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Documentation of the 4 Million Pound Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine

Prepared by: Shakhzod M. Takhirov Dick Parsons Don Clyde

Earthquake Engineering Research Center University of California, Berkeley

August 2004


Description and Operation Details

The 4,000,000 Pound Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine (shown in Fig. 1) is designed to permit testing in tension, compression, and bending or flexure. In the Southwark-Emery type of hydraulic machine, the load is applied by a variable axial piston pumping unit. The oil under pressure between the ram and cylinder, forces the latter downward, carrying with it two long 12-in diameter screws, which in turn carry downward the movable cross-head. As the result, the movable cross-head applies compression strain on a specimen located between that cross-head and the bed plate as shown in Fig. 2 or applies tensile stresses to a specimen (as shown in dotted outline, Fig. 2) between the movable cross-head and tension cross-head.


Front view of the 4,000,000 lb Universal Testing Machine.

The load on the specimen is measured by means of the four load indicating dials in the control room. These dials are connected to the pressure capsule, shown in Fig. 2 as a part of the movable cross-head and also in detail in Fig. 3. The upper unit of the capsule

Fig. 2.

Major components of the test machine.

Fig. 3.

Detail of pressure capsule and load indicator dial.

is integral with the movable cross-head, while the lower unit is a portion of the yoke which is in contact with the test specimen and is free to move slightly with respect to the cross-head. The shallow space between the upper and lower units of the pressure capsule is filled with oil, and a thin flexible diaphragm over the upper surface of the lower unit prevents the leakage of the oil through the clearance space around the periphery of the lower unit. Any application of load causes a very slight closing of the shallow oil gap between the two parts, the pressure is transmitted undiminished in the load indicating dials. Four large springs on the movable cross-head keep an initial pressure upon the pressure capsule at all times, this initial pressure being counterbalanced on the load indicator dials. A 50 horsepower motor is arranged to turn the screws and to raise or lower the movable cross-head in order to accommodate compression specimen of various lengths. For tension tests, it is also possible to adjust the location of the tension cross-head to any of the five positions of the large key slops to be seen on the faces of the columns. The testing can be conducted at predetermined rate of load application. The rate can be changed during the test procedure. An automatic load maintainer permits the application of a constant load of any value up to 4,000 kip for an indefinite length of time. This option may be useful for testing of materials in plastic deformation under a constantly sustained load.

The length of the specimens for bending tests is limited by the length of the bed plate that is 12-ft, and the distance between the supporting points can be as long as 15.5-ft for specimens oriented diagonally on the bed plate. However the bending tests for a very long specimens is possible with the load limited to the weight of the machine. Two small push-back cylinders force the oil from the main cylinder back into the supply tank after completion of a test and thus return the movable cross-head to its original position. This testing machine has a wide variety of uses as it may be used for testing fullsized structural elements in tension, compression, or bending. Tests can be conducted on large components or tools used in: buildings (columns, column footings, wall panels), bridges (large wire ropes or trusses, girders), pipelines (pipes with large cross-section), construction (large crane hooks, hydraulic cylinders used in bridge post-tensioning rams), rolling mills (large-capacity load cells) and etc.



The machine has an overall height of 65 ft., the maximum length of tension or compression specimen is 33.5-ft and clearance between the screws is 10-ft. The total weight of the machine is 480,000 lbs, the movable cross-head alone weighing 76,000 lbs. Maximum loading rate at rated capacity is 4.25 in/min (108.0 mm/min). Maximum loading rate for loads not exceeding 100,000 lb (450 kN) is 24 in/min (10 mm/s). The summary on the capacity and main parameters of the test machine is presented in Table 1.


Accessibility and Supplemental Facilities

A 8 ton crane installed in the top part of the machine can be used during assembling a test specimen in the test machine. The test machine is directly accessible by flat bed truck through an 11'wide by 16' tall door. The test area is serviced by a 12 ton bridge crane (not shown in photo). This facility includes a full machine shop and welding shop for necessary on-site work.

Table 1. Capability of the 4-Mlb Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine.

