Thursday, December 4, 2014

Growth in Pharmaceutical Packaging

As 2014 comes to a close we’re looking ahead to what the new year will bring and, according to a new report,the North American pharmaceutical packaging market is set to expand. According to the report, the market is expected to reach more than $26 billion by 2019 due to several factors which are driving exponential growth in the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2012 North America accounted for more than 40% of pharmaceutical sales worldwide, and now there is a larger focus on healthcare by the government, as well as a changing lifestyles and screening technologies, leading to more diagnoses and self-medication.

As pharmaceuticals rise so too must the packaging industry. For pharmaceutical and medical device packaging there are a variety of regulations that packagers must meet including environmental, consumer safety, and labeling compliances. At Mark-10 our force and torque measurement products can help the pharmaceutical and medical device industries achieve quality control objectives through applications such as tablet crush force, needle penetration force, syringe plunger force, bottle cap torque testing, and more. To learn more about our products, visit us online. We are also active on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook where we post more company updates and pharmaceutical news.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lightweighting in the Auto Industry

Auto manufacturers have been exploring the trend of lightweighting to help reduce vehicle weight in order to meet new efficiency standards. Many automakers such as Ford are looking to replace steel bodies with aluminum bodies, first with its F-150 pickup, and now on to other vehicles as well. Toyota has also announced that it will use aluminum in its high-volume models as early as 2016. Other materials under increasing consideration include magnesium as well as plastics.

With this trend, extensive testing is critical. Engineers must ensure that these new materials are as strong and durable as traditional ones, while preserving or enhancing the driving dynamics of the vehicle. At Mark-10, our range of force and torque measurement products may be used for a variety of important tests, such as tensile, break, three-point bend, torsion, and others. Mark-10 systems are modular and can be configured via a wide range of force and torque gauges, test stands, attachments, and software. Our systems are widely used in the automotive manufacturing industry, as well as aerospace, packaging, medical device, and other areas.

To learn more about Mark-10 and how we can help with your unique requirements, visit our website. We are also active on Twitter where we post updates and industry news.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Meet Mark-10 at the MD&M Minneapolis Expo

This year we will be returning to the MD&M Minneapolis expo for the first time in a few years and we’re excited for the opportunity to meet with some of our customers face-to-face. The expo runs from October 29-30, 2014 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and we’ll be located at booth 1153. We’ll be showcasing some of our products that are ideal for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, including our force and torque measurement devices that are ideal for testing package seal strength, tensile testing, cap torque testing and more. Our product lines include handheld gauges to complete systems that include can include a test stand, force gauge, as well as grips and fixtures.

In addition to exhibitor booths, the expo will also host an array of conference sessions that explore topics such as 3D printing, innovations in cardiology, designing medical devices, and more. The expo also boasts free innovation tours that will explore the latest technology on the show floor, the Tech Theater which will present technology and product briefs from suppliers, and Center Stage which will offer attendees the chance to meet with real-life medical masterminds, watch live product teardowns, and get tips.

To learn more about the products we’ll be showcasing at the expo, visit our website. You can also follow us on Twitter as well as the MD&M expo with the hashtag #MDMMinneapolis.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Innovations in Plastic Packaging

This summer Avantium closed a $50 million deal to create a polyethylene furanoate (PEF) bottle. PEF is a material made from plant-based 2nd generation feedstock. This new bio-based resin could bring changes to the plastics packaging market as Coca-Cola, Danone, Alpla, and others have invested in Avantium’s commercial scale plant.

Some of the benefits of PEF include its sustainability factor as well as some performance advantages. According to packaging expert Gordon Bockner, PEF has a superior gas barrier when compared to PET packaging and also has better tensile strength which allows for improved light-weighting and superior thermal stability without heat-setting. However, Bockner also notes that PET packaging still remains strong in the US and that although a 100% bio-PET molecule does not yet exist, it may in the future.

At Mark-10, we have extensive experience working with the packaging industry, satisfying numerous applications including t-peel, 90-degree peel, tensile, top load, cap torque, and may others. To learn more about Mark-10 solutions for the packaging and other industries, visit our website. We can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post more industry news and company updates.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Importance of Calibration

Keeping your force or torque measuring instruments properly calibrated is critical to ensuring the quality of your manufactured material, component, or assembly. Although such instruments in many cases do not drift out of their accuracy specifications for lengthy periods of time, calibration is recommended at least once per year to ensure accuracy. In cases of heavy use, more frequent calibrations or verifications can be appropriate.

At Mark-10, we have a fully equipped climate-controlled calibration laboratory. With our US and European service centers, we provide quick turnaround. When gauges and sensors are sent back to our main US facility, we provide a NIST-traceable certificate of calibration. We can also provide a certificate of calibration with data which lists 10 data points in each direction (tension/compression or clockwise/counter-clockwise). As found/as left data can also be supplied upon request.

For customers requiring certificates of calibration to the ISO 17025 standard, we can provide such calibrations via a partner laboratory, as well as through many of our distributors. If sending an instrument to us, please request an RMA number before doing so, and include a printed copy of our RMA form in the box.

To learn more about calibration services, visit our website. We can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn where we post industry and company news.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Growth in the Sustainable Packaging Market

As consumers become more environmentally conscious the demand for sustainable packaging is expected to grow. A new report from Smithers Pira forecasts that the market will reach $244 billion by 2018 with large growth in paper packaging, followed by metal, glass, and plastic.

