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Bespoke machine development and testing solutions

How SATRA research can help member companies to gain the competitive advantage.

by Zach Armitage

Future growth and continued success is dependent on innovation. It is only through development of products and services that a business remains at the forefront of its field and solidifies a reputation as a progressive and competitive force. SATRA has long been established as an institute of pioneering technology, and its history of innovation and dedicated research has provided turnkey solutions to a wide variety of industries.

A dedicated in-house research and development team is an expensive commodity in any organisation. Although the benefits in innovation through improved manufacturing methods and product design is eminently apparent, it is often difficult for an organisation to commit the resources necessary for its own successful and progressive research department. SATRA membership provides a company with access to a well-funded and committed team of experts, with knowledge gained through years of experience. A member is able to focus on specific issues a business would like to explore without the high expense of funding an entire department on its own.

SATRA is able to utilise a varied combination of disciplines and a diverse knowledge base to analyse problems – from development and improvement of existing products to testing revolutionary products for suitability and life cycle. Our experts in materials and adhesives are able to give advice on material selection to enhance a product’s durability and cost effectiveness. They can also provide assistance with environmental issues, combined with guidance on worldwide regulations concerning hazardous materials.

"SATRA has long been established as an institute of pioneering technology"

Experienced technicians are able to advise on pre-existing tests and methods, and so reduce development costs. Small modifications to established tests and application in alternative situations can produce a new test method with minimal build and development cost.

The value of testing

With any new or existing product, evaluation and testing must be conducted thoroughly, both to protect the end user from injury through a faulty product, and the manufacturer from legal action from consumers as a result of such injury. SATRA has been developing test methods and building state-of-the-art test machines as a testing and research association for over 90 years, and many of its test methods have been adopted into national and international standards. At the heart of this development is SATRA’s dedication to research, which allows new products and testing to be established, thus promoting the culture of innovation that leads to strong and sustained growth in business.

By applying a combination of electro-pneumatics, programmable logic controllers and electronics, a prototype test machine can be built quickly and efficiently to test new products. With a full in-house engineering department, machines of various sizes can be manufactured. These bespoke machines are then further developed in conjunction with a test method, to provide the new product with a complete test procedure. A test machine will be used by experienced technicians, and the test method refined to be as thorough as possible. This will take in as many aspects as necessary – from fatigue testing or destruction tests to comfort and safety. Once the test machine and test method have evolved, they can then be standardised, and often form the basis of protocols laid down by governing bodies. The prototype machine can then be refined for commercial sale, with after-sales support being made readily available.

SATRA also offers consultation and problem resolution, which may involve in-depth discussions into desirable product achievements and the requirements to realise the potential in an innovative idea. Theoretical analysis can be performed to calculate performance and detect problems early in development, which can save both time and money.

"With any new or existing product, evaluation and testing must be conducted thoroughly"

With increased interest in so-called ‘smart’ materials and in other new footwear technology, SATRA stands well placed to provide bespoke testing and evaluation facilities to help footwear manufacturers bring innovative products to market.

For example, there is an increasing demand for comfort and the use of phase change materials in sports footwear, bringing associated challenges related to testing and verification. Footwear incorporating features designed to promote a healthier gait or posture in the wearer has recently seen a boom. Technologies like this may not yet fall within the jurisdiction of any standards or regulations, and so require bespoke testing solutions in order to verify their effectiveness. This is something that SATRA is uniquely equipped to provide.

Whether the requirement is for a custom-made test machine or the development of a tailored test protocol, we are here to ensure to support and encourage innovation and development through rigorous and meaningful testing.

How can we help?

SATRA members can profit greatly from access to this considerable bank of experience and knowledge, which can give a company a distinct advantage over its competitors. Please email for further information on how you can benefit.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 36 of the April 2013 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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