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Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Due to the influence of IoT, AI and big data, the role of production line engineer has become far more critical as manufacturers demand peak efficiency. These engineers need to stay current in automation technologies used to design, build, and monitor a production line for the benefits of decreasing speed to market, lowering costs, and improving outputs at the highest quality standards.

Among the many software and hardware solutions these individuals must also understand connected sensors are among the most important. Sensors are the nervous system of an automated production line, telling which machines must perform certain tasks, when, and how. They are a source for smart factories and smart manufacturing.

Sensors modernize manufacturing, assembly, and production lines by enabling real-time monitoring and control of the production process.

Measurement solutions provide accurate data on production parameters such as temperature, speed, pressure, force, and other relevant variables, which can then be used to optimize the production process, detect, and resolve problems in real-time, and prevent downtime. Additionally, sensors can be integrated into industrial IoT systems to provide valuable insights and analytics that can help manufacturers make data-driven decisions.

One of the sensor types that play a key role in these automated production lines are force sensors. Force sensors can be used by production line engineers across several different facets of an automated line. When designing a manufacturing line, there are quite a few factors that go into the full system. This includes process monitoring, quality control, predictive maintenance, energy management and inventory management. Force sensors play a role in each of these types of data points and processes.

For instance, a production line engineer can install sensors onto a machine that outputs a great deal of torque and monitor that torque to ensure the components creating that force are running smoothly, or if there are certain indicators that say it needs to be pulled off the line briefly for maintenance. When products on the line trigger certain force parameters such as weight, this can also tell the automated production line it is ready for the next stop in the process. Production line engineers design these lines around the sensing capabilities available and connected force sensing products have made a major difference in helping things become more efficient.

There is another automated process that also requires force sensors that is used as part of a manufacturing line, or as a standalone system – robotics. Production line engineers are doing a great deal of research and development into robotics to automate process that are repetitive, or far too delicate for human hands. Force sensors, in this use case, are used in both the testing of robotics to ensure accuracy or developed into the robotics to monitor certain functions over time.

Robotics can improve assembly and production processes, leading to higher efficiency, improved quality, and reduced costs. As technology continues to advance, the use of robotics by production line engineers in assembly and production is likely to become even more widespread.

Here at Interface, we have a great deal of experience in developing solutions for industrial automation and manufacturing lines. We have developed a few application notes to outline how production line engineers use our sensor solutions and force measurement products.

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm

A customer wanted to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occur at the robotic arm’s base; therefore, they needed a force measurement system at the base of the robotic arm. Interface suggested using their force plate option to install at the base of the robotic arm. Four 3-Axis Force Load Cells were installed between two force plates, then installed at the bottom of the arm. This creates one large 6-Axis Force Plate. The sensors force data is recorded and displayed through the two BX8 Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Data Acquisition Systems onto the customer’s PC or laptop. Interface’s 6-Axis Force Plate was able to successfully measure the reaction forces of the customer’s robotic arm. Read more here.

Press Load Monitoring

Press forming is a method to deform varied materials. For instance, materials such as steel can be bent, stretched, or formed into shapes. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces being applied by the press forming machine. This ensures quality control and traceability during the production process. For large press forming machines, Interface recommends installing the 1000 High-Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell. When the material is placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied is measured by the 1000 Series Load Cell. The force results captured is sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged on the customer’s PC with provided software. Interface’s force measurement products and instrumentation accurately monitored and logged the force results of the press force machine, ensuring zero-error production performance. Learn more about this application here.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine

A snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process. In this case, they wanted to weigh their potato chips being packaged. The company also wanted to ensure the potato chips are at the exact weight needed due to regulatory standards to be distributed out to consumers in the public. Interface’s solution was to use multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells, and install it to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer is able to control the automated production from their command center. Using this solution, the customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged. Read about the solution here.

Production line engineers turn to Interface due to our quality, accuracy, and reliability. Our products are used to test, monitor in real time, and created automated processes within a manufacturing line. As automation and robotics grow, you will continue to see new applications for sensors in this sector.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

IoT Industrial Robotic Arm App Note

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

Industrial-Automation-Brochure-1

 

Strain Gage Design Under Eccentric Load WRSGC Presentation

By Ashlesa Mohapatra, product design engineer, Interface

In the global marketplace, Interface is well known as providing the force measurement industry’s most reliable and accurate products. One of the key reasons that Interface consistently earns this recognition is because we manufacture our own strain gages. Products engineered and manufactured at Interface use our proprietary strain gages, and each designed for the specific transducer model based on the application type and environment for use.

