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Exponent is a 32-bit software package which drives the TA.XTplus and TA.HDplus Texture Analysers.

This software package from Stable Micro Systems is available for use with Windows 2000 and Windows XP Home & Professional. Contact your local Stable Micro Systems distributor for pricing information of new packages and upgrades.

TA.XTPlus

The capability of Exponent software for users engaged in research is constantly increased by the addition of testing procedures, presentation formats and analytical solutions. However, many users in QA or in a high throughput production environment require simpler test and data analysis solutions. Exponent Lite has been introduced to accommodate these requirements.

Exponent Lite, compatible with both TA.XTplus and TA.HDplus instruments, enables simple texture analysis by offering flexibility and simplicity of use without loss of accuracy or performance.

Users at all levels will appreciate that minimum learning and training is required whilst providing all of the capabilities to run tests quickly and efficiently.

Operationally, it is almost identical to Exponent but the complexity required by advanced users has been removed.

EXPONENT FEATURES

Both versions of Exponent offer the following features:

1: Calibration and force verification

Calibration ensures that measurements made by the Texture Analyser are accurate; Exponent and Exponent Lite provide for the calibration of Force, Height and Stiffness and Force verification:

Calibrate Force: A factory calibration is stored in non-volatile memory in the loadcell. In addition, a User 'single point' calibration may be performed with any weight up to the capacity of the loadcell installed, offering convenience and maximising accuracy over the test range being used.

Calibrate Height: Probe height calibration defines the absolute probe position from the base or any reference surface so that strain can be measured.

Calibrate Stiffness: Single and multiple point frame stiffness provides maximum accuracy for high force and small distance measurements.

Check Force: The value of any weight placed on the calibration platform is displayed to verify that the complete force system is calibrated accurately.

2: Instructing and controlling the Texture Analyser

Options for specifying the test procedure are:

Automatically loading a Test Project: A Project combines all of the components required to initiate a complete test and analysis procedure and is the basis on which a user can centralise all files required for a specific product test. The samples directory contains over 180 projects from which users can select as a starting point.

Choosing from a Test Library: A series of classical Texture Analyser tests are included, from which simple or 'enhanced' versions are available for selection. A TA Settings window is displayed which allows the user to specify such parameters as speed and test distance. Advanced features within a test can be hidden for simplification. All TA Settings parameters have an explanatory caption.

Probe Control: The arm of the texture analyser can be moved up or down at any speed by moving the slider handle on the Move Probe window. This control also allows movement of the probe to an absolute or incremental distance or force at a specified speed. Five probe positions/forces can be programmed and recalled for quick probe positioning pre-or post-test. Live force and position information is also displayed.

3: Running a test and collecting data

Before testing, the Run a Test window establishes test options and post-test parameters such as file name or probe used. Details of the sample and attachments can also be specified for further analysis. Long file names enable the inclusion of detailed information, useful when locating the test file for future viewing.

Data Collection Rate 
The ability to collect data at high rate is particularly important when testing products that fracture or require high speed separation, such as adhesives. The data buffer is limited only by free memory of the PC. During testing, force, distance and time values and additional peripheral data values, if attached, are collected and the real-time data displayed during the test in a Graph window. Tabbed graph windows for easy access to all relevant archive file information are present. Graphs can also be copied or exported as .bmp or .jpg.

Test History Database 
This feature tracks when tests were run and where they have been saved.

Axes 
The graph axes can be changed to display the data in different X and Y combinations. 

4: Data Analysis

Data, once collected and displayed in a graph window, has to be analysed to interpret results and draw conclusions. Exponent provides a wealth of analytical tools, from the most basic option of collecting a single force value, to more sophisticated methods of curve smoothing or detection of inflection points.

Data Analysis Icons 
Icons for the calculations of such parameters as Area, Gradient, Time Difference, Mean, Count Force Peaks, Force Maxima/Minima etc. are quickly accessible on the toolbar or minimised to those required by the user via the Customisable Toolbar option.

Data Analysis
Results from manual and automatic analysis are individually displayed.

Macro Window 
A Macro simplifies repetitive analysis and display, with a set of instructions being listed and executed to automatically collect data from the graph. Tests can be automated with simple or intricate macros ideally suited to a production environment. Tabbed windows for groups of commands provide simplified listings that can be dragged and dropped into the program so eliminating complex syntax.

Macro Samples 
An extensive library of macro samples is included, providing quick analysis of recommended application methods.

