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New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

The most common uses of force measurement in OEM (original equipment manufacturer) applications are when a force sensor is designed into a product that will be produced at mid to high volumes and provides real-time force feedback on certain product functions in use. Utilizing sensors as a feature enables data acquisition over time to monitor forces and understand how those forces effect product efficiency, safety, quality or all of these performance metrics. This ultimately is used to design a better product, in the current state and for future enhancements or to know when a product is performing best or risks breaking down.

Did you know that there is another application of force sensors in OEM applications that is playing a large role in the factory of the future? This is when we turn an active component into a sensor and use that data to create automated actions. This solution is used when there is a desire to take a moving component within a system and make it smarter, ultimately allowing it to make data-based decisions on its own.

For example, the manufacturing industry is using force sensors on machines within a production line that are responsible for picking components up for visual inspection. The sensor is integrated into the grabbing component and can tell the machine the exact force to use when picking up the component as not to damage it. This is a critical capability when dealing with expensive and delicate components that can break under too much force. In the past, a force measurement sensor would have been used only to test this functionality. When the sensor is designed directly into the machine, the user can both test beforehand and monitor and automate processes in real-time.

The need for this type of capability is growing rapidly amongst manufacturers across a wide variety of industry including aerospace and defense, industrial, medical, automotive, industrial automation, assembly and more. To further outline the potential for these types of solutions, Interface developed a new white paper that details  how sensor solutions for OEMs work with specific examples of the benefit of turning an active component into a sensor.

Included below is a brief intro to the recently released white paper. Get your copy by clicking on the link here. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about Interface solutions for OEM applications go here, or call us to speak to our OEM application experts at 480-948-5555. Ready to get started, let us know how we can help here.

WHITE PAPER EXCERPT

OEM SOLUTIONS: TURNING AN ACTIVE COMPONENT INTO A SENSOR

The age of industrial automation and big data is upon us. Manufacturers that fall behind in equipping their facilities and products with innovation that allows for automated processes, remote monitoring and better efficiency through technology, will quickly fall behind. This is due to the fact that automation helps to significantly improve process quality because it eliminates human error. It also creates long-term cost savings by speeding up several processes, or by helping to monitor products in use and in real-time to optimize performance and stability over time through better data collection.

Get your copy of the white paper to read more.

Special note, contributors to the white paper are Interface and sensor engineering experts, Brian Peters and Rob Fuge.

Additional Resources for OEM

Interface is a Critical Solutions Provider for OEMs

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

 

Powered by Interface Race Update from Brian Peters

What began as the Cannonball Run decades ago has evolved into the now a legal, sponsored, and officially sanctioned race known as One Lap of America. A car race that Interface’s Vice President of Sales Brian Peters is participating in this year.

Our own thrill seeker and known race driver has detailed some of the highlights, on the road as he participates in the 2021 Tire Rack One Lap of America presented by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine.

Once a year, teams of drivers from all over the country join to run a week long, 3,500 plus mile event that takes entrants from race track to race track across the multiple days, with start and finish at The Tire Rack headquarters in South Bend Indiana. Competitors must drive their cars on the same set of tires for the entire week, with no support vehicles.

A typical day’s schedule will have morning and afternoon timed sessions, then an 8+ hour transit to be at the next race track in the morning. The road course timed sessions are standing start three lap total time, with no practice laps other than the out lap to stage at the start line. The event attracts all levels of automotive enthusiasts from weekend warriors to factory backed entries, to professional drivers.

“It’s been a fun and loud week of gas stations and race tracks. The days blend together and the week will be over before we know it.” – Brian Peters

The 36th running has an intense schedule reflected below, with most nightly transits sitting above 550 miles each day. You can follow along and watch videos of the event here.

