Unlocking the potential of automated product torque testing

Dr Patrick Collins looks at the benefits of modern torque testers with touchscreen interfaces and user-friendly software.

The torque testers of today can offer so much more than just measuring the twist-off torque of a bottle top. They can measure a wide variety of products and materials, communicate on multiple levels and be seamlessly integrated into automated manufacturing environments.

Torque testing ensures product and device manufacturers achieve consistently high standards. In the medical industry for example, where torque is a key factor in the successful operation of many medical devices, this has the multiple benefit of safeguarding the patient, the medical staff and the reputation of the company that makes the device. In such a highly regulated industry it enables the manufacturing processes to be tightly controlled and validated, providing the basis for ongoing process and quality improvements.

Today's torque testers are a far cry from those of old. Modern torque testers have touchscreen interfaces with sophisticated yet user-friendly software, which include libraries of standard calculations but they still remain simple enough to be operated by pressing a single button. They can be used as stand alone test solutions, but some will go further and allow integration with existing automatic manufacturing environments. They have digital connections that can interface with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) that control automated processes. They can provide test results to Statistical Process Control (SPC) software that allows the PLC, or operator to make decisions based on real-time results. Through proper integration of product testing, unattended operation can be realised, freeing up operators to perform other important tasks, and removing the need for manual writing or inputting of test results, thus keeping the integrity of data intact.

Industry experts predict that there will be an increased demand for torque testing in future with 'openability' becoming a growing issue as people live longer and find it harder to open packaging as they become less dextrous. Openability is the buzzword of the moment with new EU guidelines introduced and the British Standards Institute having just published a new specification*.

The new Vortex-xt Torque Tester tests static and rotary torque; measures up to 10N.m torque at speeds from 0.1 to 20 revs per minute; has a top loading capability to apply set loads during torque testing; multi-stage test programming; comprehensive graphing function for data analysis; WiFi enabled.

Typical applications include:

- Medical devices: assessing the torque of rotary Luer connectors and measuring the torque of dosage selection of pen injectors.

- Packaging: testing child-resistant closures (CRC) on pharmaceutical containers, tamper-evident closures on PET bottles.

Enter √ at www.scientistlive.com/elab

Dr Patrick Collins is Technical Business Development Manager at Mecmesin Ltd, Slinfold, West Sussex, UK. www.mecmesin.com

* BSI British Standards, DD CEN TS 15945 Packaging - Ease of opening - Criteria and test methods for evaluating consumer packaging.


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