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Interface’s Steering Role in All Types of Transportation

Interface serves a wide variety of industries that design and manufacture movers of people and objects. The transportation sector consists of companies that assist in the movement people or goods, as well as supporting infrastructure. Whether it is automobiles or planes, trains or helicopters, spacecraft or water vessels, Interface provides solutions to help test and measure force, weight, torque, lift and more.

The safety, quality and reliability of the overall transportation industry are all important considerations in design, build and performance. Human safety being the most critical requirement of any transport vehicle or structure.

This means that stringent testing is necessary to confirm the design of every part and system on a vehicle. Force measurement sensors can used to test a wide variety of factors on every type of invention that moves or transports a person or thing. From the torque of an electrical vehicle engine to the weight distribution of an aircraft, these types of tests help to refine the designs of components, vessels, and vehicles, confirming safety and dependability.

All Interface product categories have a role in the testing of all these transportation entities.  Many of our sensor technologies are also ideal for performance monitoring and integration into product designs, whether it’s for ongoing measurement of weighing ship cargo with load pins, load shackles and tension links or using our torque transducers for engine testing on e-bikes, automobiles, trucks, buses, and other transport vehicles.  If it moves, it needs to be measured. Our force and torque solutions are ideal for every segment of this market sector.

Let’s take a quick tour of a few application examples that demonstrate the different products we provide that are helping get people and objects safely moving down the road, on the rails, in the air and even into space.

Wind Tunnel Testing

A major aerospace company was developing a new airplane and needed to test their scaled model for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, by measuring loads created by lift and drag. Interface offered a Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell which was mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel and connected to the scaled model by a stalk. A Model BX8-AS was then connected to the sensor to collect data. The wind tunnel blew air over the scaled model creating lift and drag, which was measured and compared to the theoretical airplane models. Software in the PC converted raw data signals to actual force and torque values at the stalk. Using this solution, the company was able to analyze the collect data and made the necessary adjustments in their design to improve the aerodynamics of their theoretical airplane models. Read more.

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing

A garbage disposal company wanted to test the load capacity of their garbage truck bins so they know when it reached maximum capacity. Interface’s solution was to customize and install 4 SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells under the garbage box body, on either side. When trash continues to be piled inside the box body, it will push more force down onto the SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells. When maximum load capacity has been reached, the results can be reviewed and displayed when connected to the 482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator in real time. With this system, the customer was able to test the maximum load capacity of the garbage bin attached to the truck, so they know when to empty the truck’s garbage at the transfer station. Read more.

Engine Head Bolt Tightening

 

 

 

 

 

An industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an auto manufactur­ing plant. They needed to tighten all head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine. Several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque, angle, and ensure the head bolt was properly tight­ened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation. When the machine comes down and screws on the engine head bolts the torque and angle profile are sent to the customer’s machine controller. Based on the feedback received by the machine controller, the automation will pass the engine to the next step in the assembly line or fail and have the engine evaluated further. This allowed the customer to ensure the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant. Read more.

Bicycle Load Testing

A mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame. They also want to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during this final step of the product testing process. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. When a heavy load is added to the seat, the SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures the vibrations and load forces applied to the bike to indicate any stress points through a number of cycles. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. This solution helped the mountain bike manufacturing company gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing cycle. Read more.

These are just a brief example of the work we do in transportation. Interface systems have been involved in projects with boats, races cars, construction vehicles and even rocket ships. Manufacturers turn to Interface because of our track record for accuracy and the transportation industry relies on this data to keep its customers safe.

For additional insights and ideas related to transportation solutions, here are a few more posts to read.

Interface Plays a Role in Testing Bicycles

Evolving Urban Mobility Sector for Test and Measurement

Interface’s Crucial Role in Vehicle and Urban Mobility Markets

Measurement Technologies for Boats, Yachts and Watercraft

Interface and The Race to Space

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

To review more application notes pertaining to transportation or to talk to an application engineer about your next project, contact us or call us at 480-948-5555.

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Recently, Interface commissioned an independent research report on multi-axis sensors demand and use cases. This is a product line that Interface has made significant investments in as more customers require increased load cell functionality and additional source data from their force sensors. The research results confirm that the current demand is in fact expanding worldwide, and the overall users and market size is expected to grow by double digits over the next six years.

