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 S-Type Load Cells 101

There are many different types of devices used in test and measurement from load cells to torque transducers and tension links to multi-axis sensors. In addition, there are sub-categories in each of these product types that are based on various specifications, capabilities, capacities, and application requirements.

Discussing load cells specifically, there are different models and configurations depending on the use case, the amount of force measurement or weighing requirements for a particular load, dimensions, and even test environment considerations. No matter what our customers need, we have standard and custom load cells up to the task. In our 101 series, we are highlighting the innovative miniature load cell sub-category of Interface S-Type Load Cells.

What Is an S-Type Load Cell and What Is It Used For?

S-type load cells, sometimes called s-beam, gets its nomenclature from the “S” looking model of the load cell. It is shaped this way because it is designed to measure well-controlled tension and compression forces. There are preferred by engineers and testing labs for the precision, size, material, and ability to fit in limited spaces. They are often used for weighing, in test machines as well as product designs for ongoing performance measurement by OEMs.

An s-type load cell will often be used within a system designed to stress test products in a controlled environment for fatigue and product testing to measure the way the product stands up to force over long periods of time. The benefit of Interface S-Type Load Cells is that they are very cost-effective, highly accurate, easy to mount, and offer flexibility because it can be used universally for tension and compression testing. They are also smaller than typically load cells, providing major benefits when there are limitations in space or for smaller test product dimensions.

Interface has a wide range of specialized miniature s-type load cells including sealed, micro-size, fatigue-rated, high-temperature ratings, low height, overload protected and intrinsically safe to meet all types of testing protocols and plans. You can see all the s-type models here.

An s-type load cell is generally used with eyebolts or rod-ends when used in tension and this can cause binding or the associated hardware to unthread. These uniquely designed load cells should not be used when weighing an object that can sway or rotate. Additionally, an s-type load cell is not recommended when the load cell will be used in both tension and compression, where accuracy in compression is critical. In this case we’d recommend a shear type of load cell.

S-Type Load Cell Applications

Prosthetics Load and FatigueProsthetic Load and Fatigue Testing

Prosthetic limbs must be tested for extreme loading that can occur during falls, accidents, and sports movements. Fatigue testing of prosthetic components determines the expected lifespan of the components under normal usage. Interface suggested a static load test apparatus using SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell attached to hydraulic actuators to apply and measure loads. The fatigue testing machine uses SSMF Fatigue Rated S-type Load Cell to apply and measure cyclic loads. During the fatigue test, the actuator repeatedly applies and removes the force to simulate activity such as walking. Tilt tables may also be used to apply forces at various angles to simulate the heel-to-toe movement of walking or running. Using this solution, engineers can determine whether prosthetic materials and designs will withstand the rigors of daily use and occasional high load situations. Read more here.

Furniture FatigueFurniture 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. Force testing simulations on furniture products are critical in determining the posted max loads to protect manufacturers from liability due to damages that might result from the misuse of those products and overloading. Using an Interface Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell along with Interface Model 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator provides 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. Unlike other similar load cells, the Model SSMF is fatigue rated making it highly suitable for fatigue testing. No fatigue failure of any fatigue-rated Interface load cell, used within its ratings, has ever been reported. The furniture manufacturer was able to obtain accurate data about the rocking mechanism the office chair as it was fatigue cycled into failure. Adjustments were made to the design to improve the safety and life of the furniture, ensuring product quality and protecting the manufacturer from future liability. Read more here.

Interface S-Type Load Cells are highly effective, accurate and flexible products used for a wide variety of applications needing compression and tension force testing. To learn more about Interface’s S-Type Load Cells, you can also visit here or call us today to speak to an application engineer who can help you select the right product for your next project at 480-948-5555.

Interface Plays a Role in Testing Bicycles

Interface sensors are used in a never-ending list of products, from heavy machinery to miniature medical devices. In the spirit of the Olympics, we thought we would share how our force and torque technologies are used in the test and measurement of bicycles, whether used for extreme off-road racing or speeding around the track. Interface has a role in helping to get bikes on the road and performing at optimum speeds.

