Performing complex tests on full-scale equipment components and systems

This often includes applying load, pressure and temperature in different combinations and sequences. Tests can be conducted for the following purposes:

  • Verifying prototype designs
  • Quality control for mass-produced components
  • Qualifying products for specific applications
  • Certifying products to national or international standards
  • Investigating failures

We welcome test observers representing the client and third parties representing other stakeholders.

Safety Systems and Procedures

C-FER holds a Certificate of Recognition (COR) issued by the Province of Alberta for its safety program. This program requires external audits to identify areas of improvement and to ensure compliance with changing industry safety standards.

Safety is paramount when testing large structures. Huge amounts of energy can be stored in a test specimen when applying load and pressure. Robust and redundant safety systems are required to manage the energy release if the test specimen fails.

The first line of defense is to design the testing system to be fail safe. This requires consideration of all possible failure modes to ensure that no components are overloaded. Finite element analysis and material verification are often required during the test design phase to account for complex loading conditions.

The second line of defense is to install safety barriers that isolate the testing system from personnel and other equipment.  Concrete and steel are used liberally to construct these barriers. In some cases, sacrificial components are installed to absorb the energy released when a specimen is expected to fail.

The last line of defense is personal protective equipment, but we design our tests so that we are not relying on these measures to keep people safe.

Every test is assigned a responsible Professional Engineer that reviews all equipment designs, testing equipment and procedures. A Project Hazard Management Form is reviewed by an independent Professional Engineer prior to test execution. Any staff, clients or contractors working on or observing a test are required to review and sign the Project Hazard Management Form.

Instrumentation and Control Systems

For all tests we use instrumentation systems that have traceable calibration records. We perform most of these calibrations in house to ensure quality and consistency.

We use advanced measurement techniques such as Visual Image Correlation and laser scanning to monitor test specimen response throughout the tests. Tests can include hundreds of data channels recorded hundreds of times per second.

We use LabView from National Instruments to develop custom data acquisition and control systems for each test. Automated control systems increase the accuracy and repeatability in following complex test procedures. Some tests can be fully automated so that they can run unattended to reduce testing costs and shorten testing schedules.

We can provide remote monitoring of tests so that clients can track project activities and review test results in real time over the internet.

Custom Testing Systems

Many of our testing systems were custom built to meet an industry need. Sometimes this is for a specific project, such as building a large deepwater experimental chamber to qualify pipe for the first ultra-deepwater pipeline between Oman and India.  Other systems were designed and built to meet the need of an industry sector such as building a high-temperature, multi-phase flow loop to test artificial lift systems for Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) wells.

Many other temporary testing systems are also designed and constructed, sometimes for just one test.  These set ups take advantage of:

  • Large inventory of pumps, valves, piping, hydraulic rams, structural components and instrumentation
  • Various adapters to mount different types of specimens and equipment in load frames and pressure vessels
  • Local large-scale fabrication shops to build large custom test fixtures and pressure vessels

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) are commonly used when designing new testing systems. All load carrying components are reviewed to ensure there is sufficient load capacity. Dynamic stability of the test setup is also considered. Failure modes and magnitudes of energy release are modeled and used to design appropriate safety systems.

Rapid hydrostatic pressure cycling



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Computer rendering of C-FER’s High Temperature Pump Testing Flow Loop



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Strain Limit of Large Diameter Pipe


Automated data acquisition & control



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High-capacity structural testing


Enabling full-scale testing of deepwater pipeline and equipment



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