As an example of our dedication to quality and excellence in performance as it pertains to strain gages, I recently shared a technical presentation on the negative effects of eccentric load and how strain gage design can reduce these challenges.

Below is a brief recap of this presentation made to the attendees of the Western Regional Strain Gage Committee meeting that took place in Tempe, Arizona in October 2022. The summary explains why strain gage design can make all the difference in quality versus poor performance with load cells.

Interface redesigned the strain gages on one of our mini load cells, the LBSU Miniature Load Cell Load Button, also known as our ConvexBT – The Most Innovative Load Button Load Cell. Our goal in the redesign was to create more controlled and repeatable loading, in turn creating a more predictable output. Our research focused on strain gage designs for load cells where mechanical moment compensation is not feasible.

The main challenge with this initiative was overcoming the errors associated with eccentric loading by making the installation process smoother through a redesign.  This is difficult because strain gages are very small in size and therefore more difficult to work with, in addition they are extremely sensitive to the environment with factors like temperature, humidity, cleanliness and electric interference all potentially effecting performance.

Before diving into the redesign, I would like to touch on eccentric loading and the errors it will cause, as well as the varied factors in strain gage manufacturing that can lead to errors causing eccentric load. There are two types of eccentricity: loading and mounting. Eccentric load results from improper loading or mounting of the strain gage, which leads to off-axis loads and bending. This causes several problems including distorted measurement results, decreased load cell accuracy, and diminishing life of the load cell.

When a strain gage is mounted on the load cell incorrectly or gages are badly bonded, it will almost always be an error source and contribute to mounting errors. Also, when strain gages are not bonded to the load cell at appropriate temperature and humidity, it leads to bubbles under the gage. Chemical composition of the strain gage is critical, such as the adhesive between the foil and backing, based on the application in which load cell will be used in a lab, machine, or testing program.

With these factors in mind, we set out on a redesign continuous improvement project. The previous design of this products strain gages was rectangular in shape. So, when the load cell was loaded, eccentrically or not, the strain field would not pass through because of shape. Therefore, we began to look at other shapes for our strain gage design, ultimately landing on a circular “diaphragm” style strain gage that allow strain fields to pass through.

One of the features of this newly designed strain gage is the proprietary adhesive foil we used to adhere the foil to the backing. This adhesive provided a great deal of benefit including a lower modulus of elasticity making it resilient to adhesive failure, and the elasticity also allows for better flow.

Another feature is the full bridge gage pattern we used that provides three key advantages. This includes fewer solder joints and reduced risk for electrical shorts due to simplified wiring, reduced symmetry error, and consistent thermal performance.

One process improvement we wanted to point out was that in our calibration process we only used 5V excitation voltage. Most manufacturers use 10V to calibrate their load cells. Due to lack of thermal mass in the thin diaphragm design of our strain gage, the zero will shift due to high voltage and low poor heat dissipation with 10V. We use a 5V excitation voltage to calibrate these miniature load cells instead of the alternative to prevent overheating of the cell.

To further improve the design, we enhanced the inspection process. Our diaphragm gages are quality inspected for accurate mounting with visual and electrical testing. Visual testing includes checking for air bubbles under the gage, badly bonded edges, unreliable solder connections and flux residues. Electrical tests include checking for electrical continuity and insulation resistance.

We then moved our attention to the circuit board. Some manufacturers use a circuit board in the cable due to the limited space within the cell to improve zero balance zero balance and to better compensate for temperature. However, bending or moving this cable would put pressure on the board and shift the zero. Therefore, we elected to install an abradable compensation resistors inside the flexure instead of the cable. This keeps the compensation resistor close to the gages and is intimately bonded to the body of the sensor to improve the reaction time of the cell to temperature.

To evaluate and confirm that our design was superior, we assessed three different strain gage styles: the rectangular gages (discreet gages), patch gages, and our diaphragm gage. Each of the gage styles were placed on three different load cells and loaded at one degree centricity. This test was run at 45 degree increments eight times. The results showed diaphragm style provided more reproducible result under eccentric load compared to other gages.