Road, mountain and e-bikes present a fantastic use case for our products because everything from the force a rider puts on a bike’s suspension, shocks and frame when sitting on it, to the torque of the pedals and tires need to be carefully tested before a bike is ready for action. In the application notes below, we outline different parts and kinds of bikes that utilize measurement testing in design and actual use, along with the specific Interface force sensors used in each case.

Mountain Bike Shock Testing

In this application example, when a manufacturer wanted to test the durability of the forks on the front of their bikes, the rear shocks, front suspension, and ensure that the bikes shocks absorption is working properly for bike riders, we had a solution. Interface suggested installing the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell in a fatigue frame using the company’s bike forks. The forks undergo a fatigue test for several hours. Test results from the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell will be sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module where the customer can view, log, and graph the results on their PC computer or laptop with provided software. Using this solution, the customer was able to test the bike’s front and rear shocks using Interface’s products. They determined if there were any weak spots in the forks or if it was working properly.

E-Bike Torque Measurement

e) manufacturer needed to test the torque on their electronic bicycles. They also needed a torque sensing system that measures how much force the bike rider is pedaling onto the pedals, because this determines how much electric power the bike’s motor generates. To address this challenge, Interface suggested installing the Model T12 Square Drive Torque Transducer where the pedal assist sensor would normally be. The T12 Square Drive Torque Transducer’s results could then be recorded, graphed, and logged using the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module when connected to the customer’s PC. This allows the e-bike manufacturing company to successfully test the torque on their electronic bicycles with Interface’s products and instrumentation.

Bike Power Pedals

For a bike manufacturer testing the functionality of its power pedals, Interface supplied a full wireless system solution to measure how much force the cyclist pushes down onto the bike pedals. The solution included four Model SML Low Height S-Type Load Cells installed within the bike’s pedals. The four SMLs were paired with our Wireless Telemetry System components, two WTS-AM-4 Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, which transmit the force data from the cyclist to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station Dongle connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. Interface also provided the software needed with their wireless products. Using this system, the bike manufacturer was able to measure the pedal power applied by the cyclist. The customer was also able to measure and log the data wirelessly transmitted to their PC computer.

Bike Load Testing

In this example, another mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame, and to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during the final step of the product testing process. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to a WTS products, the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This measured the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. The results are then captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Using this solution, the mountain bike manufacturing company was able to gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing.

Bike Frame Fatigue Testing

Fatigue testing is critical for bike design engineers. Our customer wanted to perform a fatigue test on their bike frames and analyze the strength of their bike frames in order to ensure durability and high-quality standards, turned to Interface for a solution. We suggested installing Model 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell to the customer’s bike frame fatigue tester. This load cell provides the customer with highly accurate results through the fatigue cycling. These results are collected using the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module and displayed on the customer’s PC or Laptop with Interface’s provided software. With this solution, the bike manufacturing company successfully had their bikes undergo fatigue frame testing, receiving highly accurate results with Interface’s load cell and instrumentation.

This deep dive into bicycle testing is just the beginning in demonstrating how many applications of Interface products can be used to improve the quality and reliability of the final design. When you consider bicycles, testing is critical whether it’s being used in the Olympics, for recreation or even transportation. Bicycle safety is fundamental to any design. Testing the performance and durability are essential before any bicycle is approved to be used on the road.

For a preview of all the application we have and can possibly work on, continue following the Interface IQ Blog at http www.interfaceforce.com/blog/. Each month we provide analysis and insight on new and interesting use cases and application examples.

Faces of Interface Featuring Jeff Boyd

Interface Regional Sales Director Jeffrey Boyd has a long history in the force measurement industry and is an incredible addition to the Interface sales team. You see, force measurement runs in Jeff’s blood!

Jeff originally got into the industry because he watched and listened to his dad talk about his experience at another force measurement manufacturer, Sensor Development. In fact, his dad actually helped start the company when he joined the owner shortly after the company was founded. You could say that Jeff was somewhat groomed for success in this field.

To prepare for his destined career, Jeff spent a few years at Oakland University. After that, he quickly joined up with his dad at Sensor Development. Jeff started in the calibration department, learning the ins and outs of strain gages, load cells, torque sensors and everything in between. After a few years, he was leading both the calibration services and customer service department. Jeff was in charge of ensuring customer satisfaction when products came in for repair, service or calibration.

