50 Years and Still Innovating Force Measurement Solutions
Interface is well known for premium accuracy and reliability when it comes to force measurement solutions. The product lines that Low Profile VP Brian Shaw and Mark Weathers, VP, Mini and 1923 Wireless Business Products manage range from Interface’s oldest products to brand-new ones in the pipeline.
In this new InterfaceIQ post, we highlight the different ways we are instilling innovation in both our older products and our newest designs, including optimizing efficiencies and significantly reducing production time.
Mini Load Cells
Interface was founded on the LowProfile® load cell product, what some companies refer to as pancake load cells. The next major product line to come along in our history is collectively referred to as load cell ‘minis,’ which tend to be smaller and cover a wide variety of geometries and packages. The fundamentals of our quality products haven’t changed; however, the speed at which we are able to get these products to market has improved significantly.
Interface minis are used for light-touch, lightweight, or limited space applications. Our miniature load cells provide exceedingly accurate measurements, similar to our full-size load cells, with proprietary alloy strain gages, full temperature compensation, and some environmentally hardened applications. Capacities are available as low as 0.11 pounds of force / 0.5 newtons and as high as 100 kilonewtons.
Most of our off-the-shelf mini load cells can be used in a wide variety of applications. Our engineers can also work with customers to design custom load cells to fit a specific need. For example, our custom mini load cells are commonly used in the medical industry for applications like blood separation products.
Optimizing Production Significantly Cuts Lead Times
The most significant development in Interface’s mini load cell product line is the optimized production methods we have continually introduced. Inventory positioning and communication streamlining have helped to cut lead times in mini load cell production from seven to three days in our pilot product tests.
We take time to make innovation a priority in everything we do, from optimizing production methods to introducing new ways to help our clients succeed. This diversity is the reward Brian Shaw and I receive as co-managers of a department with our oldest and newest solutions.” Mark Weathers, VP of Mini and 1923 Wireless Business Products at Interface
Last week’s blog outlined efforts by leaders at Interface to improve efficiency by breaking down departmental barriers. The improvements we introduced have restructured various departments in the supply chain to allow our employees to have more direct communication with one another.
For instance, planners now sit directly on the production floor. This gives them direct access to the assembly line where they can schedule their own orders and accelerate time to market. In the past, the chain of communication was bogged down by departmental barriers that would slow down the time it takes to get a customer order into production.
1923 Wireless Series Load Cells
On the other end of the innovation spectrum is Interface’s 1923 Wireless Series Load Cell, a brand-new product in development at Interface. The original 1923 Series of load cells is one of Interface’s highest volume products. Its design and consistency have made it a popular off-the-shelf solution for many years.
The 1923 Series was originally designed for the oil and gas industry to avoid pump jacks going too fast and interrupting the capillary flow of oil. The load cell sits on the pump jack and monitors the force at which the jack pumps, providing real-time data to avoid over-pumping.
One of the challenges that sparked the development of our 1923 Wireless Series is the fact that the original 1923 Series requires a cable leading to the bridge device to relay the data to the user. In the hazardous environments where the load cell is used, the cables are subject to damage and can be inconvenient or dangerous. Our 1923 Wireless Series innovation removes the need for the cable and provides the same accurate, real-time data readings with little to no fuss.
Interface has thrived for more than 50 years because we have built a foundation for which we manufacture premium force measurement products. This enables us to look ahead and create solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.
Contributor: Mark Weathers, VP, Mini and 1923 Wireless Business Products, Interface