What Is Rub Testing
According to the Thwing-Albert Instrument Company’s website, rub testing is the process by which a company can tell the quality and colorfastness of printed material. Whether the material the print is on or the ink itself being tested–this process centers around quality control and ensuring the production team of the product’s ability to withstand the elements and the punishment it might endure. According to Steris’ webpage about Rub and Abrasion Testing, this process can be done in several ways. There is dry testing, wet testing, wet bleed/transfer, wet smear, or functional rub testing–that material might endure seeing if it holds up to the elements/conditions to which it will likely be exposed. Steris emphasizes the test being done to packaging material for delivering certain goods to customers.
Rub Tester Machine
Sutherland is a popular manufacturer of the rub testing machine. This machine can oscillate and rub two pieces of material together to simulate the wear and tear the material/ink might endure. A machine like this is more practical than having an employee with a company stand there and rub two materials together to see if one or the other can hold up. This machine can move at varying speeds under varying conditions to simulate possible environmental possibilities. When the speed gets turned up, the material will endure more stress and simulate a more trying environment or a longer amount of time going by. A quality rub tester machine is capable of any of the aforementioned tests: dry, wet, wet bleed, wet smear, or functional test.
Why Is Rub Testing Important?
A company can save a lot of money through the utilization of a rub testing tester machine. Before going to production and using a lot of manpower or materials, a rub tester can simulate the quality of the product so if there is a deficiency, it can be addressed before too much goes into it. Additionally, Steris’ webpage emphasizes the importance of making sure that ink can hold up to what challenges the material will face. Think about medical equipment or a package containing other sensitive material. If an ink wears away due to wet conditions or too much jostling while in transport, the company on the receiving end might struggle in knowing exactly what the machine inside does. This is equally harmful to mislabelling if the ink cannot be read in the first place. The purpose of ink is to communicate a message between two parties and if the ink just wears away in a rainstorm or the back of a truck rubbing against other boxes, it will be as if there was no printing on the material at all.
These machines, most notably the Sutherland models, have varying capabilities to help simulate a wide variety of conditions and variables. A company utilizing this rub tester machine, according to the Thwing-Albert Instrument Company–can use the machine with varying (even customizable) speeds and a method to automatically count the revolutions and compare different inks more accurately.