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Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery

 

Industrial machinery plays a vital role in the global economy. It helps to improve productivity and efficiency, and it is essential to produce many of the goods we rely on daily.

Industrial machinery use cases range from equipment used in manufacturing and construction to transportation and robotics. Force measurement sensors and instrumentation play a critical role in ensuring industrial machinery’s safe and efficient operation.

Interface sensor technologies, including our load cells and multi-axis sensors, provide critical data for various machinery designs and functions. Interface analog and digital instrumentation products are available to amplify, condition, and display the signals from force measurement sensors.

The accuracy of force, torque, and weight measurements guide industrial machinery’s design and performance mechanisms.

What types of industrial machinery are using Interface measurement products today?

  • Machine tools used for grinding, drills, and lathes
  • Fabrication apparatus used for bending, shearing, and welding
  • Assembly equipment for production environments that include conveyor belts, robotic arms, and picking devices
  • Testing, quality control, and safety inspection equipment
  • Heavy equipment operational controllers for forklifts, cranes, and hoisting gear
  • Construction machinery such as loaders, bulldozers, and lifts

Industrial machinery is prevalent in manufacturing vehicles, aircraft, consumer goods, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Heavy-duty machinery is standard in energy production, mining, forestry, agriculture, and transportation.

The machines’ quality heavily depends on the accuracy of measurements used in the initial design, retrofitting, production, and practice. Interface products provide the products that enable machines to operate at peak performance safely and efficiently. Learn more in our new Interface Industrial Machinery Solutions, a part of Industrial Automation market offerings.

How Interface Measurement Solutions Used in Industrial Machinery

Machine Safety Monitoring

Interface products are used for monitoring the performance of machines and for management in sensing potential problems before they cause a failure. Interface measurement technologies are used in construction machinery to enable operators to gauge the force applied to materials, preventing overexertion and potential damage. Read Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Heavy Machinery and Lifting Equipment

In material handling equipment, force sensors help prevent accidents and injuries. Interface load cells, including load pins and shackles, monitor loads, weight, and distribution. Learn more about lifting solutions in our Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar.

Manufacturing and Production Machines

Manufacturers rely on Interface sensor solutions in industrial machines such as injection molding machines to monitor the force applied to the mold or how they are used in machines to ensure correct product packaging. The efficiency of machines is enhanced by correctly measuring the forces applied during different operations. Force sensors help ensure products are assembled correctly and within tolerance on production lines.

Industrial Automation Machines and Robotics

Interface sensors in industrial machines such as robots allow for more precise and delicate tasks that measure force at touch and throughout the entire operation. In machine tools, load cells assist in monitoring cutting forces and prevent damage to tools and workpieces. In robotic arms and automated assembly lines, force sensors provide precise force application during welding, riveting, and material handling.

Benefits of Using Interface Products in Industrial Machinery

  • Improved safety: Load cells can help prevent accidents and injuries by monitoring the weight and distribution of loads and ensuring that machines operate correctly.
  • Increased productivity: Force measurement sensors can help improve machines’ efficiency by optimizing the force applied during different operations. Force measurement sensors can help reduce machine downtime and enhance the quality of products with accurate data, helping to make intelligent decisions.
  • Reduced waste and operating costs: Measurement devices can help to reduce costs by preventing machine failures and improving the quality of products.

Force measurement sensors and instrumentation are essential components of modern industrial machinery. They ensure the safe, efficient, and productive operation of these machines. Contact Interface application engineers to evaluate the best sensor technologies for your specific test and measurement pe failures and improving the quality of products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Sanding Machine Force Monitoring

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Laser Machine Cutting Force App Note

Ice Machine Weighing

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Cobot Safety Programming

Crane Capacity Verification App Note

Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

Material tests are run to determine the quality, durability, and resistance of materials for parts and products. Selecting the right material is critical to performance of a product, system, or part, especially as it relates to the environmental factors. It is also core for adhering to regulatory standards and compliance requirements.

Whether it is construction and concrete materials, metals, fabrics, biomaterial, plastics, packaging, or some other matter, material testing is fundamental throughout the entire development lifecycle.

Among the various ways to test materials, force measurement is one of the most important. Common uses of force measurement in material tests include applications to measure hardness, torsion, strength, compression, bending, shear, impact, creep, fatigue, and nondestructive capabilities.

The use of load cells provides an adaptable tool that can be utilized for various types of material tests. Using force measurement sensors help to detect changes in load, which is used to determine the flexibility, strength, or weakness of properties in materials. This is critical for research and quality control.