Included below is a brief overview of the state of the multi-axis, as well as an explanation of their overall purpose and why the growth of this type of test and measurement device continues to increase in popularity. We will also continue to break out the results of this research paper, so tune into the InterfaceIQ blog for more multi-axis research content. To learn more about these advanced sensors, view our ForceLeaders webinar Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors.

Multi-Axis Sensors Market Overview: The rise of IoT and Industry 4.0 had enabled automation. Machines continue to get smarter and can make split-second decisions using real-time data. Force measurement plays a key role in this transformation. Load cells that are tracking performance and reliability have more insights than ever before. They will continue to grow in their accuracy and capabilities. Load cell and sensor technologies are being used to identify precisely when and where something went wrong on a production line. Load cells will be growing in playing a key role in making production lines more efficient, less reliant on human resources and less costly.

There has been increased need for multi-axis sensors that measure and collect data points on up to six axes. Multi-axis sensors were invented because of the increased requirements for data, both in testing and during actual product use. And this is not slowing down anytime soon. Over the next decade, load cells will continue to keep up with the demand to handle more measurement data points. More sensors will need to be packed into a single device to collect more data with less equipment.

Five Key Take-Aways from Interface’s Multi-Axis Market Research:

  1. There is a growing requirement for high-performance sensor fusion of multi-axis sensor systems to enable the newly emerging technologies and highly demanding applications.
  2. Advancements in technology enabling effective components at a lighter and smaller size, such as the swift rise of unmanned vehicles in both the defense and civil applications and the increasing applications based on motion sensing, are the factors driving the multi-axis sensor use cases for testing and to embed into products.
  3. Digitizing force sensors is another trend changing our product innovators and manufacturer’s designs of machines and equipment through advanced measurement data. Many have strongly invested in more advanced digital electronics to efficiently harvest and store more data. Revolutions in industries and technologies is the dominant trend in force measurement, not to mention the entire manufacturing and engineering industry. Harnessing big data enables product users to remotely monitor assets and increase use of analytics.
  4. With network-connected force measurement through sensors and instrumentation, OEMs have greater control over testing and product development. Equipment using multi-axis sensors to track performance and reliability provide valuable data on how equipment is performing and predict when machines need maintenance.
  5. Global machine makers and equipment builders want smaller force sensors they can permanently install in the products. Smaller, wireless sensors are easier and less expensive to install. As more industrial networks are created to share higher-quality data, more and more sensors will be added to these machines.

What: Multi-axis sensors allow the user to measure forces and torques, which occur in more than one spatial direction, as with measurements in x- and y-direction. This allows manufacturers to obtain more data on a wider variety of axes, allowing them to make better design decisions and ultimately improve the product quality. A crucial focus is force measurement in manufacturing, where force transducers are frequently used to determine the force for weight measurement or in the process of production.

Why? Data-driven test and measurement is at the forefront of product development, especially in highly regulated markets like aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial. One of the most significant applications for multi-axis sensors is seen in manufacturing facilities who want to integrate more autonomy and robotic processes. The goal is to streamline logistics procedures and reduce human errors and workplace accidents. The report also found that there is a great deal interest for last-mile delivery robots, either on the ground, on the sea or drones in the air.

Interface’s Role: Interface multi-axis load cells are ideal for industrial and scientific applications. They are used by engineers and testing labs in various industries and market segments including aerospace, robotics, automotive, advanced manufacturing, for medical devices and research. Our products designed to provide the most comprehensive force and torque data points on advanced machinery. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, these multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety in their product design.

In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic designs and usability standards with multi-axis sensor testing. The automotive industry is using Interface’s multi-axis products in wind tunnels, and the military is using them to test the center of gravity in aerospace applications.

Here are a few applications use cases that show how multi-axis is advancing products in multiple industries:

Wind Tunnel

Seat Testing Machine

Friction Testing

Industrial Robotic Arm

Ball and Socket Prosthetic

Prosthetic Foot Performance

Syringe Plunger Force Measurement

Research was conducted independently by Search4Research.

Interface and The Race to Space

Like many, we are celebrating some incredible milestones in the space industry this year. With every milestone, there is a long path of discovery, invention, and experience that creates these extraordinary moments.

