Tinius Olsen Integral to Eco Friendly Aluminum Composite Panels Manufacturing

The leading manufacturer of aluminum composite panels in the Middle East, who are also delivering on their goal of achieving a sustainable business ecosystem, have been benefitting from the input of Tinius Olsen equipment and ongoing support.

RMK Industries supplies to more than 25 countries around the world. Their primary stronghold is the Middle Eastern, Asian and African markets and are trusted by internationally renown contractors, consultants and architects. They have undertaken projects with international corporations and governmental organizations such as Shangri-la Hotels, Coca-Cola, Emaar and the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai.

Fig. 1

Bend/Flex test setup on wood sample

“RMK Industries was established more than 40 years ago and was initially focused on the trading of architectural facade products. Over the years, we transitioned into the manufacturing of high-quality architectural products and are now proud to be one of the leading manufacturers of aluminum composite panels and pre-painted aluminum coils in the Middle East,” said Quality Control Manager, Charmaine Timario

“Our aluminum composite panels are formulated using the finest raw materials and the latest technologies, resulting resulting in premium quality products that match or exceed industry benchmark standards, ensuring compliance with the most stringent international standards such as ASTM, NFPA , LEED by USGBC, EN and ISO.”

Aluminum composite panels are lightweight cladding panels for use as external building facades and fascia to improve the aesthetic appeal and weather resistance of buildings. The flat panels consist of two thin aluminum sheets bonded to a modified mineral filled fire retardant core and when correctly specified, installed and officially certified to perform to code, regulations and fire safety laws, have several advantages including robust durability, light weight and high weather resistance as well as being cost effective, easy to install and low maintenance.

Fig. 2

Preparation of test with 25kN Universal Testing Machine with Wedge grips clamping on test sample.

“Across the entire product portfolio of RMK, we are invested in the quality of our products through continuous enhancement of our production processes, a strong focus on quality control and, especially, creating a green footprint though all our manufacturing processes,” continued Charmaine.

“Achieving a sustainable ecosystem has been a core goal of ours since we got into manufacturing, and we have taken and continue to take, the necessary steps to achieve this goal. Our facilities are powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and water reuse systems. We also promote the use of electric vehicles, having installed electric car charging stations in our facilities. We have adopted the use of sustainable methods throughout our manufacturing processes. We’ve done this by having a solvent recovery system in our innovatory coil coating line, ensuring the reuse of any wastage during production.”

Adhesive peel test set up

Fig. 3

180° peel strength test of adhesive material.

“Our aluminum coil coating line uses chrome-free chemicals and lead-free paints and we are one of the first companies in the region to be equipped with a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO) that neutralizes 99%+ of air pollutants during the coil coating process, helping us minimize our environmental impact. Our products are 100% recyclable and are LEED-certified, contributing up to 30 points towards LEED projects.”

“Our green initiatives will help us achieve a positive and far-reaching impact on our planet, with an estimated clean energy generation of more than 19,000 MWh and more than 8000 tonnes of carbon emissions that will be avoided.”

With this and production in mind, the company ensures each product reaches all recognized international standards, with RMK operating their own in-house testing lab undertaking a wide range of tests through the entire manufacturing process.

“We conduct numerous mechanical property tests on our products using our Tinius Olsen 25ST, such as the 180 degrees peel strength test, drum peel strength, tensile strength, punch shear strength, bending strength and various others.”

Adhesive peel test running

Fig. 4

180° peel strength testing in action.

“After a year of acquiring the 25ST, it has proved to be exceptional in meeting our material testing requirements. It helps us assure our products are delivered to the highest of standards.”

“We chose Tinius Olsen equipment due to its history, reliability and ease of use in the field of material testing. With Tinius Olsen, we can ensure our products are meeting the highest quality standards, helping us deliver the best to our customers. We are also happy with the technical support team who visits us both off and on site from time to time.”

Useful links

Tensile Testing

Peel Testing

Flexural Testing

25ST Testing Machine

Polymers – Solution to your quality issues


Download Plastics Brochure


One important factor when developing a new plastic product is testing. Only by testing raw materials, components and the finished item according to relevant standards can you be confident that your plastic product meets the high expectations of the market and is strong and flexible enough to function in the way that it has been designed.

