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Quality is Top Reason Customers Choose Interface

In our latest customer feedback survey, we asked those that rely on Interface why they buy from us. The overwhelming top response was product quality. One of the trademarks of Interface is ensuring that our products meet not only the demand of what is needed in the market for measurement sensors, but that the precision, accuracy, and quality of everything we build is market leading. Best in class.

Our customers drive Interface innovation. We are continuously looking at trends, special requirements and future outlooks to determine what solutions can meet today’s requirements and those in the future. It was noted in the survey that customers depend on Interface for this expertise and experience. That is why it is central in our business strategy and key for Interface’s success to ask, listen and learn from those that rely on our force measurement solutions in their businesses.

A hallmark to our semi-annual survey is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question that is designed to measure loyalty. We asked again in this latest Spring 2021 survey, “How likely is it that you would recommend Interface to a friend or colleague?” Respondents are then asked to rate their response by selecting 0-10 with 10 being extremely likely and 0 not at all likely. The percentage of those that select 9 or 10 are considered promoters of the Interface brand. Anyone that scores 6 or below is considered by NPS standards to be a detractor. The percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors are gives you an NPS score.

We are very excited to announce that Interface’s current Net Promoter Score is +73.

The founders of NPS note that outstanding companies in their class average between a +30 to +50. We are honored by the recognition coming directly from our customers.

“This is a great result! We appreciate the recognition of our team member’s hard work to generate such customer satisfaction and loyalty. Global brands recognized around the world and who are famous NPS power users rarely report scores as high as Interface. We are honored to have such loyal customers, as seen in an outstanding +73 NPS. Remarkably, this came during a period where the customers’ most recent experience likely was influenced by the pandemic strain.” Greg Adams, CEO

We learned from our customers when we asked, “What are the most important reasons why you choose to buy from Interface?”, that product quality matters most, followed next by calibration and repair services, accuracy specifications, experience working with Interface and brand reputation. We also looked at trends in future product demands and the ability to buy online through our QS48 online shopping service.

Our customers were very forthcoming in their preferences for technical support, with phone and email taking top positions. This was followed by using our technical library, video demonstrations and numerous product and technical manuals.

We also gained great insights from our customers when we asked, “How can we improve your overall experience working with Interface?”  All feedback matters to us. It’s what we gain through this transparent and open process that we know where we can look to improve. In fact, we are determined to look at every opportunity presented in the survey to make operational improvements that benefit our customers in all areas from design to shipments.

“Our team performance demonstrates the winning position we are all committed to at Interface. Customer experience is central to what we do and it’s our focus to continuously exceed expectations. As great as this score is today, the better news is that we have the opportunity to improve further and define our future as the market leader by delivering the best for our customers.” Greg Adams, CEO

Our last question in the survey, we asked, “How satisfied are you with Interface and your customer experience?” and we learned that 98% of our customers are satisfied and 83% are very or exceedingly satisfied. We appreciate all those that provided their candid responses in our Spring Customer Satisfaction and NPS Survey. Our work continues to make sure what we do goes above and beyond and delivers on our promise to exceed expectations.

 

Interface Outlook for 2021

Interface CEO Greg Adams shares his outlook for the coming year.

Never in our collective lives have we faced so much uncertainty and turmoil! The year 2020 will make history, that much is certain. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and a year of political strife for the ages, I think we’re all ready to turn the chapter on the start of this decade.

Despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, I’m still very optimistic about our future, and for Interface. My optimism is fueled by the amazing people we have here at Interface.

As a family, we’ve gotten through this together and are only growing stronger. I couldn’t be prouder of our people for their resilience and hard work in the past year. We have continued to provide the same excellent service our customers appreciate. In fact, our Net Promoter Score® remained above 60 again in our latest 2020 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Additionally, product quality is higher than ever and we even had a few major product launches this year, including ConvexBT, our most advanced load button load cell ever, and the G Series, a new international Mini Load Cell product line. And most importantly, we’ve done all of this by ensuring that the health and safety of everyone is our number one priority.

Our ability to remain successful in the past year is a product of how diversified our end markets remain. We continue to serve a wide variety of critical technology-focused industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, medical, industrial, T&M and more. We have benefited from global diversification as well, stepping up our focus on market leaders around the world. It’s also a testament to our engineers who continue to be future focused on innovation. We’ve developed new and groundbreaking ways to serve customers, and we’ve identified trends to keep us at the bleeding edge in our industry and continuously moving forward.

