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Interface’s Steering Role in All Types of Transportation

Interface serves a wide variety of industries that design and manufacture movers of people and objects. The transportation sector consists of companies that assist in the movement people or goods, as well as supporting infrastructure. Whether it is automobiles or planes, trains or helicopters, spacecraft or water vessels, Interface provides solutions to help test and measure force, weight, torque, lift and more.

The safety, quality and reliability of the overall transportation industry are all important considerations in design, build and performance. Human safety being the most critical requirement of any transport vehicle or structure.

This means that stringent testing is necessary to confirm the design of every part and system on a vehicle. Force measurement sensors can used to test a wide variety of factors on every type of invention that moves or transports a person or thing. From the torque of an electrical vehicle engine to the weight distribution of an aircraft, these types of tests help to refine the designs of components, vessels, and vehicles, confirming safety and dependability.

All Interface product categories have a role in the testing of all these transportation entities.  Many of our sensor technologies are also ideal for performance monitoring and integration into product designs, whether it’s for ongoing measurement of weighing ship cargo with load pins, load shackles and tension links or using our torque transducers for engine testing on e-bikes, automobiles, trucks, buses, and other transport vehicles.  If it moves, it needs to be measured. Our force and torque solutions are ideal for every segment of this market sector.

Let’s take a quick tour of a few application examples that demonstrate the different products we provide that are helping get people and objects safely moving down the road, on the rails, in the air and even into space.

Wind Tunnel Testing

Wind TunnelA major aerospace company was developing a new airplane and needed to test their scaled model for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, by measuring loads created by lift and drag. Interface offered a Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell which was mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel and connected to the scaled model by a stalk. A Model BX8-AS was then connected to the sensor to collect data. The wind tunnel blew air over the scaled model creating lift and drag, which was measured and compared to the theoretical airplane models. Software in the PC converted raw data signals to actual force and torque values at the stalk. Using this solution, the company was able to analyze the collect data and made the necessary adjustments in their design to improve the aerodynamics of their theoretical airplane models. Read more.

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing

A garbage disposal company wanted to test the load capacity of their garbage truck bins so they know when it reached maximum capacity. Interface’s solution was to customize and install 4 SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells under the garbage box body, on either side. When trash continues to be piled inside the box body, it will push more force down onto the SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells. When maximum load capacity has been reached, the results can be reviewed and displayed when connected to the 482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator in real time. With this system, the customer was able to test the maximum load capacity of the garbage bin attached to the truck, so they know when to empty the truck’s garbage at the transfer station. Read more.

Engine Head Bolt Tightening

Enging Bolt TighteningAn industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an auto manufactur­ing plant. They needed to tighten all head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine. Several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque, angle, and ensure the head bolt was properly tight­ened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation. When the machine comes down and screws on the engine head bolts the torque and angle profile are sent to the customer’s machine controller. Based on the feedback received by the machine controller, the automation will pass the engine to the next step in the assembly line or fail and have the engine evaluated further. This allowed the customer to ensure the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant. Read more.

Bicycle Load Testing

A mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame. They also want to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during this final step of the product testing process. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. When a heavy load is added to the seat, the SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures the vibrations and load forces applied to the bike to indicate any stress points through a number of cycles. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. This solution helped the mountain bike manufacturing company gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing cycle. Read more.

These are just a brief example of the work we do in transportation. Interface systems have been involved in projects with boats, races cars, construction vehicles and even rocket ships. Manufacturers turn to Interface because of our track record for accuracy and the transportation industry relies on this data to keep its customers safe.

For additional insights and ideas related to transportation solutions, here are a few more posts to read.

Interface Plays a Role in Testing Bicycles

Evolving Urban Mobility Sector for Test and Measurement

Interface’s Crucial Role in Vehicle and Urban Mobility Markets

Measurement Technologies for Boats, Yachts and Watercraft

Interface and The Race to Space

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

To review more application notes pertaining to transportation or to talk to an application engineer about your next project, contact us or call us at 480-948-5555.

Why Machine and Equipment Manufacturers Choose Interface

For innovators in the equipment and components manufacturing industry, data is everything. Quality data can make the difference between average and high-quality products and every bit of information gathered allows OEMs to make improvements that go a long way in performance and accuracy.

