Posts

Top Interface Products in 2021

What Interface products were test and measurement professionals favorites this year? The 2021 product that took the number one spot of most interest was our blue load cell. The reliable and trusted Interface LowProfile Load Cells have been a staple in the T&M industry for more than fifty years. The top choice of Interface customers in 2021 is the 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile, in both high and low capacities.

The category of products Interface offers has increased significantly as we drive toward helping our customers with complete force and torque solutions. The count of Interface products, in all their configurations and capacities, is well over 30,000. This does not include engineered-to-order or custom solutions, specialties that Interface offers to meet the exact requirements of our customers.

We expanded our line of offerings dramatically in 2021 with wireless solutions, instrumentation, miniature load cells, along with new digital products like the BX6 and expanding our BX8 to match the expanding interest in our growing multi-axis sensors line of 3 and 6-Axis Load Cells. Our new 2021 Catalog provides you a glimpse of what you have available from Interface.

Even with the all-time favorite Interface load cells remaining as the #1 product category in 2021, winning by a large margin with the most interest, there are many product families taking a run for a top position, including instrumentation, minis load cells, and multi-axis sensors.

TOP 10 PRODUCT CATEGORIES FROM INTERFACE IN 2021

  1. Load Cells
  2. Torque Transducers
  3. Instrumentation
  4. Multi-Axis Sensors
  5. Mini Load Cells
  6. Digital Instrumentation
  7. Accessories
  8. Calibration Systems
  9. Load Pins
  10. Wireless Telemetry Systems

You can read our latest review of the WTS system and why it is growing in popularity.

TOP 10 INTERFACE PRODUCTS IN 2021

Diving into the numbers, here are the top 10 product models that gained the most interest this year:

  1. 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell
  2. 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell
  3. SSM or SSM2 Sealed S-Type Mini Load Cell
  4. 3-Axis Force Multi-Axis Load Cell
  5. SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER
  6. WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell
  7. SMS-Type Load Cell
  8. 1100 Ultra Precision LowProfile® Load Cell
  9. 6-Axis Standard Capacity Load Cells
  10. 1600 Gold Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell

In the runner-up category, the products that made the second half of our top 20 list include the LBM Load Button Load Cell, 9840 Multi-Channel Indicator, Calibration Systems, Torque Transducer Models T2 and T4, Model 1500Low-Capacity Load Cell, SML Low Height Mini, 9320 Portable Indicator, 2400 Standard Stainless Steel Load Cell and our famous MB Miniature Beam Load Cell.  With such a large catalog, it’s quite a distinction to get to the top 20.

We are excited to learn what products will get your attention in the new year. Of course, we appreciate your interest!

If you have questions about any of our product categories or specific models, you can always contact our application engineers, representatives and distributors around the globe. We are here to make your 2022 a great success!

Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review

Interface is world renowned for our ability to engineer and manufacture the most accurate and reliable force measurement products on the market. Most in the the test and measurement world know us for our suite of off-the-shelf and custom load cells and torque transducers. We have been supplying these products to some of the most complex and highly regulated industries in the world for over a half century.

Though most people instantly recognize our blue load cells, many test engineers and labs are finding our total system solutions are a valuable compliment to our line of precision products. It is why Interface has greatly expanded our instrumentation and accessories products to meet the demands of our customer’s specific test and measurement project requirements that need wireless and Bluetooth capabilities.

One of the most popular products in our systems-supporting product line is Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System (WTS). This solution group provides our customers with easy to use and full-featured wireless data communication capabilities between a force or torque sensor and a receiver. The WTS line includes sensor transmitters, receivers, displays, accessories and free software, which operates on a standard 2.4 GHz signal making it FCC compliant.

WTS works with torque transducers, load pins, load cells, multi-axis sensors and other inputs with the goal of connecting to a display, PC or the customer’s system.  It wirelessly communicates with different types of receivers including displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces for easy configuration of the application. WTS is also easily expandable for measuring multiple sensor types. It connects with up to 100 sensors up to half a mile range and is supported by powerful configuration software with data logging and visualization for local or remote access.

