Putting safety to the test

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Multiple industries adopt a wide range of testing machines for quality control and tests on their products. Test Machines Australia’s CEO Paul Cibotto tells Manufacturers’ Monthly how offering after-sale training and quality services has helped the company grow its sales.


Research and development is an inseparable part of all industries today; and wherever material tests are conducted, mechanical testing machines play a key role in ensuring a cost effective design that meets the required standards.

Test Machines Australia is a company that has been involved in design, manufacturing and distribution of testing machines for various industries including mining industries, plastics and rubber manufacturers, timber industries and automotive testing facilities.

In a conversation with Manufacturers’ Monthly, Test Machine Australia’s CEO Paul Cibotto discussed how his company has grown its customer base and customer satisfaction by offering complete solution packages and training to machine operators.

“All of our testing machines are sold with full training packages. We do not just sell the machines, but we set them up and train the operators on how to use the machines.”

“We also train operators on good work practices, good maintenance, and teach them a lot of safety parameters to ensure that the operators as well as the people around the machines are safe.”

“When we train the operators, we explain to them a lot of the whys and the hows so that they walk away with the confidence that they are not going to make any mistakes or injure themselves or others.”

Test Machines Australia is the Australian distributor for Tinius Olsen, a USA- and UK-based company whose name has been part of the testing machine industry’s history for nearly two centuries.

Partnership with Tinius Olsen has enabled Test Machines Australia to custom-make all tools and fixtures for mechanical testing machines, including Universal Testing Machine (UTM), tensile and compression testers and impact testers, to meet various applications and needs.

Test Machines Australia has also teamed up with Japanese company Kyowa for sale of its strain gages, which are used in many experimental tests.

Kyowa’s strain gages, designed to electronically detect strain, have applications in a wide range of applications, not only in experiments and research but also for industrial measurement and control.

Maintenance is an important aspect in ensuring that test data are accurate and reliable. While Test Machine Australia undertakes to maintain the devices and retrofit them to keep them up to date with the latest software, they also emphasise on reducing operator error.

“When it comes to the maintenance of testing machines, operator error is the main cause for the machines getting overloaded and crashing. Therefore, we train operators on how to use the machines and how to keep them clean to prevent damages.”

“Most of our machines come with protective cages to ensure the safety of operators as well as the other people around them in the event of a sample fracturing during the test.”

“All of our impact testers have protective cages and interlocks to prevent anyone touching them while operating or get dangerously close to them.”

Apart from distributing and maintaining Tinius Olsen testing machines, Test Machines Australia also repairs and modifies machines from other brands in their workshop.

Test Machines Australia is currently working on a new machine which is being developed by Tinius Olsen.  The machine is a new model of non-contacting video extensometer, a device that measures changes in the length of an object using a high-resolution camera to track different points on the specimen.

While the testing equipment has been around for some years, Cibotto says the older models of the machine were quite complex and could lose reliability if they were not set up properly.

“The new model is much faster, more accurate and more operator-friendly, therefore making the data gathered from the test more reliable.”

Non-contacting video extensometers offer many benefits over the traditional contacting devices as they offer more accurate and consistent results.

“Once you record the video, you can play re-runs and even change the target points. It is particularly useful in tests where you have limited number of specimen, and cannot repeat the test if something goes wrong,” Cibotto explained.

Test Machines Australia’s video extensometer uses a high resolution monochrome camera, advanced high speed image processing, and cool lighting such that the point to point real-time video processing technology is capable of achieving, and exceeding, ASTM E83 Class B1 and ISO 9513 Class 0.5 accuracy.

Over the years, Test Machines Australia has also made sure that their machines are manufactured in accordance with Australian specifications and standards.