Product Testing

Touchstone is uniquely qualified to perform end-to-end product testing by virtue of its wide range of testing capabilities, and the broad experience base of its personnel.

#Product testing requires a full appreciation for the product’s operational environment, the characteristics of its materials, and its manufacturing processes. Product test programs demand thorough planning, selection of appropriate tests (standard and non-standard), and careful analysis and reporting of test results.

Touchstone tests automotive air conditioning evaporators and condensers to measure corrosion life, burst pressure, and fatigue life. Units are tested in as-manufactured condition and as part of the HVAC assemblies to be installed in automobiles. In addition to the evaluation of heat flow throughout the service life, this testing is critical to compliance with EPA requirements for resistance to leakage of fluorocarbons from refrigerant systems.

Touchstone performed testing of the effectiveness of a new product used to pre-clean automobile bodies before waxing. Panels from late model cars were purchased and evaluated to measure the before-and-after surface condition using the following: glossmeter, macrophotography, coefficient of friction, and photography. The testing found that use of this new product significantly improved the surface condition with no detectable damage or loss of paint during preparation.

A company which manufactures ornate bronze castings hired Touchstone to test the durability of various commercially available coatings. Accelerated life testing including salt fog, humidity and Ultraviolet testing. Touchstone has developed a heat-resistant paint testing apparatus which can approximate the results of a much more expensive standard Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) test. This test has aided in the screening and selection of paint systems used for the interior of steel buildings. The test performed by Touchstone is a “scaled down” version of the UL test and allows lost cost testing of several candidate coatings before a final choice is made for production. Final testing is usually performed by Underwriter’s Laboratories.

Touchstone regularly certifies insulated crane hooks used in the aluminum industry in direct reduction operations. The hooks are load tested to determine capacity and electrically tested to 10,000 volts to assure that the hooks are non-conductive. It is important to the safety of the crane operator that the hooks be non-conductors.

Touchstone has been involved in testing the “slipperiness” of roof decking in an effort to develop roof decking that can be installed safely in terms of resistance to slipping by the installers. A number of roofing materials have been tested and compared.

A real estate development company which builds tens of thousands of homes per year hired Touchstone to perform accelerated life testing of various manufacturer’s brass door knobs, exterior lamp fixtures and door locks. Substantial differences in the life of the brass coatings were found. Choosing the a short life fixture can mean millions of dollars in loss for a company which must replace corroded fixtures under warranty.

Touchstone has performed a wide variety of tests on new wire concepts used as the load carrying core in high tension power transmission lines. Among the tests were corrosion testing, coupon level tensile tests at room cryogenic and elevated temperature, dimensional measurements and tensile tests with both 100 and 500 foot gage lengths. Failure analyses were performed on the failed ends of the long tensile test coupons. Touchstone has also been involved in testing new wire splicing concepts which are used with the new high voltage wire concepts. Touchstone has characterized. Total load to failure and failure analysis of the splice were both involved.

A manufacturer of kitchen products contracted Touchstone to test a new design of trivet used to keep hot pots and pans from burning the surfaces they might otherwise be set upon. Touchstone tested the maximum use temperature for the company.

Touchstone tested and qualified several non-metal products for use on the space shuttle’s solid fuel rocket booster to determine the effect of repeated launches in terms of thermal degradation and the effect of salt water exposure. Materials included nylon, Teflon, Nitrile rubber, epoxy enamel, polyurethane enamel, adhesives, and dry film lubricants. The various tests after thermal exposure included flatwise tensile, Izod impact, bend test, hardness, standard tensile tests, TEE peel adhesion tests, 180o Peel adhesion, shear adhesion tests.

Touchstone has performed comparative accelerated life testing on most of the exterior walls and roof materials used in the construction of steel buildings. Tests have included salt fog, paint adhesion, humidity cycling, and ultraviolet exposure.

Touchstone has tested materials used in the manufacture of rubber diaphragms, as well as the diaphragms themselves. These products are incorporated in the air brake systems of commercial vehicles and school buses. The tests include tensile tests of fabric reinforcement and mechanical tests of finished product for tensile strength and puncture resistance.

Touchstone also performed several product comparisons to provide information used to select shoe shim materials for the shuttle-to-fuel tank connections. The materials were standard, polymer composite products from several suppliers. The tests included compression, tensile, and creep compression.

Springs used in an electrical switch gear were failing prematurely. Touchstone developed a test fixture which duplicated the use conditions and allowed the evaluation of springs made by several different manufacturing practices. Selection of the best manufacturing procedure followed.

A market differentiator in steel conduit is the internal friction of the walls of the conduit in contact with the wires. The higher the friction, the shorter the distance wires can be pushed through the conduit. Touchstone developed an apparatus to make this measurement and evaluated various commercial coating products to determine the best internal coating.

To help a manufacturer determine the best product for various applications, many types of steel culvert were evaluated to determine resistance to corrosion when immersed in potable water and salt water. Four types were tested including types I and II aluminized steel, Galfan coated and standard zinc coated steel.

Touchstone tested the mechanical properties of steel studs used by the housing industry to determine whether the manufacturers raw material allowed production of studs that met or exceeded BOCA requirements.

Touchstone has evaluated a number of automotive trailer hitches of both new and older designs for their load capacity and failure mechanisms.