In addition to consumers, governments are also calling on manufacturers to become sustainable concepts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Companies like Unilever are already making this move with the launch of its Dove Body Wash bottles, which will contain at least 15% less plastic. The bottle will use MuCell Technology for Extrusion Blow Molding and uses gas injection to create gas bubbles in the middle layer of the plastic bottle which will reduce the density of the bottle and thus the amount of plastic required.

To help packaging companies ensure that their sustainable packaging still holds up to regulations and consumer expectations, Mark-10 offers a full range of force and torque measurement products. Configure a system to address applications such as cap opening force, cap torque, top load, peel, burst, compression, and many others. To learn more, visit our website and follow Mark-10 on Twitter for more company updates and packaging industry news.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New FDA Proposal to Expedite Approval Process for Medical Devices

At Mark-10 we’re always closely watching medical device trends and recently the FDA has proposed a new program to help speed up the approval process for devices that treat or diagnose patients with serious conditions whose needs aren’t met by current technology.

The new program would have more interactive engagement with FDA staff and unlike other existing programs, this one focuses on reducing the time associated with product development and not just reducing the time to market.

According to the FDA, to be eligible for participation, a medical device must:
“Be intended to treat or diagnose a life-threatening or irreversibly-debilitation disease or condition, represent one of the following:
1.       No approved alternative treatment/diagnostic exists, or
2.       A breakthrough technology that provides a clinically meaningful advantage over existing technology, or
3.       Offers a significant, clinically meaningful advantage over existing approved alternatives, or
4.       Availability is in the patient’s best interest
And have an acceptable data development plan that has been approved by the FDA.”

At Mark-10, we’re happy to play a helping role for medical device manufacturers to meet their quality objectives. Our line of force and torque measurement systems may be used for numerous applications, including fastener torque, needle sharpness, catheter torque, tube terminal pull tests, peel testing, tensile testing, and more. Visit our website to learn more.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Manual vs. Motorized Test Stands

At Mark-10, we offer a range of force and torque measurement test stands to suit a variety of applications, including manual and motorized options.

Our manual test stands allow users to reduce variability inherent in hand testing by properly aligning a force gauge and grips or fixtures.  Manual test stands are an ideal option for budget-minded applications that require a bit more consistency than hand operated tension or compression force measurements.

For the most consistency between tests, a motorized test stand’s programmable speed is an ideal solution. Such stands can also be fitted with an internal scale for displacement measurement, be controlled by a PC, and perform a number of automated functions, thereby increasing testing efficiency and throughput. Our motorized stands can perform a wide range of compression and tension test applications. When fitted with an appropriate force gauge, output of force vs. time or force vs. distance via USB is possible.

Manual and motorized test stands are available in several force ranges up to 1,500 lbF (6.7 kN). We supply an extensive selection of grips and fixtures, serving the medical device, automotive, packaging, and many other industries. To learn more about each of our manual and motorized test stands use our test stand comparison chart to find the one that works best for your applications.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mark-10 Debuts The 1,500 lbF / 6.7 kN ESM1500 Motorized Test Stand

We’re excited to announce the introduction of our newest product, the ESM1500 motorized test stand. This single-column force tester is ideal for numerous tension and compression measurement requirements up to 1,500 lbF / 6.7 kN in laboratory and production environments. Unique FollowMe force-based positioning allows the user to manually position the crosshead by simply pulling and pushing on the load cell.

The ESM1500 boasts generous travel, clearance, and depth dimensions, accommodating a wide range of applications such as break testing, loadholding, tensile testing, compression testing, and more.

The test stand is customizable; controller functions are offered individually through our “build-your-own” configuration platform. Users can order any combination of functions, and any functions not ordered originally can be activated in the field.

Standard features include:
·         Compatible with indicators and load cells, as well as force gauges
·         Adjustable, removal controller with intuitive menu navigation
·         Password protection of test parameters
·         Stepper motor-driven, producing smooth and quiet operation with no speed variation under load
·         USB output of force vs. time or force vs. distance
·         Compact footprint, suitable for crowded workbenches
·         Ergonomic design, with smart, clean cable management
·         Most electronics are housed in an integrated removable enclosure, easily removed and transported

To see a full list of specifications, features, and additional functions, visit our website.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nordic Ultratune Case Study: Measuring Flex Force

Nordic Ultratune, a cross-country ski dealer and service center located in Winthrop, WA, has been using the Mark-10 Model ES30 manual test stand and the Model MG200 force gauge to offer customers specialized tuning and configuration services. By using the force measurement products, Ultratune is able to conduct a flex analysis, which measures camber length and height with pressure applied approximately at the ball of the foot. The results can help Nordic Ultratune identify the characteristics of the skis and how well they are matched. Additionally, the test can apply pressure at approximately the mid-foot to help determine the best type of wax: power, warm hardwax, or klister.

The force measurement products also help Nordic Ultratune conduct a skate ski flex analysis which measures camber length and height with pressure again applied 8 cm behind the balance point that approximates pressure at the ball of the foot. The results allow the company to see the flex characteristics of the skis, how well they are matched, and can be used to characterize a pair of skis a customer already owns if they wish to match with another pair. It can also help identify skis that are too soft or too stiff.

To find out more about our force measurement devices or to read more case studies, visit our website.