Within the WTS product suite, we have wireless options for sensors, handhelds, transmitter modules, antennas, printers, displays and more. Included below are a few of our WTS and BTS Telemetry Systems product options highlighted:

WTS-AM-1E WIRELESS STRAIN BRIDGE TRANSMITTER MODULE

The WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module connects to strain bridge transducers such as load cells, torque sensors, strain gauges and pressure modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry system. The data transmitted by the WTS-AM-1E can be received by multiple WTS receivers that include displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces.

WTS-BS-1 WIRELESS HANDHELD DISPLAY FOR UNLIMITED TRANSMITTERS

The WTS-BS-1 is a roaming handheld allowing the operator to cycle the display between all available transmitter modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry system. The data sent by transmitter modules can be utilized by multiple receivers such as displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces. Receivers support common industrial power supplies and are available in robust IP rated enclosures with internal antennas optimized to give outstanding coverage.

WTS-AR WIRELESS REPEATER MODULE

The WTS- AR Wireless Repeater Module which will allow the WTS telemetry system modules to span around obstacles, increase range and coverage by retransmitting received messages. The data sent by transmitter modules can be utilized by multiple receivers such as displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces. Receivers support common industrial power supplies and are available in robust IP rated enclosures with internal antennas optimized to give outstanding coverage.

WTS 1200 STANDARD PRECISION LOAD CELL

Interface’s most popular load cell is available with wireless capabilities. The WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell is designed for general purpose applications requiring a wireless load cell that is compensated for eccentric loads. This load cell can transmit distances up to 2000 feet (610 meters) to a number of different base stations including a USB version and a handheld display. There are higher capacities available, along with options for 2nd, 3rd Bridge and Overload Protection.

WTSLP WIRELESS STAINLESS STEEL LOAD PIN

This specialized Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin is great for lifting applications in use cases of transmitting measurement data both short or long distances. This product can transmit wirelessly up to 600 meters in distance with clear line of sight to a handheld display or USB base station. This Interface load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000K lbf (1,360 MT) for custom versions.

WTSSHK-B-JR WIRELESS CROSBY™ BOW LOAD SHACKLE

WTSSHK-B-JR Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle range of telemetry load shackles are manufactured using the Crosby™ G2130 shackle. Suitable for use in a wide range of lower capacity industrial weighing applications, these load shackles are accurate, reliable and simple to install. They are particularly popular in theatrical applications for measuring the loads on rigging, hoists and stage lifts. The IP67 rated telemetry housing is manufactured from ABS plastic making it strong yet light, and the telemetry housing is manufactured from ABS plastic making it strong yet light, and the telemetry electronics contained within are powered by two AA batteries. The unit also features an internal antenna for maximum protection from damage.

This is just a preview of the products offered within the WTS Suite. In addition, we’ve developed a number of applications notes highlighting the capabilities of our WTS solutions. For more information about our full WTS (Wireless Telemetry System) products, please click on this link Wireless Telemetry System. Included below is a unique example of how the wireless capabilities of the WTS system was necessary to measure a golf club’s swing accuracy, see below:

GOLF CLUB SWING ACCURACY

A golfer wanted a system that will monitor and record their striking accuracy and swing movement. To meet this need, Interface created a custom made SSB Sealed Beam Load Cell that can be attached in line with the golf handle. When the golf ball is struck, force measurements are recorded, logged, and graphed using the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter. The results are transmitted directly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully record, graph, and log a golf player’s striking accuracy and swing movement with Interface’s wireless force system.

Interface WTS Products

  • Acquisition Modules
  • Repeater Modules
  • Telemetry Antennas
  • Base Stations
  • ASCII Serial Output
  • LED Displays
  • Repeater Modules
  • Modbus
  • LED Displays
  • Wireless Telemetry Printers
  • Relay Output Receivers
  • Wind Speed Transmitters
  • Load Cells
  • Load Pins
  • Tension Links
  • Shackles

In design and engineering, the need for flexibility is paramount today. Interface’s WTS solutions provide our customers with a host of wireless force measurement systems that allows for an easier way to test and measure force in a wide variety of environments, on site and in the field.  Let us know what we can do to help you get the right wireless solutions for your project.

