KMI Validation Labs
Testing Performance. Quantifying Reliability.
At Kinematics, we thrive on a culture of continuous improvement, which requires in-depth product lab analysis and testing. KMI Validation Labs is our technologically sophisticated in-house resource for unmatched validation and predictive capabilities, ensuring the performance and longevity of our products while minimizing or eliminating risk of failure. With ample lab space worldwide, we can run almost any conceivable product test. We also offer additional testing capabilities through trusted third-party providers.
We use custom-built electrical dynamometers to perform tightly controlled load torque versus lifetime cycle testing. These extremely repeatable tests allow for highly accelerated validation of variable field load conditions, such as wind loads.
Using UV light 60 times the normal sun exposure at 35° latitude, our ultraviolet chamber can test the life of products exposed to harmful UV radiation over long periods. Rubber seals, washers and other materials are exposed for a simulated 30-year life cycle to ensure long-term resistance and performance.
To verify corrosion resistance, we place product components in a salt bath, accelerating the life cycle with a salt-spray mixture. With set solution concentrations, we record the time to corrosion for all components.
To simulate rainstorms and check for leaks, we load our slew drives into environmentally sealed chambers and blast them with pressurized water. With water continuously striking from all directions, we can simulate real worst -case scenarios.
Slew drives are loaded into a sealed chamber and blasted with particulates, simulating sandstorms. The drives are then checked for dust ingress, down to 1μm-sized particles. Sand molecules are size-specified and recorded to ensure top performance in desert environments.
To simulate extremely high desert temperatures, slew drives are placed into our heat oven, where the resistance to exposure is tested on the component materials, including rubber, paint, plastic and other coatings.
Our multiple in-house test stands are used for accelerated life-cycle tests of applied torque, radial and axial loads, and overturning moment. Many of the stands simulate the unique load profiles of solar tracker systems, including a special weighted cage structure that lets us mimic photovoltaic panel arrays of up to 120 square meters.
With a weighted boom arm, slew drives are mounted vertically to precisely measure the power input versus torque output, verifying absolute torque values and starting efficiencies. This tool is also used for continuous life- cycle testing.
This accelerated life-cycle testing equipment allows us to evaluate our smaller dual-axis slew drives, which are used for positioning heliostats. In this process, which is designed to accelerate equipment life span, both axes are cycled.
Using a loaded satellite dish, we can replicate the loads of satellite positioning devices, testing the strength of our slew drives. During testing, we apply axial and radial forces to the drives, along with torsional and bending stresses.
With the high number of repetitive cycles in solar applications, it’s crucial that we fatigue test our components to ensure they can pass a one-time survival load test — and handle a repetitive load for 30 years without failure. Our process simulates a 30-year life cycle in less than six months.
Slew drives are mounted horizontally with a boom arm that engages an electronic force gauge. From this we can quickly check their output torques, which is important for calculating efficiency and for customers who wish to have a specified amount of torque out of their boom.
To continually reaffirm our survival load-holding capacities, we destructively load-purchased fasteners used in our slew drives. The machine uses a load screw to apply force, a gauge to detect the force at failure, and a computer system to calculate stress and record the values.
With this configuration, we can apply an axial load to the drive, with variable output torque set by a brake at the end of the gear train. This allows the slewing drive to be tested with axial load and torque load together to simulate vehicle steering application.
To ensure our gearboxes won’t draw too much power from the electric motor, we set input torque limits on the drive shaft and measure this on the assembly line. This number is recorded and approved before shipping.
Our clutched drive test stands allows us to dynamically measure the performance of either a compound drive, a clutched drive or a braked drive against given speed and/or torque requirements.
Our hydraulically powered test stands measure drive accelerations, vibrations and torques with high rate and accuracy on drive products of up to 17”, with the load mounted vertically or horizontally at a range of speeds, torques and accelerations.
Detailed assessment of customer returned-product for failure modes, wear progressions and other environmental impacts. We use a network of U.S. – and China-based labs for other detailed electrical, chemical, metallurgical, physical and environmental analysis of parts and products.
Provides a detailed analysis of rotary dampers across a range of input speeds, accelerations and sizes. Also generates speed/torque curves as critical inputs to other system modeling efforts, like wind response, in solar a tracker design.