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ForceLeaders Summit Florida

Interface’s exclusive ForceLeaders Summit heads back to the Space Coast on March 14, 2024. We are stopping in Cocoa Beach with new topics, products, and technical tips. Our force measurement seminars bring industry experts and engineers together to talk about load cells, torque transducers, calibration, systems, applications, and, most importantly, answers to questions. These are fast-paced, technical hands-on events. Registration is required, with limited seating. Interface and GenTek force measurement solutions engineers and experts will share valuable tips and experiences using our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, pressure sensors, and advanced instrumentation. Join us for a two plus hour conversation followed by interactive discussions, demonstrations and lunch.

Exploring New Measurement Products Webinar

The Interface Exploring Capabilities of New Measurement Products Webinar details new products, including sensors, instrumentation, and accessories. Our experts will cover dozens of new additions to the extensive 40,000-plus product catalog of force measurement solutions. Interface engineers highlight product features, capacities, use cases, and technical tips in the fast-paced new technical online seminar.

The Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar Recap

Interface recently hosted an online technical seminar, The Wonderful World of Wireless, discussing cable-less sensor technologies.

The ForceLeaders event began with a quick highlight of the history of wireless, starting with Heinrich Hertz demonstrating the existence of electromagnetic waves in 1988 through the 21st-century developments of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, plus 4G and 5G cellular networks.

These inventions have advanced test and measurement devices to the point where wireless sensors and instrumentation are commonplace. What does today and the future of wireless look like?

  • Extensive Wireless Components in the Lab
  • Network Connectivity and Cloud-Based Data (IoT)
  • Expanding Use for Different Environments
  • High-accuracy and Precision Measurement Capabilities
  • Enabling Advancements in Automation
  • Continuous Monitoring of Measurement Data
  • Safety and Alarm Systems Based on Key Measurements
  • Component Activation without Cables

During this technical discussion, Interface experts Keith Skidmore and Jason Graham detailed the benefits of using wireless components for test and measurement programs in addition to OEM products. The top five benefits of going wireless include:

  • Easier installation and maintenance
  • Reduced wiring costs and easier to integrate
  • Increased flexibility and scalability
  • Reduced risk of electrical interference and noise
  • Improved safety (no cables)

Sensor systems become significantly more flexible and adaptable by removing the need for physical wires. This translates to easier repositioning of existing sensors and seamlessly adding new ones without major infrastructure modifications. This wireless approach is particularly beneficial when traditional wiring is difficult or impractical. This includes:

Large-scale industrial applications: A sprawling factory floor or a vast agricultural field that requires wiring such expansive areas would be a logistical nightmare regarding cost and implementation. Wireless sensors eliminate this obstacle, allowing data collection across vast distances with minimal setup effort.

Monitoring moving or rotating machinery: Imagine trying to wire sensors onto a constantly spinning turbine or a robot arm in motion. The wires would be a tangled mess, prone to breakage and potentially hindering the machinery’s operation. Wireless sensors provide a clean and efficient solution, capturing valuable data without impeding the movement of the equipment. Interface details this with our system configuration using the BX6 during the webinar.

Remote or hard-to-reach locations: Whether it’s a sensor monitoring environmental conditions on a mountaintop or across the plains for oil field operations, reaching specific locations with wires can be impossible or prohibitively expensive. Wireless sensors bridge this gap, enabling data collection from even the most inaccessible places.

Interface offers wireless LowProfiles, Mini Load Cells, Load Shackles, and Torque Transducers. Interface has the experience and engineering capabilities to design most of our sensors for wireless use. Commonly used Interface wireless load cells are our WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load CellWTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin and WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle.

Specification Watch List for Wireless Components

  • Input Range
  • Sample Rate
  • Temperature Range
  • Temperature Errors
  • Linearity of Sensor or System
  • Environmental Rating
  • Battery Life and Power Supply
  • Compatible Output and Inputs of Every Component

Be sure to watch the event, and if you have any questions about the products Interface offers or need help selecting the right system components, contact us. We are here to help you get the right solution.