Additional Resources

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection App Note

WTS Equine Bridle Tension System App Note

WTS Brake Pedal App Note

WTS and BTS Telemetry Systems Brochure

Load Cell Basics Technical Q&A Part Two

Interface hosted a series of ForceLeaders webinars this past year covering topics that included multi-axis sensors, instrumentation, torque transducers, custom solutions and more.  We plan to continue this popular series into the new year, based on the feedback we have received about topics of interest and support requirements.

One of the features that we like to include in our events is answering a list of top questions, as well as questions we get from the participants.  In our event, Load Cell Basics, we covered a lot of interesting inquiries as well as the top questions we get about our precision load cell products.

We highlighted the first group of questions in our recent post, Load Cell Basics Technical Q&A Part One. And there is more, below highlights additional questions we addressed during the live event.   A recap of the webinar is also online, reviewing key topics we discussed during the one-hour learning event with force measurement experts Keith Skidmore and Brian Peters.

Is There a Better Way to Tare a Load Cell?

Tare is defined as a deduction from the gross weight of a substance and its container made in allowance for the weight of the container, which is sometimes also called the vessel.  For purposes of this reference, we are noting the container is the actual body of the load cell.

Whether you tare a load cell by electronics or mechanical, preload taring of the system is typically done through instrumentation.  You want to ensure that whatever mechanical tare load you have on the sensor isn’t going to impede on your usable capacity range. As far as the load cell is concerned, there really is no need to accommodate any sort of mechanical tare. These are linear devices if you stay within the range.  On the mechanical preload side, it is important how you preload some of attachments especially for the LowProfile load cells. We recommend to preload if you can. It is what we do for best results so that the load path doesn’t change through the threads, which can affect very small amounts of linearity hysteresis

Does Frequency Measurement Limit Impact How Fast the Load Cell Responds?

This is a function of the mechanical flexure design for that sensor. It is important to note that each sensor is a mechanical spring. Depending on the stiffness or the deflection characteristics of a load cell, you will have different natural frequency characteristics. This information is typically documented on our product data sheets by model and configuration.  Generally, the stiffer the sensor the better it’s going to perform in cyclic applications.

Adding to this, Keith notes that load cells are great at hundreds of hertz. If you are asking about tens of thousands of hertz, they are not. There is a spot where very high frequencies of these standard load cells aren’t as effective. Most of our typical testing customers who are applying cyclical loads to a test specimen will confirm that low profile or strain gage-based load cells are great for their frequency requirements.  Work with our application engineers if you have a frequency requirement that is extremely high.

Tare and Working Up an Error Budget

This question comes in from an engineer that is working up a calculated error budget that has a mechanical tare load on that system already. Before you start your test, if you tare it how does that factor into your initial preload in the system? Will it impact your error budget? The answer is that yes, it can have some impact. You can zero out your temperature effect on zero; however, if you have a lot of preloads, you can’t. You must go back to zero to zero it out. This can impact your error budget. Basically, if you zero out, it eliminates the temperature effect. You cannot make the same assumption in your budget if you have considerable preloads.

Does Interface Recommend Particular Amplifier Instrumentation Products?

We do have a wide variety of amplifier solutions. They range from small embeddable amplifiers up to inline options that are DIN rail mounted.  We also have various digital output instrumentation productions available for ethernet, ether cat, Modbus, and USB.

It is important in your consideration to understand that there are errors that can impact instrumentation performance. Selecting the right instrumentation should be a function of the application and what are the changes in testing environment. Resolution is critical in your decision if you are doing a digital type conversion. There’s a lot of parameters to consider. Our recommendation would be to look at what is available from Interface and contact our application engineers to review your specific requirements.

What is the Most Frequent Problem When Installing a Load Cell?

One of the issues are asked about is usually related to the mechanical installation. It’s not as simple as just a nut, bolt, and threaded connection. There is a lot more to it and it’s often and discounted how important it is to ensure things are aligned properly so that you don’t have any parallel load paths. All the load must go through the load cell to make a proper measurement. For example, if you have a mounting plate and the plates are riding on the heads of the screws of the load cell, it is going to shunt the load. Mechanical installation is often missed in the test set-up design. It is often not given enough weight in importance of your test.

