If you are looking to test the hardness of your manufactured part for quality testing, your need an hardness tester. METSUCO has been providing companies and universities with hardness testers and hardness testing equipment for over 30 years. In those 30 years, as we have talked to purchasing departments, engineers and others, an interesting question keeps coming up, which should we go with, a benchtop or portable hardness tester? Because of this, we want to cover Benchtop versus portable hardness testers.
We are going to assume those that reading this know what a hardness test is. If you need a refresher, Brinell, Rockwell, and Vickers Hardness Tests: The Differences Explained. With that out of the way, Let’s start with what brings up this question the most, cost. As companies are having to tighten their budgets in the past few years, portable hardness testers have been looking increasingly more tempting without looking at the other considerations because they are cheaper. However, costs are not the only consideration for which type of hardness tester to go for. Let’s look at other considerations.
How important is portability?
To start off, you have to consider the location of where you need the testing. If you are testing in a factory, it could be actually easier to slice off and prep a sample and take it to the lab, in which that case would be using benchtop testers instead of portable testers. Now, if you are in the field where it does not make sense to cut a sample and ship it off, that is where portability becomes important.
There are some drawbacks to portable hardness testers. One, in regard to certification of results, we will cover in just a moment. When talking about the results of the hardness test, the stationary tester provides more direct measurements. That means don’t jump to the conclusion that just because you’re in the field instead of the factory that using a portable hardness tester is the default go-to.
What are you trying to test?
If you are just trying to test the hardness of a part of a large machine where you are just verifying the hardness, or even a piece of pipe where it just does not make sense to cut sections into, then this is where a portable hardness tester makes sense. Also, with large machines, it might not make sense to section off pieces to send to a lab. They can cab test individual parts of one material, e.g., a piece of metal attached to or on the surface of larger pieces of equipment. That also a situation where a portable hardness tester makes sense.
However, if it’s a part that you are manufacturing in mass, and you have the proper section tools, then taking a sectioned piece to a lab where they can use a benchtop hardness tester makes more sense. You can control the testing environment better. You would not have to worry about outside environmental factors because you are in a lab setting.
Certify Versus Verify hardness?
If you are looking to certify the results of your tests, then you will need to use a benchtop hardness tester. There is no other choice. ASTM, ISO and IST do not have standards written for portable hardness tester results. However, if you’re just doing checks of the parts that you are manufacturing or producing and you do not need to actually certify your results, then it makes sense to use a portable hardness tester. We have a great piece if you need more information, read Certification vs Verification in Quality Testing.
METSUCO has been in business for over 30 years supplying hardness testing, metrology, and other high precision devices. We are happy to help answer questions and talk through your requirements in order to find the best fit. We service critical industries such as aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas as well as universities and testing labs. If there are items you need not found on our site, contact us at 713-827-0700 or email@example.com. We will custom source the item and provide a quote within 24 hours!