The event concluded with Interface wireless experts answering these top 10 frequently asked questions:

  1. What impacts the range of WTS?
  2. How reliable are the data results?
  3. What software is provided with the WTS devices?
  4. How many devices can operate on one radio channel?
  5. Can computer software gather data from many devices?
  6. What limits the devices’ radio frequency (RF) range?
  7. What frequency does the system operate on?
  8. Can wireless range extenders be used within the WTS network?
  9. Is the system point-to-point?
  10. What are the sampling rates of the transmitter modules?

Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS)

The Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) offers more sensor placement and configuration flexibility. Components in wireless telemetry systems typically include sensors, transducers, instrumentation, communication modules, transmitters, displays, and printers. Use the Wireless Modular System Overview for more system details.

Read: Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review

Applications Using Interface Wireless Telemetry System Solutions

Crane Capacity Verification

Mobile Force System

Inflatable Space Habitat

Gantry Crane Weighing

Robotic Arm

Aircraft Engine Hoist

Airplane Jacking System

Patient Hoyer Lift

Road Bridge Lift Monitoring

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring

Waste Management Container Weighing

Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar

Interface Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar explores using wireless sensors, instrumentation, and accessories to cut the cable. Our experts detail wireless load cells, wireless testing equipment, best practices, and tips. Learn about wireless telemetry systems, key considerations, and challenges. Interface engineers highlight industry applications and frequently asked questions in this new technical online seminar.

Interface Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar Recap

Everything from mechanical engineering designs, equipment materials, and the sensors used in lifting machinery is changing the concept of lifting today. Interface experts Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop explore types of measurement products, applications, technical considerations, and tips for lifting use cases in the Interface recorded webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting.

Sensors are central in lifting equipment to maintain safety, quality, compliance, and efficiency. Interface provides a useful product selection online resource for lifting applications. Go to the Lifting Solutions Guide.

Interface load cells can help prevent accidents by providing real-time feedback on the weight of the lifted load. The measurement data helps ensure the lifting machinery is not overloaded or unbalanced, leading to structural failure, tipping over, or injury. Sensor technologies improve quality control by ensuring products are lifted to the correct specifications.

Interface LowProfile Load Cells, Load Pins, Load Shackles, and Tension Links improve efficiency by automating the lifting process. For example, load cells can control the speed and movement of a lifting mechanism, ensuring that the load is lifted safely and efficiently. These measurement sensors can reduce costs by minimizing damage to equipment and products. By preventing overloads and ensuring that loads are lifted safely, load cell devices can extend the lifespan of equipment and prevent costly accidents.

In many industries, regulations require load cells for lifting applications to ensure compliance and overload protection. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of load cells in many lifting applications for monitoring and reporting.

Automation of lifting is on the rise. Using robotics and component activation is commonly designed into new equipment and retrofitting existing hardware. These features also provide valuable operating safety and alarm systems based on key measurements. Modernizing equipment to meet today’s and future use cases is important to operators and manufacturers of lifting equipment. This includes utilizing wireless components and using cloud-based data (IoT).

Lifting sensors are more commonly found in settings with high-temperature variances and exposure to extreme environmental conditions. The measurement solutions must withstand these variances while providing continuous monitoring capabilities. Today’s use cases require smaller load cells, like our beam load cells, while not sacrificing precision measurement.

Interface products are used for all types of lifting equipment, apparatus, and machines, including:

  • All Purpose Cranes
  • Patient Lifts and Medical Equipment
  • Drones with Lift and Carry Capabilities
  • Aircraft Lifts and Rigging
  • Lifting Gantry Systems and Mobile Gantry Cranes
  • Jib Cranes
  • Engine and Floor Cranes
  • Scaffold Runway Systems
  • Venue and Entertainment AV Equipment
  • Rigging Equipment
  • Pallet Movers
  • Elevators
  • Loaders and Bulldozers

During the webinar, Interface experts shared tips and best practices. Here is a quick summary of tips for lifting use cases.

Top Measurement Tips for Lifting Use Cases

TIP #1 Select the right force sensor. Factors to consider when selecting a force sensor include the maximum force it can measure, accuracy, weight, dimensions, and environmental conditions for use.

TIP #2 Proper installation will define your application’s success. It is important to install the force sensor correctly to ensure accurate measurements.

TIP #3 Calibrate the force sensor regularly, preferably once a year. Regularly run calibration-grade tests if the load cell is embedded into the lifting device.

TIP #4 Based on each use case, instrumentation can make all the difference in your program. For example, a data acquisition system collects force data to monitor the lifting process, identify potential problems, and generate reports.