We also often see that users have either inadequate torque in an assembly or perhaps too much torque for the lower capacity load cells.  It’s advised to be careful of the installation torque. We recommend that if you aren’t familiar with mechanical installation, ask us for our detailed installation instructions. We provide guidance in terms of recommended torque values and proper methods of where to attach the sensor. It’s easy to over torque a load cell, as they are designed to see axial loads. We have seen users people crank on things and transmitting too much torsional load through creating performance issues that might not show up right away.

Do Cables and Amplifiers Affect Results of Load Cell Calibration?

The answer is absolutely it can impact your results. It doesn’t mean it will, but it can affect performance and measurement accuracy. For example, if you change the cable length or have an instrument that is a different temperature with cable running out of an oven into cooler temperature room, these things can influence the measurement. Even if the load cell is at a constant temperature but the cable is changing temperature, it will cause a signal to change. That’s not something you want in your measurement.

You may mitigate temperature by shielding the cable or you could have a fatter cable which could have less of an effect. Some of these things can be calibrated out. If you add a long cable and then apply loads to your load cell, it considers that there is a longer cable, and you can completely calibrate out the effect of the cable length on the signal dropping due to the resistance. Some instruments use sense to measure the voltage at the load cell. In that case, it is insensitive to any cable effect. You can change cable lengths and it doesn’t make any difference.

Is a 10kn (2,250) lb. Force Application Too Much for a 2,000 lb. Load Cell?

Yes, it’s above the calibrated range and thus you can’t guarantee performance. Load cells will typically stay linear over capacity but there’s no guarantee on the accuracy. This is especially true if you overload with frequency. You’re starting to exercise the load cell in areas where we’d recommend you stay away from to keep the results accurate. Oftentimes, you’re better off going with a larger sensor. Pay attention to the actual output. That’s one advantage of most of our products, especially in the LowProfile range.

Is There Maximum Sampling Frequency for Strain Gage Load Cells?

It is going to depend somewhat on the model of the load cell. Hundreds of hundreds of hertz are certainly adequate. If you start getting close to the natural frequency posted on our product data sheet, we recommend you review the application with our application engineers.

We know engineers who use load cells for safety impact testing. For example, you might need to sample 10 kilohertz. The load cell doesn’t make a difference for how fast you sample the signal, but those cells can only respond in typically a millisecond response time. There are no moving parts or active circuitry; however, typically testing is going to test something until it fails. It is suggested to sample it at a couple thousand hertz to make sure you capture that exact point where the system fails or spikes. If you do have some concern over creep error that’s introduced, record what that non-zero value is as soon as you release that load. That is an accurate measurement of how much creep error was introduced being symmetric.

We exercise our load cells before calibration. It’s relatively quick and typically done in hydraulic frames which are automated to test where they cycle the load in short cycle intervals, like 30 seconds. It’s really the magnitude of the exercising, not how long it lasts. If load is being tested at 120% for an hour, that’s no better than 10 seconds, other than it introduced a lot of creep for an hour. Exercising means you must wait longer for the creep to return, so if the load is a fast cycle, you can check the zero quickly.

If you have additional questions for our experts, we recommend that you visit our technical support resources. We have commonly asked questions, installation guides and manuals and more.  We are also here to support you. Contact our technical support team if you need assistance.

Additional Resources

 

Load Cell Field Guide

Load Cell Basics Sensor Specifications

Load Cell Basics Technical Q&A Part One

Interface 1200 Precision LowProfile Load Cell Series Product Highlight

Recap of Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar

Interface’s resident solutions experts Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop detailed a series of multi-axis products and advanced instrumentation options in our latest ForceLeaders webinar. They topics discussed during this recorded event included detailed features and benefits of the line of 3-Axis and 6-Axis Multi-Axis Sensors available from Interface. In summary, if you are looking for more data, to maximize your return on testing investments and need a compact solution compared to using multiple single load cells, multi-axis load cells may be the right solution for your application or testing project.

