NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Alpha Technologies has taken one of its stalwart testing instruments and totally revamped it, the first in what will be an overhaul of its entire product line.
The company unveiled its Premier MDR—standing for moving die rheometer—at the ACS Rubber Division's Rubber Expo, held Oct. 14-16 in Nashville.
Officials said the instrument marks the first major enhancement since the Series 2000 MDR was introduced a couple of decades back.
The Premier MDR has significantly less instrument-to-instrument variation than its predecessor, and is a “reliable, highly precise instrument providing a new level of repeatability and reproducibility,” said Alpha Technologies President Lynn Zarcone.
The cure testing instrument offers such innovations as Dynamic Symmetry, to ensure parallel die closing, and Smart Alignment, to create excellent die cavity sealing, the firm said.
Other options include the SmartSeal, which eliminates the conventional elastomeric seal and maintains a close, pressurized cavity for improved long-term data stability and reduced torque calibrations, along with the Rapid Change adjustable eccentric that allows simple and fast oscillation angle changes without the need for recalibration, it said.
Alpha took about 11/2 years to study the Series 2000 MDR from an engineering perspective, looking at such attributes as stress analysis, thermal analysis and overall performance, said Patrick Kosuth, the firm's vice president of engineering. It gave the team a better handle on the instrument's strengths and weaknesses.
“This is a ground-up redesign with all lessons learned,” he said. “Essentially there are no parts on here that are on the Series 2000.”
But the new design will work so there is a commonality of parts when other items in the product line are updated. “We truly are going to create a product family with a maximum amount of reusability,” Kosuth said.
Zarcone added that the Premier MDR not only reflects the voice of the customer, but also input from Alpha's own field support engineers. The field staff said it was vital to make the MDR easier to service, so it would be more user friendly but also retain the capability and technical expertise for which the firm is known.
Kosuth said there were two full field service reviews, first from U.S. engineers and then from European service engineers. “(The Europeans) were much harsher on us because of the voltage issue and their being held to a tighter global standard,” he said. “It was a very good interchange of information of how to make things better. They were very instrumental into the input of this machine.”