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Torque Measurement Primer Review

Choosing the ideal torque transducer for your project can be a daunting task. Fear not. Interface has several torque measurement tools and resources to help you navigate your options and gain confidence in the selection process.

Interface’s advanced technical Torque Measurement Primer is an excellent resource to review and save for reference.  The expert guide takes you step-by-step, from torque transducer basics through complex capacity calculations to fixture and mounting considerations.

This technical reference offers considerable detail and diagrams regarding critical topics that impact the performance and accuracy of torque transducers. Interface engineer and measurement application specialist Keith Skidmore provides extensive information about defining capacity requirements, performance factors and considerations, mechanical configurations, outputs, resolution, mounting, and coupling selection tips.

Understanding Torque Transducers

A torque transducer consists of a metal spring element or flexure like a load cell. Strain gages are applied to the flexure in a Wheatstone bridge configuration. Torque applied to the sensor causes bending or shear strain in the gaged area, generating an output voltage signal proportional to torque.

Two Main Types of Torque Transducers

  • Reaction (static) measures torque without rotating, which is ideal for stationary applications.
  • Rotary (dynamic) rotates as part of the system, suitable for dynamic measurements.

Normally, a reaction-style sensor has a cable attached to it to supply excitation voltage to the strain gage bridge and to output the mV/V signal. The attached cable prevents the spinning of these sensors. Various methods have been used for rotary sensors to get around the issue of the attached cable. Some of those methods include slip rings, rotary transformers, rotating electronics, rotating digital electronics, and wireless telemetry. More basics are available in our Torque Transducers 101 post.

Selecting the Right Transducer Capacity

When choosing a torque transducer, one of the primary considerations is selecting the right capacity. The key is not to overload the sensor. If you choose too large a range, the accuracy and resolution may not be enough for the application. If you choose too small a size, the sensor may be damaged due to overload, which is an expensive mistake. First, determine the amount of torque you want to measure to select the proper size. Use Interface’s Torque Transducer Selection Guide to review capacities and dimensions.

Mechanical Configurations

  • Shaft: Smooth or keyed, offering uniform torque introduction and ease of assembly and disassembly.
  • Flange: Shorter, with centering pilots, commonly used in limited space applications.

Reference the Torque Measurement Primer to Review Factors in the Selection

  • Determine average running torque
  • Understand load service factors (1-4) and drive service factors (1-4)
  • What is the required accuracy
  • What signal resolution do you require: analog and digital

Beyond the basics, take a deeper dive into advanced torque considerations by reviewing the following:

  • Mounting methods (fixed vs. floating)
  • Couplings (single and double flex)
  • Environmental factors (temperature, moisture, dust)
  • Variable-frequency drive applications
  • Maximum RPM rating
  • Bandwidth and sampling rate

Use the Interface Torque Measurement Primer to explore these factors comprehensively with technical references. It is an essential test and measurement resource for making informed torque transducer selections. Whether you are an experienced lab technician or engineer, the details of this primer are advanced and full of resourceful tips.

Torque-Measurement-Primer-2024-Edition-1

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Torque Transducers and Couplings are the Perfect Pairing

Understanding Torque Transducers for Motion Control Systems

New Interface Torque Transducer Selection Guide

Interface Introduces New Torque Coupling Guide

Miniature Torque Transducers 101

Interface New Product Releases Fall 2023

Interface has added new load cells and instrumentation to our expansive measurement solutions catalog. The Fall 2023 new product releases include several standard products, along with options for engineered to order and custom solutions.

The Interface product line is one of the most extensive in the world of test and measurement. We want to make it easier to navigate models based on your requirements. Interface has a series of guides that can help you choosing the right load cells, miniature load cells, torque transducers, couplings, DAQ systems and instrumentation. Visit our online product selection tools.

ICPA STAINLESS STEEL COMPRESSION LOAD CELL

Interface’s new ICPA compression load cells are built to exacting standards with submersible versions available. The standard product is durable, versatile and easy to integrate into existing machines and equipment. There are several options available in standard capacities and dimensions including domed top (supplied with or without a loading cap), integral carry handles, mounting base, integral connectors and internal analog/digital signal amplifiers. The standard product is constructed from stainless steel and IP-rated. It can be customized to specific requirements. Download the ICPA datasheet.

