Modernization of two robotic testing systems for steel-producer Ruukki

For almost thirty years Zwick has been supplying automated testing solutions to the metals industry. Zwick also performs modernizations of robotic testing systems, so that long-serving testing technology is once more equal to modern-day requirements. The systems are brought back up to state of the art with regard to electronics, mechanical components and software to enable them to handle the increasing demands of quality control – just what Finnish steel-producer Ruukki required.
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At its site in Hämeenlinna, Finland, Ruukki carries out automated tensile tests, including to ISO 6891-1, on sheet metal specimens as part of quality control. The testing system also incorporates instruments for measuring roughness, layer thickness and hardness. The aim of the general modernization was to bring the electronics, software and mechanical components of the system up to today's standards. As a preliminary step the individual components were examined and a decision made on a one-by-one basis as to whether they would be re-used, modernized or replaced.

Following modernization, specimen feed for the first system is now handled by a 6-axis industrial robot in place of the 3-axis gantry system previously used. The specimen magazine was in good condition and is still in use. The cross-section measuring device and hardness tester were overhauled, the mechanical components of the layer thickness measuring device were replaced, while the roughness measuring system is a completely new installation. The load frame of the 150kN testing machine is new, as are the longitudinal and transverse strain extensometers; the old specimen grips have been retained.

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In the case of the second testing system, the testing machine (Fmax 100kN) had to be replaced; here also the specimen grips are still in use. The electrical and mechanical elements of the specimen feed were also retained.

The software for both systems is completely new; both are now equipped with Zwick's autoEdition automation software. This includes, in addition to the SPS software for automation, the database, user interface and integration into the company's network.


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