Waste is one of the world’s biggest concerns today, and humanity understands that a huge waste of materials, labour, energy, and other resources occurs both in the economy and at home, writes the science section of Postimees.
Author: Ain Alvela
There is an understanding that waste needs to be reduced, but it often fails to end in real action. This is where researchers can come in – they can help to assess the material early on in a test laboratory.
The Laboratory of Mechanical Testing and Metrology of Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) is mainly engaged in providing testing services for metals and their various alloys to companies. As a result of years of work, the laboratory has observed that the client usually arrives with their material when there are already consequences to be dealt with.
Liisa Kurissoo, head of the laboratory, says that the reason is that a thorough quality check is often not carried out or is done only partially, leaving out some important factors. But, as in every other area of life, prevention can help to avoid many problems later on.
‘Alongside today’s fast consumption, the need to conserve nature and financial resources in the manufacturing of products has become increasingly relevant,’ Kurissoo admits. ‘Initially, it is important for engineers to ensure through design that the product has a long lifetime and that the material can be recycled, and then to find suitable manufacturing processes and a supplier of a high-quality but low-cost material.’ According to Liisa Kurissoo, the lab has found an outlet in the provision of services to companies, and although it is part of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering of TalTech, it is essentially a self-sufficient company. The lab is staffed by materials scientists, but they also contribute to resolving and preventing problems in the company. Of course, this has reduced the amount of research – choices have to be made.
‘We give companies a peace of mind and reassurance that the metal material that they take into production is of high quality and suitable for the device or part that they are manufacturing. That is why it is worth having the material checked before starting production – if only for the peace of mind,’ says Kurissoo. ‘Unfortunately, life has shown us that people usually only come to the lab with their materials when they already have a problem. At the same time, it can also be said that those who have already reached us will be more aware of the importance of prevention in the future.’
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