In a continuing quest to enhance customer service, Solar Atmospheres of Western PA has expanded its wings by adding another type of mechanical testing to its repertoire: tensile testing. Tensile tests are essential in determining and understanding the ultimate strengths of materials. Currently, many aerospace specifications demand at least one tensile test to be performed on each heat lot of material and/or for every furnace load of components being heat treated. Tensile testing is not only more prevalent today but is often the mechanical test of choice that supersedes all others for the acceptance of properties.
Solar Atmospheres has traditionally outsourced all tensile testing by utilizing excellent locally accredited independent laboratories. Due to shipping and transporting test specimens to these laboratories, a delay of 24 to 48 hours before the lab even received the specimens was normal. With a keen ear to our customers' needs of receiving tensile results faster and more efficiently, Solar Atmospheres of Western PA set out on a continuous improvement initiative to bring tensile testing in house. In the summer, Solar took delivery of a new Tinius Olsen 300SL Universal testing machine and installed it in a temperature controlled environment. In addition, in order to custom machine test specimens, Solar Atmospheres of Western PA purchased a new Haas Model TL-1 CNC lathe. Both units are physically located in a brand new 10,000 square foot facility adjacent to its 75,000 square foot state-of-the-art vacuum heat treating production facility.
Solar Atmospheres of Western PA has added room temperature tensile testing to the scope of their Nadcap accreditation. The Nadcap audit went extremely well and final approval was completed on December 20, 2017. As Bob Hill, president of Solar Atmospheres, elaborated, "We at Solar listen to our customers very carefully. Our customer feedback was very definitive: they wanted faster turnaround on their heat treated components. By bringing this new destructive mechanical test in house we will be able to do just that."