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Interface Helps to Power the Electric Vehicle Market Forward

Any time innovation is introduced into the market, it takes many years to iterate and realize the full potential of the technology. In today’s automotive marketplace, electric vehicles (EV) are reaching a point where the technology and capabilities are fully realized and is primed for an outbreak on mass scale. In fact, a recent IEA report found that more than 10 million cars on the road in 2020 were electric, estimated to be 2% of the market.

There are currently 370 models of electric vehicles sold today, with the number growing. To facilitate the further growth of the EV market, Interface continues to play a pivotal role in supplying force and torque test and measurement systems that meet the demands for superior testing requirements of all components used to make these vehicles. The automotive market, and especially EVs, are subjected to extremely strict regulations. Therefore, test and measurement are critical for every part for safety, reliability, durability, and overall vehicle performance.

Interface saw the rise in the electric vehicle market long before is the exponential adoption and growth and started early in investing in the development of force measurement technologies designed specifically to support testing of EVs. Our products we’re already well-known within the automotive industry because of our ability to deliver superior quality and high accuracy solutions that auto manufacturers and testing labs rely upon.

One of the most important developments in our lineup of EV compatible testing equipment was the introduction of AxialTQ™ torque transducer system in 2018. The AxialTQ system was engineered in direct collaboration with end-users who shared operational priorities, user interface, design, features, real-world field issues and more. The AxialTQ torque measurement system redefines the torque transducer category in terms a crash-proof design for maximum reliability, versatile model for application flexibility, simultaneous analog and digital outputs, real-time control and data collection and interchangeable stators and output modules that minimize parts inventory. You can see it in action in this video, AxialTQ Engine Dynamometer Application Note.

The rotor sensing element and electronics are the heart of the system which will be offered in 8 torque capacities in 5 DIN sizes. With the flexible capability of stator and output module mounting, the AxialTQ system offers vast configurations capabilities to meet any application need, especially for testing of EV motors. Watch the latest webinar, The Latest Spin on AxialTQ, to learn more about this dynamic auto testing transducer.

Torque Measurement for Electric Vehicles

When an electric vehicle manufacturer needed a torque measurement system for their electric vehicle, they contacted us to inquire about a solution designed for the unique needs of EV motors. These motors run at significantly higher rotational speeds than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts and have much higher power densities due to the small size and light weight. The preferred system would be used to test the torque and speed of their electric motors to achieve and ensure optimum instant peak torque performance.

Interface provided its AxialTQ Wireless Rotary Torque Transducer to provide the highest quality torque measurement. This product was delivered with the AxialTQ Output Module and the provided AxialTQ Assistant Software, that is installed on a test bench. This allows data results to be calculated and collected in real-time. Using AxialTQ, the customer ran tests to sense the electric vehicle’s motor with high accuracy. It both measured and calculated the electric vehicles torque and rotational speed (RPM), while collecting data. Results are then be reviewed on the customer’s PC or laptop with the included AxialTQ Assistant Software. Using this solution, the customer was able to achieve their required instant peak torque.

This is just one of the many test and measurement solutions Interface provides to automotive manufacturers and makers of electric vehicles components.  Interface will be showcasing additional products used for auto testing at the next Automotive Test Expo.  You can see a highlight of some of these products in this highlight video of popular Interface automotive testing products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Advancing Auto Testing with Interface Measurement Solutions

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Auto Industry Applications

Automotive and Vehicle

Torque Measurement for Electric Vehicles

Test and Measurement for Electric Vehicles

Force Measurement Solutions for Mobility Markets

One of the tenets in addressing urban mobility is innovation.  As populations grow around the world, addressing how people get from here to there is part of a challenge and opportunity.  Investments are growing in this sector, as experts and designers look to how to increase efficiency and performance in vehicle markets.

Interface has long been a supplier of test and measurement solutions to industries that play a critical role in mobility, from vehicle manufacturers to infrastructure planners and builders. In our latest case study, we look at some of the innovative ways our solutions are being used to advance technologies and capabilities in transportation.

If something moves, it likely needs force and torque testing for reliability, safety and performance. With the evolving trends in urban mobility, Interface is working with makers and builders of all types of transportation solutions for unmanned vehicles like drones and autonomous vehicles, as well as alternatively fueled and electric vehicles.

READ OUR NEW CASE STUDY: INTERFACE’S CRUCIAL ROLE IN VEHICLE AND URBAN MOBILITY MARKETS

Interface customers utilize our standard and custom products in the vehicle and mobility markets to:

  1. Test the force and torque of components for validation or for design improvements
  2. Integration of sensor technology into a component or product for functional real-time performance data

These products include Interface load cells, mini load cells and subminiature load button load cells, rotary and reaction torque transducers, instrumentation, and accessories. For the growing trends for digital requirements in testing and OEM solutions, our wireless and Bluetooth solutions are commonly used in these markets.  Interface is also frequently engaged on specific customer requests for engineer-to-order products and customized solutions.