No. 1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 4

Capacity parameters and units Compression load, lbs (MN) Tension load, lbs Rate of load application, lbs/min Maximum length of test specimen (compression), ft (m) Maximum distance between tension grips, ft (m) Distance between supporting points for test specimen in bending, ft Distance between supporting points for test specimen in bending, ft Full ram stroke, in Inventory of Supplemental Parts

Limitation 4,000,000 (17.8) 3,000,000 (13.3) varies 33.5 (10.2) 22 (6.7) 15.5 (4.7) limited by floor size around the machine 48 (1.2)


up to 4,000,000 lbs (17.8 MN) up to 480,000 lbs (2.1 MN)

For years of intensive testing at various facilities including the EERC facility, a number of various useful adapters and supplemental parts has accumulated to be used in specimen fixture and during testing itself. Compression Testing. Short specimens can be compressed in a convenient elevated position by using a 27.5-in (0.70 m) high solid steel pedestal shown in Fig. 4. The pedestal's diameter is 17.5-in (0.44 m). Two 36-in (0.9 m) diameter swivel platens are available. These platens are ground flat to 0.001 in (0.025 mm) over the face. The platens may be locked against rotation if requested. Other bearing surfaces are available, including round platens and square blocks of solid steel with thickness varied from 0.5-in (0.01 m) to 11.75-in (0.30 m), as shown in Figs. 5-7. Specimens may also be placed directly on the bed plate, which has a working area of 120 x 144 in (3.0 x 3.7 m). Tension Testing. Either flat grips (Fig. 8) or V-grips are available. The adjustments of the grip thickness can be done by means of shims shown in Fig. 9. The flat grips will accept specimen ends up to 8 in (0.2 m) thick and 12 in (0.3 m) wide. The V-grips will accept specimens from 6 in (0.15 m) in diameter up to 15 in (0.38 m) in diameter. All grips are 17.5-in (0.44 m) long. Specialized jigs are either available (Figs. 10 and 11) or can be fabricated for loading specimens of unusual shape, such as hooks.

Fig. 4

Pedestal for compression testing

Fig. 5

Blocks for compression testing

Fig. 6

Platens for compression testing

Fig. 7

Platens for compression testing

Fig. 8

Flat grips for tension testing

Fig. 9

Shims for tension testing

Fig. 10

Slotted adapters for tension tests

Fig. 11 Pinned adapters for tension tests


NIST Traceability

The Southwark-Emery load cell, which is internal to the lower cross-head of the testing machine and is completely independent of the hydraulic ram used to load the specimen, is traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., by means of a reference load cell that is maintained by the University of California at Berkeley. The output of the Southwark-Emery load cell is monitored by a pressure transducer and load-cell indicator that provides a calibrated voltage of 1.000 V per 1,000,000 lb (0.2248 V/MN). This signal is available to the customer for data-acquisition purposes. Copies of the Calibration Report on the Southwark-Emery load cell are provided in Appendix B and are always furnished with a Certification of Test Results, if such certification is requested.


Hydraulic System

The original a Hele-Shaw 7 cylinder adjustable stroke pumping unit was replaced by a modern pumping unit with pressure, flow, and power control manufactured by Bosch Rexroth, Industrial Hydraulics. The unit Series 50 pump, with a model number of AA10VSO100DFLR/50R, has the ability to achieve a maximum pressure of 3,000 psi (210 bar). A 30-hp, 1165 rpm motor powers the pumping unit. The maximum flow rate can be as high as 30.8 gpm and can move the main cylinder with velocity of 4.25-in/min (108.0 mm/min); area of the main cylinder is 1660


Maintenance: Schedule, Service Providers, and Supplies

The schedule of maintenance with required supplies and providers of the service is summarized in Table. 2.

Table 2. Summary of maintenance schedule and records. No 1 Maintenance Service procedure provider Oil added in 36- Not available in diameter tank Supply Quantity Date performed 01/28/74 Date scheduled 01/28/??

Mobil 5 barrels DTE 24 (275 Gal)


Calibration Data

The calibration data are presented in Appendix A. A summary of calibrations tests conducted up-to-date is presented in Table. 3.

