By Watchdog reporter

The quality of construction materials made from steel is set to increase after Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) acquired the Universal Testing Machine (UTM) to test for their quality.

The UTM is used to check for the tensile strength of construction steel products such as steel bars, angle bars, and even iron sheets.  The machine checks whether the steel bars are strong enough to support a building and also strong and flexible enough when bent during construction.

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While the machine is primarily meant for testing steel products, it also has provision for testing other materials such as compressive strength of bricks and blocks.

Speaking at the installation site of the machine on 25th July 2016 at Standards House Bweyogerere, the Manager Testing Mr. Deus Mubangizi emphasized that the machine tests for the tensile strength of the steel bars (strength of the bar when pulled apart).  It also tests for the strength used to show that the bar can bend without breaking.

A Boost to UNBS

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Mr. Mubangizi adds that previously UNBS was using machines from other industries, which was a challenge for UNBS to execute its mandate efficiently and effectively, given that these machines would only be available when the owners are not using them. But now that the institution has got its own machine, it will work better in monitoring and enforcement of standards for steel products and other building materials.

He adds “The machine is modern and accurate, and will therefore be a reference point for all other machines in the country for inter-comparison purposes”.

About the Machine

The UTM machine which cost 180,000 US dollars, takes a very short time to load and test a sample because it uses the hydraulic system. With this machine installed, UNBS is very optimistic that the steel sector will be properly regulated.

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