This was an interesting undertaking that taught the project team a lot about strain gage design and eccentric load. What I took away from this experience, other than a superior design for our ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells, is that any commercially successful product has a strong process behind it. You also need to have a clearly defined process that includes a continuous improvement plan. Interface Minis are a popular product line that has been around for many years. As soon as a product like this hits a point of stagnation, it will lose its hold on the market. I am proud of our team’s ability to avoid stagnation by taking critical steps to improving the Mini product line, maintaining our reputation for having the best quality, accurate and reliable products no matter the capacity available for precision force measurement.

Western Regional Strain Gage Committee (WRSGC), a technical division of the national Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM), was established to promote a free interchange of information about strain measurement techniques using strain gages.

Interface is a proud member and sponsor of WRSGC. Our engineers participate in the technical conferences, in both presentation and attendance. Interface’s Product Design Engineer Ashlesa Mohapatra presented at the event held in Arizona, October 17-19, 2022.

Interface Force Measurement 101 Series Introduction

In our ongoing commitment to provide valuable resources through self-help guides and online reference materials, we are introducing our 101 Series.

This new online resource is an easy-to-use guide for load cell basics and force measurement topics. The series is a collection of content in various formats that detail subjects related to test and measurement.

Interface prioritizes helping our customers understand the inner workings of our expanding line of sensors, accessories, and instrumentation by creating guides, technical manuals, and solution applications for force measurement.

The Interface 101 Series will introduce you to relevant subjects about our products and how we can help you get the most accurate and reliable force data in the industry by using our solutions.

Our new 101 Series guide is an effortless way to navigate through high-level test and measurement topics. Each section of the new 101 Series includes a featured 101 IQ blog on a single subject, as well as quick links to videos, case studies, white papers, application notes, product information, technical specifications and more related to that subject.

The goal in creating the 101 Series is to provide a basic understanding on how our products are used for various test and measurement applications across all industries. The references are an effective way to learn about the broad depth of Interface products like our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, calibration systems and instrumentation. We also provide relevant test and measurement content related to types of force measurement testing, components, systems, and materials used in engineering highly accurate measurement technologies.

There are thousands of references found throughout our site, like our design files for product engineers and digital instrumentation set-up videos for lab techs. It is our pledge to develop material that support our 35,000 products, as well as provide educational content like the 101 Series and our ForceLeaders Webinars you can watch on-demand.

Included below are the current 101 IQ Blogs you will find featured on the 101 Series online guide. We will add additional references to this 101 Series, as we post new subjects. Go to Force Measurement 101 Series to bookmark this reference.

101 Series IQ Blogs

You can find additional reference materials related to our products and services including manuals, product catalogs, technical references, and events.  Go to our online support to find helpful educational and advanced resources like our technical glossary, engineering tips and installation guides.

If you are mostly interested in why you should choose Interface, here is a good reference to start.

If you are not able to find the information you need or you have a specific question about our products or services, be sure to contact us to help.

Back to School Force Measurement Essentials

Interface has a long history of collaborating with colleges and universities around the world. From individual engineering students testing the force of launching miniature rockets to supplying onsite test labs with load cells and equipment for R&D, we are a resource for higher education learning and experimentation.

In our view, innovation and exploration have no boundaries. What validates new ideas and manifests problem solving requires modern and reliable tools that support student’s projects and activities. Its key to any program’s success. It is also why we are proud to be known around the globe as a leader in building and designing force measurement products that facilitate these initiatives through higher learning.

It is very inspiring to see new engineering students, future metrologists, and soon-to-be graduates designing new medical devices, creating new spacecraft and interplanetary vehicles, testing materials used for miniature consumer products and of course, building plenty of new robots and AI machines.

In our view, every university or college should have Interface force measurement products on hand to support these types of educational test and measurement research projects. Here is a simplified list of basic sensor products to get started.

Force Measurement Essentials for Higher Learning

  • Precision load cells in diverse designs and capacities
  • S-type load cells (load beams)
  • Miniature load cells and load buttons
  • Multi-axis sensors
  • Calibration grade equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Wireless sensor technologies
  • Rotary and reaction torque transducers
  • Verification load frames

Our investment in supporting educational programs runs deep into our history as a company. You will find our founder’s name on the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona. Following in his commitment to education, the Richard F. Caris Charitable Trust II continues to support STEM programs including sponsorship of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

We drive to ensure that students who have a passion for science, technology and engineering have access to the best force measurement sensor technologies. It is why we offer a standard discount to all students and education institutions. You can learn more about our education support here. We know that learning requires the best tools, and we want to make sure that every student has the most accurate, quality and precision load cells available today.