The 53-year history of Interface is rich in experiences supplying force and torque measurement solutions to the engineers and innovators of space vehicles and the structures that support them. For decades Interface has supplied load cells, torque transducers, and multi-axis sensors of all sizes and capacities to the organizations that put the first man on the moon and to those that are pursuing the commercialization of space travel and colonization of other planets.

Our legacy as a reputable provider of sensor technologies has created a reliance on Interface products and expert calibration services. Our products have been and are used today in the development and flight qualification for the ascent and now descent of spacecraft, with rapid expansion and frequency. As we enter a new era of recoverable spacecraft, we are seeing more dependence on Interface as the supplier of the measurement devices used by these remarkable innovators, builders, and test engineers.

Why Interface? It comes down to reliability and accuracy, two extremely important measures of success in the launch and recovery of spacecraft.  These measures are also critical factors given the acceleration in space travel for both valuable cargo and with greater occurrences, humans.

Beyond the performance factors of precision force and torque measurement solutions that Interface engineers and manufactures, we are chosen by the steadfast leaders and new entrepreneurs in the space industries because of quality and our ability to customize our products to exact specifications.

You will find Interface products used in thrust testing, structural testing and even force gravity testing.  Every new test and launch inspire the Interface team to keep doing what we do. In fact, you can find our high-capacity and miniature load cells in use with future engineers and astronauts at universities around the world that are inventing new planetary exploration vehicles and rockets.  Learn more here.

Interface provides products that accurately measure thrust, which is critical in cargo lifting. Every test must be verifiably accurate due to the trustworthiness and safety requirements of moving the ever-increasing valuable payloads, which is beyond stellar communication technologies. It’s now about launching and returning humans, with frequency, in the new era of space travel.

Interface load cells are also commonly used in the production and development of launch structures.  These structures must withstand incredible forces during liftoff and return.

You can also find the Interface blue and stainless-steel load cells in the designs and for testing structures and aerodynamics for payloads of all types.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage is 27 feet in diameter and 200+ feet tall. Core components including liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks must withstand launch loads up to 9 million pounds-force (lbf). Interface 1200 High-Capacity Standard Precision Low-Profile™ Load Cell Model 1260 for 600,000 lbf capacity, Model 1280 for 1,000,000 lbf capacity and Model 1290 for 2,000,000 lbf capacity were used in the design and testing of the structure.

Load cells were attached to hydraulic cylinders at various locations along test stands to provide precise test forces. Strain gages bonded to rocket structure surface and connected to data acquisition system for stress analysis. Read more here: /solutions/aerospace-industry/rocket-structural-testing/.

Exploring the possibilities of what you can measure?  Interface is here to support your vision and mission. Contact our experts to help you get exactly what you need to accurately measure your designs.

 

 

Load Washers 101

Load washer load cells are a versatile product used throughout a wide range of industries and applications. These force measurement donut-styled components are frequently used to measure and monitor clamping forces, fastening control, bolt loading and other compressive loads.

A load washer looks remarkably similar to the washers used to distribute the load of a threaded fastener like a screw. A load washer also works in a similar fashion, however they’re made of rugged stainless steel material and use proprietary measurement technologies, like strain gages, which allow it to measure press and compression force rather than just distributing the load.

Interface offers eight different models of load washers of varying sizes and force measuring ranges, all the way from 11.2 to 1124K lbf. The Interface Load Cell Load Washers can be easily designed into products to continuously measure and monitor compression forces. The variety of load washer styles and capacities, all using the thru-hole feature, give product engineers and designers multiple choices for what best fits their application and use case. Specifications for each model are available, along with design files and model ranges online.

For instance, our LWPF1 Load Washer Load Cell is designed to measure press force and is rated at capacities from 450 to 22.5K lbf. It offers a large thru-hole and short height for tight spaces.

Another popular Interface load washer is the LWCF Load Washer Load Cell which can be used to measure clamping forces and also bolt tightening. It has a capacity range of 3.4K to 337.2K lbf and is ideal for determining bolt preloads. We offer precision, high-capacity, and environmentally safe load cell load washers.

Interface also offers two models that have pre-manufactured mounting holes for installation, which are ideal for press force control and measurement. You can see our entire line of load washer load cells here.

Interface load washers are smaller in size, allowing for standard and customized sensors of this type to be used by original equipment manufacturers. We commonly get requests for these load cells for use in industrial automation equipment, medical device testing, test and measurement projects as well as products that need a small but precise sensor.

