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Interface Explores Maritime Applications Near and Offshore

Land, air, and sea are all the places where Interface force measurement devices are used to test and confirm product designs and measure real-time functions of equipment. Interface has long been providing an array of sensor solutions for use in the maritime industry.

The solutions are diverse including hydrofoil watercraft testing, yacht rigging inspections, and safety weight monitoring on massive cranes used on shipping docks and offshore. Interface provides various load cells, load pins, tension links, load shackles, instrumentation, and wireless products for splash zone, offshore and underwater sites.

The reason we are a top choice for products in or around the water is because of our line of submersible and rugged load cells and sensors designed for underwater applications and use in harsh weather conditions. From rigs and docks to structural waterways and bridges, our load cells can survive through underwater submersions at different capacities, and still be able to relay reliable and accurate data to instrumentation and receivers at the surface level. Interface measurement technologies are helping customers regulate harsh maritime situations including underwater tension lines for commercial fishing, nearshore hoisting apparatus at shipyards, undersea energy exploration, as well as storm and tsunami monitoring.

Specifically, our wireless load pins, load shackles, and tension links are ideal for marine applications. These products can be paired with our different wireless sensor transmitters, receivers, and handheld displays. Our Wireless Crosby Bow Load Shackles have been used for line tension testing and rigging. Our load shackles are inter-changeable with our WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell. The WTS-BS-4 Wireless Industrial USB Base Station is also a popular transmitter that gives outstanding coverage and can be easily paired with one of our handheld displays such as the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters or the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld for Single Transmitters.

Check out a few of our applications notes to see how these products can be used for testing in the maritime industry:

Hydrofoil Testing in a Wave Tank

Hydrofoil design for watercraft is a delicate balance between performance and complexity. Finding the right shape without using overly complex angles to achieve the desired amount of lift is crucial when designing a successful hydrofoil. Once an engineer’s concepts are ready for testing, using the best force measurement equipment is required to sense the subtle differences between hydrofoil designs. Lift and drag are the most important characteristics of a hydrofoil. The Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell is needed to read these forces. The Fz senses lift and the Fx and Fy sense the drag. Using a model BSC4D-USB bridge amplifier increases the visibility of the load cells output signals. When using the load cell and bridge amplifier, the engineers can record the real-world lift and drag forces the hydrofoils are having on the watercraft. This data allows a more in-depth comparison of proposed hydrofoil designs to find the best model for the job. Learn more.

Mooring Line Tension Testing 

Due to the changing weather conditions, mooring cable lines undergo wear and tear. Users want to ensure all mooring lines for ships or vessels are securely docked at the same loading tension so that they do not risk the mooring lines to break or cause damage. Interface WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link can be attached to each mooring cable in use. Results are sent to the customers through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station when connected to the customer’s supplied PC computer or laptop. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view multiple mooring cable line tensions. Using these Interface products, the customer was able to verify the tensions to multiple mooring cable lines. Thus, resulting in the security of their ship being safely docked on shore. Check out the app note here.

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection

For a customer who wants to have a complete rigging inspection to make sure the mast, still lines, and all movable hoisting lines are functional and meet the proper specifications for sailing, Interface has the products to help. To test the tension of the forestay, shroud, and backstay cables, and the tension of the movable lines when sailing, Interface provided a WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle paired with the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters. This allows customers to switch and view between multiple shackles being tested during the inspection. The WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station can also be attached to the customer’s PC or laptop to display real time measurements from the shackles and log data. With this combination of technology, the customer was able to conduct both a running and standing rigging inspection of their ship or vessel and was able to determine if all lines were functional and met safety standards. Learn more here.

Dock Crane Safety and Capacity Verification

It is essential that heavy equipment used on the dock can verify that their crane is strong enough to safely lift a heavy load. For productivity and timing, it also is helpful to constantly measure and rate maximum load capacity. In these environments, a wireless solution is needed to avoid long cables, and to have a faster installation time. Using the WTSTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, operators can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules also can trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight and force. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display, or, on the customer’s receiving technology. Read more here.

As you can see, Interface has got Maritime covered with a wide variety of products suitable for submersion and the harsh weather that can be found at sea. In addition, if our off-the-shelf products don’t quite meet your use case, Interface’s custom solutions team will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs.

Load Pins 101

A load pin is a type of load cell that can replace bolts, clevis, sheave, and equalizer pins, as well as other load-bearing components to measure tensile and compression forces. Load pins are internally gauged with a bored center containing strain gauges, allowing them to convert force into an electrical signal for engineers to accurately collect data.

Most applications for load pins in the past have been for overhead equipment like cranes and lifts. Load pins have expanded in popularity and are now often used to test and measure force, load, and limitations in a much larger variety of applications. This includes uses not only for cranes and lifting devices, but also construction equipment, industrial machines, nautical craft and equipment, aerospace, and civil engineering applications. A primary system approach with structural applications is for safety and to prevent excesses in loading and lifting.

New model types with wireless and Bluetooth technology are also resulting in more use cases for these specialized force measurement solutions. This applies to both test and measurement as well as for installed OEM components within a larger structure or apparatus.

