For over 100 years, the words “automatic” and “automated” have been used to describe equipment that tests the mechanical properties of materials. This paper attempts to categorize the various levels of automation used in the past, present, and future. It focuses on the building blocks of automation in use, how to decide what level of automation is correct for an application, and how and what is necessary to integrate the entire system into your process.
This work is based on personal experience with several systems installed in different laboratories. The case cited is the automation of tensile tests in a production test laboratory of an aluminum manufacturer; however, much of the information can be universally applied to other types of tests.
This paper is intended as a primer for those interested or involved in increasing the level of automation in their laboratory.
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