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Interface Supplies Agriculture Industry with Sensor Technologies

The global agribusiness industry is estimated to be $5 trillion and growing rapidly. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) notes that agriculture innovators and product development are contributions to quality of life, economic growth, employment, and environment in a big way. Interface is proud to be a supplier of sensor solutions, from load cells to instrumentation, to the agriculture industry.

Any time you are manufacturing tractors, self-propelled harvesting combines, robotics, silo structures, monitoring technologies and other equipment used for crop production and farm animal management, test and measurement has an important part. T&M is essential in validating performance, functionality, and safety. Interface load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, instrumentation and data acquisition systems are essential for these different kinds of agricultural applications. These products can be paired together to ensure efficiency, sustainability, and proper production planning. Interface sensors can also regulate through harsh weather conditions often experienced on a farm such has rain, humidity and unbearable temperatures, both low and high, while still maintaining a high testing and measurement performance.

In the case study Interface Solutions Used in Growing Agriculture Innovation, we outline how our sensors and data acquisition devices are designed to provide engineers with high-quality force and torque data to monitor and confirm the design and in-action processes of a wide variety of equipment. Interface products are ideal for manufacturers that develop agricultural machinery. Load cells and torque transducers, as well as DAQ and instrumentation solutions provide accurate force and torque data to monitor and confirm the design and in-action processes. This applies to a wide variety of agriculture equipment used to push, pull, lift, contain, and move things ranging from seed to cattle. To perfect these inventions and ensure safety, Interface sensors play a pivotal role.

If you would like to dig into a series of use cases that for the agriculture industry, we’ve included links below:

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

In the medical and healthcare industry, accuracy is an absolute imperative in the devices used in every stage including diagnosis, surgery, health monitoring and even after care. This also applies to the specialized equipment used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, in both design and maintenance, when producing medicine and other healthcare related products.

When it comes to product development in the United States, not only do med devices and pharmaceuticals need to pass rigorous FDA regulations, but they must also be proven to serve patients and doctors safely. This results from robust test and measurement data requirements before seeking clearance. These same types of fundamental safety requirements of testing are also standard in most developed countries when seeking approvals before release.

Medical industry manufacturers turn to Interface because our force measurement solutions are designed for high performance test and measurement, in both accuracy and reliability. There is also a high demand for Interface’s ability to customize solutions to meet the exact requirements of these sensitive applications.

In a variety of medical device applications, one noted example is Interface’s role in providing various miniature beam and in-line load cell solutions with ten times the overload protection to protect against accidental shock loads. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately track light movements required to control prosthetic fatigue testing, surgical equipment, knee or hip replacement and other medical devices. Other Interface solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing. Read more about these types of medical applications here.

Interface provides force measurement solutions for a wide variety of products and machines that help biotechnology and pharmaceutical product engineers to design, test and manufacturer devices of all shapes and sizes. When it comes to equipment used in the manufacturing of medicine, Interface products are used to optimize production and reduce waste.

TABLET HARDNESS TESTING

In this application, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to test and monitor the hardness of the tablets being created in their tablet forming machine. Interface’s SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was mounted to the hardness device inside the tablet forming machine. The SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was then connected to the 9870 High-Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator to record the force measurements.

TABLET FORMING MACHINE OPTIMIZATION

For a tablet forming machine optimization project in Europe, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces applied by the tablet forming machine in an effort to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, forming force, and motor cycle speed. The goal was to improve productivity and efficiency of the tablet forming process, while reducing losses such as cracked tablets or voids, by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criterion for given inputs. An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell 10K lbf was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data.

TABLET MACHINE HARDNESS CALIBRATION

Our partners in Germany also had the opportunity to work on a calibration project for a device that tested the hardness of tablets, such as a medicine in tablet form. The reason for this type of device is because medical tablets are overly sensitive to compression force when being formed and when ready to be shipped. If the tablets hardness isn’t tested properly, consistency in size and shape is nearly impossible. The need for force testing is because the device must provide very minimal and accurate forces to the tablet for product consistency. When this is applied to tablets that are used in medicine, accuracy in dosage is fundamental and an absolute necessity.

