Components of Universal Testing Machines - Industrial Physics Components of Universal Testing Machines - Industrial Physics

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Components of Universal Testing Machines

UTM Glossary: Universal Testing Machine parts & components

Get to grips with the ins and outs of your average Universal Testing Machine, with our handy glossary.  

Key UTM parts and components explained


Additional extras than can be used to customize your UTM to suit your set up. These include everything from safety chambers to environmental chambers for testing at different temperatures.  


Adapters allow different grips and fixtures to be attached to a load cell. They can expand capabilities of the tests a UTM can perform. 


This is the base section of the machine and houses sub-components, like the motors, belts and switches.  


These provide the area for the machine’s cross head to move between, they also provide stiffness and rigidity to the frame. UTMs can have a single or dual column design. 

Cross head 

The part of the Universal Testing Machine that moves up and down during the testing process. It can be powered by an electrical motor or a servo-hydraulic driver.  


Equipment capable of determining useful calculations like the Modulus of Elasticity, Secant Modulus and Poisson’s ratio. They are available in a wide variety of gauge lengths with varying strain measuring ranges, depending on the samples being tested, and should be calibrated per ASTM E83. 


Grips are what hold the samples for testing. There are hundreds of different grip or fixture options available for tension, compression, and bend/flex applications. The type of grip used tends to depend on the amount of force it needs for the sample to break, some examples include wedge grips, pneumatic grips, or vice grips. 

Load cell 

The load cell attaches to the cross head and provides a real-time reading of force in both tension and compression during the testing process. It should be calibrated per ASTM E4 with an accuracy +/- 1% of the indicated value required. 

Mechanical stop switches 

If a cross head touches the limit switch, the motor is disengaged. This prevents damage to grips, fixtures, and load cells. 

Operational controls 

Allows operator to manually control certain features of the UTM outside of the software. This exists for ease of use and safety purposes, allowing access to an emergency stop switch, for example.   

Test frame 

The UTM frame, which allows a space for the cross head to move throughout the testing process and may encapsulate a single or dual column.  

UTM overview from United

United Testing Systems – a product line of Industrial Physics – has put together a short video with a handy overview of UTMs. If you’re looking for extra information or a visual idea of how some of the components or parts look in action, have a watch.  

Choosing and customizing a UTM with Industrial Physics

We understand that every lab and set up is different, that’s why we’re fully trained to help you find the best solution for your particular product or line. Many aspects of a UTM can be customized and we can help you determine just what’s needed – from grip type to driver style. If you’re ready to hear more, get in touch today.