Pairing your sensor with right type of instrumentation that is best suited for the device and your data requirements is an important consideration.  During event, Keith shares why the BX8 Data Acquisition System and Amplifier provides 8-channel synchronized sampling and internal calculation of axis load values for 6-axis sensors. The BX8 provides high-speed synchronous sampling that is critical for dynamic measurements. It is high resolution and low noise and comes with our BlueDAQ software for data viewing and analysis. There is an option to also use BlueDAQ PRO! with MathScript. Multiple BX8 can be synchronized for use with 12-channel 6-axis sensors and force plates, which are discussed later during the event. For large capacity 6-axis sensors, you can also use two BX8’s to create a 72-coeffecient matrix. Watch the event to learn more and read about 6-Axis and BX8 powerful measurement solution.

In contrast to the BX8, Keith details the Interface BSC4 and shares important features that make it a good instrumentation choice to use with our model 3A, 3AR 3-Axis load cells. It can be used with up to four mV/V or VDC output sensors. It is a compact and convenient instrumentation option, compared to using multiple single-channel amplifiers. Our BSC4D comes with BlueDAQ software and is LabView compatible. Learn more about 3-Axis and BSC4.

You will also get the first look at our latest instrumentation solution, the BX6-BT Wireless 6-Axis Data Logger.  This new product is miniature in size, offers 7-channels with Bluetooth functionality. It logs to micro-SD card and is BlueDAQ compatible. It also does matrix math.

Further in the webinar, get the latest tips on mounting multi-axis sensors and using mounting plates and why we are seeing more use cases for Interface custom force plates. You don’t want to miss out on these important set-up instructions, frequently asked questions, and tips for ensuring you don’t compromise accuracy and reliability in your testing.

Watch the webinar and you’ll also learn about applications that use multi-axis and advanced instrumentation, including for structural testing, friction testing, seat testing and special condition calibration. We will be posting addition blogs from the learnings of this in-depth expert discussion, including top 10 FAQs, calibrating multi-axis sensors and the future of test and measurement using multi-axis load cells.

Additional Interface Calibration Grade Solutions

As a leading supplier to testing labs around the world, Interface has designed specialized strain gage products that are classified as calibration grade. Our most popular calibration grade load cells are the 1600 Gold Standard LowProfile Load Cells and 1800 Platinum Standard model series. Both series provide tension and compression in one unit. These products are commonly used to calibrate and monitor test equipment, as well as to perform in-house calibrations.

What is not as widely known is that we offer more than our precision calibration grade load cells. We also offer an array of additional calibration grade products including instrumentation, torque sensors, accessories, adapters, and complete calibration systems.

Here are just a few examples of additional calibration grade products Interface offers.

9840 CALIBRATION GRADE MULTI-CHANNEL LOAD CELL INDICATOR

The 9840 indicator is suitable for use in calibration labs, field service, or anywhere high accuracy is important. This product’s features include a bipolar 6-digit 2-line display, remote sense, low noise, 24-bit internal resolution, USB port with RS232 communication, mV/V calibration, store calibrations for up to 25 sensors. It offers 6-point linearization, unit conversion and front-panel tare. This unit also has self-calibration via TEDS Plug and Play ready IEEE 1451.4 compliance.

5500 CALIBRATION GRADE REACTION TORQUE TRANSDUCER

The 5500 series is a flange-type calibration grade reaction torque transducer. Its rugged design offers low deflection, high torsional stiffness, and the ability to withstand large overhung moments. ASTM E2428 Calibrations are available on most capacities. There are multiple models available in this series.

4 Channel 9840-400-1-T Intelligent IndicatorDIGITAL CALIBRATION GRADE 4 CHANNEL 9840-400-1-T INTELLIGENT INDICATOR

The model 9840 intelligent digital indicator is frequently selected for calibration labs and as part of complete calibration systems. It features two interactive graphical touch screen displays, remote sense, low noise, 24-bit internal resolution, USB port with RS232 communication, mV/V calibration, store calibrations for up to 25 sensors.

IFVF CAPACITY FORCE VERIFICATION FRAME

The IFVF is a portable high force capacity frame and accessories that can be used be used to verify operation of a device under test or calibrate relative to a second reference load cell. It is designed to apply tension and compression forces with high resolution and accuracy. IFVF features a reaction frame, manual actuator, thread and adapter accessories, and optional force sensors and instrumentation.

