Shaking Things Up With Benchmark's AVEX Shock Machine

by Jonas M. Quillen / January 31, 2020

Benchmark's AVEX® Shock Machines™ are used in the design and destructive testing of components, circuits, hybrids, and complete assemblies. Avex Shock Machines are designed and built in Huntsville, Alabama and come in three sizes/models to serve a wide variety of testing needs across industry verticals. 

My Shock Machine Journey

My name is Jonas Quillen, program administrator for Benchmark's Avex Shock Machines. With more than 25 years of experience working with the Avex Shock Machines, I have traveled the world, servicing machines and installing systems for our valued customers.  Designed for years and even decades of abuse, most of the machines that I service are at least 20 years old.  I am always excited to see our machines in action, testing many of the products that we use every day such as cell phones, airbag sensors, watches, and many of the automotive sensors that keep our vehicles running and people safe.  It’s also very rewarding to know that all of the major military contractors use the Avex Shock Machines to verify their hardware.  Many of the test labs such as Emperior Laboratories, Osram Automotive, Centrotecnica, MPI, and Electronics Test Centre  leverage the Avex Shock Machines for shock testing to industry standards. I recently overhauled an Avco SM-500 mechanically controlled machine that was built in 1967! It felt great, like restoring an old automobile to its former glory. 

The Avex Shock Machine History

In the late 1950s, we began development of the shock machine to primarily test articles for NASA.  In the early 1960s, we introduced a pneumatically driven mechanical shock machine to allow for testing specimens to a higher G level while allowing for a machine to be placed into a lab with a normal height ceiling. This machine had a pressure vessel that was controlled by a cam timer, switches, and a patented braking system. In the late 1970s, a microprocessor controlled machine was introduced to complement the mechanical style machine that allowed for a keypad operation of the height and pressure; this variation of the machine is still in use today. Although the controls have changed, the base of the machine has remained the same and is built from steel components and a cast aluminum carriage that are almost indestructible. The machine was designed and built to withstand years of abuse.    

Today's Shock Machines

Today's Avex Shock Machines provide half-sine, sawtooth and square-wave shock pulses from 3 G to 30,000 G. Benchmark's Avex Shock Machines are available in three different sizes to include the SM-105-MP, SM-110-MP, and SM-220-MP. The Avex Shock Machine department offers a rebuild kit for both the Mechanical and Microprocessor styles of machines that will basically restore the machine back to its original state, allowing for many more years of service. 

The Avex Shock Machine team is always happy to offer customer support free of charge to anyone with an Avex Shock Machine in the field or to take questions or concerns on a new purchase of a machine.  I have been building new machines from the ground up since 1989 and have serviced-repaired many machines in the field. I can usually diagnose a problem over the phone or by email with a few words or “sounds”. If you'd like to know more about the Benchmark's Avex Shock Machine, please reach out, I'd love to talk with you!


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about the author

Jonas M. Quillen

Program manager for the Benchmark Avex Shock test machine department in Huntsville, Al, Jonas is originally from Killen, Al where he graduated from Brooks High School. He enlisted in the United States Army Reserves. After completing basic training and advanced individual training for satellite communications radio repair. he moved to Huntsville where he enrolled in Rets Electronic Institute where he received an associate’s degree in Electronics Engineering Technology and began his career at Avex as an electronics technician. I continuing his Army Reserve status. He enjoys his job building the shock test machines and getting to travel to service the machines while hearing stories from customers.

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