The last point I’ll make on the year 2020 before looking ahead is that we’ve also taken some of the downtime to improve our internal processes and dedicate time to skills training for our team. Not only have we improved our product lines and capabilities, but we’ve also ensured that our skillsets remain strong going into the next year.

And as we finally make the turn to 2021, I’ve spent some time looking ahead to what I believe the next year will hold for our industry and for Interface:

A heightened focus on pre-sale and post-sales service is one thing that we’ve heard from customers in the last year through our semi-annual surveys. We’re upgrading our sales process to ensure our engineering teams are more involved in assisting the customer select and configure the products and systems that are right for their application. Enhancing our after-sales service will include capturing and distributing instructions, guides, and other technical services into a more accessible and easier to find outlets like our robust website.

Another trend we’re seeing requested from our customers is a desire for force measurement providers to migrate from components to systems. World-class componentry will always be important, but our experience working with customers to provide total system solutions that meet their specific needs is critical. In addition, the demand for higher performance and more customization options continues. One of the biggest improvements Interface has made in the past year is updating our production lines to include more automation capabilities. This allows us to provide high-performance, customized products at high volume while still being able to offer competitive costs. This change is helping us expand our sales with the OEM customers.

Finally, a big trend we’ve been following is miniaturization and the desire to pack more sensor technology into a single load cell or torque transducer. We’ve already begun to address this in some of our products by designing accelerometers into load cells. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines. By adding an accelerometer, we can measure both rotation and acceleration through a single device.

As this desire for more data and less convoluted test systems grows, Interface will continue to find ways to customize our load cells and add more sensor types like temperature and humidity. We’ll also do this by using electronic miniaturization manufacturing methods to improve capability without increasing the overall size of the package.

In conclusion, I’m extremely pleased with the level of talent, the strength of the brand and the depth of our commitment to customer satisfaction. We’ve overcome the challenges presented to us this year and remain stronger than ever. Our renewed focus on the future will also help us identify opportunities for innovation to serve customers in more unique and beneficial ways.

I hope that everyone in our community, from our partners to our customers and employees, has a wonderful holiday season and comes back in the new year refreshed. We’re not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, but there is light ahead and we are speeding to be the Interface you can always rely on.

Looking Forward to the New Year

2020 has been a challenging year for most. Despite the disruption every person and industry has faced this past year, Interface continues to keep our eyes on the future. What can we do to meet our customer’s needs today and tomorrow?

One of the ways that Interface has accomplished this intense focal point is by setting our sights on the increasing number of requests for specific drawings and engineered to order force, torque, and specialized product lines. These requests provide us unique visibility in evolving product development concepts and the overall T&M landscape for the customers we serve.

Through Interface’s continued investments in R&D, analyzing the marketplace, and anticipating customer needs, we’ve identified key trends that we believe will have a significant positive impact in meeting our customer’s current requirements and preparing for future demands.

The first trend we see today is our customer’s increased focus on miniaturization. Innovation using sensor technologies continues to shrink in dimensions yet require the same or greater level of precision performance. We see this in all types of devices and hand-held technologies, industrial automation, robotics, as well as in automotive and consumer product inventions.

The trend towards miniaturization in the medical device industry has been happening for quite some time; however, the capabilities and precision requirements continue to become more stringent and demanding of higher levels of performance. For example, with trends in at-home care remote monitoring has caused medical device manufacturers to develop mobility for devices. They’re also taking diagnostic machines and turning them into a handheld version so doctors can administer medical tests quickly and efficiently at the point of care, rather than sending patients out of home for administering or tracking.

To address product development challenges related to devices that becoming more compact, Interface is engineering and manufacturing precision components that excel in confined space. We’ve already begun to address this in 2020 with the release of our ultra-precision ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cells.

ConvexBT is a first of its kind load button load cell, providing better temperature resistance and more enhanced eccentric load rejection than other competitive products. For many years, miniature load cells categorized as load buttons have been sensitive to off-axis, eccentric or misaligned loads. This means if the load is not exactly perpendicular to the surface it is resting on, the data could become skewed or inaccurate. Interface designed the ConvexBT load button load cell to confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell providing superior performance in comparison to similar products on the market. Read more about the product release here.

The next key trend we are prepared to address in 2021 and beyond is test and measurement systems that address complex and multi-dimensional testing requirements. Historically, load cells and torque transducers have addressed force, torque, and weight in a variety of single product groups. And these devices would be added to a test series with a host of other sensors or get multiple outputs through a variety of tests. More and more customers want measurement devices that include additional outputs from the sensors to account for things like acceleration, temperature, humidity, and more.

