., strength), thermal properties (e.g., thermal conductivity), and chemical compatibility. We may use one or more standard test methods specified by regulatory bodies or voluntary agencies such as ASTM International or ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories.
The common materials for manufacturing heavy equipment are Low Alloy Steel and Stainless Steel. The hydraulic circuits have plated actuators. It is important to test the materials in aerospace industry.
- Metal testing: This is testing for metals categorized into different disciplines.
- Chemical Testing: This is to ensure that the metals conform to the grade of material required in the specification. The most common instrument used for testing is Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)
- Mechanical Testing: The materials should be able to withstand high impact as well as be able to function in different environments
- Metallurgical Testing: The components are either cast or wrought products that are heat-treated to attain the required strength. Checking for inclusions/grain size/tempered martensite is essential to qualify the heat treatment process.
2. Salt Spray & Corrosion Testing:
Excavators are out in the open in the presence of rain and sunshine. In such scenarios, the components may experience corrosion when the paint wears off or if there are scratches that expose the material. Eventually, the metal gets eaten away a fails.
3. Paint Testing
The pipelines and other machine components are not just for decorative purposes but also to avoid corrosion of the substrate (steel usually). Over time, corrosion damages and eventually wrecks materials. We use various paints depending on the environment and exposure to chemicals. We apply these to different thicknesses that can be tested on-site.
4. Fatigue Testing
The components for heavy machinery undergo cyclic stresses. Though the load is below the yield, the materials can fail due to fatigue.