Primary ICPA features and benefits:

  • Ranges: 2 to 1000 MT (4.4K to 2204K lbf)
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Environmentally sealed to IP67
  • Submersible version available upon request
  • Options: Special electrical connections, integral signal conditioning
  • Model options: Domed top and loading cap, mounting base and handles
  • TEDS (Transducer Electronic Data Sheet) option
  • Custom ranges and sizes available

BSC4D-BT PORTABLE 4-CHANNEL BLUETOOTH DATA LOGGER

Interface’s new BSC4D-BT Portable 4-Channel Bluetooth Data Logger is designed for wireless measurement data acquisition with wire strain gage sensors. It is also suitable for connecting strain gage full bridges and half bridges. For quarter bridges (120 Ohm, 350 Ohm, and 1000 Ohm), there is a connection option in three-wire technology. Data is transmitted by radio via the Bluetooth Standard 2.0+EDR with serial port profile (SPP). The range is 20-meters in buildings or up to 100 m when in direct line of sight. Current consumption is less than 150 mA. When not in use, current consumption is under 10 mA. A battery can be charged at 5V supply voltage via an integrated charge regulator. Download the BSC4D-BT datasheet.

Primary BSC4D-BT Portable 4-Channel Bluetooth Data Logger:

  • IP65 housing with integrated battery
  • Long distance Bluetooth interface
  • 4 channels
  • Inputs for mV/V / 0 – 5 V / PT1000
  • Measuring ranges 2 mV / V / 10 mV / V, mV/V quarter and half-full bridge options
  • 4 digital inputs and outputs
  • Data rate up to 450 Hz

BSC1-HD SINGLE CHANNEL PC INTERFACE MODULE WITH ANALOG OUTPUT

The new Interface BSC1-HD Single Channel PC Interface Module with Analog Output is a single channel signal conditioner with both digital and analog input and output. The BSC1-HD also has optional RS232, RS422, and CANopen protocols.  Download the BSC1-HD datasheet.

Primary BSC1-HD Single Channel Module with Analog Output features and benefits:

  • 24-bit
  • mV/V input (+/-10mV/V) and Analog Input (0-10VDC)
  • Analog Output (standard +/-5V)
  • LCD Display (to 200,000 digits display resolution)
  • Compatible with Interface BlueDAQ Software
  • RS232, RS422 or Optional – CANopen
  • Trigger input
  • Options include: 4-20mA Output, 0-10V Output, CANopen and +/-5V Output

Amplifier channel has a fixed gain settings and is not adjustable for specific load cell output signals. Thus, the amplifier output will typically 0.5V per mV/V of load cell output.

SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER

Interface versatile SGA Signal Conditioner is now offered as a series. There are eight configurations available for this popular instrumentation product. The SGA features user selectable outputs of ±10V, ±5V, 0-10V, 0-5V, 0-20mA and 4-20ma. This product is DC or AC powered with switch selectable filters from 1 to 5kHz and is packaged in a sealed ABS enclosure. This product supports shunt calibration and a wide range of gain settings. To review all the SGA options, go here.

NEW! 8 SGA Configuration Models Now Available

  1. SGA: Amplifier with no power cord
  2. SGA-WPC: Amplifier with power cord
  3. SGA-RSC: Amplifier with Remote Shunt Calibration option and no power cord
  4. SGA-RSC-WPC: Amplifier with Remote Shunt Calibration option and includes a power cord
  5. SGA-DCI: SGA-D with Isolated Power Supply option and no power cord (DC Power Only). Also allows for 9-36 VDC Supply
  6. SGA-BCM: Amplifier with Bridge Completion option and no power cord
  7. SGA-BCM-WPC: Amplifier with Bridge Completion option and includes power cord
  8. SGA-DRMK: DIN Rail Mounting Kit option for model SGA.

Primary and Optional SGA features and benefits:

  • User selectable analog output ±10V, ±5V, 0-10V, 0-5V, 0-20 mA, 4-20 mA
  • 110 VAC, 220 VAC OR 18-24 VDC power
  • Switch selectable filtering 1 Hz to 5 kHz
  • Single channel powers up to 4 transducers
  • Selectable full scale input range 0.06 to 30 mV/V
  • Switch selectable offset ±70% FS
  • Sealed ABS enclosure
  • Model SGA-RSC can remotely activate a shunt calibration by closing a relay on the related RSC module
  • Model SGA-DCI offers with isolated 12/24V power supply
  • Model SGA-BCM has a bridge completion module for both quarter and half bridges
  • Option: AC Power Cord (PWRCRD-SGA-110)
  • Option: DIN Rail for mounting available by request