5/1 The Tire Rack, South Bend Indiana – Wet skid pad

5/1 Grissom Air Reserve, Peru Indiana – Autocross

5/2 Memphis International Raceway, Memphis Tennessee – Road course, drag racing

5/3 Eagles Canyon Raceway, Decatur Texas – Road course

5/4 NOLA Motorsports Park, Avondale Louisiana – Road course

5/5 Atlanta Motorsports Park, Dawsonville Georgia – Road course

5/5 Lanier Raceplex, Winder Georgia – 3/8 mile oval

5/6 Summit Point Motorsports Park, Summit Point West Virginia – Road course

5/7 GingerMan Raceway, South Haven Michigan – Road course

5/8 The Tire Rack, South Bend Indiana – Dry skid pad

The car #23 SGT-1 BB, being run by Brian Peters and John Hogan, is a modified 2017 Chevrolet Grand Sport Corvette with engine, brake, suspension and safety modifications. Power is up roughly 60% over stock. This year has brought a few wet events and transits with heavy rain and storms.

The final results are in and we want to congratulate Brian and John for a remarkable race. They finished in the 11th position of 72 teams!

Here are a few highlights from the team as they race around America.

 

Interface Promotes Key Leaders to Expand Services, New Markets and Innovations

Interface, the world’s trusted leader in technology, design, and manufacturing of force measurement solutions, announced this month key leadership changes within the organization. Ian James was promoted to chief operating officer (COO), Brian Peters was promoted to vice president of Global Sales, and the role of Mark Weathers, vice president of Interface’s Mini and 1923 Wireless products, is now leading advanced manufacturing and OEM solutions. These executive promotions are key steps to drive Interface’s sustained growth across multiple product lines, as well as its expansion into new markets and industries.

“Ian, Brian and Mark represent our breadth of leadership within our organization,” said Greg Adams, CEO, Interface. “In alignment with our entire Interface team, they are instrumental in growing our position as the leader in premium, accurate, and reliable force measurement solutions. Our company is fueled by our dedicated employees and I am honored to be part of their continuous efforts and commitment to provide the high-quality products and an exceptional customer experience for all of those we serve.”

Despite disruptions caused by the global pandemic in 2020, Interface continued to find new ways to help customers across multiple industries. The company launched one of its most innovative load cell products to date in ConvexBT, and expanded manufacturing and global sales of its international G Series SI-based load cell product line. Interface also expanded its automation and high volume, engineered-to-order production capabilities, and added manufacturing representatives GenTek and Hill and Company to improve in-market sales support in the U.S.

Ian James is a seasoned senior executive with a background in manufacturing and systems. After spending the early part of his career in the UK military, he held a series of senior roles in GE before founding two successful startups. He has worked with Interface since late 2017, most recently as vice president of sales. In his new role as COO, James sees his primary challenge and opportunity as leading the transformation of operations to a new and robust manufacturing model that will help the company serve its customers with world class products supported by an unbeatable customer experience.

Brian Peters served as a successful regional sales manager before his promotion to vice president of Global Sales. Peters is now responsible for the worldwide sales network for Interface, including U.S. manufacturing representatives and international distributors. Stepping into his new role, Peters looks forward to bringing over a decade of direct experience to steer Interface’s continued efforts of industry leading customer support and targeted market growth in the test and measurement, industrial applications, and OEM markets.

“As we navigate the current dynamic landscape, it’s critical that we remain agile to stay in front of changing market demands and customer requirements,” said Peters. “Our diversification across a wide range of industries has provided us both stability through the pandemic and wide-reaching insight as markets are recovering. Interface has already experienced ramping growth in early 2021, and our ability to outpace and out service our competition will be vital to Interface maintaining the gold standard expectations set by our customers and the force measurement industry as a whole.”

Mark Weathers has extended his leadership role in Interface’s focus on automation and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) business solutions. His expanded role is a result of his continued achievements as vice president of Interface’s Mini and 1923 Wireless production groups, where he has been able to cut lead times for some of Interface’s higher volume products by 50% or more. This title change reflects the company’s new strategic priorities of growing its higher-volume custom OEM business, and the closely related improvement of its technology and manufacturing processes to improve cost and performance.

“The VP of Advanced Manufacturing and OEM products is an extension of my former role as VP of Mini and 1923, which are largely OEM products. My role will be to prepare us to be more competitive by innovating in both product and process, resulting in cost positions that allow us to move into higher volume OEM applications,” said Mark Weathers, vice president of advanced manufacturing and OEM products.

