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Regular Calibration Service Maintains Load Cell Accuracy

Even under ideal conditions with normal use, some new load cells can exhibit a slight improvement in accuracy over a period of time. In contrast, load cells are subject to performance degradation due mistreatment, drift, or aging. Throughout the life of a load cell, Interface recommends that regularly scheduled calibration and inspection to monitor performance and minimize uncertainty.

Calibration is a set of operations that compares the accuracy of a measuring instrument of any type, such as a load cell or torque transducer, against a recognized standard. It is often referenced as load cell characterization.

Calibration service ensures the transducer is performing to listed specification. It helps to avoid costly impacts resulting from invalid data or a load cell shutting down a test in progress. Confidence in data is critical in test and measurement. The calibration assures that measurements gathered within the valid calibration period are reliable, trustworthy, and defensible. To maintain  any sensor and minimize cost of poor quality, it is best practice that calibrations are scheduled annually to confirm accuracy to specifications.

There are times when loading conditions and use case environments necessitate the need for more frequent evaluation and calibration cycles. The process of calibration can include adjusting the measuring instrument to bring it in alignment with the standard.

Use Cases for Frequent Calibration Services

  • Harsh environmental conditions can cause corrosion and electrical failures
  • Loading forces that exceed the load cell rated capacity can cause shifting of the zero-load output of the load cell
  • Moment loading of the load cell can cause zero shifts and other undesirable behavior
  • High cycle rates or fatigue applications can cause premature failure

Many of these symptoms can be repaired or mitigated if they are identified early during appropriate evaluation and calibration cycles.

Interface standards for calibration are world-class. Our calibration labs are managed by experts in diagnostics, testing and repair with engineering and metrology grade equipment designed by the leaders in force measurement. Interface’s range of calibration service capabilities:

FORCE

  • NMI Traceable Calibration
  • 50g – 1 Million lbf Capacities
  • 11 Hydraulic and 6 Dead Weight Test Stands to Support Calibration Demand

TORQUE

  • .022 – 100K in lbf Capacities
  • NIST Traceable to 2.2K in lbf
  • NMI Traceable 2.2K – 100K in lbf

Why Interface Calibration Services?

  • ISO 17025 Accredited
  • 50+ Years of Calibration Experience
  • 100,000+ Calibrations Performed Annually
  • Permanently Archived Test Data
  • Highly Trained Professional Technicians
  • Quick and Timely Response
  • Calibrations Running 24/6

Our guidance is to schedule regular maintenance with an annual check-up. Interface offers world-class diagnostic, repair, and calibration services. You can schedule your calibration service online here.

 

Top Five Reasons Why Calibration Matters

Applied metrology is the measurement science developed in relation to manufacturing and other processes, ensuring the suitability of measurement instruments, their calibration, and quality control.

Calibration is the practice of evaluating and adjusting equipment to ensure precision and accuracy. Calibration for force measurement determines whether a sensor is working properly, as well if it needs repair or replacement.

Calibration is critical in the application of test and measurement because it provides controlled methods using equipment and systems that ensure reliability, accuracy, and quality.

We recently shared in our Accurate Report on Calibration seminar, the top five reasons why calibration matters. Below highlights each why.

#1 Reason Why Calibration Matters – Understanding Uncertainty

  • Measurement uncertainty is defined as an estimate of the range of measured values within which the true value lies or, alternatively, the degree of doubt about a measured value.
  • In every application, there will be an uncertainty requirement on the force measurement.
  • The equipment used to make the measurement must be traceable to a realization of the SI Newton unit of force within this required uncertainty.

#2 Reason Why Calibration Matters – Quality and Specifications

  • Calibration ensures the transducer is performing to listed specification.
  • It avoids costly impacts or escapes to manufactured goods and products.
  • Maintaining quality of manufactured device to original specifications is an important reason why calibration matters.
  • It certainly minimizes the cost of poor quality.

#3 Reason Why Calibration Matters – Minimize Downtime

  • Proactive maintenance will always take less time than reactive problem solving and repairs.
  • Identify and repair or replace system components before they fail through regular calibration.
  • Plan calibration intervals to minimize downtime, as a schedule is preventative maintenance.

#4 Reason Why Calibration Matters – Data Accuracy

  • All load cells are subject to potential performance degradation due to mistreatment or drift, impacting data integrity.
  • Pre and post test verification provide assurances in data validity.
  • Confidence in critical measurements is imperative.

#5 Reason Why Calibration Matters – Accreditation and Certifications

  • Calibrations provide adherence to quality management systems and requirements, especially ISO certifications and compliance.
  • It assures that measurements gathered within the valid calibration period are reliable, trustworthy, and defensible.
  • Traceability of measurement is guaranteed with certifications.