We see this in growing requests for adding accelerometers in our load cells and torque transducers. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines and tires. By adding an accelerometer, the device can be used to measure both torque and acceleration. This addresses our customer’s desire to simplify their test process and it provides more data in a single test to expand use cases and applications.  As this desire for more data and fewer testing devices grows, Interface is continuing the expansion of engineered to order and customized load cells to allow for dual measurements in a single component.

This trend is closely related to the need for a complete system. Systems are often completely customized to a single project or program that provides the measurement device, instrumentation, cabling, and housing. These systems can also be mobilized with wireless components for field applications.  The group of custom solutions engineers have created multiple versions of these systems used in energy, aerospace, and T&M labs.

Despite the challenges of the last year, Interface is hyper-focused on innovation and the ability to address the evolving needs of our customers. If you want to measure it, then Interface is here to help you create the right solution to get exactly what is required for your invention, product improvement or test. How can we help you win in 2021?

Force Measurement Solutions for Mobility Markets

One of the tenets in addressing urban mobility is innovation.  As populations grow around the world, addressing how people get from here to there is part of a challenge and opportunity.  Investments are growing in this sector, as experts and designers look to how to increase efficiency and performance in vehicle markets.

Interface has long been a supplier of test and measurement solutions to industries that play a critical role in mobility, from vehicle manufacturers to infrastructure planners and builders. In our latest case study, we look at some of the innovative ways our solutions are being used to advance technologies and capabilities in transportation.

If something moves, it likely needs force and torque testing for reliability, safety and performance. With the evolving trends in urban mobility, Interface is working with makers and builders of all types of transportation solutions for unmanned vehicles like drones and autonomous vehicles, as well as alternatively fueled and electric vehicles.

READ OUR NEW CASE STUDY: INTERFACE’S CRUCIAL ROLE IN VEHICLE AND URBAN MOBILITY MARKETS

Interface customers utilize our standard and custom products in the vehicle and mobility markets to:

  1. Test the force and torque of components for validation or for design improvements
  2. Integration of sensor technology into a component or product for functional real-time performance data

These products include Interface load cells, mini load cells and subminiature load button load cells, rotary and reaction torque transducers, instrumentation, and accessories. For the growing trends for digital requirements in testing and OEM solutions, our wireless and Bluetooth solutions are commonly used in these markets.  Interface is also frequently engaged on specific customer requests for engineer-to-order products and customized solutions.

Here are four use case scenarios of Interface solutions used in the vehicle and mobility markets:

Brake Pedal Testing

Interface’s Brake Pedal Load Cell BPL-300-C was installed on a brake pedal and then connected to a BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, which collects and transmits data to our BTS Toolkit Mobile App. This solution allowed the customer to record and review data from a mobile device while out on a test track. READ MORE HERE.

Drone Delivery Systems

Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Miniature Load Cells to measure the payload weight and  for the detection of in-motion shifting and uneven distribution of the package weight. As the load cells detect this data, it provides a signal to the propeller to increase RPMs on the propellers and adjust balance and weight distribution inflight. WATCH HERE.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Testing

Compression testing performed on EV batteries is critical for performance and safety. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging housing the batteries does not compensate for this swelling in the design, failure is likely. Interface can supply a WMC miniature load cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries. Read more about the future of EV markets and testing here.

Engine Performance Testing

Force and torque sensors are used with a dynamometer, which isolates the engine’s power output to help quantify its overall performance.  In this application, a  precision SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is attached to a torque arm to “feels” the torque from an engine loading system. The fatigue rating on the load cell allows it to accurately measure performance for extended cycles. A signal conditioner is used to connect out from the load cell to a computer to ensure clear transmission of data to accurately measure torque being produced by the engine. Engineers analyze power transfer through the data output to tune the engine performance. Check out this engine dynamometer application note here.

Contact our experts to learn more about these types of testing applications, use cases and products used in urban mobility projects.

Interface Engineered to Order Solutions

Load cells and torque transducers come in many different capacities, sizes and capabilities. They are used in nearly every industry that manufactures any type of hardware device or component. From testing minute forces on miniaturized medical devices, all the way up to measuring force in the construction of enormous suspension bridges or even rocket engines. The point is, there is no one size fits all in the force measurement world when performance matters.

What makes Interface uniquely the leader and is a true differentiator in the force measurement industry is our ability to provide engineered to order solutions to meet our customer’s exact application requirements.