After several years getting hands on with the products and developing critical expertise in the various sensors the company sold, Jeff decided it was time to transition into a sales role. He originally began as a sales engineer helping to develop customer quotes and working directly with the engineering department on custom applications. His success in sales lead him to become a regional sales manager in 2014.

From 2014 to 2017, Jeff served as regional sales manager for Sensor Development until it was bought out by HITEC Sensors and was renamed to HITEC Sensors Development. Jeff remained with HITEC for another four years before it was time for exploring new opportunities.

Due to his experience in the industry, Jeff was familiar with the Interface brand and our product’s reputation for quality and accuracy. Right about the time Jeff’s time with HITEC was coming to end, Interface had an opening for a Regional Sales Position due to Keith Skidmore‘s promotion to our specialized Custom Solutions team.

Jeff joined Interface in the Spring of 2021 and is a perfect fit, technically and professionally. Not only because of Jeff’s years of experience, also because he continues to live in Michigan and will be covering Interface’s Central U.S. region working with our manufacturer’s representative firm, Stress Analysis Services. He’ll be working with our sales reps, including John Guy, and our customers to ensure they get exactly what they require from Interface. He knows the area and knows the needs of the industry well.

As for why Jeff chose Interface, he says it’s because of the people. Throughout the interview process and during these first few weeks, Jeff mentioned how supportive and friendly his teammates and the leaders of the company are working to ensure his success. He also sees the trajectory that Interface is currently on and knows that he will have an opportunity to grow and thrive alongside Interface.

When he’s not helping customers find the perfect product or customer solution for their test and measurement needs, Jeff is spending time with his wife and his five grown sons and granddaughter. Living through the cold Michigan winters make vacationing to the warmth a must. Jeff and his wife frequently travel to Las Vegas and Arizona or any other warm state to escape. Though, they also like to spend some of their time cheering on their favorite football teams. Notably, the household is a bit divided when it’s game time. Jeff is also an avid golfer and spends a lot of his down time on the course.

We’re so glad to have Jeff on our team as our new ForceLeaders member and we can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together in interest of our valued Interface customers.

Faces of Interface Featuring Garland Hawkins

Faces of Interface is an important series because it highlights the talented team members that keep Interface going strong. In this new ForceLeaders feature, we interviewed Garland Hawkins, our production planner for Interface’s most popular LowProfile load cells.  A key member of our operations and Navigators teams at Interface, this feature highlights Garland’s professional history and a few of the things he’s working on today.

Growing up in the home of a mechanical engineer, you are bound to develop a kinship with the engineering and manufacturing world. For Garland Hawkins, he remembers fondly the time spent with his father building and tinkering with different mechanical objects. While a career in the manufacturing industry wasn’t necessarily planned, he’s thrilled that it’s where his career has taken him.

Garland’s path to the manufacturing industry is a little different than his father’s trek. After high school, Garland’s career began in the logistics industry as an order filler for Lineage Logistics. He enjoyed the work and quickly showed off his talents rising through the ranks over six years from order filler to trainer and eventually the supervisor. After leaving Lineage, Garland continued his career in logistics as the shipping and receiving manager for S&G.

After two years at S&G, Garland was ready for a change of scenery. He had spent his whole life in California and wanted something new. In 2016, Garland moved to Arizona because he preferred the desert landscape and knew that growth opportunities in Arizona were on the rise. Garland began working at the airport for a consolidation company, but he knew it was just a temporary gig before getting back into the field he knew and loved of logistics.

Then an opportunity came about with Interface. Garland began with Interface in the shipping and receiving department. As he became acclimated and comfortable in this new role in the engineering and manufacturing industry, he caught his stride. Shortly after, Garland was recognized for his hard work with a promotion into the planning department and eventually into his current role as Production Planner for Interface’s LowProfile Load Cell line.

In this role, Garland is tasked with managing the supply chain and planning. Basically, everything related to shipping and logistics for LowProfile Load Cell products. This includes, monitoring parts, maintaining inventory, addressing works orders with the production floor, scheduling machine shop and production orders and aligning capacity with customer demands and requirements.

