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Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

Material tests are run to determine the quality, durability, and resistance of materials for parts and products. Selecting the right material is critical to performance of a product, system, or part, especially as it relates to the environmental factors. It is also core for adhering to regulatory standards and compliance requirements.

Whether it is construction and concrete materials, metals, fabrics, biomaterial, plastics, packaging, or some other matter, material testing is fundamental throughout the entire development lifecycle.

Among the various ways to test materials, force measurement is one of the most important. Common uses of force measurement in material tests include applications to measure hardness, torsion, strength, compression, bending, shear, impact, creep, fatigue, and nondestructive capabilities.

The use of load cells provides an adaptable tool that can be utilized for various types of material tests. Using force measurement sensors help to detect changes in load, which is used to determine the flexibility, strength, or weakness of properties in materials. This is critical for research and quality control.

For example, in metal material testing load cells are frequently used for characterizing and assessing the quality of metallic components and structures. Material test engineers use load cells to accurately measure the tensile strength, compression resistance, and yield properties of metal samples. By subjecting metals to controlled loads and monitoring the metals deformation during tests, Interface load cells provide critical data that informs engineering decisions and quality control processes. Material tests confirm that the metals chosen for products like aircraft structures, automotive components, and sports equipment, meet stringent performance standards. The measurement sensors are also vital for determining the reliability, longevity and safety of metal materials used for any product or part. See other examples of testing in our new Interface T&M Material Testing Overview.

It is the responsibility of a material testing engineer to determine the resilience, safety, and value of materials through mechanical testing, of which material testing is one of the five categories. Ultimately, product designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely upon material testing data to ensure their products can withstand the anticipated levels of force during use. They also need to know if the material will stretch or elongate, as well as pinpoint its exact breaking point.

Interface’s robust line of load cells, multi-axis sensors, and data acquisition systems are used for material testing. It is common to have our 1200 LowProfile load cells installed into material testing machines at test labs and onsite. We also supply a variety of miniature load cells and load pins for material testing, depending on the type of equipment and environment used for tests.

High accuracy load cells are essential in material testing due to their precision, versatility, and ability to provide real-time data, which helps researchers and engineers gain a better understanding of a material’s mechanical properties and behavior under different conditions.

If force must be measured, Interface has a solution. This applies to testing materials used for infrastructure, medical devices, aircraft, rockets, vehicles, robotics and consumer goods. As new materials and composites are introduced in revolutionary ways for use in construction, designing light weight products using polymers, and 3D printed components, it is imperative that material tests validate the use case based on high accuracy measurements.

Our force measurement products are being used to gather data from testing materials in applications used for machines, equipment, structures, packaging and more. Here are a few examples of material testing applications.

Inflatable Space Habitat

Inflatable habitats are the newest innovation in the space industry, creating a new interplanetary dwelling for humans to live and work past the Earth’s atmosphere. An innovative space industry company wanted to test the overall design and material of their inflatable habitats by conducting a burst test. Multiple clevises and LP Stainless Steel Load Pins were attached to the in the webbing material that create the inflatable habitat. When pressure was increased within the inflatable habitat, the load pins captured how much force the heavy duty material will hold at specific pressures until it explodes. Interface’s LP Stainless Steel Load Pins successfully measured the amount of force the inflatable habitat could withstand during the burst test.

Material Tensile Testing Load Frame

A customer wanted to conduct a tensile force test on different samples and materials until failure. Materials include plastic, steel, or woven fabric. They wanted to measure tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress. Interface’s 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell was installed into the customer’s test frame. The tensile test was conducted, and force results were captured by the load cell and extensometer were synced through the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module. These results were then displayed on the customer’s PC with supplied software. With Interface’s force products, the customer was able to determine the tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress of a variety of different materials.

Material testing is often the first step in any new product development process. With Interface force measurement solutions, our customers can expect industry-leading accuracy, quality and reliability in testing the materials that will go into their next project. Contact us for products used for various test types.

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Tensile Testing for 3D Materials

Bending Beam Load Cell Basics

The Aviation Industry Soars Using Interface Solutions

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Interface Solutions Aid Pharmaceutical Industry

Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar

Interface’s technical webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting details measurement devices used in lifting equipment, machines, and vehicles to improve operations and safety. Interface load cells and instrumentation are used to operate cranes, hoist heavy objects, and measure forces in infrastructure projects. Interface experts answer how load cells are used in safety monitoring for lifting equipment. Learn about Interface sensor products suited for integration into existing equipment and test and measurement projects.