TIP #5 Design the lifting system with safety in mind. Force measurement can improve the safety of lifting systems by preventing overloading, detecting imbalances in the load, and monitoring the condition of the lifting equipment.

Tune into the webinar to hear Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop detail best practices, key considerations to identify stable and unstable lifting, and a thorough review of industry applications using Interface products.

Lifting Applications

Crane Capacity Verification

A customer wants to verify that their crane is strong enough to safely lift a heavy load at its rated maximum load capacity. A wireless solution is needed to avoid long cables and to have a faster installation time. Interface’s Model WTSATL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules can also trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight/force has been reached. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display or on the customer’s PC.

gantry crane lifting a heavy container

Gantry Crane Wireless Lifting for Heavy Containers

Gantry cranes are used for mobile and lifting applications in industrial and construction. A weighing system is needed to see if the gantry crane can lift heavy containers or loads, preventing crane failure or accidents. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins can be installed into the corners of the lifting mechanism of the gantry crane, where heavy-loaded containers are lifted and moved. The force results are then transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters and a connected computer using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

Patient Lifting Device

In the medical field, sometimes it is necessary to weigh or transfer patients who are disabled and cannot walk. A Hoyer lift is used to move patients around. A manufacturer would like a force system to weigh disabled patients and see the maximum weight it can hold. Interface’s WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell is attached to the top of the Hoyer lift. The force results are wirelessly transmitted to the medical laptop through the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

Find additional productions and solutions in our Lifting Solutions Overview.

Lifting Solutions Brochure

Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar

Interface’s technical webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting details measurement devices used in lifting equipment, machines, and vehicles to improve operations and safety. Interface load cells and instrumentation are used to operate cranes, hoist heavy objects, and measure forces in infrastructure projects. Interface experts answer how load cells are used in safety monitoring for lifting equipment. Learn about Interface sensor products suited for integration into existing equipment and test and measurement projects.

Are Load Cells Used in Vacuum Environments?

Vacuum testing labs are essential for ensuring that products and materials are safe and dependable in vacuum environments. A vacuum environment is an area where there is little or no matter. This means that there are very few gas molecules present, and the pressure is incredibly low. Vacuum environments are often created using vacuum pumps, which remove gas molecules from an enclosed space.

Vacuum environments are used to simulate the conditions that products and materials will experience in space or other high-altitude environments. These types of testing labs typically have a vacuum chamber that can be evacuated to an incredibly low pressure. The vacuum chamber is then used to evaluate products and materials for a variety of properties. Engineers use vacuum environments in testing for reduced contamination, improving heat transfer, and to reduce the weight of products.

Tests performed in vacuum labs are used to determine the rate at which gases are released from a product or material and the ability of a product or material to withstand a vacuum without leaking. Thermal cycling tests are done to assess the ability of a product or material to withstand changes in temperature in a vacuum environment. Other tests are done to understand how the test article withstands exposure to radiation.

Vacuum testing labs are used by a variety of industries, including aerospace, medical, and defense. These labs are common for material process testing and used in R&D. Vacuum testing helps to identify potential problems with products and materials before they are used in a real vacuum environment. Engineers use this type of testing to improve the performance of products and materials and ensure they meet the required standards. Contact Interfaced to explore your options.

Can load cells be used in a vacuum environment?

Load cells can be used in a vacuum environment. However, not all load cells are created equal or suited for this specialized use case. Some load cells are designed that make them appropriate for vacuum environments, while others are not. Load cells that are not engineered to perform in vacuum environments may not be able to withstand the low pressures and outgassing that can occur in a vacuum. Using quality load cells that are manufactured by force measurement experts in sensor technologies is important in any consideration. It is critical to review the specifications and requirements with a qualified applications engineer.

Key considerations when choosing a load cell for a vacuum environment:

  • Outgassing: Load cells that are used in vacuum environments will have low outgassing rates. This means that they will not release gases into the vacuum chamber, which can contaminate the environment and interfere with measurements.
  • Mechanical strength: Load cells must be able to withstand the low pressures that can occur in a vacuum. They will also be able to withstand the conditions that can be generated by vacuum processes, such as outgassing and condensation. Form factor and model material of the load cell are important in choosing a load cell for this use case.
  • Temperature range: Load cells will need to operate in a wide range of temperatures. This is important because vacuum chambers can be very cold, especially when they are first evacuated, or when they are used to simulate high altitudes or space.