5: Managing Results

Result Window
Presents results in a customised spreadsheet with provision to add rows and columnsto manipulate data, using either user or stored formulae e.g. Standard Deviation, Average etc. Multiple worksheets are available to separate product parameters from results and user data.

Exporting Data 
Spreadsheets, text or images can be exported to other Windows applications for further specific manipulation/presentation.

FEATURES ONLY IN EXPONENT

Exponent software will maintain its ongoing expansion to provide the most powerful and flexible testing analysis solution available for:

  • Researchers or advanced texture analysts

  • Users requiring long-term flexibility of operation and analysis
  • Users requiring additional synchronised data measurements, such as temperature or acoustics, with traditional texture analysis data

Programmable Sequencing
This allows total flexibility in the programming of the Texture Analyser arm movement. New test sequences can be written to accommodate sophisticated arm movements, data capture options and control of peripheral devices such as temperature modules.

Advanced Data Analysis
Exponent provides a wealth of sophisticated analytical tools which are available for immediate use and quick interpretation.

Presentation and Layout Options

Chart Window
A chart gives a visual representation of the data from the Results window. Select from 27 Chart types (2D and 3D) and define rotation, position, 3D lighting properties, legend styles, base and wall styles, and axes type (stacked, normal or %).

Report Window 
A report establishes a format for presenting information for others. Users may present hourly online test results to managers or well-formatted presentations to marketing and customers. Reports may include graphs, results files, pictures, logos, text, test settings, test preferences, batch numbers, product information, etc.

Reports are automatically generated from active objects and fields when a report template file is open. A Spell Checker, Thesaurus, support for tables and OLE objects are also included.

User Configurable Shortcut Keys
Enables quick access to features that you want and how you want to obtain them.

User Configurable Tools Menu 
Create shortcuts to your favourite utilities straight from our menus.

Workspaces 
For saving window layouts in the preferred configuration.

Dockable & Customisable Toolbars 
User-selectable tools layout as seen in other 32-bit Windows programs.

Axes 
Logarithmic and second Y axes are available.

Enhanced Security Module

Developed in accordance with the FDA CFR21 Part 11 guidelines, the EXP/ESM Enhanced Security Module for Exponent has been introduced to provide electronic record and signature management.

It offers features to improve the security of user and customer information, with continuous monitoring and tracking of results and records. Features include an encrypted log-on password with protection for validation of calibration checks. Multiple hierarchical levels of user profiles are available and electronic signatures can be used for record certification.

Another important feature is the ability to copy and print out audit trails to track results and records. The module is also able to detect and notify any attempt at unauthorised use of passwords and/or identity codes during the audit.

Main Features:

  • Strict password checking option

  • Locks program after pre-defined amount of inactivity
  • Sends messages to specified users or computers on detection of tampering
  • Advanced logging of actions such as logging in/out, changing options, performing calibrations, etc.
  • Policies to create common security rights for groups of users
  • Define the number of login attempts before being locked out
  • Specify lockout time if required
  • Specify password validity
  • Specify a number of unique passwords required before reuse
  • Option to force user to change password when they next login
  • Ability to display a custom reminder if the password is forgotten
  • Option to prevent user from changing their password
  • Option to disable a user account or temporarily prevent it from being used
  • Option to give individual users rights to verify actions such as calibrations
  • Ability to log Check Force results with independent user verification

Other Special Features

Sax Basic Macro Language 
Full debug facilities including breakpoints, single step, step over etc. Access to advanced Exponent data and commands.

Language Editor
One software version has all language options, selectable at the User window. Languages may be edited using the translator.

OLE Automation
This offers an interface for easy integration into many programming languages allowing total automation within a bespoke system.

Sequence Debugging Facility
A sequence written by the user can be debugged should any error have occurred in the user sequence programming.

Test Maker 
This facility allows a user to build a customised test from a selection of standard arm movements which can be imported into Exponent.

View details of software for the TA.XTExpress Texture Analyser


PC Requirements

  • 1GHz CPU

  • 1 Gb RAM

  • 1024 x 768 x 24 bit graphics

  • 500Mb of free hard disc space (2Gb if video clips installed)

  • DVD/CD-ROM

  • Windows 98, ME, 2000 or XP Home / XP Professional

  • RS232 port @ 115,200 Baud port (if connected to TA.XTplus)

  • Mouse

  • Sound card (optional)

  • Internet access for updating purposes (optional)

  • Printer (optional)

Windows 2000 and Windows XP are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.


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