4850 BATTERY POWERED BLUETOOTH WEIGHT INDICATOR

The new Interface 4850 Bluetooth Digital Indicator is a wireless capable digital indicator housed in a stainless steel NEMA 4X enclosure. It comes with a large 0.8” LCD display for easy readout of up to 50,000 display divisions and can drive up to 8-350Ω load cells. All setup parameters may be entered via the front panel keys. A full duplex RS-232 port or optional Bluetooth module can transmit data on demand or continuously to match the input requirements of a wide variety of peripheral devices including printers, remote displays and computers. This is a high quality instrumentation solution with Bluetooth capabilities. Review the 4850 weight indicator specifications here.

Primary 4850 Digital Indicator features and benefits:

  • Full front panel configuration
  • Drives up to eight 350 ω load cells
  • Full front panel calibration, multipoint cal – linearization
  • Units- lb, kg, g, and oz
  • Stainless steel swivel stands and enclosure
  • Easy to read LCD display with up to 50,000 graduations
  • Power requirements – 4-14 vdc
  • Battery is 6-volt 3 ah internal rechargeable lead acid
  • Options for analog output: 16-Bit, 0-5 VDC, 4-20 mA and built-in relays (6V or 12V)

Beyond our standard load cells, transducers, and instrumentation, we also offer options for engineered to order, OEM sensors, and complete custom systems. If you need any assistance in selecting the right products for your test and measurement applications, please contact us.  If you have questions about these new products, capacities, capabilities, or specifications, we are here to help.

ADDITIONAL PRODUCT RESOURCES

What are IO-Link Load Cells

Interface continues to see a growing demand for using different communication protocols within our force measurement sensors and instrumentation devices. One of these protocols is IO-Link, which is a standardized communication protocol that enables bidirectional communication between the control system and the connected devices. It is frequently used in the field of industrial automation and IoT.

IO-Link is designed to connect and communicate between sensors, actuators, and other industrial devices with a higher-level control system. It runs over a standard three-wire connection, typically using unshielded industrial cables, and supports point-to-point communication.

Industrial automation and IoT are fundamentally reliant on digital transformation. Industry 4.0 requires the exchange and communication of information between sensor and instrumentation. IO-Link supports this requirement, helping to keep machines and facilities using sensors under control while improving their efficiency and productivity.

IO-Link can be used with load cells in industrial applications to enable enhanced monitoring, control, and diagnostics. Interface now offers customization of our most popular load cells with IO-Link capabilities.

Why Use IO-Link in Test & Measurement

  1. IO-Link is compatible with a wide range of sensors, actuators, and other devices. It provides a standardized interface, allowing easy integration and interchangeability of devices within an automation system.
  2. Real-time monitoring, control, and diagnostics is especially important in test and measurement. IO-Link enables this type of data exchange between devices and the control systems supporting the transmission of measurement data.
  3. IO-Link supports both analog and digital devices, making it versatile for a range of applications.
  4. With IO-Link, devices can be connected using a single cable, reducing the complexity and cost of wiring and simplifying installation and maintenance.
  5. Health and maintenance are important in testing. IO-Link supplies advanced diagnostic capabilities, allowing devices to report their status, health, and detailed diagnostic information. This is valuable for maintenance, troubleshooting, and reducing downtime.

Interface 1200 and 1201 Load Cell IO-Link Features and Benefits

The 1200 and 1201 Series IO-Link Load Cell Universal or Compression-Only are LowProfile load cells that are IO-Link compatible.

  • Proprietary Interface temperature
  • Compensated strain gages
  • Eccentric load compensated
  • Low deflection
  • Shunt calibration
  • Tension and compression
  • Compact size
  • 3-wire internal amp choice of 4-20 mA, ±5V, ±10V, 0-5V, 0-10V
  • Options include Base (recommended), custom calibration, multiple bridge, special threads and dual diaphragm
  • Accessories include mating connector, mating cable, instrumentation and loading hardware

For a complete datasheet of this product, go to the 1200 and 1201 with IO-Link product page.

IO-Link integration with load cells enhances the functionality and flexibility of weight measurement systems by enabling seamless communication, remote evaluations and diagnostic capabilities. It contributes to more efficient and reliable industrial processes where precise monitoring is necessary.