Some of the most common test types within plastics testing include tensile strength, wet strength, elongation to rupture, yield strength, folding endurance, impact strength, heat distortion, melt flow, puncture, modulus, Poisson's ratio, compressive, flexural, shear and friction. All of these test types can be performed on Tinius Olsen's high-precision testing machines.

Our material testing and force measurement instruments are used by some of the most innovative companies in the world. We specialize in custom material testing solutions designed to meet the individual needs of our clients. Our involvement in the plastics industry spans decades, giving us extensive experience in this field. All test hardware is fully complemented by our Horizon software.



Tinius Olsen's versatile benchtop polymer testing machines can perform many materials test routines that meet ASTM, ISO and other international specifications, including tensile, compressive, tear, peel, flexural, puncture, shear and frictional resistance tests.

Our IT503 and IT504 Impact Testers feature heavy duty construction with an aerodynamic compound pendulum, ensuring maximum rigidity in the direction of impact.

The model MP1200 melt flow tester/extrusion plastometer is offered in two configurations, both of which are fully compliant with the requirements of ASTM D1238, ISO 1133 and other international standards.

The benefits of PEEK Plastics in Implant Surgery


An established contract manufacturer of high grade materials, state-of-the-art machinery and innovative team-oriented services have recently upgraded their quality testing capabilities with a new Tinius Olsen 5ST, 5kN testing machine. The company deliver everything from spinal implants, pedicle screw systems, implant-grade PEEK spacers and other medical devices. 

Of particular interest for their quality program are their implant-grade PEEK spacers. PEEK, short for polyether ether ketone, is a semicrystalline thermoplastic polymer, with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties that are retained to high temperatures.
This colorless organic polymer has various engineering applications, as well as being considered an advanced biomaterial for the use in medical implants. These are commonly known as PEEK implants and include minimally invasive spinal, lumbar and thoracic implants. It is also used with a high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for creating a partial replacement skull in neurosurgical applications.
The primary reasons why PEEK implants are preferred by medical institutions include: 
* Resistance to attack by organic and aqueous environments within the body  
* Robust character that gives them the ability to undergo intense precision fabrication  
* Non-toxic and safe for human applications


PEEK is also finding increased use in spinal fusion devices and reinforcing rods. 

The polymers other applications within the world of manufacturing include aerospace, automotive and chemical process industries. Because of its robustness, PEEK is used to fabricate items used in demanding applications, including bearings, piston parts, pumps, High-performance liquid chromatography columns, compressor plate valves, and electrical cable insulation. It is one of the few plastics compatible with ultra-high vacuum applications. 

The manufacturer’s investment in a superior quality control program, with sophisticated Tinius Olsen testing equipment, has added peace of mind to the company’s capabilities and reputation. And with an ever expanding list of applications for PEEK, the durability of this equipment will satisfy all their testing requirements for years to come.

3D Printing – Role of materials testing


Robotic exoskeleton technology has been with us for almost sixty years but the most recent advances in its composites base could see it being an integral part of missions to Mars in the 2030’s.


To many of us the term exoskeleton is reserved for the realms of science fiction or conjures up images of body armour clad superheroes such as Iron Man or even Batman. Although the vast majority of these have sprung from the fertile imaginations of artists and writers, the equally fertile lobes within the scientific community are turning this science fiction into science fact.


An exoskeleton is a rigid structure that wraps around the body and is often used to assist joint movement. This ‘exosuit’ try’s to act like an artificial muscle, aiding the wearers’  muscles to contract and extend.

The development of the first robotic exoskeletons can be traced back to around 1965, when General Electric developed the Hardiman, a large full-body exoskeleton designed to augment the user’s strength to enable the lifting of heavy objects.

The first exoskeletons for gait assistance were developed at the end of the 1960’s at the Mihajlo Pupin Institute, Serbia and in the early 1970’s at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.

So, step forward Dr Matt Dickinson, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. Matt teaches in areas around concept design, with especial focus on the application of composite materials through 3D printing technology. Working out of the University’s new multi-million pound Engineering Innovation Centre, it appears he was in the right place at the right time.