To start, every sensor Interface manufactures is calibrated and certified in our fully accredited calibration labs before it leaves our facilities. We do so under ISO 17025 standards with full NIST traceability for quality assurance. Annually, we provide more than 100,000 calibrations on force and torque measurement devices.

We also provide complete calibration services and repair on any sensor we make, as well as other manufacturer’s equipment. Our experienced calibration lab technicians offer a complete range of calibration services for load cells, torque transducers and other force measurement devices, including:

  • Scheduled Repairs for Ongoing Inventory Management
  • RMA Tracking and Permanent Archive of Test Data
  • Custom Calibration Services
  • Certification

Calibration is a necessity as any product can degrade, resulting in a decline in accuracy. Interface recommends every device go through a calibration service annually to maintain the integrity of the sensor performance. If you need assistance in scheduling a calibration service or requesting help, contact us here.

We also offer a range of calibration grade equipment for labs and to use for self-service calibration.  This includes our verification load frames, calibration systems, calibration grade load cells and lab instrumentation. Read Calibration Grade Load Cells and Systems and Additional Interface Calibration Grade Solutions to learn about these and other products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Recap of Accurate Report on Calibration

Interface Calibration 101

GS-SYS04 Gold Standard® Portable E4 Machine Calibration System

Shunt Calibration 101

Extending the Calibration Range of a Transducer

Calibration-and-Repair-Brochure-1

 

 

Recap of Accurate Report on Calibration

Interface recently hosted an in-depth discussion on the topic of calibration.  As one of the largest calibration labs in the world for force and torque sensors, our team shared insider tips, frequently asked questions, set up techniques and best practices in the lab during this extensive calibration webinar.

The ForceLeaders seminar also covered details about various calibration grade equipment like our 1800 Platinum Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell, 1600 Gold Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell, fixtures, load frames, and calibration systems.  We also delved into topics that include instrumentation, verification frames and software.

During the event, we covered a diverse set of subjects due to the range of experiences of our attendees including the top five reasons why calibration matters, the measurement of uncertainty, identifying errors and the parameters of calibration.

You will find the recorded event Accurate Report on Calibration is available to review the technical details related to each of these important calibration subjects.

Elliot Speidell, Brian Peters and Chris Brandenburg covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • The Metrology Perspective
  • Interface Calibration Methodology: What, Why & How
  • Top 5 Reasons Why Calibration Matters
  • Calibration and Measurement Uncertainty
  • What Errors are Characterized in the Calibration Process?
  • System Calibration Considerations
  • Calibration Lab Set Up Best Practices + Tips
  • Optimization + Calibration Applications
  • Fixtures + Standard Equipment
  • Interface Calibration Services
  • Do & Don’t Tips + FAQ

To get things started, we began the event with a quick conversation about metrology, the science of measurement, which embraces both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.

Metrology is the global network standardizing measurement units. Calibration is the action taken at each step in the metrology network.

Metrology is important to Interface because it provides the standards for controlled processes, systems, reliability, accuracy, quality and science. Calibration is the set of operations that compares the accuracy of a measuring instrument of any type, such as a load cell or torque transducer, against a recognized standard. The process of calibration includes adjusting the measuring instrument to bring it in alignment with the standard.

Why is calibration of load cells and torque transducers important?

  • All load cells are subject to performance degradation due mistreatment, drift, or aging
  • You need traceability and quality system requirements
  • Pre and post-test verification is critical for data validity
  • Even load cells manufactured to the highest standards require regular calibration

Interface calibrates every load cell and torque transducer to spec before it leaves our facility. We also provide recalibration services for all types of devices, even those we don’t manufacturer. This results in more than 100,000 calibrations every year by our trained technicians. During this event we shared valuable tips for setting up and operating a world-class calibration lab.

Best practices for calibration labs:

  • Define workspace requirements
  • Qualify measurement types and models
  • Identify suppliers
  • Select calibration grade equipment
  • Assemble lab
  • Train lab techs
  • Create certification and testing protocols
  • Define workflows
  • Utilize software for tracking assets and certificates
  • Know maintenance and recalibration schedules

The Accurate Report on Calibration recorded event is available online to watch at your convenience.

If you need help in defining the best calibration grade systems or equipment for your specific test environment, contact our application engineers.  If you need a calibration service, you can submit your request online.

Accurate Report on Calibration

Learn from Interface force measurement solutions experts about calibration, why it matters, types of calibration and the precision equipment used in the calibration process. Interface shares decades of experience in calibrating more than 100,000 load cells, torque transducers and other devices every year. Elliot Speidell provides tips, parameters for optimization, lab set-up recommendations and answers calibration related questions in this new recorded ForceLeaders virtual event.