Innovation across multitudes of industries has provided the opportunity to be more creative in utilizing Interface proprietary technology and engineering talent in the development of new force measurement devices. More and more we find ourselves leaning on our experts using our proprietary strain gages and product designs to develop solutions that meet the needs of our customer’s unique projects and end-products.

Through our work on modifications and custom solutions, we have expanded our product offerings to more than 37,000 uniquely designed products spanning across 52 years of development. Once initiating as a custom solution, many of these products have made their way into our catalog as standard products based on growing trends and larger demands.

There is also another form of customization, or more accurately termed modification, that we are seeing more and more as Interface grows our engagement with OEM customers. We call this “engineered to order” solutions. These solutions are different from full customization and critical in serving our diverse customers.

Designers and builders of high-volume products may have opted in the past for simplistic testing technology that lacks consistency, quality, accuracy and reliability. As product failures or customer satisfaction wanes based on performance, OEMs are driven to find force measurement solutions they can depend on for precise measurement and performance. This is also indicative of the times we are in utilizing advancements in production, technology and even robotics to produce products.

It is essential for product makers and engineers to find reliable solutions for accurately monitoring and testing product performance in real-time. In short, they need sensor capabilities that meet their product manufacturing volume, safety requirements and overall robust product performance standards. This is very typical in industrial markets where OEM customers want to monitor machines in the moment and more accurately predict fatigue or when a machine will need to be repaired, reducing overall downtime and saving money.

To best serve OEM customers and testing engineers with premium and affordable force measurement solutions, Interface offers engineered to order capabilities for the masses. Engineered to order means Interface can deliver force measurement solutions from our massive catalog that are modified to meet the features and specifications that our customers require, while still retaining the premium accuracy, quality and reliability Interface is known for across every industry we serve.

Interface Application Engineers work closely with our customers to determine the exact specs their product requires and deliver a manufacturing plan that meets their volume, accuracy and reliability needs through an engaged process. We plan, coordinate and team together to build the right product, for the right time and right price. Most importantly, we can modify most of our products in our entire catalog, giving flexibility within a precision line of solutions.

OEMs, product designers, and testing experts do not need to compromise performance. Interface’s engineered to order process combined with our automated production lines allows us to provide the same great quality force sensor our customers expect from an industry leader.

Interface excels when we partner with our customers in the earliest phases of development to ensure we provide the best solution, based on size, capacities and performance capabilities. By sharing design plans, we can collaborate with our customers to provide the best outcome. Ready to engage our experts?  Contact us here.

Celebrating Independence and American Manufacturing

As we celebrate Independence Day 2020 at Interface, we are also celebrating our history as an American manufacturer.  We are a company founded in 1968 that started with a vision to engineer and build precision and quality products made in the USA. We remain steadfast in honoring our commitment to remaining an US headquartered manufacturer.

Our first production facility was opened in 1972 in the Scottsdale Airpark in Arizona. Through our 52 year history and growth we have expanded in this location, which features a high-production manufacturing facilities, an accredited calibration laboratory, a multi-faceted machine workshop, and our corporate offices.

At Interface, we know manufacturing is critical to the US economy. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) stated that in 2019, U.S. manufacturers accounted for more than 11% of the total output in our economy and employed more than 8% of the workforce. Additionally, the total output from U.S. manufacturing in 2018 was $2.3 billion.

Manufacturers in Arizona account for 8.61% of the total output in the state, employing 5.96% of the workforce according to NAM.  It is our depth of respected talent and valuable experience that enable us to continue our driving focus on innovation, engineering and production of the world’s most accurate, reliable and quality performance load cells and force measurement solutions in Arizona. In 2019, Interface was recognized as the Manufacturer of the Year in Arizona, a great honor for the entire Interface team.

Our force measurement expertise is vital to a number of industries where U.S. regulatory compliance is necessary. This includes aerospace and defense, space and launch sectors, medical, industrial automation, new IoT technology and automotive. We have worked with global businesses in these industries, along with test and measurement, for more than five decades. Over time, we have earned several industry-related regulatory compliances to serve both local and international customers. It is represented by our commitment to quality.

As we celebrate the Independence Day holiday, our team is also are taking a moment to celebrate American ingenuity, innovation, and recognize the outstanding manufacturing presence in the USA.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” ― Harry S. Truman

We take pride in being an American women-owned and operated business, and we look forward to what our 2nd 50 years bring us.