Why Product Design Houses Choose Interface

When people think of force measurement, they often think that it is a tool for testing products. However, load cells, torque transducers and multi-axis sensors also play a fundamental role throughout the entire product design process. In fact, many products today actually design force sensors directly into products.

Product design houses are companies that fulfill outsourced design work for a variety of industries. These specialized design houses are contracted to develop and bring products to life.

A product design house primarily focuses on designing physical products or tangible goods. The services they offer to product makers, engineers, manufacturers, and innovators typically involve the entire product development lifecycle, from conceptualization and design to prototyping and manufacturing.

Due to our experience and expertise across multiple industries, Interface collaborates with product design houses in identifying the right sensors and systems to use during different stages of the design process. Whether it is for accurately measuring forces for impact and fatigue testing, identifying precise weights for packaging, modeling consumer usability, or testing material strength, Interface products are chosen by design houses based on their range of capabilities, accuracy, versatility and quality.

How Product Design Houses Use Interface Products

  • Concept Development and Prototyping: Product design houses often use Interface product design files when refining their initial product ideas or creating new concepts. When the products move into physical modeling, Interface products are used for testing and validation at this early stage.
  • Industrial Design: Industrial designers use Interface load cells and other sensor products for measuring functionality of the product.
  • Design Validation and Testing: Conducting tests and simulations to validate the product’s performance, durability, and safety are the number one reason why design houses utilize Interface measurement solutions. Design houses put sensor technologies into products to provide force data for user feedback, to optimize performance, safeguard consumers and activate components.
  • Mechanical Engineering: The mechanical engineering team of a design house will connect with Interface when they are working on the technical phases of product design. Our products are used to help ensure the final product can be fabricated efficiently, performs consistently, and meets applicable safety standards.
  • Materials and Manufacturing: Experts at design houses that are versed in materials science and manufacturing processes will consult with Interface in finding measurement solutions that can access and validate material testing and production systems. Within the manufacturing realm, these devices are employed in quality control processes to ensure consistent product standards.
  • Packaging: If a product has packaging that must meet durability, temperature, pressure or fatigue requirements, Interface will provide sensors and instrumentation for design testing.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Certification Support: For products subject to regulatory standards, design houses utilize high accuracy measurement solutions in creating specifications, reporting, and compliance requirements before moving to market.

These services can vary from one product design house to another, and some design houses may specialize in specific industries or types of products.

Product design houses leverage Interface load cells across various industries to measure and monitor forces and weights with precision. For example, in medical device development, Interface miniature load cells are used for patient lifts, ensuring secure and accurate weight measurements.

Whether used in material testing, robotics, or agricultural machinery, load cells enable product design houses to create innovative solutions tailored to specific industry requirements, enhancing overall product performance and reliability. Here are a few examples of house product designers use force measurement solutions during the design phase.

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

To meet safety protocols in relation to the manufacturing of various furniture products, fatigue testing, shock testing, and proof testing must be rigorously performed before diffusion into the marketplace, and into the homes of consumers. Force testing of furniture products is critical in determining the posted max loads to protect manufacturers from liability due to damage that might result from the misuse of those products and overloading. Using Interface’s SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell along with Interface’s 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator provided a solution that measures the force being applied in fatigue cycle testing of a furniture product, in this case, testing the rocking mechanism in an office chair. Throughout the testing phase, changes were made to the design to improve the safety and life of the furniture, ensuring product quality and protecting the manufacturer from future liability.

Self-Checkout Kiosk Functional Testing

To assess the design of self-checkout kiosks, part of the development cycle is to ensure the weighing feature is functioning properly with the right amount of sensitivity when customers want to weigh products like fruits or vegetables. The designers also needed a system that measures the force it takes for the self-checkout kiosk to activate a response for consumers. Interface suggested installing SSB Load Beam Load Cells under the plate where items are weighed. When connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, force results are wirelessly transmitted to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station on the customer’s PC. Data can be logged and graphed with included Log100 software. Interface’s wireless force system successfully measured the amount of force it took for the self-checkout kiosk to react and ensure it is functioning properly.

 

Design of a Prosthetic Foot

In the design of this medical device, the product designers need to know how the foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. To measure this, Interface’s 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The 3A120 was then connected to the BSC4D Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Computer Interface Module. Using this solution, data was logged for X, Y, and Z axis. The design house was able to review the results and identify premature flat foot and dead spots during foot’s production for consumer use. They utilized this vital information to make improvements to the design.