Garland notes what he loves about Interface is the opportunity for success within the company. Most importantly, Interface is hyper-focused on growing into new markets and new regions and Garland knows that this will translate to career growth and opportunities to contribute to the company’s growth.

In addition to taking advantage of opportunities to grow at Interface, Garland is also working on his own to grow his skillset and knowledge during his time at Interface. Garland recently completed his degree in Operation Management and Analysis at Ashford University.

Garland’s drive and hunger are certainly not lost on Interface either. The company recognized this ambition and nominated Garland into its prestigious cross-functional Navigators program, which is designed to take rising stars and put them through development activities that expose them to every department of the company. This working team is essential in providing ideas and plans to drive positive change with critical thinking and problem-solving throughout the company. Garland is thankful for this opportunity because it provides the ability to see the company from every angle. It is helping him better understand the impact and importance of his own role while giving him insight on growth opportunities within the company.

While he’s not working at Interface, Garland likes to relax by enjoying his relatively new hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. He’s recently taken interests in hiking and exploring the outdoors in the desert. He’s also a big sports fan, especially basketball. He enjoys playing and watching NBA games while checking out the local food scene. However, he has not adopted the Suns as his home team yet, he’s a loyal Lakers fan through and through.

We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to shed some light on one of our committed team members. Garland Hawkins is star in the making with plenty to offer and a drive to take action.

 

Faces of Interface Featuring Tim Matteson

The Faces of Interface is an important series for the Interface IQ Blog because it highlights the talented people that keep Interface going strong. In this new ForceLeaders feature we interviewed Tim Matteson, product quality and improvement engineer for our Mini OEM product line, to learn a little bit more about his history and what he’s working on these days.

Interface’s Tim Matteson grew up in the small town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (and yes, there are many cheese jokes here) between Green Bay and Milwaukee. He was fond of the electrical and mechanical world, having grown up with a father who owned an electronics business and often doing work for him. This interest drove Tim towards mechanical fields and hobbies.

Immediately after school, Tim went to work for a printing company called Action Printing in Wisconsin. His job was to keep the large, fast, and loud presses in working order. Through this work he learned he had a proficiency for troubleshooting and problem-solving. Tim worked his way through the ranks at Action Printing, eventually becoming the assistant plant manager where he managed a crew and ensured production remained efficient.

Eventually, and after a trip to warm and sunny Arizona, Tim and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery. Tim moved to Arizona shortly after the vacation and started working at another commercial printing company, Signature Offset. He spent 10-years there as the operations manager, and while he enjoyed his time with the company, the decline of the printing industry had Tim looking for a new opportunity.

Tim joined Interface in August 2010 as our second shift manager, which entailed keep an eye on production throughout our facility. After a few years, he moved to become the department supervisor of one of our most popular product lines, Interface Mini Load Cells. He then moved up again, becoming a business unit manager. In this role, he oversaw production for three different product lines, including our popular minis. And now today, Tim runs the Mini OEM product line as the product quality and improvement engineer.

In this role, Tim oversees the production of one of Interface’s fastest-growing business units in OEMs. His job is to ensure that production is running as efficiently as possible and that every product that leaves the floor has the same premium quality that Interface is known for in the industry. Tim says that the thing he enjoys most about working at Interface is the fact that he gets to put his problem-solving and troubleshooting skills to work every day. He’s also dealing with a lot of detailed drawings of Interface products, which brings back fond memories of his drafting days.

In his free time, Tim likes to spend his time outdoors exploring Arizona. One of he and his wife’s favorites spots to hike is the Superstition Mountains. The couple has also hiked the Grand Canyon 10 times now, often camping out at our state’s Wonder of the World. He says that he and his wife probably spend so much time outdoors nowadays because they’ve escaped the winter weather and can enjoy time outside nearly all year long.

Tune in each month as we feature another Interface employee or partner. To view the entire series, visit our ForceLeaders page here.

Interface Force Measurement Solutions Featured in Quality Magazine

Choosing a force measurement device and getting the most out of it is a tricky process, even for the most seasoned engineers. So, when Quality Magazine asked our Chief Engineer and VP of Quality, Ken Vining, to share his knowledge of force measurement, he decided to put together a guide on what to look for in force measurement equipment and how to use and maintain your equipment properly.