CALIBRATION GRADE INTERFACE 2200 COLUMN LOAD CELL

This special lightweight column load cell model series is a tension and compression calibration ready design. It is portable for use in the field or in a lab.

Our Interface Load Cell Calibration Systems provide all the components for rigid and portable systems. Our strain gage load cell calibration systems are versatile and can be customized based on the application requirements.

Additional Resources

Interface Calibration 101

Calibration Grade Load Cells and Systems

Calibration Load Frame

Gold Standard® Calibration System

 

 

Inventive Multi-Axis + Instrumentation Solutions

Interface solutions experts Ken Bishop and Keith Skidmore discussed innovative product solutions utilizing multi-axis sensors and instrumentation, including our 3-Axis, 6-Axis load cells along with BX8 and BCS4 instrumentation. Learn about mounting plate and new force plate options, along with systems and use cases. Watch the recorded event.

Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs

Interface sells a wide variety of instruments designed to help take data measured on a load cell or torque transducer and convert it into a readable form. Within this expanding family of instrumentation offered by Interface, there are two types of output methods available: analog or digital.

By far, analog output for test and measurement instrumentation has been the most popular. Analog output is measurement represented in a continuous stream. Technologies have advanced a growing demand for more advanced data capture. Digital instrumentation uses digits as the output, providing greater measurement accuracy and digital resolution.

Understanding which output is best for your project is important in getting the right communication capabilities to use with the designated sensor components. It’s an important consideration whether you are designing a new testing system or working with an existing program and looking to add new instrumentation.  You can gain further insights by watching our Instructional on Instrumentation webinar here.

Here is a brief explanation on the difference between analog and digital instrumentation, along with advantages of each.

Benefits of Digital

Digital outputs are becoming more and more popular for several reasons. The first is that they often incur lower installation costs than their analog counterpart. Digital also works across existing networks. For instance, if you have ethernet IP you can interface directly into it as opposed to running analog signals.

Digital outputs are also far more scalable than analog because a lot of the time you can replace sensors without causing a disruption. Multiple sensors can also be daisy chained into a single cable run, meaning the user can piggyback into an existing network rather than running cables back to a controller. This is one reasons the installation cost is often lower.

There are also built-in error detections with digital outputs to detect things like open legs and bridges. And if you’re digitizing at the sensor, the system is less susceptible to noise because digital signals are natural noise immune.

Benefits of Analog

With all the benefits of digital, why would someone still choose the older output method of analog? Analog signals are still faster than digital and are much easier to work with. Additionally, analog systems take up far less bandwidth than digital. Therefore, if you’re in an area with low-bandwidth, digital output solutions may slow the network down, while analog will not.

It is important to note that many DAQs and PLCs accept analog signals, so if the user wants to stay with what they already have in house, analog may be the better option.

Choosing Analog or Digital

When deciding between analog and digital instrumentation output capabilities, it’s important to consider the following questions as well:

  • Are you connecting to an existing network? For instance, if its CAN bus, you may want to use CAN bus sensors. But, if it’s pure analog, you’re not going to want to convert everything over to digital unless there are other factors driving this move?
  • Are you connecting to an existing DAQ device? If your system has available analog input channels, you may be fine with analog output. If it doesn’t, you may have to add extra channels. Or say the system has an EtherCAT connection, you can use the same DAQ without adding channels by interfacing with it digitally.
  • What is your budget? If your network already has a lot of analog systems, the cost of staying with analog may be worth it. If you must add channels to your DAQ, but you have digital interfaces available, that may allow for cost savings based on how many channels and sensors you need.
  • How many sensors are you connecting? If you have a lot of sensors, the obvious answer is digital because of the flexibility it provides, and the limited cable runs needed. But if you don’t need many sensors, analog could make more sense.

There are several considerations to make when choosing digital versus analog.  You can learn more about which options suit your project requirements by reviewing the online specs of our range of instrumentation solutions.

There is also considerable detail in the many options available in our Instrumentation Overview here.

Additional Instrumentation InterfaceIQ Posts

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Instrumentation Application Notes

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Recap of Instructional on Instrumentation Webinar

Interface recently hosted a new ForceLeaders event on the topic of instrumentation.

