Interface ForceLeaders Summit 2024 in Arizona happens on Tuesday, January 16, Our force measurement solutions engineers and experts will share valuable tips and experience using load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and advanced instrumentation. Register to join the live conversation, ask your questions, and learn from industry professionals. The event takes place at ASU SkySong.
ForceLeaders Summit is heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Interface sensor workshop brings together experts in force measurement detailing applications, products, FAQs, and technical tips. We detail load cells, transducers, multi-axis sensors, data acquisition, wireless systems, instrumentation, and more. Registration required, limited seating. The event takes place in Brookfield, just outside of Milwaukee.
Continuing our review of the popular webinar series, I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What?, we are detailing the third and fourth episodes. The focus of these two installments is documentation that you should expect with every load cell and the fundamentals of load cell output.
Digging into documentation is an important subject for anyone that is buying or using load cells for test and measurement. It is also a differentiator in the quality and type of manufacturer that makes your device. The details provided in load cell documentation validates the characteristics and performance, as well as experience and craftmanship used in the engineering and construction of your load cell.
When quality and accuracy matters, documentation and certification are critical verification evidence.
Load Cell Documentation: Datasheets and Calibration Certificates
Interface provides detailed datasheets for every load cell model number. On the top of the datasheet, the Interface model number precedes the description of the load cell’s primary characteristics, such as 1200 Standard Load Cell. The Interface Calibration Certification accompanies every sensor device we manufacturer and ship from our U.S. headquarters, confirming the final condition prior to release. Interface calibrates every load cell we make before it leaves our facilities as part of our performance guarantee.
- Features and Benefits
- Standard Configuration and Drawings
- Specification Parameters Based on Model and Capacity
- Detailed Measurement and Performance Data for Accuracy, Temperature, Electrical and Mechanical
- Connection Options
Special note for datasheet reviews, the models that use the same form factor are often on the same datasheet with varying capacity measuring ranges in U.S. (lbf) and Metric (kN) information. All Interface datasheets are available for review and download for every product we offer, including load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, mini load cells, load pins and load shackles, instrumentation and accessories.
INTERFACE CALIBRATION CERTIFICATES DETAILSIQ
- Model Number
- Serial Number
- Bridge and Capacity
- Input and Output Resistance
- Zero Balance
- Test Conditions: Temperature, Humidity and Excitation
- Shunt Calibration
- Performance Test Data of Test Load Applied and Recorded Readings
- Authorized Approval
The performance information detailed on the certificate is important for how it was calibrated, how it performed at release, system health checks and troubleshooting. Watch the episode #3 of I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What? for additional information about datasheets and cal certs.
Fundamentals of Load Cell Output
Load cells are used in one of two ways, either universal (bipolar) or single mode (unipolar). Bipolar is for measuring tension and compression. Unipolar is for measuring either tension or compression. This use type will dictate what output you will get from the load cell. Most Interface load cells are a tension upscale device, which means you will get a positive output when it is placed in tension.
Standard load cells are usually unamplified mV/V ratio metric output. Interface does offer amplification signals for our load cells, which is a common request when pairing with a data acquisition system. In episode #4 of I’ve Got A Load Cell – Now What?, Elliot provides an example of mV/V ratio metric when using a 5000 lbf LowProfile Load Cell with our 9840 Instrumentation.
For questions about datasheets, calibration certifications or performance and capacities, please contact our application engineers.
Interface has produced more than 100 videos, all available on our Interface YouTube channel. We provide product videos, industry and application use cases, training, software, and set-up instructions, ForceLeaders webinars, and video discussions with our force measurement solutions experts.
One of our most popular videos is our webinar that answers the question, I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What? In this online seminar, we discuss some of the basics about load cells, as well as offer tips for checking the health of your load cell, installation tips, usage best practices and monitoring performance. The series concludes with an in-depth Q&A session. As with all good material, we offer a modern remake to this valuable online resource with a refreshed 7-part series that addresses important load cell topics with visual demonstrations.
In the updated series, I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What, Interface’s Brian Peters and Elliot Speidell cover the following load cell basic topics:
- Episode #1 Visual Inspection of Your Load Cell
- Episode #2 How to Read the Load Cell Label
- Episode #3 Load Cell Documentation: Datasheets and Calibration Certificates
- Episode #4 Fundamentals of Load Cells
- Episode #5 Load Cell Instrumentation Tips and Setup
- Episode #6 Checking Load Cell Health and Usage Best Practices for LowProfiles, SM S-Type Load Cells and Miniature WMC Load Cells
- Episode #7 Q&A with Brian and Elliot address incoming questions on what to do
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the material that is covered in these short clips. Today’s focus is about visual inspection and how to read a load cell label.
