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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’s Sustaining Role in Arizona and the Global Business Ecosystem During COVID-19

For more than half a century, Interface has had the privilege of serving a wide variety of industries and helping our customers test, design, and manufacture products and infrastructure essential to everyday life. Our purpose at Interface defines our commitment to our customers. It simply says, “We enable innovation that improves people’s lives and keeps them safe.” 

Following our commitment to purpose and in adherence to the Arizona Governor’s Executive Order 2020-18, Interface is open for business as a classified essential business. We are working hard to remain your trusted leader in force measurement solutions during these challenging times. We are building products at our Arizona manufacturing headquarters, supporting our representatives and distributors, and shipping products to our customers every day. We are doing so with safety at the forefront in everything we do.

On March 23, 2020, Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order outlining essential business services here in the state of Arizona. The list included businesses centered around certain imperative functions such as infrastructure operations, businesses critical to the national supply chain, transportation services and manufacturers. Interface force measurement technologies, tools, and systems touch just about every physical product or system that consumers and businesses use every day. Our products are used to support many of the business operations and products manufactured that are included in this essential services list.

Interface is committed to maintaining our business operations and ensuring our customers continue to receive the highest quality product and service without disruption. Our force measurement solutions are essential to the development of a countless amount of critical hardware across many key industries, from energy to healthcare. We are proud to be an enabler of the products and infrastructure that keeps our global economy running.

The essential market leaders and industries that Interface serves include aerospace, defense, automotive, construction and infrastructure, industrial automation, energy, medical and healthcare. Here is how we are helping some of these industries and why Interface is a key member in the supply chain that keeps these essential businesses operating, designing, engineering, testing, innovating and producing during these challenging times.

Medical:

Interface products play a crucial role in the most highly regulated industry in the world – medical. Our force measurement solutions are used to test devices and instrumentation which keep patients safe and healthy. Interface’s accurate mini load cells are designed to measure medium to small forces. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement for movement tracking, blood weighing, robotic surgery, eye surgery, and prosthetic testing. For example, we developed a custom solution that is used to test a prosthetic limb for force and torque capacity. We even provide OEMs with sensor technologies to measure force in use of their medical products. Our load cells are featured in applications used for the heart, as well as implanted devices designed to perform well-beyond the lifespan of the patient. We’ve also engineered and created custom solutions for a wide variety of medtech devices, as well as for leading bio and pharmaceutical companies. All of these applications serve as critical and essential to our existence. We are honored to help our customers with their life sustaining critical applications.

Aerospace & Defense:

Interface load cells and torque transducers are used to test everything from rocket engines to wing strength, flexibility and structural integrity for aircraft. Our product’s industry-leading accuracy and reliability are important to the www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace because the longevity of our load cells are financially durable and our precision products ensure that measurements are precise. For example, one tiny inaccuracy in the measurement of an airplane wing’s force capacity can cause critical failures and have devastating effects. Innovation is core to this industry segment, from urban mobility to unmanned vehicles. Testing is fundamental in getting these products to market, while protecting all of us. These industries count on us and we continue to supply them with the products they need to keep us safe.

Infrastructure & Construction:

In construction, one of the key considerations in building a skyscraper, hospital or a home is the materials used to keep the structure sturdy in regular use or even a natural disaster. Material testing that uses Interface load cells is common. Our products are used in cycle testing on various metal and wood-based materials to ensure they hold up over time and through the elements. Our load cells can be used on cranes and other construction equipment to prevent overloading and weight testing. We also recently provided the materials for project using custom load pins to measure and monitor standard force from regular traffic and the seismic force of earthquakes.

Vehicle & Automotive:

The most important factor in automotive design and development is the safety of the driver. One of the ways that we serve the automotive industry is through products used in safety tests. One common application that uses Interface force measurement tools is brake pedal testing. Our load cells are used to measure, test, and optimize the force required to depress the brake pedal. Another application use case of Interface’s products helps in the need to increase productivity for automobile wheel installation, while ensuring that the lug nuts are installed to the proper torque values for safety purposes. These measurements need to be performed with the utmost care and accuracy, which is why many of the world’s most prominent automobile manufacturers turn to Interface for their force measurement solutions. These applications are used in testing of vehicles of all sorts and sizes, from large capacity trucks that move our food supply to farming equipment that harvests that supply. They even keep all our high-demand delivery drivers safer on the road. They count on us, as we count on them.

Industrial & Automation: 

Throughout factories across the world, producing everything from furniture to paper products, Interface load cells and torque transducers can be found on machines along the production line. Our products are featured in robotics, consumer packaging equipment, and even the machines that screw the cap on bottles, stamp logos and apply labeling. Force measurement tools are used to ensure the proper force is being used to complete these processes with minimal waste, while ensuring safe and secure packaging for the consumer. We see growing innovative ways to utilize load cells, multi-axis sensors and torque transducers to help accelerate production for vital products that are critical to our everyday life.

We are serving our purpose and mission to be part of supply chain for these industry applications, as a reliable supplier, expert manufacturer and dedicated community member. To learn more about Interface and the various industries and applications we serve, check out our application notes.

We are here to help! Stay safe and stay well.

Our COVID-19 response is here.

 

Interface COVID-19 Update from CEO

As COVID-19 continues to impact businesses and people around the world, I want to personally update you on the actions and planning we have taken to ensure Interface’s business continuity for all our customers, team members and partners around the world.

Based on guidance from the medical experts, the World Health Organization, the CDC and other US state and federal officials, we have strengthened our business continuity plans with specific steps to account for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As a US-based manufacturer, we have taken steps to provide continuous cleaning and support for our team members to lessen any production impact at our Arizona headquarters.  We are continuously engaging with our distributors, representatives and supply chain partners around the world.  In our planning, we also have provided technical support and capabilities for our office teams to work remotely as a precaution.

Please rest assured, we are ready to maintain the high-quality application engineer support and customer service.  In the current situation, the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners are vital. We are limiting employee travel, both international and domestic. In addition, given many of our customers have implemented similar travel policies, we have instructed employees to leverage technology and conduct internal and external meetings virtually as much as possible.

This is an extraordinary time for everyone. We are monitoring the changing situation daily. We are committed to maintaining our business operations and ensuring you continue to receive the highest quality service without disruption.

Thank you for your continued trust in Interface.

Greg Adams, CEO at Interface, Inc.

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