B Mason & Sons Ltd, based in Birmingham, UK is the UK’s largest manufacturer of precision strip. Materials testing is a crucial part of the Quality Control system and they have a well-equipped testing laboratory with a range of testing equipment including hardness testing.
Machines are chosen for both metrological excellence and functional efficiency, and annually calibrated to UKAS accredited standards. Material hardness is an essential property for products performing in automotive and electronic market environments and the Quality Management team was aware that increasing numbers of hardness tests would need to be carried out.
The specifications of automatic hardness testers from leading manufacturers were investigated and the Zwick Roell Indentec ZHVµ-A automatic Micro hardness tester was selected. It was chosen for a number of reasons, the functionality of the equipment including the facility to automatically make and measure Vickers indentations and analyse grain size to a routine based on ASTM E112. Since the instrument was purchased it has carried out hundreds of Vickers hardness tests mostly in automatic mode freeing laboratory staff to do other vital tasks. The reliability of the system means that staff can click RUN and walk away. The grain sizing software provides quick and reliable test results, with high repeatability and reproducibility. The ZHVµ-A has been a cost effective solution for both hardness testing and metallographic analysis.