NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Love that muddy water? Slurry Testing at NTS Detroit

Slurry testing is a specialty at NTS Detroit testing laboratory. It is a great way to gauge the durability of products at the risk of failure due to various environmental operating conditions. Commonly used in the automotive industry to test rotating components such as motors, alternators, and bearings, slurry testing implements the use of one of our mud slurry test rigs or fabrication of a custom test setup to expose your product to the different environments it would encounter during end-use.

Slurry Testing Dana Inc

Also referred to as mudsplash testing, mudbath testing, mud resistance testing, or muddy water durability testing, it is a fast and consistent method to determine things such as overall durability, seal quality, or leakage. This testing can be done at specified temperatures, for various durations, using any combination of mud, salt, or dust, and with radial and/or axial load applied. It commonly goes hand in hand with dynamometer testing. We can also determine if a component can maintain its original properties during exposure to slurry, such as its ability to dissipate heat. A unique test we offer exposes prop shafts to hot/cold, salt/sand slurry, and torque/speed, all while monitoring the bearing temperatures with infrared cameras.  Our expertise encompasses nearly every aspect of a vehicle’s drive train including Hybrid and EV.

Some specifications that call out slurry testing include ISO16750, Continental Spec CS11982, and Ford Laboratory Test Method FLTM BI 168-01.

Click here to discuss this and other automotive testing needs with our experts!

Open House – NTS Detroit

Detroit_TeamDetroit Open House

Come on out to the NTS Detroit open house event and get a first hand look at how our 42,000 square-foot facility can support your next testing program!

The Detroit team can help answer your questions regarding requirements, compliance and standards for a variety disciplines including those within the Aerospace, Defense, and Transportation industries. Our engineers have seen it all and can help you with anything ranging from electric motors and generators, to alternators and starters and everything else in between.

Don’t miss this opportunity for our NTS Detroit team to get to know you and your upcoming test programs.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 and don’t forget to bring your business cards.

Click here for event details and to register today!

Meet your Testing Team at NTS Detroit


(Left to right) Geoff Polan, Dynamometer and Hydraulics Manager Mike Garvey, Regional Sales Manager Loren Isley, Applications Engineer (Quoting) Steve Patykowski, Vibration and Climatics Manager

Our technical team at NTS Detroit has the experience and capabilities to provide world class testing services. We are with you every step of the way from development of requirements, creation of tooling, configuration of test equipment and performance of testing, to documentation of results.

Geoff Polan is a mechanical engineer with 10 years of experience in automotive powertrain and chassis components, subsystems and vehicle level applications. He specializes in dyno testing of drivelines, gearboxes and electric motors. Also skilled with electro-mechanical and test automation, Geoff manages our dynamometer and hydraulics groups and works with customers to plan testing programs.

Mike Garvey’s background consists of 30 years developing and performing test programs. His expertise spans across the entire enterprise, giving him a broad knowledge of all service offerings. Mike is our Regional Sales Manager covering Michigan and portions of Ohio. He communicates closely with the NTS quoting and operation teams in Detroit to ensure that your test requirements are met.

Loren Isley is our Chief Engineer and PE, bringing 45 years of expertise in design, manufacturing and use of test equipment, with a deep knowledge of mechanical and electrical testing. He leads the quoting team and helps to personally develop test plans and requirements, providing efficient costs and timing for your program.

Steve Patykowski is a mechanical engineer who has been performing test and analysis of electro-mechanical issues for over 20 years. He specializes in shock & vibration testing as well as environmental simulation of automotive, aerospace and commercial products. Steve manages our vibration and climatics groups and is also excited to assist in planning your test program.

Geoff, Mike, Loren and Steve would love to speak with you about your test needs! Call the Detroit lab today at (313) 835-0044. 

How can I relate the results of MIL-STD-810 salt fog testing to the life time of my product?

This is a very common question that we get asked quite often and unfortunately there is no correlation between what the product sees in the salt fog chamber to what it will experience out in the field. In order to understandSalt Fog Testing why, you must first understand the purpose of the test.

Originally stated by V.J. Junker in The Evolution of USAF Environmental Testing(1), the test is to determine the resistance of aerospace ground and aerospace equipment to the effects of a salt atmosphere.

According to Mil-STD-810G, the test is performed to determine the effectiveness of protective coatings and finishes on materials. The stated purpose of the test is to determine design flaws such as dissimilar metals, improper coatings, uncoated materials, electrolytic action, binding of parts, etc. Therefore, results can be related to the suitability or quality of parts or assemblies, but cannot be directly related to exposure time in the marine environment.

Salt Fog and Salt Spray testing are conducted at 14 NTS locations across the country. Visit our locations page to find the lab closest to you!

(1) Junkers, V.J. The Evolution of USAF Environmental Testing, Technical Report AFFDL-TR-65-197, October 1965.

Vibration Fixture Basics

VibrationBy Randall Cobb, P.E.  Inside Sales Manager, NTS Detroit.