Visual Inspection of Your Load Cell
Visual inspection is critical for all load cells. The good news is that Interface provides quality-controlled inspection of all load cells before they leave our factory. If you are about to utilize a load cell that you have had on the shelf or has not been used for a while, visual inspection is an important first step. In this video, Brian highlights what to look for during your inspection:
- Thread damage
- Condition of the exterior load cell
- Noticeable wear from exposure
- Check for any rust
- Inspect connectors and pins
Watch I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What? Begin with Visual Inspection
Upon your inspection, if you would like Interface to provide a detailed inspection and calibration service before you utilize an existing sensor, contact our services team.
How to Read Interface Load Cell Labels
In this short episode, we highlight how to read an Interface load cell label. Every device we manufacturer has essential information about the sensor detailed on the label. You will find the model number, capacity, serial number and often you find options and option codes that detail the exact sensor features. Labels can also provide output data from time of calibration. To get a complete run-down on what is on Interface labels, watch I’ve Got a Load Cell – Now What? Reading Interface Sensor Labels.
Looking for more videos or resources, be sure to go to Interface’s online support resources. You will find diagrams, installation manuals, technical and troubleshooting details, educational videos and more.
Interface recently hosted an in-depth discussion on the topic of calibration. As one of the largest calibration labs in the world for force and torque sensors, our team shared insider tips, frequently asked questions, set up techniques and best practices in the lab during this extensive calibration webinar.
The ForceLeaders seminar also covered details about various calibration grade equipment like our 1800 Platinum Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell, 1600 Gold Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell, fixtures, load frames, and calibration systems. We also delved into topics that include instrumentation, verification frames and software.
During the event, we covered a diverse set of subjects due to the range of experiences of our attendees including the top five reasons why calibration matters, the measurement of uncertainty, identifying errors and the parameters of calibration.
You will find the recorded event Accurate Report on Calibration is available to review the technical details related to each of these important calibration subjects.
Elliot Speidell, Brian Peters and Chris Brandenburg covered a wide range of topics, including:
- The Metrology Perspective
- Interface Calibration Methodology: What, Why & How
- Top 5 Reasons Why Calibration Matters
- Calibration and Measurement Uncertainty
- What Errors are Characterized in the Calibration Process?
- System Calibration Considerations
- Calibration Lab Set Up Best Practices + Tips
- Optimization + Calibration Applications
- Fixtures + Standard Equipment
- Interface Calibration Services
- Do & Don’t Tips + FAQ
To get things started, we began the event with a quick conversation about metrology, the science of measurement, which embraces both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.
Metrology is the global network standardizing measurement units. Calibration is the action taken at each step in the metrology network.
Metrology is important to Interface because it provides the standards for controlled processes, systems, reliability, accuracy, quality and science. Calibration is the set of operations that compares the accuracy of a measuring instrument of any type, such as a load cell or torque transducer, against a recognized standard. The process of calibration includes adjusting the measuring instrument to bring it in alignment with the standard.
Why is calibration of load cells and torque transducers important?
- All load cells are subject to performance degradation due mistreatment, drift, or aging
- You need traceability and quality system requirements
- Pre and post-test verification is critical for data validity
- Even load cells manufactured to the highest standards require regular calibration
Interface calibrates every load cell and torque transducer to spec before it leaves our facility. We also provide recalibration services for all types of devices, even those we don’t manufacturer. This results in more than 100,000 calibrations every year by our trained technicians. During this event we shared valuable tips for setting up and operating a world-class calibration lab.
Best practices for calibration labs:
- Define workspace requirements
- Qualify measurement types and models
- Identify suppliers
- Select calibration grade equipment
- Assemble lab
- Train lab techs
- Create certification and testing protocols
- Define workflows
- Utilize software for tracking assets and certificates
- Know maintenance and recalibration schedules
The Accurate Report on Calibration recorded event is available online to watch at your convenience.
If you need help in defining the best calibration grade systems or equipment for your specific test environment, contact our application engineers. If you need a calibration service, you can submit your request online.
Learn from Interface force measurement solutions experts about calibration, why it matters, types of calibration and the precision equipment used in the calibration process. Interface shares decades of experience in calibrating more than 100,000 load cells, torque transducers and other devices every year. Elliot Speidell provides tips, parameters for optimization, lab set-up recommendations and answers calibration related questions in this new recorded ForceLeaders virtual event.
Interface load pins continue to grow in demand as an easy to integrate and cost-effective sensor solution for many diverse applications as direct replacements for clevis or pivot pins. Most commonly used for lifting and rigging mechanisms in construction, structural assemblies and moving devices, load pins are typically used in rope, chain and brake anchors, sheaves, shackles, bearing blocks and pivots.
