Development and Production of Pavement Testing Systems

Stellenbosch - South Africa



MLS Test Systems Pty Ltd, was founded in 1998. In 2004 it was registered as a limited company with Johan Müller as president. The directors of the company have extensive experience in electro mechanical design and pavement engineering. Prof Fred Hugo Fellow of South African Academy of Engineering , has forty years of accelerated pavement testing experience and extensive project management experience of more than twenty years. During this time he was co-owner of a large engineering company that employed more than 400 engineers at the time.


The main purpose of MLS is to develop and manufacture research and test equipment for the road and airport pavement industry. The cooperative research of the directors had previously lead to the registration of a patent for the MLS technology in the field of accelerated pavement testing (APT) in 1991. Shortly thereafter the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). commissioned the development of a full-scale APT machine (TxMLS), based on the patented MLS technology. A five year research programme with the TxMLS followed with Fred Hugo as Project Manager.


Fred Hugo's experience of forty years in the field of APT served as the basis of the initiative to embark on the manufacturing of APT test equipment. Thus far thirteen MMLS3 systems have been manufactured and exported to the USA , Europe and China. MLS Test Systems has been involved in more than twenty APT research projects since its founding. The projects were located in southern Africa, Europe and the United States. The findings have been widely published.


The office of MLS Test Systems Pty Ltd is located in Stellenbosch with a support staff of ten persons. The company has the benefit of working in close association with the research institutes at the University of Stellenbosch where both directors were on the staff for a long time.

Field testing at the NCAT APT full-scale test track

MMLS3 testing on a highway in Jacksboro Texas in conjunction with the TxMLS


In 2004, the World Bank sponsored an APT research project in Mozambique. The successful bidders opted to use the MLS10 as their full-scale APT equipment. The design of the MLS10 is based on the successful MMLS3 produced by MLS Test Systems. Since then, the Swiss Federal Research laboratory EMPA in Zurich has also signed an agreement to test the MLS10 on a project in Switzerland with the option to purchase.


MLS10 is a state-of-the-art APT device. One of the unique features is that it is driven by contactless linear induction motors eliminating drive-train fatigue and wear. It can apply up to 7 200 full-scale load applications at 26 kph. The machine was manufactured in Cape Town under close watch of the designer Johan Müller. The structural design was done by Dr Jan Wium, specialist in structural dynamics at the Institute for Structural Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch .


Johan Müller and Michael Franzen of Petrel Engineering inspecting the structural shell and hydraulic piping of the MLS10 during manufacture at the factory in Cape Town, South Africa


The MMLS3 systems are globally distributed. Owners are research and commercial entities.

        • University of Stellenbosch (two) S A
        • Roadlab in Gauteng SA
        • Worcester Polytechnic MA - USA
        • University New Hampshire NH - USA
        • Texas A&M Univ TX - USA
        • Penn State University PA- USA
        • Virginia Polytechnic Institute (on order)
  • SRT commercial lab in Natal SA
  • EMPA Research Laboratory - Switzerland
  • North Carolina State University NC - USA
  • University Massachusetts MA - USA
  • Texas DOT TX USA
  • RIOH MOC Beijing China
  • Chang'an University Xi'an


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