The customer required a unique solution to properly re-calibrate the device. They needed a mini-load cell the size of a sugar cube that replaces the tablets and fits horizontally in the tablet test-box. A special cable exit was also critical for the compression only calibration application.

Interface provided an MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell which can measure forces on its side with a special cable exit on the flat side that attaches to a calibration indicator, such as the Interface battery powered handheld indicator and datalogger Model 9330. The MCC load cell calibration set compares the applied forces with the hardness tester to make sure that the tablet hardness tester uses the correct force for future tablet hardness tests. The BlueDAQ software included in our indicator helps to log and compare the data of the MCC reference load cell.

In the past, the customer’s medical tablet machines had to be rebuilt for calibrations, or a complex mechanism had to be integrated to enable vertical calibration. With Interface’s new solution, the customer successfully verified and calibrated the tablet hardness tester machine horizontally to conduct accurate hardness testing on tablets in the future. Interface’s MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell was perfect due to its small size, and convenience in measuring the forces on its side.

Read more about these healthcare and medical applications in these posts:

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Interface Load Cells in Medical Applications

Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications

To see more of Interface’s solutions designed for the medical device industry, visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/medical-healthcare/.

Interface Crane Use Cases and Application Notes

Manufacturers and engineers of heavy equipment are rigorous about the design quality, performance and most importantly preserving safety. Having tools to test and monitor this type of equipment allows equipment producers and users to review performance at all stages, ultimately maintaining a safe working environment which is critical to any construction, transportation, or infrastructure project job site. That’s why Interface provides quality force measurement products for a host of industrial equipment machines to accurately measure force, load capacity, weight, tension and more.

Interface has been a long-time supplier of force and torque sensors along with instrumentation products for projects involving all types of cranes and lifting machines. We are frequently asked to provide crane force measurement solutions for applications used in hoisting, lifting, moving, and transporting heavy objects. These use cases range across all types of environments, from constructing high rises in metropolitan centers around the world to maritime industry users loading docks and lifting watercraft.

To outline how force measurement is used to monitor cranes, we developed series of application notes explaining the components Interface provided to allow our customer to measure safety, reliability, and efficiency of their equipment.

Crane Capacity Verification

The first application note outlines a project in which the customer wanted to verify that their crane was strong enough to safely lift a heavy load at its rated maximum load capacity. It was determined that because of the size of the crane, a wireless solution was needed to avoid long wires and burdensome installation. Interface provided a Model WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell to measure the load’s maximum capacity. WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules were also used to trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight/force has been reached. To review the data the customer could transmit to a PC or laptop with a WTS-BS-4 USB base station. The data can also be reviewed through a WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display. With this solution, the customer was able to verify if the crane is safe and functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL), or safe working load (SWL) capacity.

Read the full Crane Capacity Verification Application Note here.

Crane Block Safety Check

The next example features a crane application in which the customer wanted to detect whether a crane block could lift a heavy load securely to keep working conditions safe for personnel. The customer specifically wanted the solution to include an alarm feature that notified them if lifting capacity was exceeded in real-time. Using a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin in place of a load bearing pin in the crane block, they could measure the force being applied by the heavy load. Data will be transmitted and displayed through both the WTS-BS-4 USB Base Station. It can also be paired with the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld for real-time safety monitoring. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module triggers an alarm when maximum capacity has been reached. The customer was able to verify if the crane was operating safely and was always functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL) or safe working load (SWL) capacity. The added alarm feature is critical for notifying users when the crane reaches unsafe limits during operations.

Read the entire Crane Block Safety Check Application note here.

Crane Force Regulation 

In the final application note, a customer wanted to regulate the maximum number of heavy loads being lifted, so that production time was both safe for workers and efficient. The goal was to complete lifting duties faster and with little or no expense. A wireless solution was also preferred, so that there would be no long cable interference during production. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which can be custom made to be used for any and all types of cranes. It is also great for lifting both short and long distances. The load pin was paired with the WTS Wireless Telemetry System, where force could be measured and logged. The customer was able to monitor the continuous force from the crane, and gather information on loads being lifted for continuous safety and production reporting requirements.