NEWS ARTICLE: Interface Promotes Three, Expanding Roles for Innovations, Services and New Markets

PRESS RELEASE: Force Measurement Solutions Leader Interface Announces Executive Promotions Supporting its Continued Growth and Expansion

Interface Partners with Manufacturing Representative Firm GenTek

In a move that enhances its ability to expand premium force measurement solutions to a growing number of customers in the Southeast, Interface today announced a new partnership with manufacturer’s representatives GenTek Inc.

GenTek focuses on providing technology solutions to strategic customers in a range of industries, from military and defense to aerospace and commercial sectors across the Southeastern United States.

GenTek offers its customers a wide range of electronics, sensors, data acquisition devices, test and measurement equipment and GPS devices, and now, more than 36,000 force measurement products from Interface. Based in St. Petersburg, Florida, GenTek is providing sales support for Interface’s vast product and service lines across five Southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“Interface is well-known across many of our key customers and industries as a leader in force measurement solutions. Partnering with Interface is an ideal scenario since their products represent a very synergistic addition to our lineup that will help our customers succeed.” Ed Lamkin, president and CEO, GenTek Inc.

GenTek Inc. was founded in 1995 and has grown to become one of the most prominent manufacturer’s representatives in the Southeast. GenTek is focusing its efforts for Interface on leveraging new and existing relationships with OEMs and other customers in multiple industries including aerospace and defense, semiconductor capital equipment and test and measurement, offering force measurement solutions that meet their evolving needs.

“GenTek Inc. has built a reputation for having a deep understanding of how to solve their customer’s problems and delivering powerful technology solutions that help them achieve their product development goals. We welcome GenTek to our team and look forward to working together to achieve continued success and growth.” – Brian Peters, vice president of global sales, Interface

To contact a local representative or distributor in your area, please go to our list of contacts here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Brian Peters

It is not everyday we get to share a story about an accomplished engineer and sales leader who also doubles as a racecar driver.  Let us introduce you to our Global Sales Vice President, Brian Peters, who has a fascinating professional and personal background that came together because of his passion for all things automotive.

As a kid growing up, Brian was always interested in cars, and more specifically the mechanics of cars. His dream had always been to work with cars professionally in some capacity. This dream led him to pursue a mechanical engineering degree at Arizona State University (ASU). The thing he loved most about this experience was that the educational program was focused on a hands-on experience. During his time at ASU, he also earned an internship doing automotive component testing and accident reconstruction, which became his first foray into a profession in the automotive industry.

In this position, Brian also received his first experience working with load cells. Part of the job entailed testing seatbelts, airbags and other automotive components using force sensors. The load cells would be used to measure the resistance and force of these components in various situation. It just so happened that some of the load cells that Brian was working with were Interface load cells.

Later on in his career, Brian began looking for a new opportunity. Around the time of the 2008 economic downturn, he was referred to Interface who was looking to hire an application engineer. In 2009, Brian came on board as an Interface Application Engineer. His focus was on helping to solve force-related design and testing challenges across a wide variety of industries including automotive, aerospace, oil and gas and more.

His success with Interface helped in rise through the ranks to become a regional sales director, then national sales director. Most recently, Brian has been promoted to the position of global sales VP for Interface. In this role, Brian is responsible for all worldwide sales for Interface, including US manufacturer’s reps and international distributors. He works closely with his application engineers and regional sales team, as well as the outside sales network to ensure customers are happy and satisfied with their experience working with Interface products and services. He also continues to work directly with customers to help them solve complex challenges related to force and torque testing of new technology.

I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Interface team and take pride in the fact that Interface offers the most reliable and accurate product on the market and knows that each and every member of the organization works hard to maintain its 52+ year track record of excellence.” Brian Peters, Global Sales VP

Brian also enjoys the opportunity to solve customer needs across every industry. His love of automotive mechanics has expanded to other sectors and he loves to take on new challenges in these sectors. Brian also works closely with energy market leaders.  Read more from a recently contributed Article by Brian Peters 20 Most Promising Energy Tech Solution Providers 2020.

Brian’s automotive also passions persisted well outside of the workplace. Throughout his life he has remained connected to cars and racing. Brian is a regular on the racetrack, whether he’s racing or helping other drivers train.

