AKRON—Smithers has upgraded its testing capabilities with the development of new equipment that measures the low temperature retraction of rubber. The new instrument, Smither said, is "significantly more efficient."
"Our top priority is getting accurate data to our customers on time," said Christine Domer, general manager of the Akron labs at Smithers. "This investment was prioritized because it will allow for high precision and faster turnaround times for our customers, so they can get their products to market sooner."
Understanding low temperature retraction is critical to RPMs whose products encounter harsh, low temperature environments, including seals, o-rings, gaskets and many aerospace products.
The instrument can test a product's TR-10, an industry benchmark that refers to the temperature at which a rubber product retracts 10 percent from its elongated shape—or the temperature at which the rubber product can be performance-compromised by cracking or breaking.
"However, we can use this instrument to determine a product's service range beyond industry specifications," Jeff Marek, Smithers' physical testing lab supervisor, said in a statement. "This gives us the flexibility to design custom tests in addition to standardized protocols, so our customers can predict how their product will perform in the field at any temperature."
Smithers, founded in 1925, works with RPMs across a range of markets, including transportation, life science, packaging, materials, components, consumer and energy industries. Its Akron lab shares space with the company's analytical and product testing laboratories, and has a sister lab in the United Kingdom. The company also maintains labs in North America, Europe and China.