As with all inquisitive minds, we thought it would be interesting to share what are other university and colleges buying for their learning programs and campus labs.

Top 10 products for testing projects and campus lab studies:

  1. 1200 LowProfile Load Cells are our most popular load cell, available in standard and high-capacity features.
  2. 1010 Load Cell model is a fatigue-rated low profile load cell in our 1000 product family, offering various capacities and functions.
  3. 2420 Load Cell is one of our stainless-steel standard and high-capacity load cells in our 2400 model series.
  4. 1500 Low-Capacity Load Cell designs are common requirements for applications where low sensitivity to eccentric load is important.
  5. WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell has an environmentally protected construction that comes in a variety of model capacities and configurations. It is great for small spaces and industrial applications.
  6. 3-Axis Load Cells are extremely popular multi-axis sensors designed to provide more testing data and often paired with BSC4 instrumentation. They are ideally suited for aerospace, robotics, automotive, and medical research testing applications.
  7. 6-Axis Load Cells are growing in popularity, for cost benefit and their unique ability to simultaneously measure Fx Fy Fz Mx My Mz.
  8. SSM Miniature Load Cells are one of many popular general-purpose s-type designed load cells. You call learn more about all our s-type models here.
  9. Torque Transducers of all types are used by university programs, engineering departments and metrology labs. There are many different options including rotary and reaction torque solutions. For all options, start here to choose the right one.
  10. Load Washer Load Cells are used because of the unique through-hole designs. They come in various models and dimensions, along with capacity options.

As with any project, the questions of what you want to measure, the applications, and where you are sending the data, are all core to choosing the sensor and instrumentation that is best suited for the learning environment or program.

Speaking of where to send the data for performance monitoring and analysis, the five most favorite types of instrumentation selected by university students and engineering labs include:

  1. DMA2 Signal Conditioner
  2. 9840 4-Channel Intelligent Indicator
  3. 9825 General Purpose Indicator
  4. BX8-AS BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System
  5. SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER

If you are heading back to school and thinking that it is time to revamp the testing lab or need new force measurement equipment, be sure to reach out to our education application engineers. They have years of experience and can help you get exactly what you need for your project and programs.

Be sure to tune into our Load Cell Basics, for answer to common questions about using these highly accurate sensors for your test and measurement projects. You can find all our Interface videos on our YouTube channel here.

If you are looking to explore more technical resources, be sure to go to our online support area and subscribe to our blogs for weekly updates.

ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Types of Force Measurement Tests 101

Torque Transducers 101

Multi-Axis Sensors 101

S-Type Load Cells 101

Mini Load Cells 101

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101

Load Washers 101

Couplings 101

Load Shackles 101

Load Pins 101

Tension Links 101

Load Button Load Cells 101

Strain Gages 101

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Calibration Systems 101

Force Measurement Accessories 101

TEDS 101

Shunt Calibration 101

 

Faces of Interface Featuring Tin Nguyen

Today’s Faces of Interface features a person who might possibly hold the most titles in the company, and for good reason. Tin Nguyen is our calibration engineer, manufacturing engineer and business unit manager for calibration. Tin has earned all these titles along with the important responsibility through his relentless ability to take on and excel in new tasks, as well as his desire to learn. Check out his story.

Since he was about the age of eight years old, Tin had a proficiency for learning how to design and build things. It all started growing up on his grandparent’s farm where he would theorize ways to make tools and machines around the farm easier to use or more efficient. He vowed then that when he grew up, he would find a way to build things to make life easier for people.

Tin went on to attend Arizona State University (ASU), where he received a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering and in technology in 2000. He really enjoyed the ASU engineering school experience because it was hands on and he got to work with the latest technology, preparing him for the real world. While attending school, Tin also served as an auto mechanic for racing cars to earn some extra money on the side and because he really enjoyed the work.

Tin joined Interface in September 2001. He began his career as a calibration associate in the calibration lab. After a few years in the lab, Tin was then promoted to manufacturing engineer. A year later, he was promoted to calibration supervisor followed by the calibration departments business unit manager. His success in each of these roles allowed him to retain some of his titles and work throughout the company to lend his skills and expertise.

