Interface webinar Unlocking the Power of DAQ details trends, best practices and considerations for using data acquisiton in force measurement applications. We explore DAQ instrumentation options, trends and set-up options. Learn why data acquisition systems are growing in popularity for all types of use cases. We also detail the new Interface Data AQ Packs and system options for capturing critical data. Watch the online technical seminar for recommendations on equipment, plus we answser the most frequently asked questions about DAQ in test and measurement.
Interface recently hosted an in-depth discussion about one of our favorite topics, testing labs. Our focus in this technical webinar centered on test lab devices, instrumentation, industry testing lab challenges and considerations, along with best practices. We also took a deep dive into different testing lab applications and how to modernize your test lab.
Force measurement experts Elliot Speidell and Jeff Boyd delivered an engaging and knowledgeable seminar, Testing Lab Essentials: Today + Tomorrow. Bringing decades of first-hand experience, they were able to provide product examples, tips, recommendations and lessons learned in working with testing lab professionals across industries, from automotive to medical devices.
Initial discussions in the event covered test lab basics, including types of products should be in every lab that performs testing of force, torque, and weight. The quick summary, force, torque and weight measurement devices including load cells and torque transducers of various models, calibration grade equipment and published standards, test stands, data acquisition systems and safety equipment.
One of the first steps in assessing any lab is the type of measurement equipment on hand to perform various testing requirements. Transducer selection criteria includes mechanical connection and load application, force magnitude and loading condition, cycle count, form factor restrictions, environmental conditions, additional measurements needs, such as multiple axis.
Testing labs often require different types of load cells depending on the type of products being tested and the applications in which the load cells will be used. Here are some common types of load cells used in testing labs:
- Compression load cells: Used to measure the compressive force applied to an object. They are commonly used in materials testing to measure the strength of materials such as concrete, metals, and plastics.
- Tension load cells: Used to measure the tensile force applied to an object. They are commonly used in materials testing, such as in tensile strength testing of metals and other materials.
- Shear load cells: Used to measure the shear force applied to an object. They are commonly used in materials testing, such as in shear strength testing of materials.
- Multi-axis load cells: These load cells are capable of measuring forces in multiple directions and are commonly used in structural testing applications.
- Torque transducers: Used to measure torque or twisting forces. They are commonly used in automotive testing, industrial machinery, and other applications where rotational forces are important.
- Fatigue-rated load cells: These load cells are designed to withstand high-cycle fatigue testing and are commonly used in materials testing and durability testing of products.
- Low profile load cells: These load cells are designed to fit into tight spaces and have a low profile, making them ideal for use in small-scale applications.
- High-capacity load cells: These load cells are designed to measure large forces and are commonly used in heavy machinery and structural testing.
Instrumentation is central to any testing lab environment. The three most common types of instrumentation found in test lab includes:
- Indicators: Indicators are used to convert the input signal to a local displayed value. Often they will have features like, peak capture, alarms, and analog outputs.
- Signal Conditioners: Signal conditioners are used to convert (amplify) one type of electrical signal into another.
- DAQ: Data acquisition systems are used to collect and analyze data from measurement devices. These systems may include software, hardware, and data processing equipment.
In a series of follow-up InterfaceIQ Blog posts we will detail other topics covered in this information packed discussion, including modernization, load frames and test stands, do and don’t tips, plus frequently asked questions.
Watch the complete webinar here:
Digital instrumentation used for test and measurement provides faster data input and output, and more robust analytics. Interface offers several types of digital instrumentation devices that transform load cell and strain bridge input into digital data output in numerous protocols and bus formats.
Instrumentation that utilizes analog output has long been the standard in the industry. As new requirements for use cases and applications grow, test and measurement engineers and professionals find digital instrumentation advantageous because of the lower cost, easy integration and scalability. They also like the advantage of daisy-chaining multiple sensors together on a single cable run.
Advancements in sensor technologies coincide with growing demands to gather more testing data. This is seen through the use of multi-axis sensors, along with requirements for multi-channel instrumentation that can integrate into existing systems already designed with specific digital connections and protocols, as highlighted in using Interfaces BX8 with our 6-Axis sensors. Change is also coming with a strong desire to utilize instrumentation that can easily work within cable free environments or in remote locations.
In addition to improving speed of data output, digital instrumentation offers an abundance of benefits. This is primarily due to the digital signal, as they are less susceptible to noise and are more secure. Digital instrumentation typically has built in error detection. Digital signals are best for transmitting signals across longer distances or when you need to allow for simultaneous multi-directional transmissions. Many people like the ease of integration, both into existing networks as well as with other testing devices.
Types of Interface Digital Instrumentation
- Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
- Portable and Programmable Indicators
- Battery Powered Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
- Single and Multi-Channel Transmitters
- Controllers and Programmable Controllers
- USB Output Modules
- PC Interface Modules
- Sensor to USB Output Converters
- Data Acquisition Systems
- Wireless Instrumentation
Connection options available for Interface Digital Instrumentation include, RS232, RS485, RS422, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, and Ethernet Protocols. The types of data output protocols available include ASCII, Modbus, CANopen, DeviceNet, Profibus DP Modbus/TCP, Ethernet TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT and several others. See the complete list of connections and protocols in our Digital Instrumentation Overview.
Top selling digital instrumentation models from Interface, with many available in various protocols:
- INF4-RS485 Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- INF4-Ethernet IP Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- INF4-Modbus TCP Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- INF1-Ethernet IP Single Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- INF1-Ethernet TCP IP Single Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- INF1-EtherCat Single Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator
- DIG-USB USB Output Module
- SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module
- 9320 Battery Powered Portable Load Cell Indicator
- 9325 Portable Sensor Display
- 9325-NU Portable Sensor Display
- BSC4A Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and PC Interface Module
- BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors with Lab Enclosure
- 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controllers
- 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller
Do you have questions about the type of instrumentation that will support your application? You can see more of the solutions by visiting our instrumentation selection guide. Here are six questions begin evaluating your instrumentation options:
- Where are you going to connect your sensor technology and how?
- Do you need to store your data?
- Do you prefer an analog or digital output device?
- Are you going to plug-in your instrumentation or use hand-held, wireless or Bluetooth connectivity?
- How will your data output be displayed?
- How many channels do you need for your project or program?
For additional help with instrumentation, please contact our application engineers.