Interface works with design houses and product design engineers across the continuum of a product’s development through go-to-market. We supply standard measurement sensors like our load cells, along with custom solutions that are uniquely engineered for a particular use case.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

Interface Mini Load Cells Growing in Product Use and Testing

Demystifying Specifications Webinar

Interface’s technical force measurement webinar Demystifying Specifications details descriptions, terms, values and parameters found in product datasheets for load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and specialty products. Learn from our experts what specifications need critical review, recommendations based on product categories, and the insider point of view on what is most important in terms of specifications for different use cases and tests.

Force Measurement Enables Precision Drone Aerial Displays

Many of the largest outdoor celebrations around the world are utilizing drone technologies quipped with LED lights working in complete unison to create amazing displays. From coronations and holidays to world sporting events, these incredible lighted airborne spectacles are growing in scale, design and capabilities.

The use of drones for aerial displays are on the rise. Swarms of drones offer new possibilities for creating captivating light shows and visual displays that can accompany or even replace certain aspects of traditional fireworks. They offer a unique aerial perspective by flying at various altitudes and angles. They can be programmed to create specific patterns, shapes, and movements in the sky, allowing for more intricate and tailored displays. Drones can also be equipped with different lighting effects and colors, offering a wide range of visual possibilities.

Drone shows provide stunning visuals and add a new dimension to sky visual arts; however, safety is still primary in design and use. Though drones can be programmed to fly predefined paths and execute specific maneuvers, ensuring that they stay at a safe distance and do not provide risk or harm is critical to use.

Safety and regulation of a flying object is determined by the location and governing bodies. As increased visual arts using drones grows, testing and design is paramount to ensure these objectives are met and held to standards for sake of the manufacturer, operator and the viewing public.

How does Interface take part? Sensor technologies have a big hand in making drone and areial displays due to the necessity of force measurement in designing and evaluating the drones for the launch, precision movements, lighting effects and descent. Interface products are used by drone manufacturers to design these flying machines to conduct different tasks, from deliver packages as well as for testing motor torque and center of balance.

Due to Interface’s experience in supplying measurement devices for aerospace, automotive, industrial automation, we have several load cells, miniature transducers and instrumentation solutions perfect for use in drone application. Our wireless sensors and digital instrumentation are particularly attractive to drone makers because they eliminate the need for wires and facilitate real world testing. For more unique applications, Interface also offers custom solutions and can work with the original equipment manufacturers to understand their specific needs and deliver a sensor suited for those needs.

The use of drones for creating light shows has become a safe and more environmentally friendly alternative to fireworks, often being used at big venues across the country. Force sensors are used in the testing of these types of drones to ensure they can manage the weight of the equipped LEDs.

Drone Show Application

Drone fireworks have become increasingly popular in recent years. During drone firework and light shows, drones are equipped with LED lights, flying in synchronized patterns to create displays in the night sky. A force measuring and monitoring system is needed for the weight of the LED or the forces generated by fireworks explosions.

Interface suggested four of its WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells, which were installed to the necessary propeller motors measure the attached LED lights. Each were connected to a WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules. The WMC’s measure the weight of the LED lights to monitor weight shifting or any uneven weight distributions. Data results were wirelessly transmitted directly to the customer’s laptop through the WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station, or to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. The four WMC load cells accurately measured and monitored the weight of the attached LED light and maintained stability of the propeller motors to when the drone was in air performing the fireworks show.

Interface, a US manufacturer of force measurement solutions, will be closed on July 4th. We will resume our normal business hours the following day.

What is Moment Compensation?

Moment compensation refers to a process of adjusting or counterbalancing the effects of an external force or torque, known as a moment, on a system or object. This is often done in engineering or physics contexts where precise control and stability are required, such as the design of force measurement applications.

Moment compensation is often used to prevent unwanted movements or deformations in systems, to ensure precision and accuracy in measurements, or to maintain stability and control during operation. Moment compensated load cells improve accuracy by compensating for the impact of external forces and moments on the measurement, allowing for more precise and reliable measurements.

Most load cells are sensitive to orientation and loading concentricity. When external forces or moments are introduced, measurement errors are more common and reduce the accuracy of the readings. These external forces or moments can come from various sources. Examples of external forces or moments that can affect the accuracy of load cells and require moment compensation:

  • Off-axis loading: When the load is applied off-center to the load cell, it creates a moment that can introduce errors in the measurement.
  • Temperature changes: Changes in temperature can cause thermal expansion or contraction of the load cell, which can introduce measurement errors.
  • Vibration: Vibrations from nearby equipment or processes can cause the load cell to vibrate, creating measurement errors.
  • Changes in orientation or position: Changes in the orientation or position of the load cell can cause gravitational forces or other external forces to act on the load cell, affecting the measurement.
  • Torque: When a load cell is subject to torque, such as twisting or bending forces, it can introduce measurement errors.
  • Wind or air currents: Air currents or wind can create external forces on the load cell that can affect the measurement

A load cell that is moment compensated can minimize or eliminate these errors, resulting in higher accuracy. Load cells with moment compensation can be more sensitive to slight changes in the load, as it can compensate for any external forces or moments that might affect the measurement.