To provide greater insights and answers to questions asked to our force measurement application experts, Interface hosted a ForceLeaders Forum event, Use Cases for Load Pins. The event, now archived on our YouTube channel, highlights why more and more industries are using load pins include for projects related to infrastructure, aerospace and defense, industrial automation, manufacturing, maritime, and in energy markets such as oil and gas.
Regional Sales Director Elliot Speidell covered a series of topics in this live event, which included:
- Who is Using Load Pins and Why?
- Models and Design Aspects of Load Pins
- Integration Considerations
- Installation Factors
- Load Pin Capabilities including Wireless Features
- Standard and Customization Options
- New-Found Applications Using Load Pins
- Differences and Advantages
WATCH NOW: THE ‘USE CASES FOR LOAD PINS’ ON-DEMAND EVENT
This webinar covers great detail in installation tips, integration considerations, design features and more. Here are just a few highlights from the webinar.
Load pins measure tensile and compression forces via strain gages that are installed within a small bore through the center of the pin. Two grooves are machined into the outer circumference of the pin to define the shear planes, which are located between the forces being measured. They are made of rugged stainless-steel material and are commonly used for safety applications. They are easy to retrofit and inherently waterproof by design, making it useful in submersible and adverse environmental conditions. Load pins have multiple bridge options and can be cabled or wireless.
One of the most important features and distinctions of a load pin is the ability to customize the design to fit the application. Due to the nature of requirements and fact most load pins are custom solutions, they often do not have any charges for NRE. Contact our application experts to learn of the possibilities and design options.
When installing a load pin various factors need to be considered which can influence the performance or accuracy. The fit of the pin within a structure is important to the overall performance of the load pin. For an optimal performance, an H7/g6 clearance would normally be recommended; however, this is not always achievable in the field and some slight loss of repeatability and linearity can normally be tolerated to achieve an “easy to fit” requirement.
Load pins are a great sensor to use in a “smart system” application for automated feedback, alarms, and real-time notifications. They integrate with all types of instrumentation, including digital output options. Though they are simple and easy to use, they are known for hardiness. It is important to understand they are not “precision performance” devices, they are designed for standard force measurement applications that require immediate feedback. Also, they are easy to incorporate with existing actuator set-ups.
Watch the event to learn more about the questions engineers and testing experts asked us about using load pins. For specific industry examples, from bridges to crane regulation use, tune into the recorded event or visit our application notes here. Need us to get started on a custom design? Contact us today.
In today’s Faces of Interface post, we are featuring Interface National Sales Director Elliot Speidell. Amongst all the wonderful stories and backgrounds, we hear about from our amazing team, Elliot’s may be one of the most unique and interesting. You see, Elliot didn’t start his career in or go to school for engineering like many of the Faces of Interface subjects we’ve highlighted in the past.
In fact, Elliot studied music education at Northern Arizona University. Music was Elliot’s first passion and he thought that he would go on to pursue a career in it. Although, as he explains it, he was a kid just trying to figure it out and wasn’t sure what to do. But he loved music, so he went for it.
His first job out of school was teaching music in elementary school, followed by teaching both middle and high school students. And while he did enjoy it for a time, he and his wife were expecting a daughter and he thought that it was time for a change.
Now, music isn’t Elliot’s only passion. He also loves to work with cars. He can often be found tinkering and improving cars that he eventually races in Sports Car Club of America Solo (SCCA) events. SCCA Solo is different from what you see on TV with NASCAR and Indy Car Racing. It involves precision driving through a designated course marked with cones. If you’ve kept up with the Faces of Interface series, you would know that SCCA Autocross is also a major hobby for our Global Sales Vice President, Brian Peters.
Going back to Elliot and his desire to move into a new field, both Brian and Elliot became friends during SCCA competition, and Elliot had mentioned to Brian that he was looking for something new. Knowing Elliot well, Brian thought that he would make a great application engineer. Thus, the unique story of how Elliot moved from music to a career in technology and engineering by joining the team at Interface.
As an Application Engineer at Interface, Elliot provided frontline support to customers across the east coast, later moving to serve the west coast. He worked across industries providing force measurement solutions to customers for a wide variety of applications. After a few years, he moved on to the newly introduced technical services department where he served as the technical services manager. In this role, Elliot and his team helped manage the recalibration of customer’s products as well provided technical support to customers for load cells, torque transducers, and related instrumentation. He was also instrumental in selling these services to customers and growing the technical services business.
Elliot was promoted to regional sales director starting on the west coast and eventually taking over support for the region that is along the US east coast, as well as a few regions in the south including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. The role is more strategic in nature in that he’s out working directly with customers providing Interface force solutions, while also working directly with Interface’s teams of outside sales reps in those regions.