Vibration testing is a necessary part of many programs, and there are a wide variety of vibration types, but the one thing every test has in common is that the energy must be transmitted into the test sample with some kind of fixturing. Fixturing can be as simple as mounting bolts into a flat plate, or it can be an elaborate weldment with responses tuned to match the final assembly. The best fixturing is rigid, lightweight, and simple. The following is a list of general guidelines to aid in choosing the best fixturing for your test sample.

Rigidity: A fixture should be very stiff in order to transmit the vibration without adding extra noise. A flexible fixture can resonate at test frequencies, affecting the amount of energy transmitted to the test sample, and thus test quality. A very flexible fixture may be difficult to control and will require a more powerful vibration system, affecting both quality and price. At 2000 Hz, a 1 g sinusoidal input only requires 0.000005” of shaker displacement. It doesn’t take much fixture bending to affect that!

Weight: A fixture with extra mass will require more force to vibrate at a given amplitude (g-level). Low mass fixtures will allow multiple samples to be tested simultaneously, improving costs per part and test throughput. Fixtures should be low profile and keep the sample as close to the system input as possible. Eliminate unnecessary features, but don’t skimp on material if it will affect stiffness.

Material Selection: Unfortunately, vibration fixtures are not always made of the most inexpensive materials available. Steel and Aluminum have roughly the same strength to weight properties, so it might make sense to pick steel as the less expensive option. However, aluminum has a density much lower than that of steel, and features can be made much larger and stiffer with no weight penalty. This makes it the superior material for high-frequency vibration. 1

For very high-performance fixtures, magnesium will sometimes be used as its performance is even better than aluminum. The tradeoff is difficulty in machining and much higher fixture costs.

Complexity: The best vibration fixtures are simple, with the minimum number of features. Vibration testing is not only stressful to the sample, but also to the fixturing. Extra features and thin sections can add more potential for unwanted resonances, and more components that can fatigue and break. Simple fixtures are usually less costly up front, and cost less over the long run.

It is advisable to use through-bolts for sample mounting instead of tapped holes whenever possible. Threads fatigue after heavy use and a nut and bolt can be cut away and replaced at the test site, but extracting a damaged threaded insert may require a trip to the machinist’s shop. If you must have a tapped hole, use a steel threaded insert (E-Z Lok or Keensert type), rather than a helical insert (Heli-Coil or STI type), and never thread a fastener directly into aluminum!

Other Considerations: Most vibration testing is performed in a single axis, and repeated in each orthogonal axis (X, Y, & Z). Vibration systems can either be vertical or horizontal, and fixtures are often rotated 90° to perform two of the three axes on a horizontal surface. If you only have one vibration system available, it may make sense to design a fixture with mounting holes on more than one surface so it can be rotated for each axis of testing.

Since few test parts are so simple they can mount directly to the shaker, most fixturing is a compromise of the qualities above. Samples may need to be mounted in a specific orientation, or have features that must be supported above the vibration table. Welded fixtures are often necessary since it is not always practical to carve a fixture out of a single block of aluminum. Be sure weld joints are continuous and smooth, with two or even three passes if possible.

Validating a Fixture: When a fixture is used for the first time, it is good practice to perform a resonance scan in order to check for any unwanted responses. This is done by instrumenting the fixture with multiple accelerometers, and sending a low-level random signal that covers the entire frequency range intended for the test. If you imagine a tuning fork that rings at a certain frequency (pitch), and that frequency was in the range of the test, then when the test hits that frequency the fixture will start ringing and add more energy into the sample than it should receive. A resonance scan will identify any problem frequencies, and can be performed with or without the test sample in order to observe any effects.

Repeatability/Liability/Fixture Ownership: The standard offering for many test labs is to build a custom fixture for your program, and they will then maintain responsibility for fixture responses. You are paying for the fixture design and build, as well as a guarantee from the test lab this fixture will perform reliably from one test to the next. The major caveat to this service is that the test lab retains ownership of the fixture, because they cannot be responsible for its use and measurements made at other facilities. If you choose to make your own fixture, be sure to review it with the lab during the design phase in order to confirm it will match the test system.

For more information about vibration testing, visit our webpage. You can also contact the author of this article at our Detroit location: 313.835.0044. For more details including specifications on NTS Detroit vibration testing, see our brochure.

A Great Day at the NTS Detroit Open House!

SONY DSCNTS Detroit welcomed over 40 visitors at our open house on October 24th! It was a great opportunity to see the facility and meet our technical experts. Guests enjoyed a catered breakfast and were treated to live demonstrations of testing which included:


  • Hydraulics
  • Electric Vehicle
  • Environmental
  • Dynamic
  • Dynamometer

Tours were provided and visitors were allowed to view the inner workings of the lab. During lunch, NTS Detroit staff were on hand to answer any questions and chat with attendees. The day concluded with the excitement of one lucky raffle winner taking home an iPad!