Weight and force monitoring: By connecting load cells to an IO-Link-enabled system, such as a PLC or a weighing controller, real-time weight data can be transmitted and monitored. The load cells measure the weight or force applied to them, and this information can be instantly communicated to the control system via IO-Link. The control system can then perform tasks such as weight-based control, process optimization, or triggering specific actions based on weight thresholds.

Remote parameterization and calibration: IO-Link allows load cells to be remotely parameterized and calibrated from the control system. Instead of manually adjusting the load cell settings at the device level, the control system can send the necessary configuration commands through the IO-Link interface. This feature simplifies the setup process, saves time, and reduces the risk of errors during calibration.

Performance evaluation and detection: IO-Link provides diagnostic capabilities for load cells, enabling the detection of potential issues or abnormalities. The load cells can send diagnostic information, such as temperature, supply voltage, or fault codes, to the control system through IO-Link. This data can be utilized for predictive maintenance, troubleshooting, or alarming in case of malfunctions.

IO-Link enhances the functionality, flexibility, and efficiency of industrial automation systems by enabling intelligent communication between devices and the control system.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface New Product Releases Summer 2023

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Interface Weighing Solutions and Complete Systems

Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs

 

Signal Conditioners 101

Signal conditioners are used in instrumentation, control systems, and measurement systems where accurate and reliable signal processing is a requirement. The purpose of a signal conditioner is to ensure that the electrical signal from a sensor is compatible with the input requirements of the subsequent signal processing equipment.

Primary features of signal conditioners include amplification, filtering, isolation, and linearization. It can perform various functions depending on the specific application and the type of signals.

Interface Signal Conditioners are used with a wide range of load cell and force measurement devices. Transducers convert force or weight into an electrical signal. The output signal of a load cell is typically in the form of a small electrical voltage that is proportional to the applied force.

Be sure to reference the Instrumentation Selection Guide to find instrumentation with signal conditioners that will best fit your force measurement application.

Understanding Signal Conditioners Use with Load Cells

Amplification: Load cells produce small electrical signals, which may require amplification to bring them to a usable level. Signal conditioners can include built-in amplifiers that increase the magnitude of the load cell signal. This amplification helps to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and enhances the sensitivity of the system.

Filtering: Load cell signals can be affected by electrical noise or interference, which can degrade the accuracy of measurements. Signal conditioners often incorporate filtering capabilities to remove unwanted noise and interference from the load cell signal. This ensures that the signal is clean and reliable.

Excitation: Load cells require an excitation voltage or current to function properly. Signal conditioners provide a stable and regulated excitation source to power the load cell. This excitation voltage is typically supplied to the load cell through the signal conditioner, ensuring consistent and accurate measurements.

Calibration and Linearization: Load cells may exhibit nonlinear characteristics, meaning that the relationship between the applied force and the output voltage is not perfectly linear. Signal conditioners can include calibration and linearization algorithms to compensate for these nonlinearities. By applying appropriate mathematical adjustments, the signal conditioner can provide a linear output that accurately represents the applied force.

Signal Conversion: Load cell signals are typically analog voltages, but they may need to be converted to digital format for further processing or transmission. Some signal conditioners include analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) that convert the analog load cell signal into digital data, enabling it to be processed by digital systems.

Signal Conditioner Considerations

  • Form factor design: box mount, DIN rail, in-line cable, integral to load cell
  • Output options: ±5/±10VDC, 0.1-5VDC, Current, Frequency, Digital
  • Polarity: Bi-polar or unipolar
  • Bandwidth
  • Onboard filtering
  • Power supply type: cable, built-in, wireless
  • Noise immunity

Interface Top Signal Conditioners

PRODUCT: DMA2 DIN RAIL MOUNT SIGNAL CONDITIONER

  • User selectable analog output +/-10V, +/-5V, 4-20mA
  • 10-28 VDC power
  • Selectable full scale input ranges 5-50mV
  • DIN rail mountable
  • Push button shunt calibration
  • 1000Hz bandwidth

PRODUCT: SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER

  • User selectable analog output +/-10V, +/-5V, 0-5V, 0-20mA, 4-20mA
  • 110VAC, 220VAC, OR 18-24VDC power
  • Switch selectable filtering 1Hz to 5kHz
  • Single channel powers up to four transducers
  • Selectable full scale input range .06 to 30mV/V
  • Sealed ABS enclosure
  • Optional bridge completion and remote shunt activation module

