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Interface Helps to Move Agriculture Innovation Forward

The agriculture industry is the backbone of most economies, as food production and farming are essential to everyone’s existence around the world. Advancements and innovations in this market are core to growing a sustainable food supply as well as for safety and productivity management across the agriculture supply chain. Interface is proud to support a range of customers developing innovative sensor-based tools and equipment used in the field.

As a complete solutions provider, we provide standard and engineered to order measurement products that are designed for modern agricultural testing projects and as components for OEMs. Our Interface expert application engineers can also help in the design of customized solutions for all types of applications using our products in harsh environments, for material handling, within complex agricultural machines, and for extreme weather conditions, and engine testing. These are typical use cases that rely upon the quality, accuracy and reliability of measurement solutions from Interface.

Our customers are in a range of agriculture submarkets, from heavy machinery to food production. The common products Interface supplies to these segments include our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and miniature load cells, along with the popular tension links, load shackles, and wireless instrumentation. We also provide advanced sensor technologies and digital monitoring equipment for agricultural-based manufacturing, farm and field management, inventory monitoring, equipment testing, livestock weighing and ranching, as well as food processing and grain monitoring.

In the application use cases below, we provide a few examples of agricultural solutions that are using various Interface force measurement products.  To review a larger series of applications, visit our Interface Agriculture Solutions here.

Silo Monitoring and Weighing

For customers who need to weigh and monitor the content inside their silos, Interface can offer our A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel Weigh-check Load Cells, paired with 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller. Using these products, the customers can monitor the amount of content by weight in their silo. In this application example, the customer was provided a customizable solution to monitor and weigh their silo. Results from the 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller were sent to the customer’s control center. Read the entire application note here.

Tractor Linkage Draft Control

A large commercial farmer group wanted to measure to measure the forces applied on their tractor’s draft control, between the tractor and any linked-on attachments. Measuring the force will help the farmer be able sense any strains on the hitch of the tractor and will be needed to apply any specific settings to the draft control when the tractor encounters rough terrain. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which is a wireless load pin that can be installed directly in the hitch, replacing the normal shear pin of the tractor. Force results are transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station, where the farmer can view the results on their PC computer or laptop with the supplied WTS toolkit. The customer can also view results on the WTSBS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters in real-time. Using these products, the farmer can determine the specific draft control settings for their tractor. Read more about the tractor application here.

Poultry Feeder Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor the motor that operates their poultry feeders. The poultry feeders must give out an equal distribution of feed per poultry house. We provided a solution using the T5 Standard Precision Pedestal Mount Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer, with the speed and angle options, which will be attached between a poultry feeder and a motor with Interface’s couplings. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged sing the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator. With this solution, the customer was able to monitor their poultry feeders and ensure that every feeder got the same amount of food distributed to it.

Interface load cells, torque transducers, and data acquisition systems are ideal for a wide variety of agricultural applications. These products can be paired together to measure and ensure efficiency, sustainability, and proper production planning. Interface products can also regulate through harsh weather conditions such has humidity and unbearable temperatures while still maintaining a high testing and measurement performance. Our custom solutions application engineers will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs if standard does not fit your exact requirements. Read more here.

To check out additional application examples related to the agriculture, and other industries, please visit our website at www.interfaceforce.com/application-notes/.  Be sure to check out these great new farm applications.

LIVESTOCK WEIGHING

 

CHICKEN WEIGHING

 

EQUINE REIN TESTING

Interface Load Cell Indicators

At Interface, our claim to fame is that we offer the most accurate and reliable force measurement devices on the market, from load cells to torque transducers and everything in-between. However, no test is complete without the system used to gather the data to evaluate performance results. That’s why we provide a wide variety of instrumentation solutions that include signal conditionersoutput moduleshigh speed data loggersportable load cell indicators, and weight indicators to complete any testing system.

Among the Interface instrumentation products, the most frequently purchased with a force measurement devices are our load cell indicators in various models including handheld, digital, wireless, multichannel, programmable, output modules, analog and bidirectional.

What is a load cell Indicator?

A load cell indicator is a high-accuracy device connected to the output of a load cell to amplify and display the value of the measured load force and weight. Load cell indicators are often needed where the force, load, or weight measurement needs to be visually displayed for the user and displaying the results on a PC is not feasible or desired in the testing environment. For example, testing in the field or confined spaces can make it impossible to connect directly to a PC. In these situations, indicators are used to quickly review and capture force data in real-time.

A few key benefits of load cell indicators include that they provide stable excitation voltage and converts force measurement sensor signals to a digital display. Commonly available features include analog or digital output, selectable digital filtering, peak and valley monitoring and set-point outputs. Additionally, each load cell indicator can be used to connect to four (or more) digital load cells and can display individual readings or the sum of all connected load cells.

Need a load cell indicator?

Interface offers a wide variety of load cell indicators in multiple configurations. Interface indicators come in single to multi-channel weight transmitters and can be found in handheld and portable designs. Things to consider when selecting an indicator are internal sample rate and update rate of the output. A few of our most popular indicators include:

9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator

Model 9890 is a powerful multipurpose digital load cell meter ideal for weight and force measurement applications. With a max current of 350 mA at 10 V, it can support up to 12 load cells making it perfect for multipoint weight measurement purposes. The dual-scale capability allows for displays in two different units of measure. See a demonstration video here.

