The durability and safety of any construction project depends on the durability and safety of the materials being used. The goal of construction materials testing (CMT) is to validate that durability and safety to ensure projects meet expectations, specifications and timelines.
CMT software is how material testing labs manage this process. Specifically, CMT software automates how data moves through the entire testing workflow, better structuring and securing that data in an unalterable format – forever.
Today, this type of solution has become critical for labs trying to overcome the traditionally manual, time-intensive and error-prone workflow.
Why CMT Software?
CMT software connects the entire testing process and solves four common problems CMT labs face:
- Misreading, misidentifying or misplacing concrete specimens due to illegible handwritten labels
- Inconsistent test results due to limited machine functionality and variance between technicians
- Errors from handwriting, retyping and data entry during and after the test
- Difficult to collect, process and analyze unstructured or handwritten data
From specimen identification and testing to data collection, transfer and security, CMT software helps you overcome common issues through automation and seamless integration.
This begs the question: Is CMT software something you can build yourself?
Should You Build or Buy a Solution?
All construction materials testing labs know how critical data storage is. That’s why, through the years, many have moved away from paper-based filing cabinet systems. The effort to use less paper naturally led to a migration to systems like Excel. While there’s less paper involved, labs still have to manually add test data to the system and organize flat files on a server.
This has inspired some organizations to build their own solution. Tools like Access are great to develop homegrown systems. But when it comes to the functionality that CMT software available on the market provides, homegrown systems fall flat. A relational database structures data in a better way than previous systems, but the workflow is still burdened by manual data entry. Not to mention, it doesn’t solve the other problems in the CMT workflow beyond data management.
CMT software not only enhances the efficiency of field and lab test result data management but also upgrades testing machine functionality, unlocks powerful data analysis and allows for transparent data sharing. Plus, it’s simple to set up – unlike a homegrown system that requires a robust initial build out and ongoing maintenance.
That said, this is only true with the right type of CMT software. Here’s what to look for in a solution that will truly take your lab to the next level.
What to Look for in CMT Software
#1. Cloud-based Platform
A cloud-based database provides structure for your lab’s testing, analytics, access and security needs. This isn’t just any piece of cloud technology, though – it’s defined by free-flowing data that can be integrated to work with other software programs.
#2. Integration Capabilities
Your CMT software solution should play along with the other technologies you already use so data can move freely between the cloud database, testing machine, LIMS, accounting system and more.
#3. Short Learning Curve
Make sure any piece of technology you introduce to your lab transforms your process without making it more difficult to get the work done.
#4. Quick Technical Support
Finally, implement a solution that is backed by a provider with an experienced, dedicated team who know the unique issues of construction materials testing.