Here are four use case scenarios of Interface solutions used in the vehicle and mobility markets:

Brake Pedal Testing

Interface’s Brake Pedal Load Cell BPL-300-C was installed on a brake pedal and then connected to a BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, which collects and transmits data to our BTS Toolkit Mobile App. This solution allowed the customer to record and review data from a mobile device while out on a test track. READ MORE HERE.

Drone Delivery Systems

Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Miniature Load Cells to measure the payload weight and  for the detection of in-motion shifting and uneven distribution of the package weight. As the load cells detect this data, it provides a signal to the propeller to increase RPMs on the propellers and adjust balance and weight distribution inflight. WATCH HERE.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Testing

Compression testing performed on EV batteries is critical for performance and safety. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging housing the batteries does not compensate for this swelling in the design, failure is likely. Interface can supply a WMC miniature load cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries. Read more about the future of EV markets and testing here.

Engine Performance Testing

Force and torque sensors are used with a dynamometer, which isolates the engine’s power output to help quantify its overall performance.  In this application, a  precision SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is attached to a torque arm to “feels” the torque from an engine loading system. The fatigue rating on the load cell allows it to accurately measure performance for extended cycles. A signal conditioner is used to connect out from the load cell to a computer to ensure clear transmission of data to accurately measure torque being produced by the engine. Engineers analyze power transfer through the data output to tune the engine performance. Check out this engine dynamometer application note here.

Contact our experts to learn more about these types of testing applications, use cases and products used in urban mobility projects.

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Among the most highly regulated industries in the world, automotive is up there with the likes of medical and defense. Every component and system needs to be thoroughly tested and deliberately analyzed to ensure that the final product is safe for the driver, other vehicles and pedestrians. Any mistakes or failures can cause catastrophic damage and put lives at risk.

There are hundreds of thousands of different tests that car parts and software go through before they are approved for the road. Among them is force measurement testing. Force and torque tests are integral to the structural and mechanical design and build of the car. Gathering data on the build quality and safety of materials and components found within cars, trucks and more is done through a wide variety of different force measurement testing.

Interface has been a partner to the automotive industry for more than 50 years, from the major OEMs to smaller parts manufacturers and test labs. We build force and torque sensors and acquisition devices designed to provide automotive engineers and manufacturers with high-quality data to monitor and confirm the design and in-action processes of a wide variety of vehicles.

Force testing applications for the automotive industry involve everything from structural, engine, brake, seat belt and suspension tests, all the way down to individual lug nut torque testing.

Recently, Interface has also been supplying solutions to those in the growing electrical vehicle (EV) market. EV cars and other motor vehicles present a wide variety of unique challenges for engine torque and battery technology testing.

As an example of some of the products we offer to the industry, we are highlighting Interface expertise in different automotive applications. This will include specific examples of work we’ve done for our customers recently or in the past.

BRAKE PEDAL TESTING

One of the largest areas of automotive test and measurement we are involved in is brake pedal testing. Our customers need to ensure that applying certain amounts of force to the brake will slow and stop the vehicle as intended.

In this application note, Interface supplied our customer with a BPL-300-C Brake Pedal Load Cell, which was installed on the brake pedal. As the user depressed the brake pedal, force data was transmitted by our BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Strain Bridge Transmitter Module to the BTS Toolkit Mobile App and displayed on a mobile device. This allowed our customer to view and graph the data in real-time.

Read the application note for Brake Pedal Testing here.

EV BATTERY TESTING

In the EV market, one of the most integral pieces of technology is the battery used to run every piece of hardware and software in the car. One of the critical tests that’s performed on EV batteries in compression testing. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging that houses the batteries is not intelligently designed to compensate for this swelling, you could have a major problem.

For this challenge, Interface can supply the popular WMC Miniature Load Cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries.

Read more about Interface’s role in the The Future of Automotive is Electric.

SUSPENSION TESTING

A personal favorite of the Interface team is a suspension test we performed on a race car. As you can imagine, race car components need to be finely tuned for optimal performance. The suspension is one of the most significant factors in the tuning process.

Using an Interface Model 1200 Standard Load Cell, we were able to measure simulated motions of a racetrack including bumps, banks and other track conditions. This allowed the customer to gather highly accurate (0.04%) measurements of loads applied to individual suspension points. This type of suspension testing technology can also be performed on a regular commercial automobile, but the race car example is much more fun!

View the race car suspension testing application here.

MOTOR TESTING

In this motor test stand application, it was used in the quality control lab of a major automotive manufacturing customer that needed to test, record and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load.

Interface supplied a Model AxialTQ Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, which could measure and record these torque values. Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ, AxialTQ Output Module, and customer laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

You can read more about the AxialTQ in this post.  

The wide variety of applications for automotive force testing that Interface has been involved in is significant. We have many published application notes beyond those highlighted, including Seat Testing, Engine Head Bolt Tightening and one for an Engine Dynamometer (dyno for short) use case. The examples listed above just scratch the surface.

Interface is a preferred partner to the automotive industry.  To review some of the automotive application notes we have published, please check out our website at /solutions/automotive-vehicle/. You can also give us a call to learn more about the various solutions we offer for customers in the automotive industry at 480-948-5555.