PRODUCT: ISG ISOLATED DIN RAIL MOUNT SIGNAL CONDITIONER

  • Galvanically isolated power supply
  • High accuracy
  • +/-5VDC or +/-10VDC Analog output (4-20mA optional)
  • 10-30VDC Power
  • Switch selectable filtering 1Hz to 1kHz (up to 10kHz optional)
  • Accepts inputs up to 4.5mV/V
  • DIN rail mountable

CSC and LCSC-OEM Inline Signal ConditionersPRODUCT: CSC and LCSC-OEM INLINE SIGNAL CONDITIONERS

  • IP67 stainless steel enclosure (CSC Only)
  • CE approved (CSC Only)
  • Zero and span adjustments
  • 1 kHz bandwidth

PRODUCT: VSC2 Rugged Compact Vehicle Powered Signal Conditioner

  • High accuracy precision bi-polar differential amplifier
  • ± 5 VDC Output
  • Accepts inputs from ±1.4 to ±-4.2
  • 1000 Hz low pass filter
  • Rugged design and compact size
  • Course, fine zero, and span adjustments
  • Activate R-CAL (Shunt Cal) with internal switch

Signal conditioners ensure that the load cell’s output is optimized for accuracy, stability, and compatibility with the measurement or control system. They help mitigate noise, amplify weak signals, provide excitation, and perform calibration and linearization to ensure precise and reliable measurements of force or weight.

Visit the Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide to see all the products available with signal conditioning functionality.

Watch this Testing Lab Essentials Webinar Part 3 to learn more about the benefits and use cases of Interface Signal Conditioners.

The Rise in Digital Force Measurement Solutions

In the early days of force measurement instrumentation and use cases, analog was king and, in many cases, still dominates most use cases. The fact that product manufacturers continue to provide analog solutions is steeped in the accuracy and reliability of the format.  Digital is changing this outlook and the rise of solutions that support digital output are on the rise.

Analog and digital signals are utilized for the transmission of information, typically conveyed through electrical signals. In both these technologies, data undergoes a conversion process to transform it into electrical signals. The disparity between analog and digital technologies lies in how information is encoded within the electric pulses. Analog technology translates information into electric pulses with varying amplitudes, while digital technology converts information into a binary format consisting of zeros and ones, with each bit representing two distinct amplitudes.

The primary difference between analog and digital is how the signal is processed. Analog signals when compared to digital signals are continuous and more accurate. Digital measurement solutions have come a long way and are growing in use and popularity due to overall trends towards digital transformation and modernization of testing labs.  Read Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs for further definition.

As more test and measurement professionals and labs are using digital instrumentation, the quality and accuracy of data output has skyrocketed. Primarily, it is much easier to gather and store digital data. This is often seen through the growth in wireless sensor technologies. Interface Digital Instrumentation continues to expand with new products.

Digital signals are stronger than analog signals, providing a better signal that is free from interference by things like temperature, electromagnetism, and radio signals. The data sampling rate is also much faster. As a result, load cells and other force sensors output signals transmitted to digital instrumentation can read and record hundreds of measurements in seconds.

Another major reason for making the switch to digital output is convenience and capability. Digital instrumentation opens a world of possibilities in terms of wireless data transfer, removing the need for wires and giving engineers more flexibility in terms of where to conduct tests, or monitor applications. It also allows for larger force sensor systems to work together on larger applications in which you need multiple data points on different forces around the object you are measuring.

Why Choose a Digital Solution

  • Lower-cost options
  • Works across existing networks
  • It is scalable without causing interruptions
  • Multiple sensors can be daisy-chained together on a single cable run
  • Built-in error detection
  • Less susceptible to noise

Why Choose an Analog Solution

  • Speed, fast transmission
  • Ease of use
  • Familiarity (standard)
  • Uses less network bandwidth
  • Compatible with DAQs and PLCs

Interface offers a host of digital instrumentation solutions and complete digital systems to easily integrate into your existing test infrastructure.  The Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide is a useful resource to help in the selection of digital equipment.

Basic Criteria for Selecting Digital or Analog

  • Is there an existing network you need to connect to?
  • Are you connecting to an existing DAQ device?
  • What is your budget?
  • How many sensors are you connecting?
  • Do you need to communicate through a bus?

Be sure to tune into the ForceLeaders online event, Unlocking the Power of DAQ Webinar, to learn about data acquisition and digital instrumentation.