The webinar experts, Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop, shared insights and experience in different types of instrumentation. Along with detailing various features, they provided valuable tips for testing engineers, metrologists, and sensor users on how to choose the right instrumentation for your upcoming projects or new systems.

The discussion featured a series of instrumentation types, benefits and uses cases, which you can now watch online by visiting our training and events page here.

The types of instrumentation detailed during the webinar showcases the range of products we offer and that are available to complete any testing solution.  These products range from simple boxes to complete telemetry systems used for field and wireless communication requirements. The webinar highlighted the following range of instrumentation options:

  • Signal Conditioners
  • Indicators
  • Data Acquisition
  • Portable Load Cell Indicators
  • Weight Indicators
  • Junction Boxes
  • USB Interfaces
  • TEDS Ready
  • Wireless and Bluetooth Telemetry Systems

The experts offered guidance on the topic of analog versus digital and wireless versus Bluetooth. They also provided some simple criteria to review when deciding what type of instrumentation fits your exact requirements.

Basic Criteria for Selecting Digital or Analog

  • Is there an existing network you need to connect to?
  • Are you connecting to an existing DAQ device?
  • What is your budget?
  • How many sensors are you connecting?
  • Do you need to communicate through a bus?

For more insights into application use cases, frequently asked questions and top 10 tips, be sure to watch the event.  Here are just a few of the tips shared during the Instructional on Instrumentation presentation:

Tip #1 – Know your power supply requirements, amount of filtering that is fixed or adjustable, input range, scalability and zero adjustment range.

Tip #2 – The output signal from a load cell is expressed in terms of millivolt output per Volt of excitation, at capacity. 

Tip #3 – The output signal is directly affected by input voltage. It’s important to maintain a stable excitation voltage.

WATCH THE RECORDED LIVE EVENT: INSTRUCTIONAL ON INSTRUMENTION

If you have missed any of our ForceLeaders webinars, be sure to visit our YouTube Channel.  We have recorded all the events for your convenience.  Our experts are also here to help you get the exact instrumentation based on your unique requirements. Contact us here for questions or technical assistance.

Additional Resources:

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101

Force Measurement Solutions for Bolt and Screw Fastening

Among the many applications of force measurement devices, one that appears to be a simple application can have a big impact on worker safety, productivity, waste reduction, assembly and product performance. In this new animated application note highlight, we take a look at the tools used for bolt fastening measurement.

Bolts and screws are used to secure different pieces or components together for nearly every product imaginable, especially when it comes to large machinery and even automobiles. The success of these products and the manufacturing of these components requires a strict level of detail that goes into the tightness of a bolt. It’s not like your typical “do it yourself” furniture where you just tighten a screw or bolt until you can’t anymore. The precision needed for certain objects to be tightened to the exact measurement is mandatory.

Interface provides measurement solutions for all types of industrial automation and toolset testing used in thousands of applications that ultimately are utilized in the building of products. In the example below, we provided devices that are used to determine the exact bolt force and tightness necessary. The goal of measuring the tightness is to avoid under or overtightening. As you can imagine, under tightening can cause components to come apart. However, over tightness can also cause significant damage to the pieces being bolted together.

Bolt Fastening Application

To show the process of measuring bolt tightness, check out this latest use case video demonstration.

For this bolt fastening application, the customer used an Interface Model LWCF Load Washer along with an Interface Model INF-USB3 Single Channel PC Interface Module to monitor force being applied during bolt tightening. The data transferred from the bolt clamping force load cell load washer with a thru-hole, to the instrumentation is displayed, logged and graphed directly onto a computer for analysis and performance testing.

This is a basic example of the test and measurement process, however, Interface also contributed to a number of real-world projects and created applications notes to provide an illustration. One of our favorites is when an industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an automotive manufactur­ing plant.

The product engineers and testing team needed to tighten all of the 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.

To measure this force, several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque and 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.

Using this solution, the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant.

Here are additional solutions that showcase how Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and custom solutions are used for various tools and manufacturing processes across various industries.

Aircraft Screwdriver Fastening Control

Fastening Work Bench

Bolt Fastening Force and Torque

Interface Solutions for Robotics and Industrial Automation

Contact us to learn more how we can help you ensure the right fastening and machine control for your next projects.