He often competes in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing, which involves precision driving through a designated course marked with cones. While not what you would consider a fast race in comparison to NASCAR and Indy Car Racing, the level of technical expertise and ability to handle powerful cars necessary to compete in SCCA is immense. Brian has even competed in SCCA championship events throughout his career in the sport. In addition, Brian also used to train drivers, both military and enthusiasts. But don’t take our word for it, check him out on the track!

In short, the automotive industry has had a major impact on Brian’s life, and he feels extremely fortunate to be able to keep up with this dream through his personal and professional work. However, above all else is family. Brian credits his ability to thrive professionally and continue with his dream of racing to his wife of 20 years and three young daughters. He expressed that their love and support has enhanced his life like nothing else could and without them he would not be in the position he is today.

We are thankful to have you on our team Brian and we are thrilled to finally be able to tell your awesome story. To learn more about the outstanding people that make Interface go, please subscribe to our blog for more Faces of Interface ForceLeaders profiles and host of educational material related to force measurement and it’s applications in real life at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.

Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors Virtual Event Recap

The Interface ForceLeaders hosted forums are designed to answer frequently asked questions from testing engineers and product designers about new technologies and uses cases. In our recent virtual event, Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors, we discussed the considerations for these types of sensors, the test and measurement benefits, products Interface offers and various applications.

Interface recognizes that there are growing demands for multi-axis sensors.  In our hosted event, Interface’s Brian Peters kicked-off the conversation by highlighting benefits and reasoning for the use of these types of sensors, including answering some common questions. We’ve provided a recap of the event below or you can watch the event here https://youtu.be/zua1lvTh488.

What is Unique about Multi-Axis Sensors?

Multi-axis sensors have additional bridges to provide output signals for varying axes or types of mechanical loading. They are designed to measure a multitude of forces and moments simultaneously with a single load cell sensor. Fundamentally similar to other force and torque sensors with strain gage bridges bonded to machined “flexures,” each bridge typically defines a measurement axis. 

There are multiple configurations of 2, 3, or 6-axis options.

  • Axial + Torque
  • Axial + Shear
  • Axial + Moment
  • All 6 degrees of freedom

Should You Use Multi-Axis Sensors?

The largest factor to consider is the accuracy of your test model. In many test applications using standard load cells we often notice side or eccentric load, which can skew your data. While many Interface load cells, particularly mini load cells, have been designed to reject indirect loads, nothing can handle side and eccentric loads quite like a multi-axis sensor. Dedicated multi-axis designs are typically more balanced axis capacity limits with discrete signal outputs. Composite signal outputs are common in 6-axis models.

What are the Benefits of Multi-Axis Sensor Technology?

There are a number of benefits to using multi-axis sensors in addition to accounting for and accurately measuring or rejecting side and eccentric load. These benefits include:

  • Consolidate measurement signals, conserve test space
  • Measure unwanted system crosstalk
  • Quantify reaction loads through test article on “non-measure” side 
  • More successful fatigue testing through setup and load verification
  • More data, more understanding, more complete picture

What Considerations Should Engineer Make When Using Multi-Axis Sensors?

If you’ve made the decision to utilize a multi-axis sensor in your test model, please note the following considerations:

  • System-level loads and geometry
  • Maximum loading conditions
  • Chosen capacity is adequate for measurement loads as well as potential peak or extraneous loads
  • Choosing the right sensor based on primary axis measurements

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Products

Ken Bishop details various types of multi-axis sensor technology from Interface during the highlighted ForceLeaders event you can watch here.  Interface offers a wide range of multi-axis sensors, including 3-axis, 6-axis, axial torsion and 2-axis versions. The product options give you the ability to measure forces simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes, with the 6-axis load cells also measuring torque around those axes.

AXIAL TORSION LOAD CELLS

Interface’s axial torsion load cell is used for measuring both torque and force in a single sensor. Typical applications of its axial torsion transducer include bearing test and material test machines. The features of our axial torsion load cell include minimal cross talk, extraneous load resistance, and the load cell is fatigue rated. Customers can also add the following options: an integral cable, compression overload protection, and connector protectors.

