After a few lean years could it be coatings makers are ready to update their labs? Testing equipment manufacturers Coatings World spoke with have reported an increased interest in purchasing new testing equipment.
"There seems to be a pent up demand by companies that may have held off for a few years when they should have purchased when needed," said Dave Peterson, vice president of Eiger Machinery, Inc.
Hockmeyer Equipment also is optimistic that 2005 will be a good year for testing equipment based on positive signs it started to see late last year.
|Specimens on Q-Panel's new Q-Trac II natural sunlight concentrator receive the equivalent of five years of Florida sunlight exposure in one year.|
According to George Murphy, national sales manager, Hockmeyer Equipment Corp.'s equipment inquiries, quotes and lab tests continue to increase. "We have seen these indications in the fourth quarter of 2004 and we still see them this first quarter of 2005," said Murphy.
Customers in the market for testing equipment have many factors to consider before deciding to make a purchase. Ease of operation, repeatability, dependability and accuracy of the equipment are on the top of every formulator's wish list. And with the current pressure placed on raw materials, companies are even more in tune with the need to effectively and efficiently evaluate key elements of their coatings formulations.
The Eiger mini mill helps users evaluate new formulations without wasting raw materials. Used for screening pigments, resins and additives, it allows users to quickly test materials under high shear forces that are created in a bead mill. The unit features added sensors for monitoring process functions and recording data for future reference.
"Our customers are looking for a small sample bead mill to screen raw materials," said Peterson. "The test equipment needs to be reliable, easy-to-use and provide them with realistic results which would allow them to predict future expectations. In most cases they want to know what will happen when the raw materials are used in production."
Hoover Color Corp.'s Automatic Muller is easy to use and provides accurate, uniform results, according to the company. The muller has become the standard piece of testing equipment for the pigment industry, recognized in both ASTM and ISO standards as an approved way to prepare samples for color evaluation.
Ensuring reliability and repeatability is also key at Hockmeyer. "Our customers are looking for testing equipment that offers reliability and repeatable results with ease of operation," agreed Murphy. "We are meeting these requirements by offering our customers machines like our new micro mill with its ability to operate as either an immersion mill, high speed disperser or rotor stator–the shafts are interchangeable. It can produce batch sizes of 700 ml up to 1.5 liters and is a great machine for formulators. The machine is very easily moved from one work station to another."
|Eiger's mini laboratory mill for testing pigments, resins and additives helps users evaluate formulations without wasting costly raw materials.|
Hockmeyer has also redesigned its HCP-1/4 mill. "This unit is designed very similarly to the micro mill as it uses a counter weight system to raise and lower the machine manually–there is no need for an air or hydraulic hoist," said Murphy. "The only requirement is a work bench and power supply to the mill. The HCP-1/4 can operate as an HM or HCP making the mill very versatile to scale up and when testing hard and easy to grind products. The HCP-1/4 mill can produce batch sizes of one to five gallons."
Hockmeyer's HPAS-2000 particle analysis system is a complete system that offers repeatability, dependability and accuracy with ease of operation for analyzing dry or wet product samples. "Anyone currently using only a Hegman Gauge for particle size analysis should consider taking a look at the HPAS system, as it eliminates suggestive results from one person to another," said Murphy. "Plus, it gives you a full picture of what you are testing, not just a snapshot."
The HPAS is available as a black and white system or a color system giving users the ability to identify what ingredient is not meeting grind specification.
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From handheld coating thickness gages to accelerated weathering machines, testing equipment companies are offering a variety of new and improved models to meet the most demanding needs of their customers.
A coatings' ability to withstand the elements is one of its most important selling points. And accurately and quickly predicting how the material will fare long-term is essential. To this end, Q-Panel has introduced Q-Trac II, a new natural sunlight concentrator. It has twice the specimen capacity of the original Q-Trac. Specimens on a Q-Trac II in Arizona receive the equivalent of five years of Florida sunlight exposure in just one year, according to the company.
Atlas Material Testing Technology's new Emma/Emmaqua services now offer Emmaqua temperature controlled accelerated weathering testing. The systems may be used independently or in various combinations. The four new systems are static control, night temperature control, dynamic control and variable radiance control.
Atlas' Suntest XXL/XXL+ xenon exposure system is the company's largest Suntest model available for conducting accelerated lightfastness and weatherfastness testing. The easy-to-use Suntest offers flatbed xenon exposure systems to test the long-term effects that light, heat and moisture will have on products in their end-use environments.
Brookfield Engineering's latest offering is the KU-2 Krebs viscometer. The new viscometer provides viscosity measurement in centipoises as well as the traditional Krebs units and grams weight. The viscometer offers users rapid and accurate test capability for QC applications.
Brookfield has also improved its DV-III Ultra rheometer. It now has the added capability to provide direct yield stress measurement, allowing users to test materials for complete flow behavior to include viscosity, temperature profiling and time sensitivity.
DeFelsko's Digital PosiTest adhesion tester, which measures the adhesion of coatings to metal, wood, concrete and other substrates, now features digital display and internal memory to store maximum pull-off pressure, rate of pull, test duration and dolly size for up to 200 pulls. It also features a pull rate indicator, according to the company.
Also from DeFelsko is the PosiTest DFT coating thickness gage. Available in two models, ferrous for steel or combo for all metals, the PosiTest DFT is an economical gage, according to the company. The gage features fast, repeatable measurements and no calibration required for most applications. It is ideal for powder coaters, paint applicators and automotive refinishers, according to the company.
The Elcometer 456 coating thickness gage is specifically designed to give the user a hand held, shop hardened gage with all the accuracy of a laboratory instrument. The 456 features high-speed accurate reading with a menu driven display available in 22 languages. Three memory options are available–basic, standard or top–all with integral and separate probe options.
HunterLab offers the UltraScan Pro, which measures both visible color and reflection into the near infrared for the measurement of camouflage coatings. Its D65 illumination source is calibrated in both the ultraviolet and visible regions for the accurate measurement of fluorescent paint.
The ADM-2 automatic draw down machine from Little Joe Industries uses grind gages automatically. Standard grind gages and scrapers are placed in the ADM and the scraper is moved down the length of the grind gage under controlled force and speed with a smooth motorized movement. "It guarantees consistent speed, force and angle the scraper is held at," said Michael Engel of Little Joe Industries. "Since the operator is not holding the scraper by hand anymore, it removes all operator variables."
Taber Industries' improved model 5750-linear abraser allows users to perform surface testing on virtually any size or shape product and is ideal for testing coated, painted or decorated products where durability is a concern, according to the company. Taber has also introduced the new model 710-multi-finger scratch and mar tester, which can be used to evaluate the susceptibility of coatings or plastics to scratching, marring, gouging or other similar types of damage. Five independent spline-shaft, "fingers" can be equipped with either 1.0 mm diameter hemisphere scratch tips or 7.0 mm diameter hemisphere mar tips.
As environmental regulations continue to drive the market, testing equipment for powder and UV coatings remain in demand.
Quanix coating thickness gages from Automation USA Inc., designed for powder coatings, measure over all FE/NFE substrates with automatic zeroing, one-hand operation and no calibration. Quanix features RS 232 data transfer and software for quick analysis of data, according to the company.
EIT Instrument Markets' 3DCure allows users to obtain feedback from up to 32 UV sensors simultaneously (Joules/cm2 and Watts/cm2) on any multi-dimensional part. The results can be seen on the supplied Cure3D software. Users can verify the results of their UV system's exposure at all points at the same, saving hours of adjustment, according to the company.
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Testing Equipment Resources
Here is how to contact the suppliers mentioned in this article.
Hoover Color Corp.
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