Top Load Pin Benefits

  • Easy to install new or retrofit
  • Robust construction
  • Replaces existing load bearing pins without any system modifications
  • Engineered to order designs available
  • Can be supplied with integral connector
  • Custom sizes and higher capacities available

Load pins come in many standard shapes and sizes, as well customization options to meet a specific design or use requirement. Interface provides these measuring devices, which often replace a bolt or pin, for safety and application monitoring. Some of our load pins are exclusively designed to meet the needs of applications in hazardous environments like the oil and gas industry, or marine industry where they’ll be submerged in water during testing and for continuous use.

The Interface Load Pins are machined from high tensile stainless steel and are suitable for exposed situations including seawater. We offer standard load pins with ratings between 1.1K lbf to 3.3M lbf (500kgs to 1500 MT). We also offer custom manufactured load pins suit applications from 100 kgs to 1500+ MT.

LP Stainless-Steel Load Pin – Great for lifting applications for both short and long distances. This product can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model LP Load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN).

WTSLP Wireless Stainless-Steel Load Pin This advanced load can transmit wirelessly up to 600 (1,969 feet) meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station.  The capacities range goes all the way up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN). The wireless option utilizes low power consumption for long battery life. It is configured and calibrated via PC using a base station and telemetry toolkit and compatible with Interface WTS Wireless products. The load pin is robust and uses a lightweight housing. It is environmentally sealed to IP67.

Load Pin Application

One of the largest scale applications of load pins we provided were used to measure force on a large bridge infrastructure project in the western U.S. The goal was to continuously monitor the standard force created by regular traffic, as well as the seismic force before, during, and after earthquakes. The monitoring sensors needed to be integrated into a dampener that would be attached to the structural tower.

The solution allows the company to monitor force from emitted data to cross-reference the standard traffic force with the seismic force to understand its effect on the bridge. Its purpose is to help with predictive maintenance and influence future bridge designs to better compensate for the forces of an earthquake or other natural disasters, which are common in this part of the world.

READ THE SEISMIC BRIDGE MONITORING APPLICATION NOTE HERE

READ THE INFRASTRUCTURE CASE STUDY HERE

The project required a custom product that could handle the inimitable and considerable force of a bridge under every scenario of distress. Engineers developed a custom load pin to handle the force of movement in the bridge in the event of an earthquake. This load pin was much larger than our standard version and is rated at 900,000 lbf. The large load pins were designed to be integrated into the dampener with wireless data acquisition modules connected to the load pins to allow for remote access to the data. With the integration of Interface’s custom load pins and data acquisition module, the customer was always able to continuously collect data for real-time evaluation. The sturdy construction of our load pins and 900,000 lbf rating allowed for readings during all degrees of seismic activity.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins and there many applications, please contact our application specialists today.

Seismic Application for Interface Load Pins

The range of applications of force measurement is wide-ranging across many industries. You can find Interface Mini Load Cells are frequently used to measure minute forces in precision medical devices, while our jumbo precision load cells that are rated for 2,000,000 pounds of force (lbf) are used to measure the force of rocket thrust.

Interface recently completed another extraordinary force measurement solution for a large scale infrastructure project, the first of its kind for the 51-year-old company.  Engineering and solution experts created custom load pins to measure the seismic force on the Gerald Desmond Bridge. There are interesting details that give a perspective on how force is used to provide safe passages.

Sensors are essential in innovation, with a dependency on accuracy and reliability that impacts lives and ingenuity.

BACKGROUND

The Gerald Desmond Bridge, a bridge located in Long Beach, California, opened in 1968. It is a major commuting route for the region, and a major trade corridor carrying 15 percent of all containerized cargo imported to the United States. The bridge connects Terminal Island, the heart of the port complex, with the Long Beach Freeway as well as downtown Long Beach. In 2012, a large civil construction contractor was tasked with replacing the existing steel arch bridge with a new suspension bridge rising more than 200 feet over the water.

CHALLENGE

The contractors, an Interface customer, wanted to find a way to measure the force on the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the event of an earthquake. The goal was to continuously monitor the standard force created by regular traffic, as well as the seismic force before, during, and after earthquakes. The monitoring sensors needed to be integrated into a dampener that would be attached to the structural tower. The solution that would allow the company to monitor force from emitted data to cross-reference the standard traffic force with the seismic force to understand its effect on the bridge. Its purpose is to help with predictive maintenance and influence future bridge designs to better compensate for the forces of an earthquake or other natural disasters, which are common in this part of the world.

SOLUTION

Interface was engaged to create a unique infrastructure solution. It required a custom product that could handle the inimitable and considerable force of a bridge under every scenario of distress. Interface engineers developed a custom load pin to handle the force of movement in the bridge in the event of an earthquake. The load pin is much larger than our standard version and is rated at 900,000 lbf. The large load pins are designed to be integrated into the dampener with data acquisition modules connected to the load pins.

RESULTS

With the integration of Interface’s custom load pins and data acquisition module collect data at all times. The sturdy construction of our load pins and 900,000 lbf rating allow for readings during all degrees of seismic activity. We are also able to ensure product durability because the failure rating of the custom load pins is maxed out to 2.7 million lbf. An added benefit of this project was the Interface R&D efforts applied to create future data acquisition modules like this that utilize wireless technology.

Source: Ted Larson, VP of Product Development

READ COMPLETE CASE STUDY HERE

Interface Case Study for Bridge Project

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