Control Cube allows The University of Warwick‘s School of Engineering to showcase a flexible and scalable way to test larger specimens in different configurations
Warwick University is a Russell Group university that specialises in research led education to students from the UK and many other countries around the world.
We were looking for a flexible way to test larger specimens in different configurations. Building upon their experience with our Control Cube-modernised Dartec machine, we had the idea to showcase the Cube’s capabilities to our academic colleagues and also present the technology to potential students at open days at the School of Engineering.
We decided to build a test rig to utilise the Cube on our strong floor to give us a flexible way to test larger specimens in different configurations. The modular, flexible solution which Control Cube and its software Cubus offers was ideal for this application. It allowed easy connection to the existing servo-hydraulic actuator with its transducers, servo-valve and hydraulics. Both the hardware and software are modular and expandable, making it ideal for this application. The unique ability to save and load previous configuration settings allows the equipment to be moved about and deployed on any of the test rigs in the laboratory.
“We were looking for an ‘off the shelf’ solution which was scalable, relatively portable and had a high degree of after sales technical support, especially when using it for novel research projects.”
Neil Gillespie, BA Hons Senior Civil Engineering Technician
What were you looking for in a solution?
Servo-Hydraulic control systems are common in many higher education institutions and many of these are bespoke, we were looking for an “off the shelf” solution which was scalable, relatively portable and had a high degree of after sales technical support, especially when using it for novel research projects. Also, some of our projects require cyclic testing, the academic software package that came with our Cube Controller provided this functionality.
How did you introduce our solution?
ZwickRoell offered to loan us a second Control Cube and I worked with a colleague and one of their engineers to build a test rig to utilise this Cube on our strong floor to give us a flexible way to test larger specimens in different configurations. The interest was such that a decision was made by management and academics to purchase the Control Cube.
What impressed you about the implementation?
The unique selling point of the Control Cube was Zwick's involvement with CaTs3 - their practical expertise enabled the connection of one of our actuators to the Cube Controller.
How have you used the Cube?
We have used this solution in PhD projects to test Fibre Reinforced Polymers as a building material; an undergraduate project to test fenders for use on harbour walls at marine locations and our next project is a PhD candidate who is investigating the material properties of 3D printed metals. In addition, one of our professors has a project scheduled for the summer with an outside commercial partner to test corrugated metal and concrete specimens of around 4 to 5 metres in length.
Apart from the capabilities of this technology, an important asset for us is its scalability. Due to the unique way new purchases are funded through grants and external partnerships with industry, it is essential we have a platform that can be built on and expanded as and when new funds become available. New projects usually require the same basic instrumentation but when they want to measure more exotic data, we have the confidence that our base platform can accommodate new measurement devices.