2-AXIS LOAD CELLS

The Interface 2-Axis load cells can measure in two directions, X and Y simultaneously. It is commonly used in applications where dual-axis measurement is important in design and testing. They are effective for applications that measure lateral forces and the narrow design fits into compact areas.

2-Axis Interface Products:

3-AXIS LOAD CELLS

Interface’s 3-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes: X, Y, and Z – tension and compression. Each axis provides a unique mV/V output and requires no mathematical manipulation. The 3-axis load cell is built to minimize eccentric loading effects and crosstalk between axes. We offer five different models in its 3A Series 3-axis load cell designed for a wide variety of capacities. They are compact in size, provide 3 full bridge mV/V outputs with an IP68 option.

3-Axis Products:

6-AXIS LOAD CELLS

Interface’s 6-Axis Load Cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. An 8-channel amplifier with a USB PC interface is also available which simplifies data analysis. The company offers five different models of 6-axis load cells for a wide variety of capacities. In the end, they provide more data, accuracy, are very stiff and cost-effective for a wide range of testing options.

6-Axis Products:

Keith Skidmore, an application expert at Interface, outlined a number of use cases spanning across multiple industries. They included testing programs using multi-axis sensors in automotive, medical, aerospace and defense, consumer packaging and more. Some of the application notes discussed during this recorded event include:

  • Wind tunnel testing
  • Aerospace structural and fatigue testing
  • Computer model validation
  • Friction testing
  • Medical device: ball socket testing
  • Prosthetics
  • Robotic arm
  • Hydrofoil
  • Seat testing
  • Center of gravity

Be sure to watch the YouTube video below to gain insight into some of the most frequently asked questions about multi-axis sensors.

We had a great time introducing our audience to the possibilities of Interface Multi-Axis Sensors. If you are interested in watching the video on demand of the webinar, you can click on the link below to watch the presentation in its entirety.

Interface Steps in to Support Medical Industry COVID-19 Innovations

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit everyone hard and many industries are rushing to adjust to this new world. One of the industries most impacted by the outbreak has been the medical sector. Hospitals are in a position of running dangerously low on supplies and equipment to treat the influx of patients coming through the doors for vital treatment.

Fortunately, global innovators, product designers and manufacturers in the medical sector and outside the industry have stepped up to provide solutions critical to the fight against COVID-19. Some of the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the world, such as Honeywell Aerospace, 3M, and Ford, have reallocated significant resources within their facilities to help produce medical equipment and PPE like the much needed N95 Masks.

Medical OEMs are also ramping up production on certain technology aimed at preventing, testing, and treating the corona virus. One of the most significant pieces of medical technology needed in this pandemic are ventilators. Prior to the outbreak, analysts predicted a shortage of these devices, which are needed to treat the rising number of patients. OEMs around the world stepped up to mass-produce high-quality ventilators to meet this demand.

The production of ventilators did not just fall upon the shoulders of the OEMs. Thousands of design and test engineers in coordination with manufacturing service providers involved in the ventilator supply chain also leaned in to support the demand. Interface is proud to help participate as part of the supply chain, helping essential OEMs around the world with critical force and torque testing products.

One example related to ventilators came in April of this year when SISU reached out through our representative network to T&M Instruments in Texas.  Jace Curtis worked with Interface to urgently provide our T8 General Purpose Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducers. Jace, who represents the Interface product line, worked with a team of suppliers and testing experts to get the product design through testing quickly. This meant the transducer needed to be in-house within 24-hours. Working with Brian Peters, the product was expedited due to the sensitive nature of this requirement and delivered from our Scottsdale headquarters in the time requested.

Photo Credit DEWESoft: Testing Ventilator with Interface T8

SISU is currently designing and manufacturing the AUSTIN P51, a low-cost ventilator to aid hospitals and medical professionals in the current world-wide shortage, and they needed the torque transducers as quickly as possible to help test and verify the ventilator stepper motor.