AxialTQ for Anything That Turns and Needs Testing

The Interface AxialTQ™ wireless rotary torque transducer is a specialty product designed specifically for internal combustion testing, engine development testing, and manufacturing.

Although Interface initially developed AxialTQ for these applications, this innovative product is available for a range of use cases, including helicopters, forklifts, watercraft, industrial pumps, wind energy and more.

While AxialTQ is incredibly versatile, it continues to be used heavily in the automotive industry. Outside of traditional internal combustion lab engine testing, it’s also useful for drive train lab testing, automotive accessory lab testing and serving the unique needs of internal combustion for the agricultural industry. If it turns, it can be tested with AxialTQ.

Once we established AxialTQ as a leader in the internal combustion testing space, we knew the natural next step was to enter the electric vehicle market. The application of AxialTQ is similar; however, electrical vehicles use different technology. Our move to enter this new market is critical because as much as some people wish to ignore it, electric vehicles will soon dominate. Deloitte estimates the electric vehicle market will reach a tipping point in 2022 when the cost of an electric vehicle is on-par with its combustion engine counterparts.

AxialTQ’s industry-leading testing capabilities are helping to propel the change from combustion to electric engines. Interface is more than prepared for the shift to support test and measurement applications. As of 2019, there are roughly 20 major cities worldwide that have plans to ban gas cars by 2030 or sooner. Although the U.S. isn’t looking to ban combustion vehicles until 2040, other countries like Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands are being extremely aggressive due to renewable energy concerns. Even though internal combustion engines are part of our core testing capabilities, we have the necessary tools needed for the new wave of automotive technology.

“Energy concerns is why we will start seeing an increase in AxialTQ used in the electric vehicle market. If trends continue at the current pace, we will start to see more electric vehicle applications and less internal combustion soon.” – Ted Larson, VP of Product Management and Marketing

No matter what a customer’s application is, AxialTQ has the reliability and flexibility to test it. From internal combustion to electric vehicles and a whole lot more, Interface is prepared every step of the way.


For more information about how AxialTQ can make a difference in your organization, contact our Application Engineers to learn more. Download the latest AxialTQ brochure here:

Interface AxialTQ Brochure

The Future of Automotive is Electric

Interface has been a longtime provider of force measurement solutions that help engineers develop the technology of tomorrow. One of our main areas of expertise during our 50 plus years in business has been in solutions for the automotive industry.

Interface has helped to revolutionize design and efficiency in this industry using our high accuracy test and measurement solutions. With the increased need for sustainable electric vehicles, we have set our sights on advancing this high-growth area in automotive.

“Less than 5 percent of vehicles sold in 2016 were equipped with EV power trains. Major OEMs have announced that they’re aiming to bring that number above 50 percent by 2021.” McKinsey Quarterly, February 2019

Electric vehicle design and manufacturing requires a precise level of accuracy in order to improve energy efficiency, minimize weight and maximize vehicle range. Battery technology has only come so far; therefore, maximizing power output is the key to improving vehicle design. To achieve this, test and measurement solutions need to be as accurate as possible.

Interface provides high accuracy torque transducers, load cells, load washers and more for two areas of electric vehicle testing: laboratory testing to optimize system performance and production testing to ensure product quality.

Interface’s Role in Vehicle Testing

Laboratory Testing

In laboratory testing, Interface force and torque measurement products are used to achieve high-efficiency in component and system designs. While electric vehicle designs are already very efficient, minimal design adjustments can make a difference to increase total range from a single charge. Making small incremental changes in efficiency, therefore, requires very accurate measurement capability.

Applications of our products in the laboratory environment include maximizing the system performance of electric vehicle drivetrain components, such as motors and gearboxes. As well as performance in auxiliary systems, such as air conditioning compressors and motors, power steering motors, and even brake systems. Accurately measuring the force of dynamic systems like suspension components allow the designer to minimize weight to improve overall vehicle range and performance.

Production Testing

Once the components are moved into the vehicle production phase, Interface solutions are used to ensure the product has been built per the design.  Our products can be used to measure the steady state, as well as the dynamic performance of components and systems.  Using measurement systems they can trust gives customers the confidence that the components and systems meet the performance and dependability expected for the vehicle design.

The key to electric vehicle design is balancing the relationship between efficiency, performance, and cost.  The further we can make electric vehicles go on a single charge, the more attractive these vehicles become for mass markets.

Optimized efficiency requires the most accurate measurements available to our customers and this is where Interface excels. Jake Shaffer, Senior Product Manager

In October 2018, Interface released AxialTQ, specifically designed to help in the transforming vehicle market, including electric and autonomous vehicles. You can read about AxialTQ and view this revolutionary next-generation torque measurement system in action here:

If you are interested in scheduling a demonstration of the product or inquiring about Interface’s precision solutions like AxialTQ that we are providing for force measurement testing of electric vehicles, contact us today.

Contributor:  Jake Shaffer, Senior Product Manager at Interface