Today, his role covers quite a bit of what we do here at Interface. His day-to-day responsibilities include developing and maintaining tooling for calibration, fixturing, improving production processes, auditing equipment, figuring out ways to reduce costs, training calibration techs, maintaining calibration standards, looking after 20 different rigs, to highlight a few. His depth of experience and expertise lends to supporting and helping the company meet the growing demands for Interface’s quality products.

What Tin enjoys so much about working at Interface and continuing to take on new roles is that he loves to learn everything there is to know about the company and serving customers. Tin noted, there are a lot of talented people around him to provide that knowledge and support. After more than 20 years with the company, Tin still feels that he has more to learn. He’s also very honored by the trust that Interface and its leadership have placed in Tin to take on all of his important roles.

In his free time, Tin loves to travel and explore the great outdoors. He enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, boating and more. And, as if he doesn’t already have enough projects in his work life, Tin is also very fond of upgrading and remodeling his home. He takes a lot of ownership over the process and will do everything that he can before hiring somebody to help.

With all the hats Tin wears, he knows Interface inside out and we’re thrilled to have him and his cross-departmental expertise as part of the Interface family! We hope you enjoyed the newest entry into our Faces of Interface and if you’re looking to learn more about our talented staff, visit our ForceLeaders feature here.

Extending the Calibration Range of a Transducer

Interface has added a new technical white paper to our library, Extending Transducer Calibration Range by Extrapolation. This detailed engineering report delves into the concept of extrapolating the partial capacity calibration to full capacity, possibly thereby providing an increase in confidence in the extended range. The following is a brief introduction to the white paper and explanation of how extrapolation can increase confidence in your data.

Introduction

Force and torque transducers must be calibrated in a laboratory in order to be useful in their intended application. Applications of the transducers range from relatively basic process measurements to relatively critical calibration of other transducers or equipment. The laboratory calibration consists of loading the transducer with known masses and lever arms or using a comparison method where load is generated by hydraulic or pneumatic means and the transducer under test is compared to a reference transducer. In either method, the cost of calibration equipment rises rapidly with increasing capacity.

Many calibration laboratories have means to calibrate force up to about 10,000 lbf and torque up to about 20,000 lb-in. But capability for higher ranges is scarce. In fact, there are a very limited number of laboratories in the United States that have capability for force over 200,000 lbf and torque over 100,000 lb-in.

There has been some practice in the past by some manufacturers of transducers to calibrate a high capacity transducer at partial capacity and leave the owner to go on hoping and guessing for the sensitivity of the upper end of the capacity. This gives rise to the concept of extrapolating the partial capacity calibration to full capacity, possibly thereby providing an increase in confidence in the extended range.

When Full Capacity Calibration is Not an Option

Strain gage transducers are basically linear. That is, the output follows the input at a near constant ratio. The nonlinearity is routinely measured and typically is in range of ± 0.10%FS or less. This provides for the ability to interpolate values between calibration points with near zero error. But the same is not true for extrapolation which is really estimating values that are beyond the observable range. Conventional wisdom has it, and logically so, that extrapolation is not a valid method of calibration.

Extrapolating is similar to forecasting and that idea helps one realize the liability of it. But the various methods of extrapolation are not all equal. The purpose of this paper is to explore a method that has reasonable validity when economic considerations do not permit a full capacity calibration.

Extrapolation Methods

There are multiple methods of extrapolation. In the white paper, we outline three methods: Linear (0 and last point), Linear (last 2 points) and Poly (calibration points). We also expand upon the best methods for extrapolation by comparing these three methods, as well as demonstrating how to conduct the various methods. The goal of the white paper is to explain how to use extrapolation for best results.

The white paper goes into in-depth details on extrapolation, providing our customers and partners with a blueprint for extending transducer calibration range. If you’re interested in seeing the results and learning more, download the whitepaper here: Extending Transducer Calibration Range by Extrapolation.

For technical questions about Interface transducers and calibration, contact our applications engineers.

You can find additional technical white papers here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Rocky Lee

In today’s Faces of Interface, we’re introducing Rocky Lee, a recent addition to the Interface team. Rocky joined Interface in September 2021 as our director of quality.  In 2022, Rocky has been promoted to lead our Quality Department as VP of Quality.

His role is ensuring that every product that leaves our doors meets the incredibly high precedent for accuracy and reliability that Interface is well known for around the world. We had a great time talking to Rocky and hope you enjoy his story.