Read the complete Crane Force Regulation Application Note here.

You can read more about heavy equipment testing and use cases in our post, Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry.

Load Pins 101

A load pin is a type of load cell that can replace bolts, clevis, sheave, and equalizer pins, as well as other load-bearing components to measure tensile and compression forces. Load pins are internally gauged with a bored center containing strain gauges, allowing them to convert force into an electrical signal for engineers to accurately collect data.

Most applications for load pins in the past have been for overhead equipment like cranes and lifts. Load pins have expanded in popularity and are now often used to test and measure force, load, and limitations in a much larger variety of applications. This includes uses not only for cranes and lifting devices, but also construction equipment, industrial machines, nautical craft and equipment, aerospace, and civil engineering applications. A primary system approach with structural applications is for safety and to prevent excesses in loading and lifting.

New model types with wireless and Bluetooth technology are also resulting in more use cases for these specialized force measurement solutions. This applies to both test and measurement as well as for installed OEM components within a larger structure or apparatus.

Top Load Pin Benefits

  • Easy to install new or retrofit
  • Robust construction
  • Replaces existing load bearing pins without any system modifications
  • Engineered to order designs available
  • Can be supplied with integral connector
  • Custom sizes and higher capacities available

Load pins come in many standard shapes and sizes, as well customization options to meet a specific design or use requirement. Interface provides these measuring devices, which often replace a bolt or pin, for safety and application monitoring. Some of our load pins are exclusively designed to meet the needs of applications in hazardous environments like the oil and gas industry, or marine industry where they’ll be submerged in water during testing and for continuous use.

The Interface Load Pins are machined from high tensile stainless steel and are suitable for exposed situations including seawater. We offer standard load pins with ratings between 1.1K lbf to 3.3M lbf (500kgs to 1500 MT). We also offer custom manufactured load pins suit applications from 100 kgs to 1500+ MT.

LP Stainless-Steel Load Pin – Great for lifting applications for both short and long distances. This product can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model LP Load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN).

WTSLP Wireless Stainless-Steel Load Pin This advanced load can transmit wirelessly up to 600 (1,969 feet) meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station.  The capacities range goes all the way up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN). The wireless option utilizes low power consumption for long battery life. It is configured and calibrated via PC using a base station and telemetry toolkit and compatible with Interface WTS Wireless products. The load pin is robust and uses a lightweight housing. It is environmentally sealed to IP67.

Load Pin Application

One of the largest scale applications of load pins we provided were used to measure force on a large bridge infrastructure project in the western U.S. The goal was to continuously monitor the standard force created by regular traffic, as well as the seismic force before, during, and after earthquakes. The monitoring sensors needed to be integrated into a dampener that would be attached to the structural tower.

The solution allows the company to monitor force from emitted data to cross-reference the standard traffic force with the seismic force to understand its effect on the bridge. Its purpose is to help with predictive maintenance and influence future bridge designs to better compensate for the forces of an earthquake or other natural disasters, which are common in this part of the world.

READ THE SEISMIC BRIDGE MONITORING APPLICATION NOTE HERE

READ THE INFRASTRUCTURE CASE STUDY HERE

The project required a custom product that could handle the inimitable and considerable force of a bridge under every scenario of distress. Engineers developed a custom load pin to handle the force of movement in the bridge in the event of an earthquake. This load pin was much larger than our standard version and is rated at 900,000 lbf. The large load pins were designed to be integrated into the dampener with wireless data acquisition modules connected to the load pins to allow for remote access to the data. With the integration of Interface’s custom load pins and data acquisition module, the customer was always able to continuously collect data for real-time evaluation. The sturdy construction of our load pins and 900,000 lbf rating allowed for readings during all degrees of seismic activity.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins and there many applications, please contact our application specialists today.