For example, in metal material testing load cells are frequently used for characterizing and assessing the quality of metallic components and structures. Material test engineers use load cells to accurately measure the tensile strength, compression resistance, and yield properties of metal samples. By subjecting metals to controlled loads and monitoring the metals deformation during tests, Interface load cells provide critical data that informs engineering decisions and quality control processes. Material tests confirm that the metals chosen for products like aircraft structures, automotive components, and sports equipment, meet stringent performance standards. The measurement sensors are also vital for determining the reliability, longevity and safety of metal materials used for any product or part. See other examples of testing in our new Interface T&M Material Testing Overview.

It is the responsibility of a material testing engineer to determine the resilience, safety, and value of materials through mechanical testing, of which material testing is one of the five categories. Ultimately, product designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely upon material testing data to ensure their products can withstand the anticipated levels of force during use. They also need to know if the material will stretch or elongate, as well as pinpoint its exact breaking point.

Interface’s robust line of load cells, multi-axis sensors, and data acquisition systems are used for material testing. It is common to have our 1200 LowProfile load cells installed into material testing machines at test labs and onsite. We also supply a variety of miniature load cells and load pins for material testing, depending on the type of equipment and environment used for tests.

High accuracy load cells are essential in material testing due to their precision, versatility, and ability to provide real-time data, which helps researchers and engineers gain a better understanding of a material’s mechanical properties and behavior under different conditions.

If force must be measured, Interface has a solution. This applies to testing materials used for infrastructure, medical devices, aircraft, rockets, vehicles, robotics and consumer goods. As new materials and composites are introduced in revolutionary ways for use in construction, designing light weight products using polymers, and 3D printed components, it is imperative that material tests validate the use case based on high accuracy measurements.

Our force measurement products are being used to gather data from testing materials in applications used for machines, equipment, structures, packaging and more. Here are a few examples of material testing applications.

Inflatable Space Habitat

Inflatable habitats are the newest innovation in the space industry, creating a new interplanetary dwelling for humans to live and work past the Earth’s atmosphere. An innovative space industry company wanted to test the overall design and material of their inflatable habitats by conducting a burst test. Multiple clevises and LP Stainless Steel Load Pins were attached to the in the webbing material that create the inflatable habitat. When pressure was increased within the inflatable habitat, the load pins captured how much force the heavy duty material will hold at specific pressures until it explodes. Interface’s LP Stainless Steel Load Pins successfully measured the amount of force the inflatable habitat could withstand during the burst test.

Material Tensile Testing Load Frame

A customer wanted to conduct a tensile force test on different samples and materials until failure. Materials include plastic, steel, or woven fabric. They wanted to measure tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress. Interface’s 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell was installed into the customer’s test frame. The tensile test was conducted, and force results were captured by the load cell and extensometer were synced through the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module. These results were then displayed on the customer’s PC with supplied software. With Interface’s force products, the customer was able to determine the tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress of a variety of different materials.

Material testing is often the first step in any new product development process. With Interface force measurement solutions, our customers can expect industry-leading accuracy, quality and reliability in testing the materials that will go into their next project. Contact us for products used for various test types.

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Tensile Testing for 3D Materials

Bending Beam Load Cell Basics

The Aviation Industry Soars Using Interface Solutions

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Interface Solutions Aid Pharmaceutical Industry

Bending Beam Load Cell Basics

Bending beam load cells are a versatile and cost-effective solution for many weighing and force measurement applications. These types of miniature load cells are small in dimension, which makes them ideal solutions for compact testing environments and for embedding into machines or products for continuous performance measurement.

The use of bending beam load cells expands across industries and applications, for weighing scales, medical devices, industrial process controls, robotic designs, packaging machinery and civil engineering projects.

How Bending Beam Load Cells Work

A bending beam load cell converts a force applied to it into an electrical signal by measuring the flexure of the beam. This is done by attaching strain gages to the beam. When the beam bends, the strain gages change their resistance, which is then converted into an electrical signal by a Wheatstone bridge circuit. The output signal is proportional to the applied load.

The bending beam load cell is bolted to a support through the two mounting holes. Under the covers, you can see the large hole bored through the beam. This forms thin sections at the top and bottom surface, which concentrate the forces into the area where Interface’s proprietary strain gages are mounted on the top and bottom faces of the beam. The gages may be mounted on the outside surface, as shown, or inside the large hole.

The compression load is applied at the end opposite from the two mounting holes, usually onto a load button that the user inserts in the loading hole.