2022 Test and Measurement Industry Trends

Interface continues to experience significant growth in demand and fulfillment of our precision measurement products and services. Despite the ongoing challenges in supply and overall health and economic concerns, our focus has remained steadfast to serve customers with innovative solutions, facilitated requests for specialized engineering and production requests and expeditiously working to meet the delivery schedules aligned to our customers’ requirements.

As the overall T&M industry grew, so did the demand for engineers and manufacturers across all industries to have proven solutions from their test and measurement equipment, expanded capabilities from sensor technologies, as well as explore new ways of optimizing products with real-time, accurate measurement.

As we look ahead to 2022, we are also investing in new and existing trends and exploring how they will shape the overall market next year and beyond. To help prepare our customers, here are our predictions for the new year, along with what is hot and trending in force measurement. The following provides some insights from our experts on how Interface is prepared to address these trends, while continuing to serve our customers at the highest level of satisfaction. Here is Interface’s viewpoint on market trends and predictions for 2022 and beyond.

Big Data Continues to Rule Product Design and Test

Over the last few years, we’ve shared our view on the Industry 4.0 revolution and how Interface customers are demanding more data from their T&M tools to give exactness in accuracy and all-encompassing performance data at the earliest phases of product design. Not only will this continue, but it will expand rapidly. In the force measurement world, Interface has responded by serving our customers with new innovations in multi-axis sensors that provide more force data on more axis. Interface offers a wide variety of multi-axis sensors including 2, 3 and 6-axis sensors. We certainly anticipate a continued growth in demand for multi-axis sensors as our product line expands to meet the requirements.

In addition, Interface is seeing more requests from manufacturers and product designers to embed sensors and measurement capabilities within their products. To enable continuous improvements and advancements in smart manufacturing and product designs, sensors are being used to provide real-time feedback on machines, components, equipment, and consumer products. These sensors are often designed in or embedded into the OEM product to predict the health in each type of use case, as well as notify users when a repair or adjustment is needed for safety, user satisfaction, and controlled maintenance. In the manufacturing applications, this capability significantly reduces facility downtime. To meet this demand, Interface is investing in more automation capabilities within our own manufacturing facilities to produce high volume sensor solutions for OEM customers. This market is growing rapidly, and Interface is working hard to meet the needs of our customers that need our products in volume.

New Advancements in Strain Gages

Another trend that Interface is actively investing in is new strain gage technologies and manufacturing techniques to better serve the high-production and OEM markets. Interface uses proprietary strain gages for all products we manufacture. When OEMs are making high-volume product orders and need sensors that fit their exact needs without breaking their budget, Interface is ready to meet the demand. One of the ways that force sensor manufacturers can meet OEM cost needs is through innovation in strain gages, the heart of any measurement device. Interface deploys a team of resources to design and build custom strain gages when a unique solution is part of the design requirements. Interface has expanded our specialization and expertise in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and metallurgy to meet this specific trend and need. We are currently undergoing critical R&D to find new ways to develop these components and working directly with customers to meet their data requirements. Check out this post on strain gages.

Growing Demand for Wireless Solutions

Another trend that is continuing to gain momentum is the growing need for wireless measurement solutions. Wireless systems are helping manufacturers simplify the integration process and create a cleaner safer test environment with far less wiring. Wireless communication is also playing a major role in advanced manufacturing and smart products. By connecting systems wirelessly, users can monitor testing and in OEM applications, review the health of a system, from a central point. This includes for components used in the field, underwater or via remote locations for assembly and test.

These wireless systems also help improve accuracy significantly. Wireless technology has gotten to the point where we can receive more accurate readings when converting from an analog to a digital signal. This is especially important in highly complex and regulated industries like aerospace, energy, or medical. Wireless solutions will continue to grow, and Interface continues to develop new wireless total system solutions for our various product lines.

Faster, More Efficient Calibration Services

One of the most critical facets of working in manufacturing and technology is meeting the demands of our clients in an extremely timely manner. Innovation, advancements and testing demands slows down for no one, and our customers are no exception. This also requires regular maintenance and servicing of our devices. Interface recommends annual calibration services to ensure your force and torque measurement products are performing as designed. We understand they need our products and services fast. As part of our commitment to customers, Interface provides high quality calibration services that are key to long lasting and accurate force sensors. This service has grown rapidly alongside the force measurement industry and we’re receiving more re-calibration orders than ever before. To meet this demand, Interface is investing heavily in both people and technology to further expedite this process and meet our promise of expeditious turnaround times for calibration services. Read more about calibration here.