Digital Instrumentation Brochure

Data Acquisition Systems 101

Engineers and testing professionals use data acquisition systems to enable smart decisions. The data retrieved through DAQ systems empower users to identify points of failure, optimize performance, and create efficiencies in products and processes.

When it comes to measuring force, the accuracy and reliability of the sensor is a critical component to receiving quality data. The data acquired from measurement devices, including load cells, torque transducers, and other types of force sensors, is valuable for product development, research, and robust testing to ensure performance and durability of all types of innovations. Ultimately, utilizing precision-based data provides enhanced control and response for all types of applications and use cases. Interface provides a wide range of data acquisition instrumentation that is easily paired with our force measurement products.

By definition, a data acquisition system is a collection of components used to acquire data via analog signals and converting them to digital form for storage, research, and analysis. Data acquisition systems, also called DAQ systems, typically are made up of sensors, signal conditioners, converters, plus computer hardware and software for logging and analysis. Interface experts are available to help pair the transducers with the right instrumentation.

The data acquired through the measurement device is only useful if it is logged for analysis and traceability. This is where instrumentation, in particular DAQ systems come into play, in not only transferring data, but also obtaining the right type of data in a format and data transfer method that works with existing user systems.

Data acquisition that utilizes analog output has long been the standard in the industry. As new requirements for use cases and applications grow, test and measurement professionals and engineers find these systems advantageous because of the lower cost, easy integration, and scalability. They also like the advantage of daisy-chaining multiple sensors together on a single cable run to maximize the amount of data through single tests. More data improves the quality of analysis and monitoring.

Advancements in sensor technologies coincide with growing demands for digitalization and to gather more testing data. This is seen using multi-axis sensors, along with requirements for multi-channel acquisition that can integrate into existing systems already designed with specific digital connections and protocols.

In addition to improving speed of data output, acquisition systems offer an abundance of value-added benefits. This is primarily due to the digital signal, as they are less susceptible to noise and are more secure. The systems also typically have built in error detection. Digital signals are best for transmitting signals across longer distances or when you need to allow for simultaneous multi-directional transmissions. Many people like the ease of integration, both into existing networks as well as with other testing devices.

Data acquisition systems and accessories come in many shapes and sizes, wired and wireless and there are also a handful of different software options in different systems. All these various products such as digital instruments, input and output modules, cables, monitors, and accessories. Interface offers a range of DAQ products, including full systems including the sensors.

Interface Complete Data Acquisition Systems

BlueDAQ Data QA Pack

Force sensors can easily connect via the BlueDAQ Family Data AQ Pack for fast and accurate data acquisition. This solution provides a convenient way to view the test results from transducers including single axis, dual axis, 3-axis, and 6-axis multi-axis sensors. Check out our BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors with Lab Enclosure.

T-USB-VS Rotary Torque Transducer Data AQ Pack

Connecting dynamic torque transducers to the T-USB Rotary Torque Transducer Data Acquisition Pack will provide you with convenient way to view the test results for your torque transducers that have internal USB functionality.

WTS Wireless Data AQ Pack

Utilizing the popular WTS Wireless Data Acquisition Pack provides convenient wireless communication with speeds up to 200 samples per second. Learn more in our Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review. See the complete line Interface WTS here.

DIG-USB PC Interface Module Data AQ Pack

Interface’s DIG-USB Data Acquisition Pack enables a straightforward way to view the test results our load cells or torque transducers. Check out the popular DIG-USB Output Module and the DIG-USB-F Fast USB Output Module.

9325 Portable Display Data AQ Pack

Interface’s 9325 Data Acquisition Pack makes your system portable. The 9325 allows simple display of strain bridge based measurements such as load cells, torque transducers, and other mV/V output transducers with sensitivity up to +/-1 V/V.

INF-USB-VS3 PC Interface Module Data AQ Pack

Our INF-USB-VS3 Data Acquisition Pack connects Interface mV/V load cells or torque transducers to provide real-time data analysis.  Here is more information about the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module.

Interface Data Acquisition Systems are modular. We offer the complete system, including enclosures, along with single components to complete a system. Consult with our application engineers to learn what system would be best for your test and measurement programs.

Data AQ Pack Brochure

 

 

 

Interface Instrumentation Definitions

The new Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide is a great way to get started in choosing the right instrumentation for your next project or lab. To serve as additional resources, here are key instrumentation definitions that can also help you make the best decision regarding the type and model of instrumentation that will work best with your sensor.