We’ve also included real-world applications of load washer load cells below. This will give you an idea of the types of projects in which this force device can be used to determine accurate force data used to refine or confirm the design of product or tool.

AIRCRAFT SCREWDRIVER FASTENING CONTROL

An airplane manufacturer was able to calibrate their screwdriver by measuring its torque, rotational speed, and angle, when attaching materials together for their airplane. They were also able to measure the forces being applied to the screw, to ensure it was not applying too much torque to the components. With a T15 Hex Drive Rotary Torque Transducer attached to the fastening work bench, the system measured and recorded torque, rotational speed, and angle of the screwdriver. The LWCF Clamping Force Load Washer  is installed, measuring the forces applied on the screw being fastened. Results are sent to the SI-USB4 4-channel USB Interface Module, which is connected to a laptop where data is logged, graphed, and displayed for test results.  This configuration provided data to calibrate their screwdriver by measuring its torque, rotational speed, and angle, when attaching materials together for their airplane. They were also able to measure the forces being applied to the screw, to ensure it was not applying too much torque to the components.

BOLT FASTENING FORCE AND TORQUE

Using a General Purpose Load Washer Load Cell Model LW in conjunction with a Model T12 Square Drive Rotary Torque Transducer, the customer was able to align force and torque measurements to desired levels. This was accomplished by combining the sensors with the high sample rate of the data logging and graphing capabilities of the SI-USB, capturing real-time force and torque levels for examination. The fasteners were tightened to the specified force and torque requirements and were safely installed without impairment to themselves or the joint material. The customer was able to measure the rapid event effectively and accurately.

To learn more about load washer load cells and our entire product lineup or to talk to an engineer about the specific needs of your next project, please call us at 480-948-5555.

 

 

Understanding Load Cell Temperature Compensation

The performance and accuracy of a load cell is affected by many different factors. When considering what load cell will work best for your force measurement requirements, it is important to understand how the impact of the environment, in particular the temperature impact on output.

An important consideration when selecting a load cell is to understand the potential temperature effect on output. This is defined as the change in output due to a change in ambient temperature. Output is defined as the algebraic difference between the load cell signal at applied load and the load cell signal at no load. You can find more detailed information in our Technical Library.

Temperature affects both zero balance and signal output. Errors can be either positive or negative. To compensate for this, we use certain materials that are better suited for hot or cold environments. For instance, aluminum is a very popular load cell material for higher temperatures because it has the highest thermal conductivity.

In addition to selecting the right material, Interface also develops its own proprietary strain gages, which allows us to cancel out signal output errors created by high or low temperatures.

In strain gage-based load cells, the effect is primarily due to the temperature coefficient of modules of elasticity of the force bearing metal. It is common in the industry to compensate for this effect by adding temperature sensitive resistors external to the strain gage bridge which drop the excitation voltage reaching the bridge. This has the disadvantages of adding thermal time constants to the transducer characteristic and of decreasing the output by 10%.

Our load cells are temperature compensated for zero balance. By compensating for zero balance, we can flatten the curve in the relationship between temperature and zero balance. An uncompensated load cell has a much more severe curve, which ultimately affects accuracy and performance.

Interface offers thousands of load cell designs, for standard use and for use in hazardous environments. For instance, rocket engine tests subject our load cells to extremely high temperatures. For use in various maritime industry projects, they can be used in very cold coastlines and even submerged in cold water. No matter where you are, environment influences the load cell’s performance.

If you are concerned about temperature, Interface provides specifications for every load cell we manufacture. The Interface specification datasheet, as referenced here, is available for download by product. It always includes all the necessary data required to understand the load cell’s ability to perform at the highest-level including compensation range, operating range, effect on zero balance and effect on span.

One thing that is also unique about our products is that while most competitors only compensate for hot temperatures (60 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit), Interface covers both hot and cold thermal compensation from 15 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, including adjust and verify cycles.

Watch our recorded webinar Load Cell Basics, where Keith Skidmore discusses temperature compensation.  He notes during this informative presentation that if the temperature is changing during a test, it can affect the zero and the output of the load cell. How much effect depends how much temperature is changing and how well the load cell is compensated against the errors, which can be either positive or negative. Good news is they are repeatable from test to test, so if you have large temperature swings you can characterize the system and then subtract out the shift if you know the temperature effect on zero.

