RAVENNA, Ohio—There are only four Intrinsic Strength Analyzers in the world, and until recently, a company looking to conduct a relatively fast rubber fatigue test had to travel to Germany to use one.
But as of Sept. 3, the unique ISA is offered stateside through a distribution partnership between Findlay, Ohio-based Endurica L.L.C., a software simulation and fatigue testing company; Ravenna-based Ace Products and Consulting L.L.C., a rubber testing lab where the television-sized demo unit is housed; and Coesfeld GmbH, a German company that manufactured the first ISAs in collaboration with Endurica.
Essentially, customers now can test fatigue performance in their own labs, using Endurica protocols running on Coesfeld instruments.
"Last year, Endurica had a good enough year where we could buy (an ISA) outright on our own," said Will Mars, president and founder of Endurica. "There is nothing like it on the market."
Though he did not divulge an overall cost for the ISA, Mars did say it is "about a quarter of the cost of a servo-hydraulic fatigue testing machine that can conduct long fatigue testing."
Besides its rarity, the ISA stands out for its speed of use, something that is not immediately self-evident. The ISA can conduct a complete fatigue test in about an hour-and-a-half, where the end game is the determination of the mechanical fatigue threshold—or the bottom limit of tearing energy—under which cracks will not grow in the sample due to fatigue.
This material characteristic is important in understanding both the fundamental and practical perspectives of fatigue testing, Mars said.
"But it is a bit like watching grass grow," he told a gathering of about 10 people—with representatives from Continental and Bridgestone Americas present—during a Sept. 3 open house at Ace Products to spotlight the demo model.
Mars compared the much longer fatigue testing methods to someone who only searches for their keys under lighted areas, "not where the light is not." The ISA offers accuracy and an easy-to-use, plug-and-chug system that captures more specific analytics over a shorter period of time than other methods.
"With a lot of our testing, our target markets are people who do simulations," Mars said. "This instrument is fast enough and unique enough that it is of interest to those in materials development, a completely different market segment and one that Ace Products serves.
"We felt it would be much more valuable there (at Ace Products)," he said. "That is a good place to get it introduced."
The ISA also is a feather in Ace's cap, as the rubber lab can market the ISA and its faster fatigue testing ability as part of its services.