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Sport and Leisure - Capability Statements

Tennis ball tester automated system for the ITF

Tennis ball compressive deformation, size and weight testing

International sports organisations are responsible for the regulations governing their field of interest and these may cover a wide range of unique requirements. The sport of tennis has a number of court surfaces and also player levels from recreational through to professional which determine different criteria in terms of tennis ball characteristics. The fundamental performance measure of a ball is the bounce behaviour and this is directly influenced by its compressive deformation, size and weight. A customised automated computer-controlled system which is able to pick an individual ball and perform the compliance test, without human interaction, whilst capturing the results to generate a statistical report can then become an official approved test standard. In terms of the test specification for a tennis ball, the program steps include touching on the surface, exercising scragging before measuring the force through compressing to a specified ‘forward deformation’ (and relaxation) in 3 orthogonal axes. The process involves complex steps involving holding to certain load levels for certain amounts of time plus diameter and weight measurement. Challenges such as physically picking the next ball and moving the supply along require bespoke engineering solutions involving pneumatic grips able to grasp and to rotate to XYZ alignments, custom compression plates, a carousel dispenser and digital scales.

Mecmesin Systems: Customised force testing applications, Emperor™ (Force)

Case Study: Automated ITF tennis ball tester


Golf shoe with cleats

Golf shoe cleats release torque and release angle

Manufacturers of golf shoes and aftermarket suppliers of replaceable cleats (also known as spikes), need to know that the cleats will remain in place under normal use, but can be removed for maintenance or replacement. In order to achieve consistent product quality, it is necessary to measure the breakaway torque as the cleat begins to rotate, and the maximum torque needed to fully release. In addition, when fitting the cleat the torque and angle at which the cleat locks or any over-ride torque can be determined. Up to ten cleats may be attached to the sole of the shoe and the ability to align each cleat with reference to the torque sensor is critical to the accuracy and repeatability of the test. A multipoint sample holder mounted on a gimbal coupled to an X-Y motion table is required to provide the range of movement needed to achieve correct centring. Top-load weights provide a constant axial force during measurement. A computer controlled stand controls rotation and collects torque and angular data. Modifying the control program for cyclic testing to assess any degradation due to repeated operation is a simple task.

Mecmesin Systems: Vortex-i computer-controlled torque test system


Fabric trouser tear test

Fabric tensile strength and tear characteristics

Textiles, cloths and fabrics used in both clothing and sporting markets have requirements for flexibility and lightness, but also durability and resistance to breakage – particularly tear damage – when in use. A hot air balloon manufacturer must conform to strict standards, applicable to the aerospace industry despite the textile construction of the product. The variation in coatings for the fabric – due to individual designs – and the fabric itself, requires that the test procedure must be applicable all cases. The strip method tear test for fabrics evaluates tear propagation resistance under constant loading at a constant rate of displacement. For secure retention of the standard size samples, wave-form jawed grips would be suitable, capable of holding the fabric across its full width, up to forces of up to a peak of 350 N, in this case. This tear test may be used as a standard method for measuring the effect, not only of wear-and-tear on the textile, but the impact of sunlight aging the material over time. The same system of a motorised test stand, digital force gauge and results analysis software, plus the versatile grips can also be used to measure the tensile strength of the numerous seams and fastenings of the fabric structure.

Mecmesin Systems: Motorised stand with gauge and software, large vice grip

Case Study: Balloon Cloth Tensile Strength Test

Surfboard foam sample 3-point bend tesing

Surfboard polyurethane foam 3-point bend flexure

A manufacturer of performance sports equipment, which is then sold on to customers in its own supply chain for final production design, must ensure that the fundamental product meets the highest quality standards. The polyurethane (PU, PUR) foam used for the manufacture of surfboard blanks is subsequently coated for various design reasons, but the fundamental strength characteristics should assure safe, reliable performance for this lightweight material.  For the manufacturer to provide a guarantee of product performance to its customers and to also obtain objective judgements regarding the raw materials received from its own suppliers, a repeatable, representative strength test is needed. The localised forces exerted by the surfer on the upper side of the board and the more generalised forces from the wave on the lower surface result in 3-point flexure being the relevant test type to measure the rigidity and strength of the product. A 3-point bend jig, with adjustable lower support arms and the capability of friction-free force application can be used to accurately apply the flexure symmetrically across the sample. A constant axial compressive load is produced by means of a constant speed application of the blade by the motorised test stand. Connection of a digital gauge and graphical output from software enables the manufacturer to compare the peak load data for different board constructions.

Mecmesin Systems: Motorised test stand, gauge and software combination, 3-point bend fixture

Case Study: Surfboard 3-point bend test


Univeral testing machine and fixtures for zipper testing

Zipper testing methods for tensile and separation strength

Zippers (zips, fly, fly fasteners) are used for the fastening together, or binding, of the edges of fabrics, textiles and other flexible materials. Usage in the clothing, furniture, outdoor pursuits and sporting industries is common. The fairly complex mechanical nature of the clasping mechanism, involving interlocking teeth and a hinged pull-tab, requires a set of tests to ensure the quality assurance of the complete assembly. The crosswise (ordinary zipper) strength per 2.5 cm of the chain, tests the peak load that the interlocked teeth can endure before being pulled apart laterally. The webbing at either side of a the chain is securely held with 25 mm wide grips and pulled apart at a constant 300 mm/min. The top stop (zip closed position) and the bottom stop (zip open position) are also tested. The top stop holding strength by holding the lower edge of the interlocked zipper and pulling the slider firmly in the closing direction. The bottom stop holding strength pulls each of the chains apart at right angles to the zipping direction in a manner similar to a trouser tear or T-peel test. The separating unit crosswise strength pulls the webbing apart at the point of the bottom stop with the zipper closed. The slider/tab configuration is also tested for its locking strength—resistance to sliding as a result of the chains being pulled apart—and, for relevant designs, the tab itself is tested for ultimate tensile strength when pulled away from its housing at 90 and 45 degrees. Custom-designed fixtures may be required for the complete suite of tests, primarily JIS-S3015 and ASTM D2061.

Mecmesin Systems: MultiTest universal testers, Customised force testing applications

Astroturf pull-out testing

Synthetic sports surface tuft binding

Test method standard BS ISO 4919 applies to the tuft withdrawal force of carpets. Our client tests artificial grass by the same method, and required custom fixtures for the coarser construction.

Mecmesin's solution was a quick-fit and release clamp plate for the matting, leaving an aperture for a forceps clamp suspended from the test loadcell. Testing is quick, easy and repeatable.