In his Quality Magazine article titled, “Selecting and Using a Force Measurement Device: Everything you need to know,” Vining explains the contributing factors to force measurement device quality and accuracy, as well as a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the best possible accuracy and longevity out of your device.

Included below is a brief introduction from article:

Force measurement devices like load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices are used across industries to design and test hardware. They’re a key factor in the product development process because the force, torque and weight data they collect helps to ensure products are accurately constructed, work as intended, are safe for use, and can withstand the test of time. In highly regulated and complex industries like medical and defense, this data becomes even more important because any miscalculation in the design of a product can put lives at risk.

The first thing to understand is every project requiring a load cell or torque transducer has different variables affecting accuracy and quality. And for every situation in product development and testing, there is a load cell to fit your precise need. Therefore, the most important step in ensuring accurate and high-quality data is speaking to a force measurement expert about the details of a project.

There are five key factors you need to know related to data accuracy, and three factors related to force measurement device quality. I’ll explain why each factor can contribute to inaccuracies and what to look for when selecting a device based on material selection, build quality, and environmental factors… READ MORE

Additional Ken Vining feature:

/the-five-critical-factors-of-load-cell-quality/

For additional information on selecting and using your force measurement device, please contact our solutions experts.

What is New in Custom Solutions

Here at Interface, we make it a priority to adapt to the needs of our customers in any way possible. Each year we gather vast amounts of data and feedback to address changes in the marketplace and advancements in technology. Often, this comes in the form of new product releases developed specifically with our customer’s most significant needs in mind. However, new product releases take time for development, testing and release. When customers need to address a challenge quickly, we turn to our innovative custom solutions team.

No matter the project, chances are there is a customized force measurement product to fulfill the requirement. We work directly with our customer’s engineering and testing teams to understand the challenge and offer alternative solutions to off-the-shelf products. Our dedicated engineers and measurement experts, along with supporting company resources, and advanced engineering lab give Interface the competitive advantage to make any force measurement application work with what we have to offer.

We provided a brief overview of our custom solutions offerings and process a past blog. Today’s post provides an update on what’s new in custom solutions:

New Custom Solutions Offerings

Among the most significant changes to custom solutions is our growing engineered to order offerings for OEM customers. To best serve these customers and testing engineers with premium and affordable force measurement solutions for use in components or products, Interface now offers engineered to order capabilities for the masses. Engineered to order means Interface can deliver force and torque measurement solutions from our massive catalog that are modified to meet the features, specifications, and cost that our customers require, while still retaining the premium accuracy, quality and reliability Interface is known for across every industry we serve.

Another exciting capability that Interface has recently added is the addition of more digital instrumentation communication options for collecting data from our products. We’ve added Models INF1 and INF4 signal conditioners with field bus capability that include CANopen, DeviceNet, CC-Link, Profibus, Profinet, Modbus, and EtherCAT. By adding this capability, our products can interface with networks that customers already have installed in their facilities.

Custom Solutions Applications

Interface customers continue to turn to our experience Custom Solutions Engineers to build systems that utilize a range of sensor technologies, communication devices and even frames and cases to provide a complete structure.  This includes a growing demand for uniquely pairing force and torque components that work remotely through wireless and Bluetooth technologies as well as delivering entire testing units that re mobile or can be used in the field. The possibilities are unlimited with the amount of products Interface in our catalog, including the possibilities of using new designs.

Every year we engage in a host of unique custom solutions projects with our customers. We would like to share of a few of our favorites with you.

Airplane Maintenance – Wireless Customization

When an airplane comes into the shop, engineers often must jack it up to perform maintenance. When you lift a plane, there is always a risk because you can’t put too much stress on the wings and fuselage. To ensure that the maintenance team members weren’t stressing the plane beyond its limits, Interface developed a solution to measure the lifting force of each individual jack used to lift the plane. The solution included a number of Interface Model 1200 Series Load Cell that would transmit the forces applied back to a base station. However, the customization came in the way data was transmitted to the base station. Typically, wires are used for transmission, but in this case, there were 21 load cells used on the lifting equipment. To avoid having 21 wires get in the way, Interface added custom capabilities to the 1200 series to allow it to communicate with the base station wirelessly.