As a kid growing up Rocky always displayed an interest in STEM. It led him to pursue a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He enjoyed learning about how things work and how things are made, so it felt like the perfect education for his interests.

Shortly after graduating, he got his first role in the engineering and manufacturing world. Rocky joined Raytheon as a mechanical engineer. His role at Raytheon was traveling around to airports to outfit them with a new communications system that Raytheon had developed. He would go in and ensure that the airport’s infrastructure could handle the power and technology requirements of the new radar system.

After Raytheon, he started as a product engineer for Toyota. His role involved him being stationed at a supplier that converted Toyotas into convertibles. He also worked on various other convertible lines, including Toyota Paseo, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the Mitsubishi Spyder hardtop convertible. These experiences really kicked off a few of his passions in life – quality and convertibles. In fact, Rocky has owned three convertibles including a Toyota Celica convertible, Mercedes SLK, and a BMW 4-Series Hardtop Convertible.

Rocky then took a short break from the engineering and manufacturing world. He owned an ultra-high-end wedding gown design and manufacturing company for several years. He really enjoyed owning the company because it pushed him into new roles like sales and marketing, expanding his capabilities and expertise. After moving on from this business, he would then move to a quality management role for Suncast, which made consumers goods for the home and garden market. This would be his last role before joining Interface.

In 2021, Rocky and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery. They had always envisioned themselves retiring to Arizona, but they decided to get started on warmer weather early! Rocky joined Interface shortly before moving and he chose us because he had deep desire to get back into the engineering and manufacturing world.

Rocky is learning quickly in his new role. His first major project is expanding the quality inspection process to ensure quality is instilled from start to finish and throughout development. He says he is enjoying his time at Interface due to the high-level of Interface’s engineering talent. He feels that the expertise here will help him learn quickly and become engrossed in the force measurement world. He’s also excited by the wide range of industries and applications that Interface is involved in by supplying precision force measurement solutions to companies globally.

When he’s not working hard to meet customer expectations for Interface product quality, Rocky, his wife, and their two children are taking advantage of Arizona and all it has to offer. This includes hiking, sightseeing, white water rafting and more. He is also really enjoying the golf out here. He and his wife love to play together and they’re planning to spend a good deal of their free time checking out Arizona’s award-winning golf scene in the years to come.

Rocky is a wonderful addition to the team and we’re proud he chose Interface. To get to know more of Interface’s outstanding team, tune into the blog each month for a new addition to our Faces of Interface Series.

Read more about the importance of quality in our industry here: Quality is Top Reason Customers Choose Interface

 

Envisioning the Future of Force Measurement

It is estimated that the force measurement sensor industry market, which includes strain gages and load cells, is valued at $2 billion annually. This is a result of the diverse amount of application uses for these types of sensors, whether embedded into an OEM product or for use in test and measurement. With innovations pushing product designers, this segment of the overall sensor market is growing rapidly from the advancements in robotics, semiconductors, automotive, aerospace and defense.

In these areas of growth, Interface continues to focus on the manufacturing and sales of precision force measurement products. For 52 years, Interface remains the leader in accuracy and quality. There are no plans to change that focus. What is changing is the market place and opportunities for using precision sensor technology of all sizes and capacities, whether that be for electronic vehicle testing or industrial automation, launching spacecraft or introducing new robots.

The way we develop force measurement products is continually evolving. It is our responsibility to understand trends in the engineering, testing and manufacturing, as well as identifying customer needs, in order to develop new force measurement innovations for today and into the future.

Technology is moving at a fast pace, and it’s imperative that companies like us rise to meet the demand for new innovations to solve modern and future design and testing challenges. In last week’s blog, we detailed our product development process and our evolution over the years to meet these demands. Product development has grown from a process to something that we engage in every day, especially in the customization of our standard products as well as introduction of new solutions.

The voice of our customer is instrumental in defining this development journey. We learn about new trends and opportunities for expanding our product line by listening to our customers and team members. At Interface, we know that in order to continue building upon our half-century legacy, it’s critical to keep an open mind to new solutions and continually learn how our customer’s industries are evolving too.

Interface recently had the opportunity to contribute article to two different publications that outlined our thoughts on the trends in force measurement. We were able to lean on our entire team to discover what they believe is the future of our industry. It was not only a fun exercise to take a step back and look into the future, but it was also encouraging because we realized that many of these trends are things that Interface has placed a heavy focus on in our strategic plans for the months and years to come.