Moment Compensation is an Interface Differentiator

Interface’s moment compensation process reduces force measurement errors due to eccentric loads by deliberately loading cell eccentrically, rotating load, monitoring and recording output signal, and then making internal adjustments to minimize errors. Every product we ship must pass moment compensation specifications and performance requirements. Every Interface LowProfile™ load cell is moment compensated to minimize sensitivity to extraneous loads, a differentiator from other load cell manufacturers.

When load cells are moment compensated, they can be used in a wider range of applications, including those with complex or dynamic loads, which might be difficult or impossible to measure accurately using a load cell without moment compensation. Interface’s LowProfile Load Cell models have the intrinsic capability of canceling moment loads because of its radial design. The radial flexure beams are precision machined to balance the on-axis loading.

Moment compensated load cells are designed to counteract the external forces or moments by using a configuration of strain gages and electronics that can detect and compensate for these forces. The strain gages are arranged in a way that allows the load cell to measure the force applied to it in multiple directions, and the electronics can then use this information to calculate the impact of external forces and moments on the measurement.

Interface uses eight gages, as opposed to the four used by many manufacturers, which helps to further minimize error from the loads not being perfectly aligned. Slight discrepancies between gage outputs are carefully measured and each load cell is adjusted to further reduce extraneous load sensitivity to meet exact specifications.

Moment compensation improves the stability of a load cell, particularly in situations where the load is off-center or subject to torque. This can prevent the load cell from shifting or becoming damaged, leading to more consistent and reliable measurements. It also improves the durability of a load cell, as it can help protect it from the impact of external forces or moments that might cause damage or wear over time.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Addressing Off-Axis Loads and Temperature Sensitive Applications

Contributing Factors To Load Cell Accuracy

Off-Axis Loading 101

How Do Load Cells Work?

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Get an Inside Look at Interface’s Famously Blue Load Cells

Strain Gages 101

 

Why Mechanical Engineers Choose Interface Solutions

Mechanical engineers play a crucial role in the design, development, and maintenance of mechanical systems that are integral to modern society and industries. They apply tenets of physics, materials science, and engineering to design, test and analyze, fabricate, and maintain mechanical systems in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, energy, robotics, and manufacturing.

Frequently, mechanical engineers use Interface force measurement devices to gather data, analyze performance, and ensure the safety and reliability of mechanical systems. Force measurement technologies help them to quantify the magnitude and direction of forces acting on objects or structures.

Mechanical engineers are active in the research and development of modern technologies and innovations, from small components to large industrial machines. This vital role is typically involved in the selection of materials, manufacturing processes, and quality control to ensure that mechanical systems are safe, dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Interface’s quality and accuracy of load cells make them a preferred engineering solution for various use cases. The range of products are used for multiple testing and design applications. The most common products selected by mechanical engineers include:

Engineers use sensors to determine the forces acting on different components or subsystems within a larger system, such as an engine, gearbox, or suspension system, during operation. This information can be used to verify that components are operating within their design limits, identify potential failure points, and optimize performance.

Force measurement devices are used by mechanical engineers in quality control processes to ensure that mechanical systems meet design specifications and performance requirements by performing tests during the manufacturing process, such as checking the tension in bolts, verifying the strength of welds, or measuring the force required for assembly or disassembly of components.

Mechanical engineers use impact force sensors to measure the forces experienced by a vehicle during crash testing, or fatigue testing machines to apply cyclic loads to components or structures to simulate real-world conditions. They participate in the design, development, and optimization of renewable energy systems such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power. Read Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy.

Mechanical engineers are at the forefront of advancements in robotics and automation, including designing and developing autonomous vehicles, drones, robotic manufacturing systems, and automated processes for industries such as automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. Advancements in materials science is a key role for many mechanical engineers. As well, these types of engineers play a crucial role in advancing the field of biomechanics and developing medical devices.