This is especially true in the design, test and evaluation of high-volume manufacturing where an increasing number of companies are implementing automation. To ensure consistent and repeatable quality, it’s important that there are capabilities to constantly gather data to monitor automated systems. If a machine is about to break or needs calibration, an automated system should be able to notify them without any human intervention.

How does an organization get more performance measurement data to improve its manufactured products? The answer we know best is with precision sensors. Sensors of all types, sizes, and shapes are being integrated into a wide variety of machines, equipment, and products to gather analytics that improve design and manufacturing. Interface is proud to contribute to this growing wave of big data requirements through our force and torque sensors.

Force sensors can be used in a number of different applications to help enable automation of certain process and systems. Essentially, force sensors are used as part of a controlled feedback loop. When a force is placed on a part within a product, the sensor can tell an electronic system to make something else happen.

As a simple example, force sensors could be placed inside of a large industrial dumpster outside of a manufacturing plant. When the dumpster nears full capacity, a signal could be sent to an automated compactor within the dumpster to make more space. It could also merely notify a waste management company to come and empty the dumpster.

Interface has worked on a number of what we call “OEM Solutions.” This term basically refers to our products that are typically high volume and have Interface sensor technologies integrated into the design and production. We often custom engineer and engineer these solutions to fit the exact requirements of the innovators and product design teams.

As a end-to-end manufacturer, we build to spec, manage the supply chain of sensors, and inventory for our OEM customers. When engineered-to-order requires thousands of products, they can rely on Interface as a trusted partner. Included below are a few examples of products that we provided our products to advance use, performance and quality. Read more about our custom OEM solutions and capabilities here.

Interface OEM Solution Examples

This first example is the design of force sensors in prosthetic limbs. An Interface force transducer provides feedback from a knee or elbow joint and tell an electric motor to move the limb in certain ways. This would allow someone without an arm or leg to have a wider range of movement and enjoy a variety of new capabilities.

Another example is the use of force sensors in the energy industry. Interface sensors can be used to optimize the process of energy production and extraction. In this scenario, a force sensor measures the rate at which the machine removes the source and provides data that tells the operator the most effective rate for getting the most most volume without overloading the mechanics. Not only does this allow for a more efficient process, it also adds another layer of safety to people and the environment. Interface was selected as the top energy solutions provider.

An interesting consumer packaged goods application example we provided a solution for included multiple Interface SPI Platform Scale Load Cells installed on a machine that filled potato chips into a bag. Force results from the potato chips are read by the load cells and sent to an ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner. The supplier is then able to control the automated production from their command center. Using this solution, the manufacturer can determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results – meaning every bag of chips is consistent in the amount of chips and total weight.

These are all examples of OEM solutions that turn data into better efficiency or additional capabilities across three industries, while there are countless other applications for OEM solutions from Interface used in consumer goods, robotics and medical devices. From automation to quality control and safety, force measurement helps manufacturers create better products and better production facilities, resulting in a great customer experience.

Interface has invested a great deal of resources into our manufacturing processes and technologies to serve this market. We’ve improved automation in our facilities to lower costs and work directly with our customers to develop the perfect force sensor for every project that can be produced at volume. Not to mention, our propensity for developing the most accurate force sensors on the market mean high quality data and results every time.

To learn more about our OEM solutions, contact our OEM experts and let us know how we can help!
OEM Brochure Web

Load Washers 101

Load washer load cells are a versatile product used throughout a wide range of industries and applications. These force measurement donut-styled components are frequently used to measure and monitor clamping forces, fastening control, bolt loading and other compressive loads.

A load washer looks remarkably similar to the washers used to distribute the load of a threaded fastener like a screw. A load washer also works in a similar fashion, however they’re made of rugged stainless steel material and use proprietary measurement technologies, like strain gages, which allow it to measure press and compression force rather than just distributing the load.

Interface offers eight different models of load washers of varying sizes and force measuring ranges, all the way from 11.2 to 1124K lbf. The Interface Load Cell Load Washers can be easily designed into products to continuously measure and monitor compression forces. The variety of load washer styles and capacities, all using the thru-hole feature, give product engineers and designers multiple choices for what best fits their application and use case. Specifications for each model are available, along with design files and model ranges online.

For instance, our LWPF1 Load Washer Load Cell is designed to measure press force and is rated at capacities from 450 to 22.5K lbf. It offers a large thru-hole and short height for tight spaces.