Complete Systems

Sometimes out-of-the-box meets the exact requirements, sometimes it’s in the box.  Interface continues to expand our product mix to include advanced instrumentation, accessories, sensors and unique housing for full systems due to growing demands. Our team of solution engineers partner with our customers to identify the specifications and understand the application to build completely custom solutions, from single sensors to complete systems. These systems can be used within lab testing environments or as remote testing solutions.  Learn more about the capabilities of our custom solutions team here.

These are just a few of the many trends occurring in test and measurement into 2022 and beyond. Technology is progressing at a rapid pace. Our customers need more data, that’s abundant and accurate. Our sensors are seeing new application and use cases, ranging from testing unmanned space vehicles to smart agriculture components.

Rest assured, Interface is deeply invested in addressing these trends and serving our customers in the new year and beyond with critical innovation. It’s what we’ve been doing since 1968. We see an abundance of opportunities and possibilities in working with our customers to get the best products for their projects, programs, and OEM products. Whether they need our standard, engineered-to-order, and custom solutions, we are here to serve and ready for 2022. How can we help you?

Additional Resources

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

Additional Interface Calibration Grade Solutions

 

The Role of Actuators in Force Measurement

One of the most common force measurement tests in the engineering and manufacturing world is called cycle testing. Cycle testing involves constant force being applied to a component or product over hours, days and even months. The goal is to test a product to find out how long it will last under the amount of force it will see in use in the real world.

Cycle testing is used throughout different industries. One of the most common applications of a cycle test is on something like airplane wings. The wings of an airplane are exposed to constant push and pull force to guarantee that they will hold up over many flights. Check out the wing fatigue testing application note here.

Another example is simple furniture tests, like a chair, to ensure it can withstand the weight of people of all sizes after years and years of use. These tests are designed to really push the limits on the product so engineers and manufacturers can confirm their designs and ensure safety and durability.

To carry out these tests, actuators are used to generate the force in cycle testing. An actuator is a component responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system. Actuators are small components that convert energy in a linear moment. There are a variety of different types of actuators including linear, rotary, hydraulic, pneumatic, and more. Each is designed to create force in different directions and on different axes.

Actuators are very important because force measurement is fed back into a control loop and the actuator allows you to accurately control how much force you’re putting on a test article. As a basic example, if you wanted to measure how much force it takes to close a door, you would use an actuator to provide the door closing force while the load cell measures the amount of force given off by the actuator.

Interface often integrates actuators into load cells for custom solutions to use in rigorous use and cycle testing. These types of custom solutions are used by equipment and product manufacturers, OEMs, as well as product design and testing labs. There is increasing frequency for OEMs to integrate actuators into load cells for testing their automated testing lines or products in use for continuous feedback.

For example, mobile device manufacturers use a miniature–sized load button load cell like the ConvexBT to test the pressure sensitivity of the touch screen. By using an actuator, phone manufacturers can set up an automated test lines with an actuator integrated in the load button load cell to test each screen as they go across a test line. You can read more about ConvexBT in this new white paper.

Another major application for actuators is in calibration machines. To test if a load cell is calibrated correctly, an actuator applies force to the load cell being tested and a calibration grade Gold Standard Load Cell simultaneously. These measurements can tell the user if the load cell needs to be recalibrated or not because the actuator allows the user to create a very precise force measurement. If measurements on the test load cell are not the same as the control load cell, the user knows it is off calibration and it’s time to schedule a calibration service.

From custom solutions to calibration, if actuators are necessary for your next project learn how Interface can work with you to find a solution that meets your precise needs.

Read more about Gold Standard Calibration Systems here.

Learn about how Interface is a preferred provider of OEM solutions here.

Interface Customer Insights from Fall 2019 Survey

Twice a year Interface engages our valued customers to formally seek their feedback, insights, and future outlook regarding test and measurement. Our latest survey results show a continued demand in project-based force measurement technology, a growing need for innovation, and complete system and custom solution designs for OEMs.

In our continued commitment to customer experience, we surveyed thousands of Interface buyers to help us understand how we can best serve their needs today and in the future.  What we learned through this process is that accuracy, quality and trust remain constant when determining the types of force measurement products our customers buy and utilize.

Our semi-annual Interface Customer Satisfaction Survey consisted of a single question to measure our performance by a Net Promoter® Score (NPS) with an additional four questions to gather our customer’s direct insights and feedback. Interface utilizes the NPS score to provide predictability and measure overall satisfaction through trending data on how we perform for our customers.