Today, he is the national sales director for Interface. He is responsible for all the regional sales directors and application engineers covering the United States. He works directly with our sales network and supports key accounts. His promotion is based on years of experience and dedication to helping customers find the right solutions for all their test and measurement needs.
The thing that Elliot loves most about working at Interface is the diversity of applications he gets to work on. One day he could be helping provide a solution for measuring the tension on a guitar string and another day he’s helping a customer that’s working on a test stand for a rocket engine. Every day is unique and the technology he gets to see, and help solve challenges for, is always getting cooler!
When he’s not solving customer challenges, Elliot can be found with his wife of 14 years and their daughter, riding his mountain bike, or in the garage slowly working on LS swapping his car’s engine for SCCA autocross. Pre-pandemic, he also still indulged his love of music by playing trumpet in a Soul and Funk band at various Phoenix area venues.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Elliot as much as we enjoyed sharing this feature. Stay tuned for more Faces of Interface in 2021, and from everyone here at Interface, we wish you a very happy New Year!
Among the many applications Interface products are used for across multiple markets, there may be none that require the highest levels of accuracy, quality and reliability as does the aerospace and defense industry.
By classification, aerospace largely comprises of those engaged in producing and servicing of commercial aircraft. The defense market is defined as those providing military weapons and systems designed to operate in the air, in the sea or on land.
The aerospace and defense industries are global markets that continue to expand their use of precision sensor technologies for advancing innovations in autonomous vehicles and flight systems, electric and hydrogen engines, as well additive manufacturing applications. Interface proudly serves the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers in the aerospace industry by providing world-class force and torque measurement solutions for these types of requirements, as well as for their future inventions.
Over the past two years, the trends in the global commercial space ecosystem along with defense needs have created unique requirements that benefit from our five decades of being a premium provider for A&D equipment manufacturers and testing labs. We are able to meet these trending demands through our standard, engineered to order and completely custom force, torque and systems. These solutions are being utilized in testing of all types of vehicles, on the ground, in the water, and for flight.
A&D is a unique industry because of the complex needs of many applications. When we develop applications for other industries, we’re typically focused on solving a few specific challenges, whether it’s related to cost, safety, performance, environment, or other engineering specified design requirements. In aerospace and defense, every one of these factors needs to be addressed, as well as some special needs. Applications in the aerospace and defense industry cannot fail. If they do, it can put people, both military and civilians, in danger. That’s why force products in the defense industry need to be of the highest quality in all key factors.
Below are a few applications for force measurement in the defense industry. Each demonstrates the criticality of proper force testing, as well as the complexity of the projects Interface has been involved in.
SLS Tank Test
As outlined in NASA’s article on the SLS Tank Test, NASA’s goal was to push the very limits of a test version of the world’s largest rocket fuel tank. The project put incredible flight test strain on the tank to try and push it to its breaking point. After five hours of testing and more than 260% of the expected flight load, the tank finally buckled. Doing this helped engineers gather data on the tank to help intelligently optimize the final rocket ship.
In this application, load cells played the key role of collecting the flight force data. The extreme nature of the flight tests meant that the load cells needed to be incredibly durable and provide accurate data all the way through the breaking point.
For the many hundreds of thousands of commercial and military vehicles on the market, especially those that fly, there are numerous force tests involved to validate a design and ensure they’re safe and of the highest quality to move into production. Load cells and torque transducers are used across a wide variety of vehicles for structural testing. The torque of the helicopter rotor is measured and validated using a torque transducer, or the wings and hull of an airplane are put through wind tunnels and other stress tests with load cells installed to collect data. All of these force applications are critical to ensuring that these vehicles can last beyond their intended breaking point and offer complete peace of mind to operators and passengers. There are a million different things that a military pilot is thinking about – the structural integrity of his or her aircraft should never be one of them.
Another area that has grown in recent years as technology pushes the aerospace and defense market forward is custom sensors. Test has gotten more sophisticated as the move to big data becomes more prevalent, and Interface has addressed this by working directly with customers to develop custom sensors that address unique challenges.
One of the biggest areas where we have seen a growing need for custom sensors is on test stands in thrust application. Test stands are often used in field testing on rocket or plane engines. In certain field applications, the test stand is outfitted with numerous load cells that must be custom designed with features like weatherization, multiple bridges, very-high precision, and more. The reason for this is because the cost of a thrust test in fuel alone can be incredibly high. You usually only get one shot at a successful thrust test. If there are any issues with the sensor, it’s going to be costly.
Interface has deep experience developing custom sensors for our aerospace and defense partners. We understand their needs and work closely with their engineering team to ensure they get it right the first time. If you’re interested in learning more about Interface and our solutions for the aerospace and defense industry, please visit us at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace.
For additional references, check out our A&D related case studies and application notes:
Contributor: Elliot Speidell, Interface Regional Sales Director