MB Miniature Beam Load Cell

MB MINI BEAM LOAD CELL

The Interface Model MB is a miniature beam load cell used in test machines and a variety of low capacity applications.

  • Standard Capacities are 5 to 250 lbf (22.2 N to 1.11 kN)
  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Performance to 0.03%
  • Low height – 0.99 in (25.1 mm)
  • Eccentric load compensated
  • ±0.0008% /˚F – max temperature effect on output
  • Low deflection

MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cell

Interface’s Model MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cell has better resistance to off-axis loads then other similar load cells and is fatigue rated.

  • Standard capacities from 2 to 10 lbf (10 to 50 N)
  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Performance to 0.03%
  • Low height – 1in max
  • ±0.0008% /˚F – max temperature effect on output
  • 10x overload protection

MBP Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cell

Our Model MBP series Mini load cells provide a similar performance to Model MB series with the added safeguard of internal overload protection. This patented overload protection is accomplished via hard stops that are EDM machined into the load cell flexure. This provides a greater overload protection (2.5-10lbf ±1000% of full scale capacity, 100 N ±500% of full scale capacity), giving the user added protection in more severe applications.

  • Standard capacities from 2 to 10 lbf (10 to 50 N)
  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • 10x overload protection
  • Low height – 0.99 in (25.1 mm)
  • ±0.0008% /˚F temp. effect on output
  • 5′ Integral Cable (custom lengths available upon request)
  • NIST Traceable Calibration Certificate

MBS Parallelogram Load Cell

The Interface MBS Parallelogram load cell is made of lightweight aluminum construction and highly suitable for medical and robotics applications.

  • Capacities from 2.2 to 10 lbf (9.8 to 44.5 N)
  • Lightweight
  • Nonlinearity error 0.02% FS
  • Ideal for OEM applications

Double Bending Beam Cells

A very useful variation on the bending beam design is achieved by forming two bending beams into one cell. This allows the loading fixtures to be attached at the threaded holes on the center line, between the beams, which makes the sensitive axis pass through the cell on a single line of action.

Bending Beam Load Cell Applications

Material testing is a common application for bending beam load cells. This type of miniature load cell measures the forces applied to materials with a high degree of accuracy to determine stiffness, strength and durability of the specimen.

It is quite common to find bending beam load cells in industrial automation machines and robots to precisely measure the forces required for control, safety and efficiency. In robotics specifically, bending beam load cells will measure the force applied to the robot’s arms and grippers. The data is used to control the robot’s movements and to ensure that it is not damaging the objects it is handling.

Aerospace engineering have long used bending beam load cells in design, testing and manufacturing of aircraft and spacecraft. Automotive engineering use bending beam load cells to design and test vehicles for safety and reliability.

Due to Interface’s ability to custom design bending beam solutions that meet strict size, capacity and accuracy requirements, our products are commonly used in medical and healthcare applications.

Bending Beam Application for Medical Device Testing

In this application, the medical device product lab needs to apply known forces to stent and catheters to ensure they pass all necessary strength and flexibility testing. MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell is placed behind the guide wire for the stent or catheter. The motor will spin the linear drive, push the load cell, and guide the wire through the testing maze. The bending beam load cell connects to the DIG-USB PC Interface Module to record and store testing data for analysis. Read more.

Bending Beam Application for Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is the production of produce in a vertical manner using smart technology systems, while indoors using an irrigation system. A wireless force measurement solution is needed to monitor the amount of water being used, to ensure the produce is being watered just the right amount. Interface suggests installing four MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cells under each corner of the trays of the produce to accurate measure the weight during watering. A JB104SS 4-Channel Stainless Steel Junction Box connects to each bending beam cell and to a WTS-AM-1E acquisition module. The device wirelessly transmits the sum weight to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, and the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System monitored and weighed the amount of water being used on the produce in this vertical farming system to increase yield and conversation. Read more here.

Additional Resources

How Do Load Cells Work?

The Basics Of Shear And Bending Beams

Interface Mini™ Load Cell Selection Guide

Introducing Interface Load Cell Selection Guides

The Anatomy Of A Load Cell

Mini Load Cells 101

Load Cell 101 And What You Need To Know

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Interface products are used in many types of structural tests across industries, including for rockets, aircraft, EV batteries, heavy equipment, and infrastructure projects. Our loads cells provide the accurate and reliable data, which is why our force measurement solutions are a top choice for these complex and highly regulated industries.

