Major Expansion of Weatherability Evaluation Center
- Addition of many test equipment, including mega-sized cyclic corrosion tester for salt damage evaluation -

JFE Techno-Research Corporation (JFE-TEC; Head Office: JFE Shoji Building, 2-7-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan; President and Director: Hiroshi Kagechika) announced that it built a new laboratory building in the Weatherability Evaluation Center and installed a mega-sized cyclic tester for salt damage evaluation, an acid rain tester, a salt damage cyclic corrosion tester supporting low temperature, a xenon weather meter, and a gas corrosion tester that can simulate a high temperature environment. Being the largest Weatherability Evaluation Center for salt damage in Japan, these facilities will be used to offer commissioned testing services.

Overview of the Weatherability Evaluation Center

The weathering test is a type of test that evaluates accelerated environmental degradation of materials, parts, and products over the long term, and its importance is growing mainly due to global climate changes taking place these years. Today's customers face the need to perform the weatherability evaluation of whole products, rather than components and parts as they used to, and call for test facilities that can handle large or heavy objects. A typical example is the salt damage test of large solar cell panels. The needs are also growing for the testing of heavy objects, such as automobile components, and testing in a higher-temperature environment.

The Weatherability Evaluation Center, which opened in 2011, has been offering various environmental degradation commissioned test services to our clients, such as the salt damage test, ultraviolet light-induced degradation test, and gas corrosion test. We built a new laboratory building for the Center to meet such needs and installed a mega-sized cyclic corrosion tester for salt damage evaluation, an acid rain tester, a salt damage cyclic tester supporting low temperature, a xenon weather meter, and a gas corrosion tester that can perform tests at 80°C. With these and existing test equipment, the Weatherability Evaluation Center is Japan's largest weathering test facility as to salt damage evaluation. The Center will offer weatherability evaluation commissioned services that meet the latest needs as described below.

(1) Salt Damage Test

The salt damage test simulates salt damage corrosion in the atmospheric environment and typically refers to a combined cyclic corrosion test that repeats a cycle of, for example, salt spray, drying, and high humidity. Our newly installed equipment is a mega-sized cyclic corrosion tester that supports objects measuring up to 2 x 1.5 x 1.5 m and weighing 200 kg and over. This enables us to test full-size solar panels, which few other testing laboratories can handle today, and to perform a salt damage test of auto parts weighing over 100 kg. Other equipment has also been added, including an acid rain tester and a cyclic corrosion tester supporting low temperature, bringing the total number of our testers to 20, including the existing machines (e.g., salt spray tester and CASS tester) and making the Weatherability Evaluation Center the largest weatherability evaluation center for salt damage in Japan.

(2) Weather Meter Test

This test is performed to evaluate degradation caused by sunlight (mainly ultraviolet rays). Weather resistance of specimens can also be evaluated at an accelerated pace (at acceleration factors ranging from a few to a hundred times faster than outdoor exposure) by artificially reproducing outdoor conditions, such as heat, wind, and rain. JFE-TEC possesses three types of weather meters: the carbon arc weather meter, which has been traditionally common; the super xenon weather meter, which emits light with a relative spectral distribution closest to sunlight; and the metal halide weather meter, which generates some 20 to 30 times stronger ultraviolet rays than sunlight, accelerating evaluation by about a 100 times compared with outdoor exposure. Among them, the one we have just added is the super xenon tester, because testing orders requiring this equipment are increasing. This variety of weather meters enables us to choose an acceleration factor suited to the needs of the client and differentiate our service from similar ones offered by competitors.

(3) Gas Corrosion Test

Trace amount of gases in the atmosphere can cause corrosion to electronic parts and equipment, and this problem has attracted attention in recent years. JFE-TEC can perform tests by reproducing and accelerating corrosion caused by trace amount (ppb to ppm level) of corrosive gases-SO2, H2S, NO2, Cl2, and O3. Lately, there has been a growing need to evaluate the durability of products used in a high-temperature environment, such as car-mounted electronics, LED parts, electric vehicle batteries, and solar cell modules, increasing the demand for gas corrosion tests at higher temperature, specifically, 80°C instead of traditional 40°C. We have installed testers meeting such requirements.

In addition to the above expansion, our Weatherability Evaluation Center plans to add a mega-sized cyclic corrosion tester supporting low temperature and a sunshine weather meter that can perform tests at even higher temperature (83°C). With these latest machines, the Weatherability Evaluation Center will provide commissioned testing services that cater to the needs of our clients.

Reference Materials

Weatherability Evaluation Center's New Laboratory Building

Weatherability Evaluation Center's New Laboratory Building Entrance

Mega-sized Cyclic Corrosion Tester

Mega-sized cyclic corrosion tester installed in July 2014

Maximum specimen size: 2 × 1.5 × 1.5 m, Load capacity: over 200 kg

Mega-sized Cyclic Corrosion Tester Mega-sized Cyclic Corrosion Tester

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