Table 3. Summary of calibrations conducted No 1 2 3 Supplied by Danny's Construction Danny's Construction Con-Tech Systems Ltd. Contact 1066 West 10th Ave., Shakopee, MN 1066 West 10th Ave., Shakopee, MN 24424 Manzanita Drive Descanso CA, 91916 (619) 659-9931 Date 04/28/03 01/08/04 03/13/03


Existing Drawings and Manuals

Table 4. Inventory of existing drawings and manuals No 1 2 3 Supplied by Hydraulic Controls, Inc. The A.H.Emery Co. N/A Contact Stockton, CA (209) 466-1531 Name Electrical Schematic Hydraulic Support: General Assembly 4,000,000-lb. Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine (Operation and Use) Date 08/01/1990 10/13/1931 N/A



Manufacturer Information and Current Location of the Test Machine

The 4 Million pound Universal Testing Machine is a product of joint work of the Baldwin-Southwark Corporation and the A.H. Emery Company in the 1930s. This partnership produced the Southwark-Emery line of testing machines. The A.H. Emery Company, is one of the world's oldest manufacturers of hydraulic load cells and force measurement products. Founded in 1868 by scientistengineer A.H. Emery, the Connecticut company manufactured hydraulic and pneumatic force measurement systems which were developed primarily for use in strength of materials testing machines. The most famous machine ever developed by A.H. Emery

was started in 1873, the year in which the U.S. Congress appropriated money for the design and manufacture of a machine to test iron and steel to settle the question regarding the merits of iron vs. steel for use in cannons. The testing machine, capable of testing materials up to loads of 1,000,000 pounds, was delivered to Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Mass. in 1879. Later on the company became a part (the oldest component) of the Emery Winslow Scale Company, manufacturer of non-electronic load cells (additional information can be found at The Baldwin-Southwark Corporation eventually became a part of SATEC Systems, Inc., which was purchased by Instron® in 1998. Today, SATECTM remains the brand name for Instron's hydraulically powered universal materials testing machines. The Instron Industrial Products Group located in Grove City, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh), continues to market and manufacture this SATECTM Series along with high capacity electromechanical Universal Materials Testing Machines. For more information please visit the Instron's web site at The 4 Million Pound Southwark-Emery Universal Testing Machine was manufactured in 1932 and initially was installed at the Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. Later on, the machine was moved to the University of California, Berkeley, CA and was reassembled in Davis Hall (Fig. 12). The last test at the Davis Hall facility was conducted in April of 1965 and then the machine was moved to Building 484 at the Richmond Field Station facility of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center (UC Berkeley), Richmond, CA.


User Manuals and Training Documents

Some training material is provided in the manual provided by Dick Parsons, that is presented in Appendix A.


Front view of the 4,000,000 lb Universal Testing Machine back in 1965.

Appendix A. Operating Manual A.1. General preparatory actions

1. Check pressure capsule w/feeler gages adjust by adding oil (Fig. A.1). Record date, and feller gage dimension on the side of the capsule if any changes are made. (Do not over fill: it can change calibration in the head). 2. Make sure area is clear inside yellow boundary line. 3. Make sure nothing is connected to machine, and elevator, for example: rope, instruments, pots, and wires etc. 4. Check 5 gallon oil bucket in pump room. 5. Turn on all electric amplifiers and meters. 6. Turn on air (Fig. A.3). Suggested 1.6-million test range. Allow approximately 2 minutes for air to settle out. 7. Turn on machine (pump control) (Fig. A.4). 8. Adjust head with Rapid Travel, and turn Hydraulic Control Unit switch to "Return, or Press" (Fig. A.5). 9. Remote Box: turn retract to 3, or 4. Once set do not change (Fig. A.6). 10. Retract screws 48" meter reading minus 19-1/2" for a starting place (Fig. A.7). 11. Hydraulic Control Unit: switch to "Press". 12. Remote Box: turn to 3, or 4; turn speed to 3, or 4 (see Fig. A.6) 13. Repeat two previous steps (3 times) to remove air out of system. Check pit for water. 14. Remove screw covers at bottom of screws (Fig. A.8). 15. Digital Indicator: do not change signal pots for any reason (Fig. A.9).


Compression test case

1. Assuming you are doing a compression test. Unlock mechanical lever (Pad Lock), and choose position up, or down. (Fig. A.10). 2. Choose between pedestal or specimen, and leave a 2" gap. Lever should be in the middle, or off position (see Fig. A.6). 3. To close the gap, bring it down hydraulically. Watch load indicator. Have a ground person to guide the operator with guiding onto the specimen, or pedestal. Example:

Calibrating a load cell with pedestal. You normally take it to maximum of the load cell range 3 times. Then calibrate load cell (Fig. A. 11). 4. Head can be either fixed, or spherical (usually fixed).


