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Lloyd’s Register Approval Testing

R-TECH Materials, a rapidly growing UK composites testing business was appointed by Lloyds Register as its exclusive global laboratory partner in 2012.

On behalf of Lloyd’s Register – the international engineering, technical and business services organisation, whose clients include some of the marine industry’s major players – R-TECH tests composite samples, components and products to ensure they are suitable for a life at sea.

Being inherently light and damage-resistant, composite materials have been used for several decades to manufacture all manner of marine vessels.

By running a variety of laboratory tests, R-TECH’s 22-strong team of highly qualified engineers, materials scientists and chemists can characterize the composite material; check if it’s fit for market; identify quality issues; solve processing problems and determine why a product has failed. They can even perform reverse or back engineering – revealing how, and from what, a material has been made.

R-TECH has conducted over 100 tests for Lloyds Register which have led to many materials approvals. R-TECH can also manufacture hand lay-up laminates using exactly the same methods as traditional boat builders to ensure authentic results.

Based in South Wales R-TECH is recognised around the world for its fast and reliable independent testing and can handle any job, from a simple one-off set of tests to larger scale research and development projects. Thanks to its in-house workshop facilities, it can design and manufacture rigs to adapt its test equipment for bespoke testing of both polymer and composite samples along with components and products.

R-TECH has recently invested heavily to expand its composites testing labs, which includes the first Zwick universal testing machine running on TestXpert III software in the UK. This investment has opened up the capability of testing materials at loads from 1N to 250kN in the temperature range of -70°C to 250°C, with thermal chambers provided by Severn Thermal Solutions. In addition, R-TECH’s high-tech laboratories boast a state-of-the-art Hirox digital microscope and Zeiss Scanning Electron Microscope with EDX micro-analysis for delivering failure investigation and characterisation solutions.

As well as testing for the marine industry, R-TECH also works with aerospace and automotive sectors and is accredited to perform testing in tension, compression, flexure, shear and hardness to ISO and ASTM standards under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.  The testing laboratories provide humidity, temperature and liquid chambers for sample conditioning and have the capability to test complex orientations to loads up to 1500kN. Standard tests include lap shear, in-plane shear, climbing drum peel, shore hardness, compression of core materials and shear properties of sandwich panels, not to mention fatigue testing (in tension or in bending) at loads of up to 100kN. Furthermore, R-TECH can offer its customers bespoke testing thanks to its combination of state-of-the-art biaxial extensometer with strain gauging capabilities.