Does it Pass the Test? A Look at the Ampine Lab

When designers choose a particle board, they rely on specific material properties ranging from workability, how well it holds a finish, strength, fire resistance and much more. Material manufacturers—such as our Ampine division of Timber Products Company—must produce and continually demonstrate that their products meet or exceed customers' requirements. This is where the lab work at Ampine comes into play.

Ampine lab

Our Ampine lab provides numerous test services which include

  • Modulus of Rupture (strength)
  • Modulus of elasticity (stiffness)
  • Internal Bond (tensile strength perpendicular to the surface)
  • Vertical Density Profile (a measure of density through the panel thickness)
  • Thickness swell when exposed to moisture
  • Hardness
  • Screw withdrawal resistance

For production, test data is gathered at least twice per shift for what is called a "hot test.” This is when a sample is taken at the end of the manufacturing line. The primary tests performed are a bond test and density measurement test.

The bond test uses a 2"x2" sample glued between two aluminum test blocks, and is then pulled apart. The tensile strength is calculated and compared to the required industry standard. Doing this allows us to stay on target for a production lot.

The density test is an all-encompassing simulation that judges the integrity of the particle board. Though this measurement cannot replace every test, it provides a reliable and repeatable indication that the production process is under control.

We love data at the Ampine lab. All of the production data is gathered and plotted over a period of time (called a control chart) to show production trends. At a glance, a control chart can tell Quality Control that there was a sudden shift in density across production lots. Among other things, the data can also be used to show customers and auditors that we have control over our processes and that we are building products that meet the required standards.

The Ampine lab is critical to assuring quality products today, as well as designing products for the future. The lab is maintained with calibration standards traceable back to the National Institute of Testing and Standards (NIST). Without the Ampine Lab, maintaining costs, production efficiency, quality and progress would be impossible.

If you’d like to take a tour of our lab, reach out to your local Timber Products Company sales representative for scheduling.

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