Another popular Interface load washer is the LWCF Load Washer Load Cell which can be used to measure clamping forces and also bolt tightening. It has a capacity range of 3.4K to 337.2K lbf and is ideal for determining bolt preloads. We offer precision, high-capacity, and environmentally safe load cell load washers.

Interface also offers two models that have pre-manufactured mounting holes for installation, which are ideal for press force control and measurement. You can see our entire line of load washer load cells here.

Interface load washers are smaller in size, allowing for standard and customized sensors of this type to be used by original equipment manufacturers. We commonly get requests for these load cells for use in industrial automation equipment, medical device testing, test and measurement projects as well as products that need a small but precise sensor.

We’ve also included real-world applications of load washer load cells below. This will give you an idea of the types of projects in which this force device can be used to determine accurate force data used to refine or confirm the design of product or tool.

AIRCRAFT SCREWDRIVER FASTENING CONTROL

An airplane manufacturer was able to calibrate their screwdriver by measuring its torque, rotational speed, and angle, when attaching materials together for their airplane. They were also able to measure the forces being applied to the screw, to ensure it was not applying too much torque to the components. With a T15 Hex Drive Rotary Torque Transducer attached to the fastening work bench, the system measured and recorded torque, rotational speed, and angle of the screwdriver. The LWCF Clamping Force Load Washer  is installed, measuring the forces applied on the screw being fastened. Results are sent to the SI-USB4 4-channel USB Interface Module, which is connected to a laptop where data is logged, graphed, and displayed for test results.  This configuration provided data to calibrate their screwdriver by measuring its torque, rotational speed, and angle, when attaching materials together for their airplane. They were also able to measure the forces being applied to the screw, to ensure it was not applying too much torque to the components.

BOLT FASTENING FORCE AND TORQUE

Using a General Purpose Load Washer Load Cell Model LW in conjunction with a Model T12 Square Drive Rotary Torque Transducer, the customer was able to align force and torque measurements to desired levels. This was accomplished by combining the sensors with the high sample rate of the data logging and graphing capabilities of the SI-USB, capturing real-time force and torque levels for examination. The fasteners were tightened to the specified force and torque requirements and were safely installed without impairment to themselves or the joint material. The customer was able to measure the rapid event effectively and accurately.

Here is another simple use case that

To learn more about load washer load cells and our entire product lineup or to talk to an engineer about the specific needs of your next project, please call us at 480-948-5555.

 

 

Tension Links 101

A tension link load cell is commonly used in lifting, both for short and long distances, and weighing applications. This type of load cell sensor generally has capacities ranging from 2.2K lbf to 1.1M lbf (5 to 500 metric tons). All tension links are available in custom versions and large capacities based on the customer’s project requirements.

Interface’s Tension Link series is manufactured from high tensile aluminum and stainless steel. Matched to shackle sizes, the load links have a rugged design for uses in harsh environments on the surface and in water. The tension links are environmentally sealed to IP65, IP66 or IP67. There are higher ratings available upon request.

A major benefit of Interface tension links is the option for custom designs in dimensions, ratings and capacities. The tension links are easy to install and are highly accurate.  They are compact in size and light weight. Another benefit is the options available, which include standard, wireless and self-indicating, giving the operator a variety of application use cases for quick measurement readings.  Self-indicating tension links have a built-inaudible alarm, which can be set by the operator to warn when an applied weight or force is met.

Often, customers will integrate the tension links with an Interface Crosby styled load shackle for robust applications that require accurate and reliable force measurement used for lifting, weighing, hoisting or towing apparatus that need sensors for safety and monitoring.

Wireless options are growing in acceptance for all types of uses. Interface provides wireless tension links that are compact and reduce the overall product weight based on the casing used to house the small alkaline batteries, which can be easily accessed by removing the telemetry housing cover while the internal electronics remain completely sealed. The antenna is also internally mounted, protecting it from accidental damage during use and handling, which is ideal for harsh environments.

Watch this discussion to learn more about the wireless features of the Interface Tension Links and Load Shackles.

Interface’s most popular tension links include:

WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load CellDesigned for lifting applications requiring short or long distances. This product can transmit wirelessly up to 600 meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station. Model WTSTL is available in capacities ranging from 11K lbf to 220K lbf (5 to 100 metric tons). Custom versions and larger capacities are available upon request.

WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link – This smaller version ranges from 1 to 300 MT (2.2K to 661K lbf) and uses a lightweight aluminum construction, with an internal antenna and 1200 hours batter life using standard AA batteries.  It has high accuracy and uses license free 2.4GHz radio. There is an option to use this with telemetry and/or software for readout and reporting.

ISITL Self-Indicating Tension Link Load CellManufactured from high tensile aluminum to minimize weight, the ISITL is great for lifting and weighing in rugged or harsh environments.  The self-indication tension link load cell is ideal for mobile use cases.  It is simple to install and is matched to standard shackle sizes. They have a built-in display for applied weight or force in tons, kgs, lbs or kN. Interface can also offer a custom software to meet any specific application requirements for digital display or readouts.

ITL Tension Link Load Cell – This basic tension link can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model ITL is available in capacities ranging from 11K lbf to 220K lbf (5 to 100 metric tons). Custom versions and larger capacities can be requested at no additional charge, based on the exact specifications needed by the customer.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins, load shackles and tension links, please visit www.interfaceforce.com/product-category/load-pins-tension-links-and-load-shackles/.

 

 

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.

ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell Featured Online at Sensor Tips

Interface’s newest product release, ConvexBT, is featured in the Sensor Tips, the respected online resource publication for electronics engineering challenges of today and tomorrow.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE SENSOR TIPS ARTICLE

As sensor requirements for force measurement are being utilized as miniature-sized components, the load button load cell ConvexBT is designed to give precision level performance in force measurement.  The new release is designed for accuracy and flexibility.

As shared in Industry Today, the ConvexBT capabilities far exceed what is available in these grow dimension requirements due to specifications to make devices and products more compact and convenient. Industries such as medical, industrial automation and products reliant on advanced communications technology need to validate these products with force-sensing solutions that can fit in confined spaces and provide extremely accurate data.

ConvexBT product comes in two different sizes: 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch, which are all manufactured using 17-4 PH heat treated stainless steel. These options provide a wide measurement range from 10 to 250 lbf, a compensated temperature range of 60° to 160°F, and an operating temperature range of -40° to 175°F.

Additional specifications for ConvexBT include:

  • 2.00 ± 20% mV/V rated output
  • ± 0.25 nonlinearity as a percentage of full scale
  • ± 0.25 hysteresis as a percentage of full scale
  • ± 0.50 static error band as a percentage of full scale

Download the complete ConvexBT specifications datasheet and STP / CAD files here.

Check out introduction video for ConvexBT, the next generation in force measurement device.

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.

Test Stand Applications for Force and Torque

In the world of test and measurement, test stands are essential equipment for manufacturers and testing engineers. The test stand provides a host of different testing products in a single “cabinet-like” structure. These systems have been used for a long time to gather data on various functions of products during the product test phase.

Test stands works like a mobile test lab, hosted by a frame and containing one or more force or torque sensor components, software, and data acquisition instrumentation and accessories. Force stands are typically motorized or manual.  Motorized test stands, also known as mechanical or electrical, have the advantages of controlling performance by applying modes such as speed, cycles, and time into the testing procedure. The more advanced testing stands are frequently used for repetitive high-performance testing requirements, validating accuracy and quality. Manual test stands are used for simple testing protocols and frequently used in education programs.

There are a wide variety of testing devices and sensor products that are used as part of the entire test process. As parts roll off the production line, the test stand will sit at the end of the line where the test engineer can immediately load the product into the test rig. Test stands help to streamline the test process by providing all available test functions in a single, mobile application.

Interface is a supplier of choice for precision components of various capacities and dimensions for test stand configurations requiring precision and accuracy in performance. Interface load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation equipment are commonly used in numerous product test applications by engineers, metrologists, testing professionals and product designers around the world.

Included below are a few examples of specific test applications and the Interface components used in the different style testing stands.

Linear Test Stand

In this example, an Interface customer wanted to add a crush test to their test stand to measure the force it took to deform a piece of material. Interface provided an Model 1210 Load Cell with an internal amplification of 0-10VDC output.

The load cell was installed into the load string of the customer’s load frame, and the scaled analog output from the load cell was connected to the customer’s test stand instrumentation. When the force levels reached the crushing point, the customer’s software was able to read the output of the amplified load cell and record the value.

See the application note for the Linear Test Stand here.

Motor Test Stand

In the quality control lab at a major automotive manufacturing company, a test engineer needed to test, record, and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load. Interface supplied the new AxialTQ® Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, that could measure and record these torque values.

Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ transducer, along with the AxialTQ Output Module, and a laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

See the application note for the Motor Test Stand here.

Verification Test Stand

In this application, a customer needed a test stand application to verify that its load cell was in good, working order. Interface helped to create a solution that used a load cell to verify the customer’s load cell. The solution involved the customer’s supplied verification load frame and an Interface Model 1210 Precision LowProfile® Load Cell connected with a Model SI-USB 2-Channel PC Interface Module.

The customer was able to install their load cell and Model 1210 Precision LowProfile Load cell into the verification load frame. Applied forces were displayed and recorded by Model SI-USB PC Interface Module for review and record keeping on customer’s computer. This allows the customer to have a proven load cell verification test stand at their disposal to ensure its test load cell is always in working order.

See the application note for the Verification Test Stand here.

These are just a few examples of the different types of test stands that Interface can provide off-the-shelf or custom force measurement solution components. If your project involves a mechanical test stand and you are interested in learning more about adding force sensors, please contact our application engineers.

Interface Solutions for Robotics and Industrial Automation

As the manufacturing world continues to push towards the 4.0 Industrial Revolution, critical technology is necessary to ensure facilities are running as efficiently as possible. With advancements toward fully or semi-autonomous factories and robotics, manufacturers need to have total trust in their hardware and software to perform with precision in the assigned tasks. This requires collecting accurate and real-time data to constantly monitor every aspect of the facility’s technology and production.

In the development of robotics used in industrial automation, our Interface Multi-Axis Sensors are often used to test the multi-directional movement and force of robotics arms. Whether it’s a fully automated or semi-automated robotic system, manufacturers need to be able to ensure the complex movements and actions of the robotics arm are optimized to take on very precise jobs. These types of robotics are often used for projects that are too precise for the human hand.

Industrial automation and robotics are creating a more efficient manufacturing process, which will help to churn products out more quickly and lower costs. However, to optimize these processes, it’s critical that we trust the hardware to operate autonomously and that we have systems in-place to identify malfunctions quickly.

Interface plays a critical role in robotics and industrial automation by providing our customers with highly accurate load cells and torque transducers to measure and collect data on the force and torque that these machines are exerting. Interface force measurement solutions and products are involved in the testing of the machines before they hit the production line, and in some cases, our products are also installed directly on the machine to allow users to monitor the force in real-time.

One industry that has a high demand for our products is the consumer packaging industry. Many of the processes involved in the production line of a consumer packaging plant have utilized automation for a long time.

For instance, beverage companies that sell bottles of water or soda utilize machines that cap the product all day long. Hundreds of thousands of bottles go through the capping process on the production line daily. If there are any issues with the torque applied in the capping process, the beverage company could see heavy losses because the bottle could be damaged from over torquing the cap, or the beverage could leak during the shipping process if the caps are under torqued. To avoid these loses, the machines are optimized using a torque transducer.

Torque transducers provide data during the testing process to help the machine manufacturer get the force exactly right for the capping process. The torque transducer can also stay installed on the machine so that the beverage company can continuously monitor the torque of the machine and stop production before damages occur if there is an issue.

Interface offers nearly 50 types of reaction (static) torque transducers and rotary (dynamic) torque transducers. All of our torque transducers are precision-machined and use our proprietary torque sensors for the most accurate data possible.

Another common automation use for force and torque measurement products is in the automotive industry. Automation in this industry has been used for some time increase production of cars.

Two examples of how Interface load cells and torque transducers play a role in the automobile production line is with seat durability testing and bolt fastening.

For seat testing, we had a customer use an Interface Multi-Axis Model 6A68C 6-Axis Load Cell to identify previously unknown bending forcing that could negatively influence their testing process. This allowed the customer to redesign their testing fixture to eliminate the bending moment and more accurately perform the durability testing.

For bolt fastening, we installed an Interface Model LWCF Clamping Force Load Washers along with Interface Instrumentation to monitor the force being applied during bolt tightening. This helped the customer avoid over tightening bolts, which could damage the product in the process.

For a more in-depth overview of both applications, please check out our application notes:

Force measurement products are a critical technology in the testing and monitoring of automation equipment. To learn more about the various products and instrumentation Interface supplies to facilitate industrial automation and support advancements in robotics, contact our applications experts here.  We also have a number of application notes focused on industrial automation here.

Contributor: Ken Bishop, Sr Sales Director, Custom Solutions and Services