The challenge with this project was that SISU was targeting the manufacturing of 100,000 ventilators on a very rigorous timeline and they did not have time to program a test to acquire and analyze this data. They needed to quickly set up a test correlating lung pressure to the torque of the stepper motor when the adjacent paddles squeeze the self-inflating bag. Air is then driven through a series of pressure regulators and a HEPA filter that can assist or support the human lungs when compromised.

DEWESoft USA, a company that develops and manufactures versatile and easy-to-use data acquisition systems, was charged with the development of this test system. They immediately got to work and were able to deliver a test platform capable of verifying the torque and air pressure within hours.

One of the key pieces of technology in the development of the test system was our torque transducers. The purpose of the torque transducers in the test platform was to analyze the stepper motor and gather data to ensure performance and accuracy. It was critical that the motor performed to specification, and our stainless steel, contactless T8 Torque Transducers were well-equipped to provide DEWESoft® with highly accurate, real-time data.

Additionally, not only was Interface able to overnight the T8 Torque Transducer to DEWESoft on a Saturday morning, but we were able to absorb some of the costs due to the nature of the product need and these unprecedented times. Jace Curtis was also onsite on Saturday to help assist with set-up and testing.

DEWESoft recently put together an application note and video showing the test platform in action. In these pieces, you can see how our torque transducer is used within the testing platform. Included below are links to DEWESoft’s video and application note:

Interface is proud to be an essential business in this time of crisis. It was our duty and honor to support T&M Instruments and DEWESoft in the development of this critical testing platform for life-saving ventilator technology manufactured by SISU.  It is our commitment to all our customers.  We are here to help.

Contributors:  Jace Curtis and Brian Peters

Interface Most Promising Energy Tech Solution Provider

Interface is proud to be recognized as one of the ‘20 Most Promising Energy Tech Solution Providers” of 2020 by CIO Review Magazine.

As a pioneer of load cell technology, Interface has long been recognized around the world for providing the most accurate and reliable force measurement solutions on the market. Accuracy matters for safety and reliability in test and measurement projects, engineering and product design and in the original equipment manufacturing of products that require precision sensor technology capabilities.

“The key ingredient to our product’s quality is our more than 50 years of experience and the fact that we have vertically integrated the entire manufacturing process from design to production. Because of this, we have a deep understanding of the materials and product capabilities necessary to suit every industry, application and customer need.” Brian Peters, Director US Sales, Interface

One of the industries where our knowledge of force measurement is vertically integrated processes is in the energy industry. The conditions energy professionals work in can be harsh. They’re often in dangerous environments extracting oil and natural gas, wind, or coal to fuel our nation’s need for power. The equipment our energy sector customers use must be ruggedized and provide the most accurate results possible. If the equipment fails, our customers risk steep financial losses and their staff is more exposed to safety hazards.

Interface has a special line of intrinsically safe solutions for harsh environments. These low profile load cells with loop-powered intrinsically safe amplified output are designed for use in the oil field and other hazardous locations. These load cells are specifically designed from Interface models by adding high resistance strain gages for low-current loop power and shielded internal amplifier for extra low emissions and minimal EMI susceptibility. Interface’s S-type load cell provides a suitable force measurement sensor for applications in coal mining and transfer and other heavy industries where explosive dust and environment conditions are potentially explosion-hazard rated.

Often times, our energy customers come to us needing a custom force measurement solution to deal with these unique challenges for all energy types including thermal, radiant, chemical energy, nuclear, electrical, motion, sound, elastic, and gravitational energy. Innovation in the energy is also heavily dependent upon accuracy in performance, whether it is advancing in the capabilities in the extraction of oil or measuring forces in solar and geothermal. Interface is relied upon by the energy industry leaders and OEM solution providers for their vast ranges of standard and customized load cells, torque transducers, digital instrumentation products and expanding wireless technologies. Read more here about our innovative solutions for the energy industry.

Upon selection for this recognition, Interface application expert Brian Peters contributed to an article for CIO Review Magazine detailing our work developing a custom downhole rig solution for an oil and gas customer. He also explains how Interface has evolved to meet the rising challenges of an industry that is addressing the need for more sustainable energy sources. Click this link to be redirected to Brian’s article online to share.  If you would like to speak with Brian or an application engineer about your test and measurement project or requirements for sensor technology, contact us here.

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