The creator of NPS, Fred Reichheld, noted that the highest-performing companies will score greater than +50, while the average American company rates between +10 to +12 across all industries. When we asked our customers who have purchased Interface solutions over the past 18 months, how likely is it that you would recommend Interface to a friend or colleague, 86% of all those that answered said they are extremely to very likely to recommend Interface to others. The overall NPS rating for Interface based on our 2019 surveys now stands at +54.

Additional Questions from Interface’s Fall 2019 Survey:

QUESTION: What force measurement products do you generally use at your company?  

Not surprising, 100% of our customers noted they are using our most popular products, load cells. Interface customers also rank mini load cells, instrumentation, torque transducers, and calibration systems in the top five products they regularly use.

QUESTION: If applicable, do you calibrate your own load cells or send them to a calibration service provider?

In our survey, 61% of respondents shared they are sending out their load cells for calibration while 21% are doing an in-house calibration. This is aligned to Interface’s continued growth and demand for our expert calibration services.

QUESTION: Is the ability to customize your force measurement products important to you? 

More than half of the participants shared that customization is important in the applications. Interface also sees a growing trend in modified product requests and custom solutions for innovative use cases, as well as in applications with our OEM customers.

The NPS scoring is based on a scale of 0-10 for how likely they would recommend us, zero being least likely and 10 being extremely likely. Our average score from this recent survey is 8.3, with the highest majority of respondents indicating they are extremely likely (10) to recommend Interface products and services to a friend or colleague.

All feedback is important to us and our last question in our survey asks for direct feedback that we can share with our team members. As we focus on continuous improvement, we learn from our customer’s input. It helps us to find better and more innovative ways to ensure we meet and exceed our customer’s expectations. It’s what we strive for every day.

If you are a customer and would like to share information with us about your buying experience, you can always contact us directly or complete our feedback survey here.

Thank you to all our survey participants.  We are grateful and thankful for your business.

Interface Defines the Gold Standard in Calibration Systems

Interface understands that when companies are designing and testing complex structures like airplanes, space shuttles, automobiles, and oil & gas rigs, failure is not an option. In order to reduce uncertainty and guarantee the safety of these systems, the highest levels of accuracy in the testing process is an absolute requirement before any structure is moved to final production.

For more than a half-century, Interface has set the standard for reliability in force measurement products. Each load cell that leaves our doors is precisely calibrated to the highest standards available on the market.

In fact, we are maintaining standards of accuracy acceptable by the world’s leaders in aerospace, energy, rockets, medical devices, infrastructure, automobiles and more. Assurance of accuracy and quality are supported through our proprietary Gold Standard® Calibration System, which is the defining ‘gold standard’ in our industry.

Years ago, our customers started asking how we could help them do an in-house calibration. We knew we had to ensure the same quality we used ourselves, no exceptions. So we built our system for commercial use, making it the first of its kind calibration system available to our valued load cell customers.

Interface is the only major load cell company that also sells calibration systems. In fact, many calibration labs and other load cell makers calibrate their load cells with Interface Gold Standard Calibration Systems.

GS-SYS Gold Standard Calibration System Load Frame

GS-SYS Gold Standard Calibration System Load Frame

Interface Load Cell Calibration Systems are available for a wide range of rigid and portable systems and configurations. The Interface GS-SYS Gold Standard® Calibration System Load Frame uses the Interface Gold Standard® Load Cell to ensure a metrology system of the highest accuracy and lowest uncertainty available. It consists of a four-post rigid load frame, proprietary load feedback loop, signal conditioning hardware, and fully-automated calibration software. It also comes in a desktop and portable system for more effortless mobility.

Additional features of the Interface Gold Standard® Calibration System include:

  • 2 channels (options available for up to 8 total channels)
  • SCB1 measurement board featuring <0.003% FS Nonlinearity
  • Less than 0.04% RDG uncertainty
  • The fully-automated system will reduce calibration time by 50% to 90%
  • Automated calibration run can be completed in less than 5 minutes
  • Innovative fixturing allows for tension and compression calibration without changing the setup
  • 12 in. clearance between posts allows for easy load cell installation and removal
  • Accurate and reliable load control achieved by proprietary load feedback design
  • Testing and reporting per ASTM E74 and/or ISO 376 standards
  • Automatically produces standard reports, graphs, and performance parameter calculations
  • Ability to customize reports and graphs
  • Automatically archives data

We also offer training on our systems for new users.  There are additional features that can be customized into calibration systems.  Contact our expert customer solutions application engineers here.

The Gold Standard Calibration System is the preferred choice for companies that value accuracy and reliability. If you prefer that Interface does all your calibration and repairs, contact our trusted service and cal experts today at /calibration-repair/.