Interface Application Engineers are available to answer questions regarding the effect of temperature on force measurement data, or the different ways we can help design a solution to compensate for your environment.

Solutions Provider for Aerospace & Defense

Interface has developed highly innovative force measurement solutions for a variety of complex and highly regulated industries. These industries require the most accurate and reliable test and measurement equipment on the market because bad data and unknown variables can spell disaster. This fact has never been truer than it is in the aerospace and defense sector.

For our worldwide customers in aerospace, Interface supplies a variety of sensor solutions, including load cells, tension links, load shackles, wireless instrumentation and more. And Interface is a proud supplier to some of the world leading manufacturing aircraft, spacecraft, military, and defense organizations such as the U.S. Government, NASA, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Bombardier, Embraer, Boeing, Airbus Gulfstream, Cessna and more of the world’s most prominent (and well known) rocket builders.

To further highlight our work in the aerospace and defense industry, we’ve also put together a case study outlining, in detail, some of the specific applications in which force measurement sensors can be used. The case study dives deeper into three specific applications highlighting the products used for aircraft wing fatigue, aircraft engine hoist, and parachute deployment and deceleration testing.

READ: The new Aerospace & Defense Case Study can be read in full here.

As a premier partner to these and many other leading global aerospace and defense companies, we’ve seen a lot of high-profile applications which require both off-the-shelf and custom manufactured force solutions. Our engineers and application experts partner with our customers to ensure they get the product that fits the exact requirements, weather it’s a submersible sensor or built for extreme compression and fatigue condition tests.

Our precision load cells have been used on thousands of different projects, both big and small. From aircrafts to ground vehicles and infrastructure, here are a few examples of the projects we’ve supplied various load cells, from jumbo to mini, various torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, customized load pins and as well as wireless telemetry testing systems:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions Blog

Launching into Orbit with Interface

Force Measurement for Space Travel

 

Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a world-class manufacturer is when we’re able to work with customers on a custom solution that meets their unique and mission-critical needs. Custom solutions can be anything that’s needed from a customized sensor component to a complete custom system. One custom solution that is gaining popularity for its mobility, ease of use and wide variety of application options is what we call, testing systems in a box.

We have developed these unique all-in-one testing systems that combine force measurement sensors, transmitters and data display devices all together in a transportable case. The benefit for customers is that every aspect of this type of mobile test and measurement system is enclosed in the box and can be brought to remote testing locations along with a testing rig and computer. The wide variety of configurations also allow Interface to develop a test system for virtually any mobile requirement. Think of it as on-the-go testing that is flexible and adaptable to the test environment.

MOBILE TESTING CASE

When our customer wanted to perform force tests on a helicopter, we developed a mobile force measurement system that was put together in a ruggedized case to match the environmental conditions of the testing locations. The custom system included Model 9890 Indicators alongside SSM Fatigue Rated Load Cells. The case also featured rechargeable batteries for continuation of testing in remote locations. With this solution, the customer was able to easily perform their force tests while remaining independent of any confined lab or testing facility. They had a testing system that was completely versatile to the mobility requirements of test engineers.

AIRPLANE JACK POINT TESTING 

Interface developed a unique test system for an airplane jack testing solution. Once again, we put together a full system in mobile cases that included our precision LowProfile Load Cells, nearly 20 wireless transmitters, and a graphical display with visual alarms to read the output at each jack point. This allowed the customer to measure the forces at all jack points on a plane from front to tail and both wings. The testing system was created to be portable and provide constant feedback through the hardware and instrumentation via wireless signals.

MULTI-AXIS SPRING TEST SYSTEM

The final custom solution we are highlighting in this post is smaller in design, but just as impactful for the customer. This system included a 3-Axis Load Cell in a compact box with three indicator panels. The system was used to simultaneously measure both force and moment on a spring and provide the data on the indicator screen. The system was compact, easy to use and simply needed to be connected to the test rig to accurately collect data from the spring.

Mobile test systems provide a massive benefit to engineers and product manufacturers who want to be able to collect accurate and reliable data on the go and not be constrained by wires and large heavy solutions. Test systems enclosed within a box are a great solution for many of these remote challenges, as they protect the equipment and also provide a functional “on-the-go” testing system, anywhere.

