CLEVELAND—TA Instruments has introduced the first product that fully combines its traditional technology with the know-how it obtained when it purchased certain assets of the ElectroForce Group from Bose Corp. in 2015.
The result is the new ElectroForce DMA 3200, which brings together the firm's fatigue and dynamic mechanical analysis technologies into a single mechanical test platform the subsidiary of Waters Corp. claimed brings unparalleled performance. The DMA 3200 made its debut during the ACS Rubber Division's International Elastomer Conference, held Oct. 9-12 in Cleveland.
TA said mechanical properties often are considered the most important of all physical properties of materials, as they are critical to understanding material and component applications in a variety of industries. The firm said the new testing instrument has uses in such sectors as elastomers, polymers, composites, automotive, aerospace and medical devices, among others.
DMA quantifies the modulus and energy loss of materials over a wide range of temperatures, frequencies and strains, according to TA. Fatigue testing provides insights on how and when materials, components or devices fail when subjected to stresses or oscillating forces.
The DMA 3200 includes the patented, frictionless ElectroForce motor that—with 500 newtons of force—extends the range of DMA experiments to larger samples and higher loads. It has high acceleration, can perform billions of fatigue cycles and boasts a 10-year warranty, the firm said.
It is offered with multiple furnace options to accommodate standard and large sample sizes, multiple cooling options including refrigerated cooling, a wide range of clamps, and TRIOS software for comprehensive data analysis.
Long development time
TA Instruments has been developing the ElectroForce DMA 3200 for about two years, or not long after buying the ElectroForce Group assets, according to Troy Nickel, TA's senior product manager for ElectroForce. He came to the company with the acquisition and gave two presentations on the testing instrument during the IEC.
After getting the ElectroForce technology, Nickel said there was a process where the firm looked at what range of technology it had when combining know-how, and how to make the best use of it. TA had a wide range of products and technology in DMA, while ElectroForce's product line was strong in high-acceleration and high-frequency ranges.
"This is the first big thing that makes an impact with the merging of technologies," he said. "The product management teams from both groups worked together, and really pulled out what that vision looks like. And the engineering team did a nice job executing it.
Russell Ulbrich, TA Instruments director of product management, said TA never really had strong capability on the fatigue side of testing components to failure, but was much stronger when testing for structure property development. But the new DMA 3200 changes that.
"Now we have the ability to have those structure property characterization along with the fatigue analysis, and it just opens up in a single tool more capability than we'd ever wrapped into a DMA instrument," Ulbrich said during the IEC.
Nickel originally was with a firm called Enduratec, which Bose started to work with because of the technology in its electromagnetic linear force. After about five years, Bose purchased Enduratec because it saw the potential for the technology from a fatigue perspective.
But Bose goes through business cycles, Nickel said, and eventually the firm decided to focus back on its core business of acoustics.
"In that cycle, the businesses that were spawned that were different, they looked for partners to sell those businesses to," he said. "That became the opportunity for TA, and that was when TA bought the ElectroForce organization. The products, people, patents and technology—all the things carved out of Bose—are now within TA."
The DMA 3200 allows customers to test bigger samples, stiffer materials and materials that require higher force.
"It really is our first entry with a high force DMA," Ulbrich said. "We're going from a maximum of 35 newtons to 500 newtons, so it's a big jump."
He said it's similar to what TA did when it acquired Germany's Scarabaeus in 2013, and acquired key products to add to its portfolio. That brought a Mooney viscometer, a moving die rheometer, rubber process analyzer, and automated density and hardness testers.
"Now we have that high force shear rheometer, that high force DMA, and high force fatigue testing," Ulbrich said. "It really is a good match for the rubber industry."
The TA executives also said the ability to use larger samples means customers can test in a way that's more representative of what the component will be like in its end use.
Another option is to add air chilling capabilities so customers can do sub-ambient cooling without liquid nitrogen. That saves them the cost of buying liquid nitrogen, and also eliminates the worries about lab hazards associated with the nitrogen.
Nickel said the ElectroForce DMA 3200 will be made at the firm's Eden Prairie, Minn., operation, where the manufacturing, engineering and product management teams for the product are located. TA moved the group to the facility after the Bose deal.
TA is taking orders on the machine, with deliveries expected yet this year.