Included below are links and a quick synopsis of recent articles by Interface ForceLeadersthat were published in Machine Design Magazine and Metrology News.

Machine Design Magazine: 2020 Trends in Force Measurement Sensors

Until about 10 years ago, the force test and measurement industry had been fairly unimaginative. It had developed a standard way of building analog load cells, torque transducers and other devices, and it worked for many years. However, as most of the rest of the technological world advanced and big data changed the way engineers and manufacturers work, this age-old force measurement analog technology stood out with no way to improve data collection or make it more efficient.

The digital revolution has pushed load cell manufacturers to look around and think about how customers develop products and how factories and production lines operate. Here are some of the trends force-measurement companies must get in line with or risk disappearing, as defined by Keith Skidmore, Regional Sales Director at Interface. Click here to read more

Metrology News: The Future of Force Measurement

The rise of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and “Big Data” has had a tremendous impact on almost every industry, including force measurement. Up until about ten years ago, the industry had remained steady and predictable. There was a standard way of building load cells using analog technology that was widely accepted, and they served their purpose well. In this article Ted Larson, VP Product Management and Marketing at Interface explains the industries recent transition and what lays ahead. Read more here.

Interface will continue to remain future-focused in an effort to serve our clients force measurement needs for now and beyond. If you are interested in learning more about custom solutions or new applications, contact us here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Scott Dunne

A critical factor of becoming a successful engineer is becoming proficient at working with your hands. For Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager at Interface, training his brain and perfecting the use of his hands has been a passion since childhood and helped to elevate his role in the design and manufacturing of Interface’s leading force measurement products.

Growing up, Scott’s grandmother worked for Western Electric where she made telephones. From time-to-time, she would bring home parts or fully assembled phones for him to take apart and put back together. This simple example of bonding moments with his grandma fueled his desire for a career in engineering.

After high school, Scott attended the Newark College of Engineering (now known as NJIT) to pursue a degree in engineering. He was successful in earning a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering and went on to start his career in the automotive industry with Adrionics.

At Adrionics, he assembled cables for harnesses that stretched from the back of the car radio to the steering column, most of which was done by hand. He worked there for a few years before moving into the power supply industry. While working at RTE Power-Mate, Scott made high-volume power supplies for the gaming industry. He later worked at TDI Power where he focused on low-volume, high-reliability power supplies for numerous industries.

After nearly 10 years in the power supply industry, Scott joined Ohaus Corporation, a manufacturer of digital scales and load cells. This was his first job in the force measurement industry and he quickly developed an enthusiasm for it. Scott rose through the ranks and eventually became the manufacturing engineering manager. When a major conglomerate purchased Ohaus, Scott was selected to help move the production line from New Jersey to Changzhou.

After an 18-month assignment in China, Scott returned to the U.S. and he and his wife decided it was time for a change, including a move out of the cold and into a warmer environment. He and his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he pursued a career with Interface because a former co-worker handed him a catalog from the company before he left New Jersey.

His experience building load cells made him the perfect fit for Interface and he was hired as an operations manager overseeing the production line in January 2000. After 14 years in this position, Scott became the product supply manager where he supervised Interface’s supply chain. As the Production Engineering Manager today, he is helping in the training and onboarding of Interface team members by sharing his depth of knowledge and experience in working with load cell technology.  He recently conducted a Load Cell 101 training for team members, which was sold out during every session.

“Ever since I began my career in engineering, I have been fascinated with the entire production and even sales process. One of the best things about working at Interface as a production engineer, I have a hand in everything from the start of the design to the final manufacturing of a variety of load cell and force measurement technologies. With this responsibility, I have the distinctive opportunity to learn more from a sales perspective in team meetings as to what our clients need today and even in the future. My position allows me to do what I love while expanding my knowledge of our industry.” Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager, Interface

In his free time, Scott continues to work with his hands doing woodworking. He is also a self-described “hockey nut,” and follows the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes closely. He enjoys watching and attending games with his family.

Faces of Interface is an ongoing series shining a spotlight on Interface’s talented team members across the organization. Scott recently contributed a great post, Strain Gages 101. To follow Faces of Interface and to stay up-to-date on the company, please visit www.interfaceforce.com/blog/ and subscribe to the posts and newsletter.