Faces of Interface Featuring Dan McAneny

Our Faces of Interface series provides readers with an inside look at all the brilliant and talented people that work for our 52 year-old company.  There is also a team of experts and experienced individuals that are part of our sales engineering network. These representatives and distributors are integral to the work we do, and they are considered part of the Interface family.

In this post, we are featuring Dan McAneny, co-founder and sales engineer at Tritek Solutions, one of Interface’s sales representatives covering the Pacific Northwest. Dan has been working with Interface for many years, so we have gotten to know him pretty well and are grateful to have him part of our team.

Dan began his career as a design engineer in New York after graduating with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University. He spent a few years in this design engineer role before quickly realizing that he had a passion for being out in the field and working directly with customers, rather than behind a desk.

His search for sales engineering positions took him out west to work for a rep company in Los Angeles, California, that sold electronic test equipment. This position helped Dan develop his proficiency in sales, as well as better understanding of the test solutions critical to the evolution of technology. When the LA company went out of business in 1988, Dan and his good friend and co-worker decided to start Tritek Solutions.

Tritek Solutions is a manufacturers’ representative with sales and administrative staff capable of providing a complete sales and support solution. The company focuses on test instruments, systems, specialized components and board-level products.

The company quickly ascended, growing into Northern California, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Pacific Northwest. And after 28 years in Southern California, Dan and his wife decided to take their talents to Seattle, Washington, where he could focus his work with Tritek in the Pacific Northwest.

Dan learned about the diverse and innovative technology ecosystem in this region and has developed a wide range of experience and expertise on how to serve customers in various industries such as aerospace and defense, medical, industrial, automotive and construction. In fact, this is the aspect of his job that he enjoys the most, working with customers in all of these different technology sectors in Seattle to learn about their challenges in bringing new innovation to market, and offering synergistic solutions available from the many manufacturers he represents.

“In a single day, I could be standing next to a 777X airplane for an hour, and then the next hour, I could be discussing a solution for developing delivery drones or ventilator production. The possibility of learning about and working with customers on hundreds of new technology is something I enjoy every day.”

When Dan began working with us many years ago, he noticed that our presence in the Pacific Northwest was mainly focused on large aerospace OEM’s and knew he could help us break into a larger variety of markets. Dan has been successful in proactively searching for and securing new opportunities for Interface force measurement products across new markets, innovators and advancing technology sectors.

“Working with Interface has been a pleasure. Their more than half-century in business has provided them with a deep understanding for efficiently working with reps like myself, and the quality of their products and engineering talent makes it easier because I know my OEM customers know and trust the Interface brand.”

When he is not making a killing helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) find test, engineering and manufacturing solutions for their product development process, Dan enjoys taking advantage of the beautiful outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. Dan’s wife of 30 years and two sons age 23 and 25 enjoy road and mountain biking, hiking and swimming together, as well as exploring the hidden gems the region has to offer.

Stay tuned to our blog for new Faces of Interface ForceLeaders profiles to learn more about our valued network and team members. You can subscribe to receive the blog weekly at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.

 

Interface Steps in to Support Medical Industry COVID-19 Innovations

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit everyone hard and many industries are rushing to adjust to this new world. One of the industries most impacted by the outbreak has been the medical sector. Hospitals are in a position of running dangerously low on supplies and equipment to treat the influx of patients coming through the doors for vital treatment.

Fortunately, global innovators, product designers and manufacturers in the medical sector and outside the industry have stepped up to provide solutions critical to the fight against COVID-19. Some of the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the world, such as Honeywell Aerospace, 3M, and Ford, have reallocated significant resources within their facilities to help produce medical equipment and PPE like the much needed N95 Masks.

Medical OEMs are also ramping up production on certain technology aimed at preventing, testing, and treating the corona virus. One of the most significant pieces of medical technology needed in this pandemic are ventilators. Prior to the outbreak, analysts predicted a shortage of these devices, which are needed to treat the rising number of patients. OEMs around the world stepped up to mass-produce high-quality ventilators to meet this demand.

The production of ventilators did not just fall upon the shoulders of the OEMs. Thousands of design and test engineers in coordination with manufacturing service providers involved in the ventilator supply chain also leaned in to support the demand. Interface is proud to help participate as part of the supply chain, helping essential OEMs around the world with critical force and torque testing products.

One example related to ventilators came in April of this year when SISU reached out through our representative network to T&M Instruments in Texas.  Jace Curtis worked with Interface to urgently provide our T8 General Purpose Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducers. Jace, who represents the Interface product line, worked with a team of suppliers and testing experts to get the product design through testing quickly. This meant the transducer needed to be in-house within 24-hours. Working with Brian Peters, the product was expedited due to the sensitive nature of this requirement and delivered from our Scottsdale headquarters in the time requested.