As more demands for testing within the actual environment become core to the engineering and design of small and large apparatus, these types of unique solutions from Interface can be customized to capacity and test specifications based on the customer’s needs.

Our experienced engineers and application experts are able to look at specific objectives and present the best components to get the best results. From force and torque measurement sensors to digital instrumentation, wireless and supported by batteries, we can build the custom components to be enclosed in a case that is an all-in-one testing system or design the solution to put into an existing configuration. Taking advantage of our expertise, we work together with our customers to develop the right solution that fits their exact requirements.

Be sure to watch, “Making the Case for Custom Solutions” to get more insights on customization considerations and options when you partner with Interface Custom Solutions.

To learn more about Interface’s custom solutions and explore options and possibilities in building your testing system, go here to contact us to get started.

READ MORE CUSTOM SOLUTION POSTS

What is New in Custom Solutions

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

What is New in Custom Solutions

Here at Interface, we make it a priority to adapt to the needs of our customers in any way possible. Each year we gather vast amounts of data and feedback to address changes in the marketplace and advancements in technology. Often, this comes in the form of new product releases developed specifically with our customer’s most significant needs in mind. However, new product releases take time for development, testing and release. When customers need to address a challenge quickly, we turn to our innovative custom solutions team.

No matter the project, chances are there is a customized force measurement product to fulfill the requirement. We work directly with our customer’s engineering and testing teams to understand the challenge and offer alternative solutions to off-the-shelf products. Our dedicated engineers and measurement experts, along with supporting company resources, and advanced engineering lab give Interface the competitive advantage to make any force measurement application work with what we have to offer.

We provided a brief overview of our custom solutions offerings and process a past blog. Today’s post provides an update on what’s new in custom solutions:

New Custom Solutions Offerings

Among the most significant changes to custom solutions is our growing engineered to order offerings for OEM customers. To best serve these customers and testing engineers with premium and affordable force measurement solutions for use in components or products, Interface now offers engineered to order capabilities for the masses. Engineered to order means Interface can deliver force and torque measurement solutions from our massive catalog that are modified to meet the features, specifications, and cost that our customers require, while still retaining the premium accuracy, quality and reliability Interface is known for across every industry we serve.

Another exciting capability that Interface has recently added is the addition of more digital instrumentation communication options for collecting data from our products. We’ve added Models INF1 and INF4 signal conditioners with field bus capability that include CANopen, DeviceNet, CC-Link, Profibus, Profinet, Modbus, and EtherCAT. By adding this capability, our products can interface with networks that customers already have installed in their facilities.

Custom Solutions Applications

Interface customers continue to turn to our experience Custom Solutions Engineers to build systems that utilize a range of sensor technologies, communication devices and even frames and cases to provide a complete structure.  This includes a growing demand for uniquely pairing force and torque components that work remotely through wireless and Bluetooth technologies as well as delivering entire testing units that re mobile or can be used in the field. The possibilities are unlimited with the amount of products Interface in our catalog, including the possibilities of using new designs.

Every year we engage in a host of unique custom solutions projects with our customers. We would like to share of a few of our favorites with you.

Airplane Maintenance – Wireless Customization

When an airplane comes into the shop, engineers often must jack it up to perform maintenance. When you lift a plane, there is always a risk because you can’t put too much stress on the wings and fuselage. To ensure that the maintenance team members weren’t stressing the plane beyond its limits, Interface developed a solution to measure the lifting force of each individual jack used to lift the plane. The solution included a number of Interface Model 1200 Series Load Cell that would transmit the forces applied back to a base station. However, the customization came in the way data was transmitted to the base station. Typically, wires are used for transmission, but in this case, there were 21 load cells used on the lifting equipment. To avoid having 21 wires get in the way, Interface added custom capabilities to the 1200 series to allow it to communicate with the base station wirelessly.

Crane Application – Custom Programming

Lifting heavy objects can be a dangerous job for onsite workers, not to mention, pushing a large industrial crane too far can result in expensive damages and downtime. Therefore, when an Interface’s industrial customer needed to intelligently monitor a crane in the process of lifting, we helped create a custom program to do so. The custom application included a model 1280 and force measurement activated program. Whenever the crane was nearing a weight that was unsafe, an alert was triggered based on the force measurement reading that could either sound an alarm or shut the system down. This created an automated safety system using force data.