IoT and smart systems that integrate mechanical components with sensors, actuators, and control systems to create intelligent and connected systems are a result of the work of mechanical engineers. This includes developing smart buildings, smart appliances, smart transportation systems, and other IoT-enabled devices. Read Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities

Mechanical engineers use force measurement devices to perform tests and experiments to determine the forces experienced by mechanical systems. Load cells help them to quantify the loads on structural components, such as beams, columns, or joints, to understand their performance under different conditions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Electrical Engineers Choose Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface Celebrates Engineers

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Use Cases for Load Pins

Performance Structural Loading App Note

Interface OEM Solutions Process

 

 

Accurate Force Measurement Data Under Any Conditions

Interface’s Keith Skidmore recently detailed the growing demands for more data in the product development process to create better products in the February 2023 edition of Quality Magazine. In his contributed article, Measuring Force Data in Extreme Conditions, he expertly highlights how this demand comes with the added requirements for measurement and sensor solutions that can perform in any condition.

As makers of products, machines, and components can attest, they need more testing and performance data to make critical design and smart production decisions. The added requirement to secure this data with precision, requires quality measurement solutions that can perform under extreme conditions.

Interface has long been attuned to these demands, with an increasing product line of ruggedized products. These products, including our submersibles, intrinsically safe and stainless steel load cells help to fulfill the requirements. Examples of these products include:

Noted in the article, Keith writes: As technology has progressed, test and measurement systems are becoming more advanced and capable for a wide variety of applications and industries. This is because manufacturers want more data in the product development process to create better products, and they need solutions that can perform in any condition, especially when running field testing. This is increasingly important in force measurement as real-world testing is paramount to a safe and reliable product. And with the need for real-world force testing comes the need for sensors that can work effectively in hazardous environments including rain, wind, underwater, explosive environments, and exposed conditions.

Read the complete article here to learn more about Interface’s popular ruggedized force measurement solutions, sensor materials used to perform in harsh environments, extreme temperature options and various submersible options.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

High Temperature Load Cells 101

Hazardous Environment Solutions from Interface

Interface Submersible Load Cells

Stainless Steel Load Cells 101

Coil Tubing Load Cells

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

VISIT QUALITY MAGAZINE

QM0223 - Keith Skidmore Article 2-23

Faces of Interface Featuring Scott Whitworth

Our Faces of Interface features the masterfully creative force behind the Interface brand. If you’ve ever downloaded an Interface product brochure or spent time on the Interface website, chances are Scott Whitworth, Interface’s creative services manager, played an important role.

Scott puts together complex product details for T&M pros, develops visual stories with digital content, and helps us keep track of thousands of offerings – one at a time! This is a story about Scott’s journey from film to the video game industry and even teaching before finally joining Interface.

Growing up, Scott was always interested in art and filmography. He pursued creative endeavors, such as a degree in the film industry at the Arts Institute of Phoenix, where he also took some traditional painting and sculpting classes. During his time in school, he started to pick up graphic design skills as well. These talents led Scott to begin his career in the film industry at a company called Digital Domain. In this role, he did digital effects for several different films and commercials.

He then moved to Phoenix, where he worked for a company called THQ. At THQ, Scott began in the film and television division where he worked in animation. Two years after he started, the company closed the film and television division and offered Scott a position in the games division. Scott remained with THQ for eight years doing 3D modeling and design.

From 2008 until 2015, Scott worked as an independent creative resource across several creative disciplines for many clients. And then an old colleague brought him back to Arizona and back to the Art Institute working a teaching job. He enjoyed his freelance work but wanted to get back into the corporate world, which ultimately led him to Interface.

Scott started in graphic design for Interface to help bolster our marketing footprint. He quickly learned about the load cell industry and all the customers that utilize sensors. Growing up in Michigan, his grandfather made parts for the automotive industry, so he was familiar with some of the technical intricacies and use cases. With a naturally technical mind and blended with a passion for creative works, he was a perfect fit for Interface.

“The blending of technical content with design tasks is I really love about working at Interface. It provides creative freedom in my work, with the discipline of getting all the technical details exactly right.” Scott Whitworth, Creative Services Manager at Interface.

Scott’s day-to-day involves leading a agile marketing team and overseeing all branding and creative functions, including collateral material, data sheets, website design and supporting the development of creative assets for our global network of sales partners. He plays a big role in creating continuity amongst all of Interface’s marketing assets. When he arrived, there were differences between marketing materials, so he has worked to standardize and strengthen the brand into the same style. His efforts and leadership in this area has really supported a leading look and representation for Interface.

When he’s not making the Interface brand shine, Scott can be found spending time with his wife and four kids. He has three sons ages 14, 13 and 10, as well as a 2-year-old daughter. So, Scott doesn’t have time for much more than being a great dad! When he does get some free time, he continues his creative passions through 3D modeling for himself, exploring painting and sculpture and other forms of art.

Scott has worked hard to make the Interface brand standout from the competition through a wide variety of platforms We’re thankful for Scott and his many talents and are glad we got share his story.