Instrumentation Selection Guide Definitions

Excitation
A Wheatstone bridge-based sensor, such as a load cell, requires excitation voltage to operate. The excitation voltage is typically 10V; however, many instruments supply lower voltage, an 2.5V, 5V, and others. Since these sensors are ratiometric, Interface instrumentation devices are designed to pair with these types of sensor products.

Signals
The output signal from a load cell is expressed in terms of mV output per V of excitation, at capacity. For example, a 100 lb capacity load cell rated for 2 mV/V output will have 20mV output at 100 lb, when excited with 10V. Because the output signal is directly affected by input voltage, it’s important to maintain a stable excitation voltage, which our instrumentation does.

Signal Conditioners
A signal condition provides stable excitation voltage to the sensor and amplifies the low-level sensor signal to a high-level output such as +/-5V, +/-10V, 0-20mA, 4-20mA, 0-5V, or 0-10V.
Many of our products include filtering, which can help reduce noise in the output signal.

Data Acquisition Systems
A complete data acquisition system consists of DAQ hardware, sensors and actuators, signal conditioning hardware, and a computer running DAQ software. Interface provides DAQ instrumentation that are ideal for completing a sensor-based system. Many data acquisition systems require high-level inputs such as +/-10V and don’t work very well with low level mV signals. Interface instrumentation solutions do work well with DAQ systems. The DAQ doesn’t necessarily supply a stable excitation voltage like the Interface sensors do.

Interface Modules
An interface module converts the low-level mV/V sensor signal to a digital format that can be transmitted to a computer, (PC or laptop). Popular interface modules provide USB, wireless USB, or Bluetooth data transmission. Software is normally provided and allows data display, logging and graphing. The interface modules are commonly used when data needs to be logged to computer and you are not using an existing data acquisition system. The interface module advantages over standard data acquisition is ease of use and they are normally plug-n-play. Considerations when selecting this type of instrumentation include bit resolution, number of channels, sample rate, software features and type of output.

Indicators
Interface indicators provide stable excitation voltage and converts the sensor signal to a digital display. Commonly available features include analog or digital output, selectable digital filtering, peak and valley monitoring and set point outputs. Things to consider when selecting an indicator are internal sample rate and update rate of analog output.

Wireless Telemetry System (WTS)
Wireless is very popular today. Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System is easy-to-use providing wireless data communication between a load sensor and a receiving indicator. The WTS is capable of receiving multiple inputs and is fully compatible will all Interface force sensors. The WTS comes calibrated, tested and ready-to-run. The charge lasts up to three months using AA batteries.  You can see the complete WTS and Bluetooth Telemetry System comparison here.

When selecting the type of instrumentation you need to pair with your measurement device, some additional things to consider are power supply requirements, amount of filtering, fixed or adjustable filtering, input range, scalability and zero adjustment range. Our instrumentation can accommodate these requirements. To get started on picking the instrumentation solution that fits your requirements, go to the Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide.

We’ve provided a quick visual reference of Interface’s instrumentation types and correlating models.

All Interface Instrumentation product details are listed by product model name. You can find product specifications, as well supporting datasheet for each product by going here.

 

Additional Resources

Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs

Introducing New Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar Recap

Recap of Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar

Recap of Instructional on Instrumentation Webinar

Digital Instrumentation Brochure

Instrumentation Brochure

 

Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs

Interface sells a wide variety of instruments designed to help take data measured on a load cell or torque transducer and convert it into a readable form. Within this expanding family of instrumentation offered by Interface, there are two types of output methods available: analog or digital.

By far, analog output for test and measurement instrumentation has been the most popular. Analog output is measurement represented in a continuous stream. Technologies have advanced a growing demand for more advanced data capture. Digital instrumentation uses digits as the output, providing greater measurement accuracy and digital resolution.

Understanding which output is best for your project is important in getting the right communication capabilities to use with the designated sensor components. It’s an important consideration whether you are designing a new testing system or working with an existing program and looking to add new instrumentation.  You can gain further insights by watching our Instructional on Instrumentation webinar here.

Here is a brief explanation on the difference between analog and digital instrumentation, along with advantages of each.

Benefits of Digital

Digital outputs are becoming more and more popular for several reasons. The first is that they often incur lower installation costs than their analog counterpart. Digital also works across existing networks. For instance, if you have ethernet IP you can interface directly into it as opposed to running analog signals.