“I’ll be honest, if you told me three years ago we’d be on the verge of developing world leading exoskeleton technology, I’d have questioned your sanity but here we are,” said Matt.

“It all started thanks to a local teenager who won the regional Primary Engineer competition back in 2019. Luckily, it was my responsibility to assess each entry and this one instantly struck a cord with me, as it simply asked why there is no special suit, or exoskeleton, that a child with muscular disease can wear to aid with mobility. To me, it was such an obvious idea that there must be one out there already but how wrong I was!”

The reason for this lack of development was purely down to design. For instance, how do you produce a suit that ‘grows’ with its host, is lightweight enough to be practical as well as being low cost and thus accessible to all?

“As a mechanical engineer, my first thought was to produce the suit out of aluminium, which looking back, would have been totally impracticable as well as being horrendously expensive to produce.”

The required material needed to be lightweight and accessible but it also needed to be affordable. In short, the technology would be impracticable if no one could actually maintain it, or if lower income families couldn’t afford it.

“The structure of the suit is what’s called a passive design system, meaning it’s part exosuit, which acts as a point of contraction, like a muscle but is also a passive exoskeleton, which distributes the force and load.”


“By taking these two approach’s we are attempting to combine both of these technology’s to build a hybrid system that will support the human frame and also aid in the muscle contraction and extension, which has led to the development of a new bespoke actuation method that we have designed.”
“The material I initially looked with the potential to support this criteria was polylactic PLA. At this point, nobody had tested the material to see if it was capable of supporting the human body but the results soon indicated we had hit on something extremely special.”
The first iteration of the design proved the suitability of the composite, although issues with the materials reaction towards UV light and the potential for the lactic acid in human skin to impregnate the material, needed to be addressed.

“Skin can sometimes activate the lactic acid within the material, which would see bacteria forming and ultimately compromise its structural integrity. This led us to incorporating a material embedded with copper nanoparticles, that creates a barrier between body sweat and the composite – a perfect anti microbial if you like,” said Matt.
The project is also exploring the use of chopped carbon PET. This is due to the extra strength the composite offers, which would be utilised as the core of the supportive structures of the suit, encased in poly lactic acid and carbon fibre.
“Basically, as with all projects such as this, things are continually under development. These are the materials we’re moving forward with at the moment but we’re continually looking to develop new composites that may supersede them,” continued Matt.
“At this stage we couldn’t move any further forward until we had a better understanding of the mechanical properties of these materials, which is where Tinius Olsen comes in.”

A chance meeting at one of the UK’s major engineering show set the scene for the working partnership, which has seen the company loan, initially, a 50ST testing frame, a platform for optical extensometry, load cells as well as the companies powerful Horizon testing software. Technicians are also on hand to give advice and direction where needed.
The partnership goes way beyond just machinery and advice however. Through Tinius Olsen, Matt was introduced to ASTM International, becoming Subcommittee Chair of the  F48.04 Committee for standards in exoskeleton development.
“Primarily, what the ASTM F48 Committee are looking at, as with any R&D project that is going to be utilised with human use, is failure fatigue of the components that are being utilised. There’s also the life expectancy of the components and or material being utilised, through the usual compression, tension, and bending movements of everyday use. The Tinius Olsen machine and instruments we now have at our disposal will enable us to undertake this required testing at a much greater rate, literally taking years off the R&D time.”
“The doors this association has opened for the project are substantial, we have literally been catapulted from a lab in Preston onto the international stage, which has seen this development move forward exponentially. We literally wouldn’t have been able to get where we are currently without Tinius Olsen.”
“Our ultimate goal is develop a suit that can offer assisted living. It’s not really designed to give extra strength, more to give children with muscle disease more mobility, more independence and, most importantly, a greater quality of life.”
The suit will be going into human trials later this year.


Other Applications
It’s not just within the medical field this development can be successfully applied. As an example, space agencies such as NASA can adapt the technology into their spacesuit design for the forthcoming missions to Mars, planned for the mid 2030’s.

This can extend to military applications, not just supporting the body structure of soldiers and pilots but also ground crew and technicians responsible for the building and maintenance of heavy ordinance, tanks and aircraft.
 Professional sport can also benefit. Protective body equipment for sports such American football and rugby are obvious applications but the opportunities for the supportive treatment of sports injuries are also substantial.
 And of course the heavy lifting associated with construction and other manufacturing industries could see a reduction in work hours lost due to strain and back injuries to workers.