If you are looking for a load cell that can be used in a vacuum environment, please review with Interface application engineers to determine if the model fits your test requirements. We also can offer custom solutions to ensure that the load cell maintains the accuracy and performance specifications based on your exact test plan.

Can a load cell be vented for use in a vacuum testing lab?

Technically yes, you can vent a load cell to be used in vacuum. This allows the internal cavity of the load cell to equalize with external vacuum. However, this does not prevent outgassing and can cause the gages and wiring to be subject to humidity and condensation.

Cabling is extremely important when using any sensor in this environment. There are options to make the load cells wireless using Bluetooth technology.

Caution: Interface recommends that all our products used in this type of environment are designed, built, and calibrated for use in this environment. Venting an existing load cell can alter the performance and damage the cell.  By designing the load cell with venting for use, we can ensure that it will meet the vacuum test range.

Interface also can install thermocouples to work with the sensor to detect temperature in this type of testing environment. In fact, our engineers have designed load cells to package the thermocouples inside the form factor for convenience and performance benefits.

Interface engineers have worked with testing labs for decades. We are available to assist with any use case requirements to determine the best measurement solution.

Demystifying Specifications Webinar

Interface’s technical force measurement webinar Demystifying Specifications details descriptions, terms, values and parameters found in product datasheets for load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and specialty products. Learn from our experts what specifications need critical review, recommendations based on product categories, and the insider point of view on what is most important in terms of specifications for different use cases and tests.

Faces of Interface Featuring Lauren O’Hagan

In today’s Face of Interface, we feature the artist behind Interface’s branded content in all types of formats. Lauren O’Hagan is an integral member of the sales and marketing team, bringing her creative flair and hunger for learning all about the world of force measurement.

Lauren grew up with a highly creative influence in her life. Her mother is an artist and it drove her to express herself through many different art forms growing up including painting, sculpting, jewelry-making and other creations. As Lauren investigated her post-secondary education, she wanted to continue expanding her artistic repertoire by going to school for graphic design and digital art.

She would go on to receive her associate degree from Glendale Community College in Digital Media Arts, followed by a Graphic Information Technology bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. During her time in school, she also took on a few different internships in both graphic and apparel design. One internship was with a web development company in Maryland.

Following college, Lauren went on to intern for a friend in New Jersey who owned an entertainment company called ‘Jersey Turn’t Up Ent.’ In this role, she continued to apply her graphic design skills to help the company’s brand development. She also worked as a supervisor at Kohls, as well as doing some freelance graphic design on the side.

At the same time, Lauren was applying for full time jobs throughout the Greater Phoenix area. Interface’s Scott Whitworth found Lauren’s application and brought her in for an interview. The two bonded over a similar creative upbringing and interests, and Lauren proved her capabilities and was hired! Lauren really enjoyed making the transition from entertainment and retail to manufacturing, as she is a self-described nerd who loves to learn new fields while still being able to express herself creatively.

In her role as Interface’s Multimedia Specialist, Lauren is responsible for Interface’s creative asset design and development, including brochures, animations, infographics, and application notes. She also manages web development tasks. She is constantly exploring ways to share Interface’s story. She is responsible for the development many of Interface’s new and innovative marketing campaign assets, as well as designing images, digital materials and visuals utilized across a multitude of platforms.

The thing that Lauren enjoys most about working at Interface is the atmosphere and culture. Everyone is friendly, engaging and always willing to help her out when she has questions. She also enjoys the opportunity to work across different departments and with a wide variety of different people.

In her free time, Lauren continues to develop her digital art and sharing it on social media platforms. She also takes pleasure in stocking up her online store with new digital art prints. She is an avid gamer, often playing games with her Fiancé who happens to live in France. The two plans to be married by the end of the year. The highlight of her day is spending time with her family and her four dogs!

We had a wonderful time learning more about what makes Lauren tick and what inspires her outstanding creative work. If you’re interested in learning more about the rest of the Interface team, tune into our blog for the next team member highlight in our Faces of Interface ForceLeaders Series.  For information about Interface careers, go here.