TMTS – Thermo-Mechanical Treatment Simulator
The Thermo-Mechanical Treatment Simulator (TMTS) is a complex metal forming simulation system. It is used to conduct controlled laboratory-based simulations of high temperature and high deformation rate multi-step metal forming processes such as those experienced in rolling mills and similar large-scale metal production processes.
The TMTS combines a high-capacity four-column load frame, high-rate cross-head-mounted actuator and mechanical wedge arresting system with a combination of furnaces, induction heaters and air/water quenching systems. A high-performance servo-controlled robotic manipulator system is employed to move the test specimen between the system's furnaces, induction heaters, mechanical-deformation stages and quenching stations.
The first TMTS system was developed in conjunction with and delivered to the University of Sheffield in the 1980s. Since then 10 additional systems have been delivered to customers worldwide, the lastest being to Nippon Steel in Japan in 2018. During this time the system concept and implementation has evolved significantly. For example the control system has evolved through three generations of controller hardware and software; the first being delivered with the Series 3000 analogue electronics and the latest machine with the latest generation of Pulsar DSP-based digital servo-controller.
The TMTS application sofware has been completely re-written to run on the Pulsar platform enabling it to take advantage of the power of the Pulsar Digital Signal Processor and of the latest software standards and development environments. The current TMTS software is fully-compatible with Windows 7. In addition the latest evolution of the TMTS system benefits from the experience developed by the system users operating these machines over the last 25 years. These customers include the world's leading industrial and academic research institutions including Arcelor Mittal, Constellium, Corus, Deakin University, Erzhong, IBF, Leobin University and Sheffield University.
Key features of the latest-generation TMTS system include:
- Fibre-optic connections between the key control system components. This provides a tidy installation with no electrical interference
- The current high-level software is written using the .Net environment updating the system to the latest Microsoft Windows platform
- The latest Graphical User Interface offers additional features for iteration and automated test preparation
The TMTS system is designed to meet the needs of metallurgists investigating the effects of thermal and deformation processes on the final properties of a material. The system offers the ability to perform high rates of heating and cooling as well as very high deformation rates. The machine can perform multiple deformation steps with heating or cooling sequences between each step, thereby simulating industrial hot-rolling processes. The system offers state of the art high speed compression testing on practically any material from room temperature up to 1200 °C.
Due to its excellent mechanical and thermal control, the TMTS is capable of simulating industrial thermo-mechanical processing steps; single- and multi-pass. Since specimens can be quenched directly after the deformation, the output of the TMTS combines mechanical response (stress vs. strain) with microstructural information which can then be studied using an electron microscope or simiar analytical equipment. TMTS specimens are large enough to cut into physical test specimens that can be used for further tensile or similar tests.
TMTS systems can also be used for fundamental material research. Specimens can be tested and analysed with Stress Relaxation and Creep facilities. Complex annealing procedures can also be integrated into the test procedures.