Photo Credit DEWESoft: Testing Ventilator with Interface T8

SISU is currently designing and manufacturing the AUSTIN P51, a low-cost ventilator to aid hospitals and medical professionals in the current world-wide shortage, and they needed the torque transducers as quickly as possible to help test and verify the ventilator stepper motor.

The challenge with this project was that SISU was targeting the manufacturing of 100,000 ventilators on a very rigorous timeline and they did not have time to program a test to acquire and analyze this data. They needed to quickly set up a test correlating lung pressure to the torque of the stepper motor when the adjacent paddles squeeze the self-inflating bag. Air is then driven through a series of pressure regulators and a HEPA filter that can assist or support the human lungs when compromised.

DEWESoft USA, a company that develops and manufactures versatile and easy-to-use data acquisition systems, was charged with the development of this test system. They immediately got to work and were able to deliver a test platform capable of verifying the torque and air pressure within hours.

One of the key pieces of technology in the development of the test system was our torque transducers. The purpose of the torque transducers in the test platform was to analyze the stepper motor and gather data to ensure performance and accuracy. It was critical that the motor performed to specification, and our stainless steel, contactless T8 Torque Transducers were well-equipped to provide DEWESoft® with highly accurate, real-time data.

Additionally, not only was Interface able to overnight the T8 Torque Transducer to DEWESoft on a Saturday morning, but we were able to absorb some of the costs due to the nature of the product need and these unprecedented times. Jace Curtis was also onsite on Saturday to help assist with set-up and testing.

DEWESoft recently put together an application note and video showing the test platform in action. In these pieces, you can see how our torque transducer is used within the testing platform. Included below are links to DEWESoft’s video and application note:

Interface is proud to be an essential business in this time of crisis. It was our duty and honor to support T&M Instruments and DEWESoft in the development of this critical testing platform for life-saving ventilator technology manufactured by SISU.  It is our commitment to all our customers.  We are here to help.

Contributors:  Jace Curtis and Brian Peters

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

In the product manufacturing process, repeatability, process control, and inspection are some of the most important factors in creating high-performance products. At Interface, reliability and accuracy are the two most important features of our renowned force measurement products. For this reason, Interface continues to invest in the highest quality test and inspection technology to ensure each product that leaves the production floor is of the utmost Interface brand quality.

In this blog, we will be discussing our investment in top-of-the-line vision sensor technology and systems that help us to effectively reduce waste, improve efficiencies in manufacturing, and guarantee proper performance.

For many years, Interface has relied on our employees for their keen visual inspection of products that come off the production line. These trusted employees are looking at a number of things, including: are wires installed properly and are the serial and revision numbers correct. These respected and experienced Interface team members can inspect hundreds or thousands of products a day, with a heavy reliance on the human eye.

Interface load cells must meet stringent quality processing production standards, along with our calibration requirements before they are shipped to our customers. Interface will scrap any product that does not meet the exact precision standards for performance. In fact, if the product fails, we will not utilize the product at all. We will start our manufacturing process over to ensure the integrity and quality is met, as is expected with any Interface branded force measurement product.

In a recent experience of solving for a wiring issue that could cost thousands in waste, we sought out an innovative way to approach the challenge. To solve the visualization and human dependency concerns, we invested in a Keyence Vision Sensor IV2 Series. This camera system allows us to reduce human error by programming the camera to pick up misaligned wiring and notify the user.

It works with advanced sensor technology that can identify production issues and will provide the user with a green light if everything looks good, or a red light if there is an issue. The system is helping to significantly reduce both inspection time and production line errors. The vision technology system is currently implemented on our MBS mini load cell line, one of our highest volume production lines. Since implementing the system, we have not seen a failure that caused any type of loss.

We are now looking into how we could use the Keyence Vision Sensor technology in other areas of production. For instance, we are testing how the camera could be used to read serial and revision numbers that are laser marked onto our products. Every once in a while, if the laser is misaligned or the user hits an extra keystroke, the numbers could be off, and the customer will have an error in their records. With the innovative visualization system, the camera’s sensors could read the serial numbers and let the user know if there is an error quickly.

To learn more about how Interface is investing in innovation and technology to improve our processes and production methods, check out the IQ Blog at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.  You can also learn more about Interface’s 2019 Arizona Manufacturer of the Year Award here.

Contribution from Nick Siegel, Design Engineer, Interface