Structural testing labs use Interface solutions to perform tensile, compression, bending, fatigue and hardness testing on materials, components, or assemblies. There are a variety of structural tests used for measuring tension of push and pull forces, design proofing, and lifecycle fatigue validation. Each of these tests plays a critical role in verifying the quality and safety of a product, component or materials, and each of these tests relies upon force measurement sensors.

Types of Structural Testing

  • Tensile Testing involves applying a pulling force to measure a structure’s strength and resistance. Load cells are used to measure the applied force and resulting tension from elongation or deformation of the material.
  • Compression Testing uses compressive force to evaluate the strength and resistance of a structure to crushing. Force measurement sensors are used to measure the magnitude of the applied force and the resulting deformation or failure.
  • Torque Testing measures the twisting or rotational forces applied to a structure. Torque transducers are utilized to assess the material’s torsional strength, stiffness, and behavior.
  • Load Capacity Testing determines the maximum load that a structure can withstand before failure. Force measurement sensors and load cells are used to gradually increase the load until failure occurs, enabling the determination of the structure’s load-carrying capacity.
  • Bending Tests assess the flexural strength and behavior of materials under force. Load cells measure forces applied during bending and to determine the bending moment, stress distribution, and deflection of the material within a structure.
  • Fatigue Tests in structural testing labs assess the durability and performance of materials under cyclic loading conditions. Force sensors measure the applied forces or loads helping to analyze the material’s fatigue life through various cycle counts.
  • Impact Testing involve subjecting a structure to sudden and high-intensity forces to assess its ability to withstand rapid loading conditions. This is particularly important for environmental condition testing to structures that endure extreme temperatures, winds, moisture. This type of testing is also important for submersible structures.
  • Shear Testing evaluates the resistance of a material to forces applied parallel to its surface, causing it to slide or deform. Force measurement devices measure the applied shear forces and determine the shear strength and behavior of the material used in a structure.

During the Testing Lab Essentials Webinar, Interface application experts detail various ways our products serve test labs. During this event, the experts detailed top considerations in selecting Interface products that serve test lab engineers in conducting structural tests. 

Structural testing labs use our LowProfile load cells because they are designed to fit into tight spaces and machines, making them ideal for use in small-scale structural applications. High-capacity load cells from Interface are designed to measure large forces and are commonly used in heavy machinery and structural testing. Universal load cells are capable of measuring tension and compression, making them ideal for quality control and structural testing applications.

Multi-axis sensors are valuable force measurement solutions as they provide more data across two, three and six axes during a single structural test. Implementing multi-axis sensors can provide a more complete picture of loads and moments being applied to the DUT providing additional insight for design and verification.

As noted in the webinar, key challenges involved in structural testing include managing and isolating extraneous loads such as off-axis load and bending, understanding which products are most suitable for the type of structural tests you are performing and ensuring the instrumentation you are using is compatible with force solutions. Equally, it is important to define your systems for optimal data collection in the planning phase of any project.

Structural Testing Applications

Performance Structural Loading

Performers and entertainers have special stages built to perform in concerts for their fans. From the largest sports events half-time shows to other complex staging, a force measurement system is needed to ensure the safety for all performers, equipment, and scenery on stage. The stage needs to hold all weight, and also maintain during dynamic movements, such as performers walking on stage. For this challenge, Interface’s A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel WeighCheck Load Cells paired with the 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller is able to measure the individual loads on each load cell, or the entire weight of the performance stage. Results from the 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller was sent to the customer’s control center. Using Interface’s A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel WeighCheck Load Cells as a customizable solution, the customer was able to monitor and weigh the performance stage.

Rocket Structural Test

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage will be the largest ever built at 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 load cells 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. Using this solution, Engineers are able to measure loads applied at various areas on the rocket structure, verifying the structural performance under simulated launch conditions.

EV Battery Structural Testing

As electric vehicles push advancements in efficiency gains, structural battery packaging is at the forefront for optimization. This drives the need to validate structural battery pack design, both in terms of life expectancy against design targets as well as crash test compliance and survivability. Interface’s solution includes 1100 Ultra-Precision LowProfile Load Cells in-line with hydraulic or electromechanical actuators in customer’s test stand. Also utilized are 6A Series 6-Axis Load Cells to capture reactive forces transmitting through pack structure. Multi-axis measurement brings greater system level insight and improved product success.

Interface is a valued partner to test labs for providing solutions for structural testing.

Additional Resources

Modernizing Infrastructure with Interface Sensor Technologies

Rocket Structure Testing

Rigging Engineers Choose Interface Measurement Solutions

Load Cell Selection Guide