In case you missed this event, you can view portions of the lab and testing in progress in our video! For more information about NTS Detroit please see our facility page on the NTS website or contact us directly at 313-835-0044.

Who’s Who at NTS

Patykowski SteveSteve Patykowski started his career testing automotive electro-mechanical components for Eaton Corporation. He then moved to the Reliability Engineering Department where he wrote test specifications, developed test plans, performed and analyzed the results of accelerated testing on many automotive component platforms. In 2006, Steve earned his engineering degree and joined NTS as the Department Manager of the Vibration Laboratory. In 2009 and 2012, Steve added the Climatic and Hydraulic Departments, respectively, to his managerial and Program Management responsibilities. Steve has over 19 years of testing experience with automotive, aerospace, and military components.

DanielleDanielle Lenker joined NTS in Detroit, MI in 1991 and has performed many duties both in Sales and Operations within NTS. As an Application Engineer she works with the customers for Detroit and other NTS locations on evaluating their testing needs and providing pricing for those requirements.

MarkMMark Maskill started his career designing and testing military vehicle electro-mechanical components. He then joined Structural Kinematics with the team that opened what is now the NTS Detroit facility. After working a few years for NTS while earning his engineering degree, Mark joined Ford Motor Company, where he held various positions in testing, facility construction and finance over his 20 years there. He returned to NTS Detroit in 2009, and became the General Manager in January 2012.

Steve, Danielle and Mark are available to support our clients to better understand testing, test qualifications and specification requirements.

Steve.Patykowski@nts.com 313-835-0044

Danielle.Lenker@nts.com 586-242-3001

Mark.Maskill@nts.com 313-835-0044

Lab Spotlight: NTS Detroit

NTS Detroit is an indepeheadlamp in the fog -- largendent product testing and validation laboratory. We offer a wide range of test and analysis services in our 65,000 sq-ft facility and at customer sites. We serve the Defense, Medical, Automotive, Aerospace, Communications, Electronics, Energy and Agriculture industries. We are a ISO 17025 compliant organization.

Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Systems
NTS Detroit has high speed dynamometers, regenerative power supplies, Š fluid conditioning systems, control systems and experienced engineers for performance, durability and environmental testing of e-motors, power electronics, cables, and charging systems for EV/HEV applications.

Mechanical and Fluid Dynamicsradiator in the fog -- large
We offer linear and rotary servo-hydraulic actuators for fatigue and structural analysis, with precision measurement of Š flow, pressure, force, torque and strain. We design and fabricate test “fixtures and build custom test equipment.

Electrical and Electronics
NTS Detroit has power supplies, load banks and instrumentation for precision measurement of voltage, current, resistance, capacitance and dielectric strength. We can design and build automated systems for operation and measurement of complex systems or large arrays of samples that are being subjected to environmental and dynamic testing.

NTS Detroit has more than 20 large dynos from 50HP to 600HP. We specialize in design and construction of test fixtures, headsets and drivelines integrated with instrumentation and control equipment tailored to specific customer requirements.

Vibration and Sound
NTS Detroit has many large electro-dynamic and servo-hydraulic vibration systems, most equipped with environmental chambers. We also offer customer site instrumentation and data acquisition. Recently upgraded one system to 15,000 force pound capability.

drive-in with excursion -- jpgEnvironmental Simulation
NTS Detroit has more than 30 environmental chambers for temperatures from -100°C to 1,000°C, including a drive in chamber. We can simulate virtually any condition that your product may be exposed to.

For even more information on our Detroit Lab click HERE or see our full brochure HERE!

Ask the Expert: Randall Cobb

Randy joined NTS Detroit in 2010 as the Engineering Department Manager for Special Projects at the Detroit facility, he is currently focusing on accelerated life testing of hybrid electric motors.

His previous experience in testing started in 2004, beginning with automotive component validation and moving into hydraulic control design and field service. His customer-focused field experience prepared him for the role of working closely with clients in order to overcome technical challenges in designing, building and operating accelerated life tests.

question-markWhen proposing the design of a test cell intended to simulate extreme test conditions, the question is often asked: “How will you reach the extreme conditions required for my test?”

The nature of an accelerated life test is to operate in conditions that are outside the typical design range; meaning extreme temperatures, loads, speeds, and pressures are par for the course. A refrigeration company can sell chillers for cooling, an automation company will sell a controller, and a software company will design a package to record all of the data. Each company may sell outstanding products on their own, but they are not well-suited to work together as a team and deliver a cohesive testing system. It is the role of the test lab to integrate all parts together in order to replicate the physical conditions required for performing the test to specification. NTS Detroit achieves this by offering an on-site staff that includes electricians, machinists, and experts in refrigeration, fluid handling, motor control, and software development. Each of these individuals specializes in integrating their efforts with those of the rest of the team, enabling NTS to develop test cells customized to the needs of your specific test. We are here to test the limits of your product’s capabilities, and have the experience to do this safely and reliably.  Come meet our team for yourself at our upcoming Open House on October 24.