9320 Battery Powered Portable Load Cell Indicator

Model 9320 is a bipolar 7-digit handheld meter featuring two independently scalable ranges, peak and valley monitoring, display hold, mV/V calibration, and a power save feature. Typical battery life exceeds 45 hours of continuous use and 450 in low power mode. IEEE1451.4 TEDS Plug and Play compliant.

482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator

Model 482 is battery powered, bidirectional, and comes in a NEMA 4X stainless enclosure. Standard options include 523,000 internal counts, 0.8-inch LCD 6-digit display and a measurement rate that goes up to 40 Hz. Available options include analog and relay outputs.

1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller

The Interface 1280 Series programmable digital weight indicator with color touchscreen, web server view and multiple protocol types delivers uncompromising speed for today’s operations and expansive options for tomorrow’s requirements.

INF4-Ethernet IP Weight Transmitter and Indicator

The Interface INF4-Ethernet IP weight transmitter and indicator has a six-digit red LED display (8 mm height), space-saving compact design, four buttons for the system calibration, and a six-indicator LED.

See all the indicator options here.

Load Cell Indicator Application Note

The application note below provides an example of the benefit of a load cell indicator in real-world use within the medical industry.

A pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces applied by the tablet forming machine to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, forming force, and motor-cycle speed. The goal was to improve productivity and efficiency of the tablet forming process while reducing losses, such as cracked tablets or voids, by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criteria for given inputs.

An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell (10K lbf Capacity) was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data.

The indicator was selected as the data collection device because a laptop could have interfered with the test cycle due to space restrictions. The output of the load cell was connected to the 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator and set aside so that the cable did not interfere with the cycle and no snagging would occur. A cable tie was used to stow aside the cable and to ensure there was enough clearance for the entire cycle.

After analyzing the data, the tablet producer was able to quantify adjustment levels by monitoring which forces produced the most optimal results for a given cycle speed, die set, and raw material. Productivity and efficiency were greatly improved by the enhancement of the data feedback.

To learn more about Interface load cell indicators and for a complete list of products, you can download our instrumentation brochure here. You can also read more about instrumentation options in test and measurement in this post.

Finding the Center of Gravity

Even after more than a half-century in the force measurement industry, Interface continues to find new  and innovative use cases for our precision products.

Recently, we were approached by a customer who needed help finding the center of gravity in order to optimize weight distribution and balance for a product in development. Our outstanding team here at Interface put our heads together to develop a unique testing method to help discover this critical data point.

One of the most rewarding experiences in managing our custom solutions is learning about a new customer challenge and developing a novel solution to address it.” Ken Bishop, Director of Sales and Customer Solutions, Interface, Inc.

For this specific use case, the customer had a cylindrical tank filled with material for which they needed to find the center of gravity. Because we were able to calculate the distance of the tank, we were able to understand the weight distribution and create a test to find the center.

The center of gravity of an object is calculated when the weight of the given object is concentrated into the center of the object. This is determined by measuring the weight seen by each of the four legs.  If the weight is distributed evenly, the material is in the center location.  This center location can also be referred to as the origin.

Utilizing a Model 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, which is highly customizable instrumentation for any application, we were able to write a program to achieve our goal. We then placed two Model 1211 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cells on each end of the rack where the tank resided, using four load cells in total. Because we knew the distance of the object and had load cells to measure the weight at both ends, we were easily able to calculate and identify the origin point on the tank. In this case, the center of gravity.

Ken noted that during his tenured career at Interface, this was the first time he and the team had been tasked with finding the center of gravity in relationship to the distance for an object. As Interface’s team thought about how to develop the custom solution, they also considered additional applications in which this information could be beneficial.

The result of this successful test and measurement application, Interface considers the center of gravity analysis as a beneficial test to optimize flight performance of an airplane. This is important when there is that instant that a plane is not flying at max capacity. There may be open seats all around you, but in order to keep weight distribution in balance, the attendants may need to limit which seats are occupied during a flight. If planes were equipped with this type of sensor technology to calculate center of gravity, they could more evenly distribute weight and ensure optimal performance.  This same type of application can apply to any vehicle that moves on land, air or water with people or cargo.

SEE THE APPLICATION NOTE FOR CENTER OF GRAVITY TESTING

In the growing demands for urban mobility, unmanned vehicles and drone technologies, this type of testing application can help with vehicles, aircraft, space vehicles, boats and more with performance and safety.

Force measurement has a limitless number of applications to improve performance, maximize efficiency and even work in real-time to provide smart decisions. At Interface, we are discovering new ways to redevelop our load cell, torque and multi-axis sensor products for customized solutions to meet the growing demands for innovation.

Interface works with a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, metrology and industrial automation by teaming up to create unique use cases and applications that require our custom force measurement solutions. If you have a unique project that requires a custom solution, please visit the custom solutions page on our site at /custom-solutions/ or contact us at 480-948-5555.

Contributor:  Ken Bishop, Sales and Custom Solutions Director at Interface

Tank-Weighing-and-Center-of-Gravity-1