Case of tension test

The hardness of the spuds should be no greater then 35B, and a minimum of 6 inches in diameter, and a minimum of 24 inches in length. It is important that the spuds stick through the grips 1-2 inches minimum to eliminate damage to grips. The grips in the lower, and upper cross-head should never extend below or above the head, but must be adjusted so that when gripping, the grips remain within the taper area of the head. When adjusting the grips, they should receive the same shim sizes on each side to remain in the center. It is very important to apply a lot of grease to the shims and the back of grips to aid in removal of the specimens. Upper Head Grips: 1. Connect air, and electrical plug on the machine, that opens and closes the upper grips (Fig. A.12). 2. Turn on the grips. Using the crane and a cable insert spud through grips (Fig. A. 13). 3. Once the spud is installed turn the electrical switch for the grips, to off (Fig. A. 14). Loosen the crane cable (don't disconnect). At this point the spud should be in place, and hanging by the grips (Fig. A. 14). 4. Adjust upper grips as needed by removing and installing shims (Fig. A. 15). 5. Connect the lower spud to the bottom of the specimen. Lower Head Grips: 6. Hook up air hose and electrical for the lower grips. 7. For safety, place a 4" ­ 6" block of wood in the center of the lower head, and below the grips (Fig. A.16). 8. The lower grips will travel upward 2 ­3 inches when the air, and electrical is turned on. 9. The grips should never extend above, or below the head. (Always adjust so grips remain within the tapered area). 10. Load specimen up to 200,000 lbs. if possible. To seat the grips.

11. There is a red light on the control panel. At 200,000 lbs. load, turn the red light off, and go back to "0" and start testing (Fig. A.17). Lowering, and Raising Upper Orange Head: 12. Make sure electrical, and air hoses are disconnected. 13. Remove 6-Ton crane. Clamp beam to crane, so that when lifting crane, the beam doesn't slip out and fall (Fig. A.18). 14. Raise red head within 1" of touching the bottom of the orange head. Use the screws, or rapid travel to get within 1" (Fig. A.19). 15. Hydraulically use the red head to lift the orange head. 16. Install 4ea. 1-1/2" studs for orange keys, and pull out the 4 keys. 17. Do not move the elevator at this time. (Will crash into key studs). 18. Move head to the desired height with the rapid traverse. 19. Reinstall keys and remove studs. 20. Lower head to desired height. 21. Reinstall crane.

Fig. A.1.

Check capsule w/feeler gages adjust by adding oil.

Fig. A.2.

Dick please describe what we are checking here...



Fig. A.3.

Turn on air.

Dial zeros

Do not use


Fig. A.4.

Turn on machine (pump control).

Over Ride Black push button

Rapid Travers

Fig. A.5.

Adjust head with Rapid Travel, and turn Hydraulic Control Unit switch to "Return, or Press".

Fig. A.6.

Remote Box. Turn retract too 3,or 4. Once set do not change

Neg. 19-1/2"

Fig. A.7.

Retract screws 48" meter reading minus 19-1/2" for a starting place.

Screw Covers

Fig. A.8.

Remove screw covers at bottom of screws.

Do not change

Fig. A.9.

Do not change signal pots for any reason. (Digital Indicator).

Fig. A.10.

Unlock mechanical lever (Pad Lock), and choose position up, or down.

Fig. A.11.

Drawing for compression test setup (load cell calibration).


Fig. A.12.

Location of power and air connections to power-up grips in top cross-head.

Fig. A.13.

Turn on the grips. Using the crane and a cable insert spud through grips.

Fig. A.14.

Once the spud is installed turn the electrical switch for the grips, to off.


Fig. A.15.

Adjust upper grips as needed by removing and installing shims.

Place blocks under grips

Fig. A.16.

Place a block of wood in the center of the lower head, and below the grips.

Fig. A.17.

At 200,000 lbs. load, turn the red light off, and go back to "0" and start testing.

Clamp "I" beam to 6ton crane.

2 Keys

Fig. A.18.

Detach 6-Ton crane.

Rapid Travers

Fig. A.19.

Raise red head within 1" of touching the bottom of the orange head. Use the screws, or rapid travel to get within 1".

Appendix B. Calibration Data Attach all calibration data sheets...

Topics not covered: · NEES vs. non-NEES · recharge rates for non-NEES


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