Additional Custom Solution Applications and Use Cases are available here. 

Custom solutions are key to Interface’s broad offerings that we provide when off-the-shelf solutions don’t provide exactly what is required. Our design engineers and manufacturing team is ready to work directly with our customers to provide a solution that is right for your project. To learn more, visit us at /custom-solutions/.

Contributor: Ken Bishop

 

 

Load Shackles 101

A load shackle is a u-shaped, load-bearing connecting device designed to be used with a removable pin. Load shackles can be used in a number of different rigging and load securement applications to provide sensor technologies in the connection of different types of lifting slings, chains or ropes to an object or to each other.  A load shackle is essentially the installation of a load monitoring pin into the shackle body allowing you to replace existing rigging hardware with a load cell for force measurement and weighing data.

Load shackles are rugged in design and are used to provide accurate and reliable measurement of tensile loads, as well as support applications for harsh and challenging environments. The industries that most regularly take advantage of our load shackles include industrial, aerospace and defense, agriculture, and construction. Applications for lifting, moving and weighing objects can be monitored as well as optimized for performance using load shackles. They are often designed into engineered structures or for use with cranes, winches or other robust lifting mechanisms.

Interface offers a wide variety of load shackle designs for different environments and force measurement needs, ranging from 2.2K to 2205K lbf. Our load shackles come in both cabled and wireless, as well as environmental resistance options including flameproof and IP67. Visit our overview here.

Load shackles come in many standard shapes and sizes, including customization options to meet a specific design or use requirement. Some of our shackles are exclusively designed to meet the needs of applications in hazardous environments like the oil and gas industry, or marine industry where they’ll be submerged in water during testing and for continuous use, or in areas with high heat and flames. Some of our most popular load shackles are listed below:

WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle  – Suitable for use in a wide range of industrial and marine weighing applications, these load shackles are robust, reliable and easy to install. The unique telemetry housing is manufactured from tough high-performance polyamide resin making it strong yet light, resulting in a better-balanced load shackle when compared to others available on the market.

ISHK-B Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle – The Interface range of ISHK-B load shackles are designed for lifting and weighing in rugged or harsh environments, including submersible applications. The shackle pins are forged from high tensile stainless steel to 6.5 MT (14.3K lbf) and high tensile carbon steel from 9.5 MT (20.9K lbf), and are machined to an exacting specification. The basic shackle uses the Crosby G2130 (1 to 25 MT / 2.2K to 55.1K lbf), G2140 (40 to 120 MT / 88.2K to 265K lbf) and GN Rope H10 (150 to 1K MT / 331K to 2205K lbf).

Flame Proof Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle – The Interface range of flameproof load shackles is designed for lifting and weighing in rugged or harsh environments, and also meet the requirements for operation in Zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas. The shackle pins are forged from high tensile stainless steel and are machined to an exacting specification. The basic shackle uses the Crosby G2130 (1 to 25MT or 2.2K to 55.1K lbf) and G2140 (40 to 400MT or 88.2K to 882K lbf) series.

Load Shackle Application:

Load shackles are commonly used in the construction industry to measure heavy machinery. For cranes outfitted with a lifting attachment such as a claw, a tension sensing load shackle is used on the pulley mechanism to measure the weight lifted by the crane. The tension sensor can provide real-time data to the construction crew to help monitor the lifting process and provide the operator with the information necessary to refrain from lifting weights that are too heavy for the crane to handle. If the claw arm lifts more than the crane is able to withstand, the attachment could break off, or worse, the crane could topple over.

In a recent example, Interface’s customer used a WTSSHK-B Wireless Load Shackle connected to load-bearing strings and a WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Indicator to gather data. The customer was able to successfully lift and read the weight (wirelessly) on a handheld display while the material was being relocated.

Learn more in this product video

To learn more about our wide variety of load shackles and their many applications, please contact our application specialists today.  You can see all of Interface’s Load Pins, Load Shackles and Tension Links here.

This post is part of our Interface 101 series where we provide a basic overview of the wide variety of product lines we offer here at Interface. In this series, we explain our force measurement product line and its benefits and then provide a few examples of our product’s in real-world situations. Here are some of our other popular 101 posts.