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Interface and Testing Lab Applications

Test and measurement impacts nearly every industry.  At Interface, we classify Test and Measurement (T&M) as it’s own solutions market. Though testing is generally a service, the accuracy and quality equipment and tools that are required for performing these T&M services has created an industry in itself.

Throughout the Test and Measurement industry, there are several different classifications and testing lab types. Each of these different testing labs provide unique equipment for different forms of testing depending on the application, system or component. These different types test labs include:

  • Structural testing labs perform tensile, compression, bending, fatigue and hardness testing on materials, components, or assemblies.
  • Environmental testing labs evaluate the impact of environmental factors on products, components, or materials performing temperature, humidity, salt spray, and vibration testing.
  • Electrical testing labs determine the electrical properties of components or products using insulation resistance, electrical continuity, and dielectric strength testing.
  • Chemical testing labs determine the composition and purity of materials using chromatography, spectroscopy, and elemental analysis.
  • Product safety testing labs ensure that products meet safety and regulatory standards with flammability, toxicity, and durability testing.
  • Calibration testing labs ensure that measuring instruments and equipment are accurate and reliable. Common disciplines include force, torque, pressure, temperature and physical calibration. Read more: Interface Calibration 101
  • Non-destructive testing labs evaluate the integrity of materials with ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, and radiography.

Here at Interface, we are deeply ingrained in supplying nearly every type of testing lab out there with precision T&M devices, from the world’s best force measurement sensors to advanced instrumentation. Interface offers one of the most diverse force, torque, and weight related force sensor product lines in the market. It is why labs prefer Interface. In addition to our expanding line of  data acquisition systems, software and accessories, T&M engineers and lab pros find Interface as a one-stop-shop for simple and complex testing projects.

Testing Lab Applications Using Interface Products

Material Testing Lab – Press Form Monitoring

Customer Challenge: Press forming is a method to deform different materials. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces being applied by the press forming machine to ensure quality control and traceability during the production process.

Interface Solution: For large press forming machines, Interface recommended installing the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell. When the material was placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied was measured and results were sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged.  Read: Press Forming and Load Monitoring

Medical Testing Lab – Specimen Research Linear Test Stand

Customer Challenge: Medical experts need the best equipment during research of multiple specimens. In this case, a medical researcher needed to monitor the load force of their linear actuator that uses a needle to collect material from the desired specimen.

Interface Solution; Interface’s SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cell was easily installed into the linear test stand. A needle with a gripper on the end was installed on the lower end of the SuperSC. As the needle is pushed to collect material of the specimen, the load feedback is captured using the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator.  Read: Specimen Research App Note

Safety Test Facility – Bike Helmet Impact Test

Customer Challenge: A company wanted to test the impact of a bike helmet when dropped from different heights, onto a flat surface such as an anvil. This test is necessary to ensure consumer safety, and that their products are made of the highest quality until sold to the public.

Interface Solution: Interface suggested installing our 1101 Compression Only Ultra Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell at the bottom of an anvil. The bike helmet was then dropped from multiple heights, at multiple angles, onto the anvil. The measurements from impact were then recorded and logged using our INF-USB3 Interface Module.  Read: CPG Bike Helmet Impact Test

Product Test Lab – Touch Screen Force Testing

Customer Challenge: Touchscreen kiosks used in restaurants, retail and entertainment venues all need various tests to be performed to ensure functionality and sensitivity. One of those tests are force tests that touch screens to withstand high use by all types of consumers.

Interface Solution: Interface’s SMTM Micro S-Type Load Cell was installed on the customer’s force testing machine. The touchscreen was laid flat under the machine, and force tests were conducted in different locations of the touchscreen. With supplied BlueDAQ software, results are captured and reviewed using the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator through an SD card.

These are just a few examples of where Interface products are involved in a wide variety of different testing labs and how T&M engineers are utilizing them. To learn more, check out our new Testing Lab Essentials webinar, which can be found here.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Testing Lab Essentials Webinar Recap

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing

 

Can Load Cells Be Repaired?

Load cells are very resilient. Most are constructed with sturdy materials that can withstand long and arduous cycling and multitudes of testing projects. In fact, with proper treatment, regular calibration services and use within specifications, load cells can last many years. Even with such high quality and durability, it is important to perform regular diagnostic checks of a load cell to maintain the health of any force measurement device.

FACT: Interface has load cells that are in use today that we manufactured several decades ago. As the saying goes, Interface load cells are built to last.

A load cell can be damaged or lose accuracy. Load cells can be repaired depending on the extent of damage. Some common issues such as cable damage, electrical faults, or environmental factors can be repaired by replacing parts or recalibrating the load cell. However, more severe damage such as physical damage to the load cell itself may make it beyond repair and require replacement.

What is the most common type of damage to a load cell?

Most often, a load cell is damaged by overloading or exceeding its rated capacity. This can result in physical deformation or strain on the load cell, leading to permanent damage and reduced accuracy.

Other common causes of damage to load cells include exposure to harsh environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, moisture, or corrosive substances, as well as electrical faults such as voltage spikes or short circuits. Additionally, mechanical stress from improper installation or handling can also cause damage to load cells.

What steps should be taken to evaluate a load cell that might be damaged?

  • Visual Inspection: Ensure that the physical installation, correct interconnection of components and the system are all intact. For example, has the load cell been dropped or have any damage to connectors or adapters? Reference the installation and operation manuals available with each product.
  • Electrical Testing: Use an Ohmmeter to check the bridge circuitry and zero balance. Evaluate the resistance and output of the load cell. If there is a notable change in resistance or output, it may indicate that the load cell is damaged. This is also a good time to check the troubleshooting guide.
  • Test Loads: Apply a range of test loads to the load cell and observe if the readings are consistent and within the expected range.
  • Calibration: If the load cell is not functioning correctly, recalibrate it using a weight calibration system or load cell calibrator to see if the readings are within the expected range.
  • Professional Evaluation: Request a thorough inspection of the device to determine the load cell can be repaired or needs to be replaced.

It is important to follow safety protocols and to use proper equipment and techniques when evaluating a load cell to avoid causing additional damage.

After a thorough physical inspection along with mechanical and electrical installation checks, it is determined that a load cell is not performing to specifications it is time to contact the manufacturer for Services & Repair to schedule a return of the product for further evaluation and potential load cell repair.

Use Cases for Frequent Calibration Services and Repair Evaluations

  • 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. In addition, load cells are prone to losing accuracy through normal wear and tear and ageing. 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 specifications.

It is always recommended that users consult an application engineer or user’s manual to avoid situations where a load cell can be damaged or degrade accuracy too quickly. Interface has deeps expertise in repair and calibration, built and proven over 55 years in the business of making and calibrating load cells.

Interface provides repair evaluation and services on load cells we make and from other manufacturers. Repairs include a complete evaluation of the device prior to repair and calibration upon completion. Our 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.

If you’re already a load cell user and have not had your products calibrated in some time, we recommend scheduling your calibration service online here. Load cells can provide years and years of quality data as long as they are properly taken care of. Put your trust In Interface to make that happen.

Additional Resources

Services & Repair

Mechanical Installation Load Cell Troubleshooting 101

How Do Load Cells Work?

Regular Calibration Service Maintains Load Cell Accuracy

System Level Calibration Validates Accuracy and Performance