Hugues Baurier has a brief scare Oct. 23 when a display light fixture smoked and caught fire at the Metravib booth in Hall 11/C4 — prompting the Messe Düsseldorf fire brigade to respond.
Baurier, international sales manager of the maker of testing instruments, said the fire started in a connector. Firefighters put it out, and the Messe Düsseldorf electricians moved in to get the power back on.
It all took only about a half hour, allowing Baurier — after he wiped some debris off the white chairs in Metravib's small booth — to turn the power on again to the company's expander, a new automated material testing system use for rubber and plastics. Instead of the typical way of a lab worker installs samples into a machine to do one test, the xpander can do several tests, fully automatic, thanks to a six-axis robot that pulls the pre-loaded samples from a magazine carriage and moves them into the test area, where a rotating toolbox performs tests such as shear, tension and — a key test for the company's major market of tire manufacturers — wet-grip performance, say, to duplicate rainy conditions.
The xpander also can change parameters such as temperature and amplitude.
Metravib is a major player in testing instruments for tires, but Baurier said automated testing is moving into the plastics sector. The company counts several major resin makers as customers.