Crane Application – Custom Programming

Lifting heavy objects can be a dangerous job for onsite workers, not to mention, pushing a large industrial crane too far can result in expensive damages and downtime. Therefore, when an Interface’s industrial customer needed to intelligently monitor a crane in the process of lifting, we helped create a custom program to do so. The custom application included a model 1280 and force measurement activated program. Whenever the crane was nearing a weight that was unsafe, an alert was triggered based on the force measurement reading that could either sound an alarm or shut the system down. This created an automated safety system using force data.

Additional Custom Solution Applications and Use Cases are available here. 

Custom solutions are key to Interface’s broad offerings that we provide when off-the-shelf solutions don’t provide exactly what is required. Our design engineers and manufacturing team is ready to work directly with our customers to provide a solution that is right for your project. To learn more, visit us at /custom-solutions/.

Contributor: Ken Bishop

 

 

Faces of Interface Featuring James Richardson

Born in Arizona but growing up in the rural area of Cotton City, New Mexico, James Richardson was only exposed to the opportunity of a career in engineering after moving back to Arizona. After graduating as his high school class Salutatorian in 1995, he started college in Eastern Arizona.

He later moved to Mesa in 1999 where he took a job working for his uncle at Dewitt Equipment fixing restaurant and cooking equipment like ovens, fryers and microwaves, and along with refrigeration equipment including air conditioning units, freezers, and ice machines. It was also during this time he learned to braze, solder and TIG weld.

At Dewitt, his on the job training for fixing equipment built up his foundation for engineering. The spark that really kicked it off came on a sweltering Arizona summer day when James was repairing an A/C unit on a restaurant’s loose gravel rooftop. The temperature was so high that the gravel began to sink, melting the soles of his shoes. At this point, James realized he enjoyed working with his hands and on advanced equipment; however, it was time to finish his formal education in engineering and pursue a job that included more time inside where there was ample air conditioning.

By this time James had already completed an Associate Degree at Maricopa Community College and he was about 18 months from completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Arizona State University. Completing this degree, he later earned a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ohio University. Towards the end of his bachelor’s degree, he got an internship at Honeywell Aerospace. His first job after earning his degree was with Enertron Inc., a leading provider of thermal management solutions for the aerospace, military, medical, telecommunications, and IC fab equipment industries. In this role, he designed heat sinks for circuit boards used for lasers, lighting and computers.

After three years with Enertron, he moved to Cleveland Electric Laboratories where he served as an applications engineer working on turbine engine instrumentation. This is where James got his first hands on experience with force measurement equipment. His job was to design instrumentation for strain, temperature, and pressure measurements. At one point he even designed a load pin for a customer.

In his role, he was also introduced to Interface. The company he was working for owned several Interface products and he became familiar with their high-quality and premium accuracy. Then in 2015, a headhunter called him out of the blue to offer him a chance to work for Interface. James was excited about the prospect of working for a company that put quality first. In fact, the thing that hooked him about Interface was the declared focus of “Quality is Our Driving Force,” and the fact that each of the four interviewers reiterated the importance of this statement in their interview.

James joined Interface as a production engineer. He remained in this role for about four years before being promoted to Senior Engineer, and then to his current role as Mechanical Engineering Manager where he leads a team of five other engineers. In this leadership position, James is responsible for overseeing development efforts for some of Interface’s most important product lines including the specialized 1923 and 1925 wireless custom solutions and our downhole products for the energy markets. James was instrumental in the latest new product release, the new ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell.

In addition to this critical role, James also loves to learn about the many ways that Interface products directly affect him and people close to him. This includes how measuring systems ensure the proper weight of food in nutritional planning and packaging, measurement of things like blood donations, and safety test systems for airplanes. The work done at Interface is incredibly important to everyday life and many people don’t even realize it.

In his free time, James can be found spending time with his wife of 21 years and their four children, two sons and two daughters. The family enjoys the outdoors together, partaking in activities like bike rides and hikes. He also brings some of his passion for engineering home. He’s intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing and owns a printer himself. He’s designed and printed things like bowties, wallets, wall-mounts for various gadgets, and even toys for the kids. In case you missed it, the photo of James is his own 3-D printed bowtie. It was a big hit at the Interface holiday party.