University of Central Lancashire, Engineering Innovation Centre


The Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) of the University of Central Lancashire, UK is located on the Preston Campus, bringing together world-leading research, leading business minds and inspiring teaching in a spirit of collaboration and

The new £35m EIC strengthens Lancashire’s position as a national centre of excellence for aerospace, advanced engineering and manufacturing and contributes towards maintaining the UK’s reputation as a global leader in these areas. It gives engineering students opportunities to work alongside research experts and industry partners, with the chance to work on vehicles inside our aerospace and motorsports laboratory, get to grips with flight simulators and drone technology, experiment with 3D printing, and a whole lot more.

The state-of-the-art teaching and research facility engages directly with industry and provides students with real-world experience on live projects. In doing so, the EIC acts as one of the driving forces behind the industrial strategy, both on a regional and national scale, addressing the need for innovation and producing the next generation of world-class engineers.
The Centre finds possible solutions to significant priorities in contemporary society and to elements of the UK Industrial Strategy.


Its role is to manage, support and stimulate strategic development and growth of engineering research and knowledge transfer, which will enable industry to address challenges at home and overseas. Activities are focused within a range of research areas containing a diverse series of specialist laboratories, covering a wide range of sectors including composites, oil and gas, 3D printing, intelligent machines, aerospace and motorsport.

Maximizing Your AMT Investment with Materials Testing Software


Download Horizon Brochure


Whether a materials testing system is fully or only partially automated, managing and analyzing the resulting data is just as important as the repeatability and sustainability of the testing process itself.

Data is key to engineering decision intelligence through advanced analysis, which increases your opportunities to rethink and optimize decisions for a better return on investment (ROI).

Align Your Data to Business Value

The best business value comes from efficiently compiling, analyzing, controlling and reporting on the data collected.  So, once you've aligned your automated testing system to achieve maximum productivity for your operation, make sure you can put those insights into action with powerful materials testing software that provides:

  • Insightful data analysis
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Designed to deliver test results instantaneously to the teams that need them, Horizon Software optimizes multiple parts of your automated materials testing operation:

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  • Back-up and Archive


Its pre-defined testing programs can be modified to fit a customer's particular requirements and Horizon also enables testing data to be exported and transferred to other data analysis systems. Find out how you can broaden the impact of your data with Horizon Software.



The future of plastic Melt Flow Index Testing

Today ASTM D1238 for melt flow does not currently accommodate a closed loop MFI it is a weight loading standard only.

However, the ASTM Committee D20.30 Thermal Properties, specifically D20.30.08 Thermal Processing Properties responsible for the standard are evaluating closed loop technology, in particular accuracy, repeatability and comparison of the same with dead weight systems. At this point they have a path to updating ASTM D1238 to cover both dead weight and closed loop MFI technology.

ISO 1133-1 does allow for closed loop melt flow technology see extract from the standard in pic.

That said it does not mean ASTM are lagging, rather they take a different approach proving technology works before they add it to a standard by performing actual comparative material tests to verify measurement performance and capability in key parameters including accuracy, repeatability and being able to define a precision and bias statement. In short ASTM wants to see the technology working before it will include it in a standard.

ISO takes a different route; it verifies a technology concept capability to perform a test irrespective of results being correct and or accurate etc. If a Technology is possible, feasible in concept ISO will put it in a standard in readiness for the future technology capability to come along.

I believe MFI technology will follow the same path as tension/compression machines many many years ago and more recently hardness testers in that the use of dead weight to provide a loading force will become extinct. Closed loop systems using a load cell and a control feedback loop will eclipse weight-based products in all areas of capability including but not limited to resolution, accuracy, repeatability, productivity and safety.

At Tinius Olsen our MFI technology application experts and active participants in ASTM standards are;

Harry Yohn – Profile linkedin.com/in/harold-yohn-532b9411

John Thompson – Profile linkedin.com/in/thompson-john-3b85957b

and you can check me out at linkedin.com/in/martin-wheeler-b6475294