Digital outputs are also far more scalable than analog because a lot of the time you can replace sensors without causing a disruption. Multiple sensors can also be daisy chained into a single cable run, meaning the user can piggyback into an existing network rather than running cables back to a controller. This is one reasons the installation cost is often lower.

There are also built-in error detections with digital outputs to detect things like open legs and bridges. And if you’re digitizing at the sensor, the system is less susceptible to noise because digital signals are natural noise immune.

Benefits of Analog

With all the benefits of digital, why would someone still choose the older output method of analog? Analog signals are still faster than digital and are much easier to work with. Additionally, analog systems take up far less bandwidth than digital. Therefore, if you’re in an area with low-bandwidth, digital output solutions may slow the network down, while analog will not.

It is important to note that many DAQs and PLCs accept analog signals, so if the user wants to stay with what they already have in house, analog may be the better option.

Choosing Analog or Digital

When deciding between analog and digital instrumentation output capabilities, it’s important to consider the following questions as well:

  • Are you connecting to an existing network? For instance, if its CAN bus, you may want to use CAN bus sensors. But, if it’s pure analog, you’re not going to want to convert everything over to digital unless there are other factors driving this move?
  • Are you connecting to an existing DAQ device? If your system has available analog input channels, you may be fine with analog output. If it doesn’t, you may have to add extra channels. Or say the system has an EtherCAT connection, you can use the same DAQ without adding channels by interfacing with it digitally.
  • What is your budget? If your network already has a lot of analog systems, the cost of staying with analog may be worth it. If you must add channels to your DAQ, but you have digital interfaces available, that may allow for cost savings based on how many channels and sensors you need.
  • How many sensors are you connecting? If you have a lot of sensors, the obvious answer is digital because of the flexibility it provides, and the limited cable runs needed. But if you don’t need many sensors, analog could make more sense.

There are several considerations to make when choosing digital versus analog.  You can learn more about which options suit your project requirements by reviewing the online specs of our range of instrumentation solutions.

There is also considerable detail in the many options available in our Instrumentation Overview here.

Additional Instrumentation InterfaceIQ Posts

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Instrumentation Application Notes

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Recap of Instructional on Instrumentation Webinar

Interface recently hosted a new ForceLeaders event on the topic of instrumentation.

The webinar experts, Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop, shared insights and experience in different types of instrumentation. Along with detailing various features, they provided valuable tips for testing engineers, metrologists, and sensor users on how to choose the right instrumentation for your upcoming projects or new systems.

The discussion featured a series of instrumentation types, benefits and uses cases, which you can now watch online by visiting our training and events page here.

The types of instrumentation detailed during the webinar showcases the range of products we offer and that are available to complete any testing solution.  These products range from simple boxes to complete telemetry systems used for field and wireless communication requirements. The webinar highlighted the following range of instrumentation options:

  • Signal Conditioners
  • Indicators
  • Data Acquisition
  • Portable Load Cell Indicators
  • Weight Indicators
  • Junction Boxes
  • USB Interfaces
  • TEDS Ready
  • Wireless and Bluetooth Telemetry Systems

The experts offered guidance on the topic of analog versus digital and wireless versus Bluetooth. They also provided some simple criteria to review when deciding what type of instrumentation fits your exact requirements.

Basic Criteria for Selecting Digital or Analog

  • Is there an existing network you need to connect to?
  • Are you connecting to an existing DAQ device?
  • What is your budget?
  • How many sensors are you connecting?
  • Do you need to communicate through a bus?

For more insights into application use cases, frequently asked questions and top 10 tips, be sure to watch the event.  Here are just a few of the tips shared during the Instructional on Instrumentation presentation:

Tip #1 – Know your power supply requirements, amount of filtering that is fixed or adjustable, input range, scalability and zero adjustment range.

Tip #2 – The output signal from a load cell is expressed in terms of millivolt output per Volt of excitation, at capacity. 

Tip #3 – The output signal is directly affected by input voltage. It’s important to maintain a stable excitation voltage.

WATCH THE RECORDED LIVE EVENT: INSTRUCTIONAL ON INSTRUMENTION

If you have missed any of our ForceLeaders webinars, be sure to visit our YouTube Channel.  We have recorded all the events for your convenience.  Our experts are also here to help you get the exact instrumentation based on your unique requirements. Contact us here for questions or technical assistance.

Additional Resources:

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101