Another interesting fact about James is that throughout his career he’s tried to connect with co-workers from different countries by learning their language. Throughout his life he’s learned a little bit of Polish and German, and is fluent in Spanish, which he learned while spending two years as a missionary in South America.

We asked James to describe his thoughts on his career in engineering in another language. He responded, “Un dicho o una frase que a mí me gusta pensar, cuando algo no sale buenisimo, es: “Siempre hay una manera mejor.” This translates to a saying or phrase that I like to think of when something doesn’t turn out great, “There is always a better way.”

To learn more about the ConvexBT, check out the datasheet here:

ConvexBT

Faces of Interface Featuring Mark Bliss

For our newest edition of Faces of Interface, we had the opportunity to talk with Mark Bliss, senior application engineer, with our manufacturer’s representative, Minnesota Measurement Engineering.

Minnesota Measurement Engineering (MNME) works across a wide variety of industries throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, and Iowa. They help engineers specify sensing, testing, and measuring products that best fit their needs and the needs of their application. In addition, MNME builds and integrates custom test and measurement systems for customers. We are thrilled to have them as a partner and are proud to feature Mark Bliss and the team at MNME.

Mark is proud to be a career learner, especially as it pertains to science and engineering. Mark’s mother was a librarian, and his father was involved in science. His upbringing led both himself and his brother to pursue a career in engineering.

Mark attended the University of Minnesota, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During his time in school, he also engaged in several high-profile internships with Thermo King Corporation, Ecolab, Inc., and Honeywell. This experience helped him get hired at Boeing shortly after college.

Mark spent a year and two months with Boeing as a mechanical design engineer before he and his wife decided they wanted to return to Minnesota. With the move, Mark joined MTS Systems Corporation where he served as a mechanical engineer and program leader within the Systems Product Development R&D Group.

Mark also started his own engineering consulting services company 2RM, LLC. Mark’s passion for engineering pushed him to moonlight as a consultant for everything from OEMs to startups. Some of the work he conducted included custom machine design, structural finite element analysis and optimization, reverse engineering, prototyping, component and material sourcing, in addition to boosting his skill set in sales, accounting, marketing and customer service.

In 2015, Mark was looking for a new challenge and saw an opportunity to take on a sales role at MNME while still applying his passion for engineering through the custom systems side of the business.

As a Senior Application Engineer at MNME, Mark is responsible for assisting customers with force, torque, pressure, acceleration, position, flow, vibration, data acquisition, and custom solutions for R&D, industrial, and OEM applications. His role includes supporting customer product information and quoting requests, visiting customers to understand and identify needs, following up on leads and principal contact reports, identifying sales opportunities and maintaining relationships with customers of all sizes.

Mark mentions that the best part about his position with MNME is the fact that he gets to see and work with new technology every day. Some days he might be working with a medical device manufacturer and the next day he is selling solutions for an autonomous vehicle. The diversity of his customers keeps him on his toes and ensures he’s always learning something new.

He also loves the fact that he gets to continue getting hands on with technology. One of the unique capabilities of MNME is the fact that they act as both a manufacturer’s rep, as well as a solutions provider. Many of Mark’s customers leverage him to develop custom systems or help integrate systems in their test and measurement process.

So where does Interface fit into all this? Going back again to MTS Systems, Mark would often interact with Interface. He developed a fondness for our force measurement products and systems because of their accuracy, durability and reliability. When he moved to MNME, he continued that relationship on the sales side and now acts as one of our top reps!

He, his wife and their two girls are also highly active. The family enjoys downhill skiing, boating, fishing and camping, as well as traveling the world. When we spoke to Mark, he discussed a many skiing trips he had taken in Austria, Germany, and Canada. Finally, if he wasn’t already involved in enough, he also enjoys investing in stocks and bonds. The man certainly keeps himself busy!

We are proud to have Mark at MNME representing Interface products and services. Working alongside Josh Sebasky, both provide Interface customer’s a great depth of experience and knowledge whether it is finding the right load cells or torque transducers for a test project or customizing a verification load frame solution for test and measurement programs.

To locate a representative or distributor in your area, please visit here.