Posts

Metrologists and Calibration Technicians 101

Interface works with metrologists and calibration technicians worldwide. We are a partner, supplier of calibration grade products they use, and participants in research to advance the science of measurement. We are also proud team members with experienced experts in measurement, including our esteemed force measurement engineers and calibration technicians at Interface.

By simple definition, a metrologist is a scientist who researches and applies the science of measurement. Working in the field of metrology, they often create processes and engineer tools and systems used to measure objects, such as load cell calibration tools used to accurately to measure applied force.

Engineers and technicians work in collaboration with metrologists in the design of products and devices used for measuring objects. Metrologists are keen to maintain the accuracy standards of measurements for organizations, product makers, and manufacturers of measurement devices.

Metrologists practice their expertise in test and measurement at manufacturing facilities, corporate R&D centers, independent test and calibration labs, government entities and standards organizations, as well as at higher learning institutions. The range of industries that utilize metrologists spans from aerospace to medical sciences. It is commonplace for metrologists to participate in research, product design, testing, and repair of equipment.

To preserve accuracy of performance and standards of measurement, metrologists develop calibration procedures to control performance of devices. They use these techniques to also identify enhancements and continuous improvement initiatives. Metrology professionals often share their findings with metrologist groups and associations, for purposes of scientific research and development within the field of measurement science. NIST publishes reports related to metrology from contributors around the world. You can find thousands of reports here.

Calibration technicians calibrate test and measurement equipment, as well as provide quality inspection, installation, troubleshooting support, and regular maintenance. Cal techs operate the machines used to validate performance, then report on the findings.

A calibration technician can work in production or manufacturing environments, onsite calibration labs, or for independent labs that provide services to users and makers of measurement devices. It is quite common to find calibration labs staffed with experience technicians as a part of a manufacturer’s facility, across most industries. Depending on the size of the manufacturer, this could include a small in-house lab or multiple lab sites. These labs are stocked with a variety of sensors, rigs, machines, and tools. As noted by many of our representative firms and onsite customer visits, they often will find shelves of blue load cells ready for use at any time for test and measurement projects and calibration services.

Interface supplies calibration labs with all types of measurement calibration grade transducers and equipment, including:

Calibration technicians work with various testing and calibrating tools and technologies. The role requires a mix of expertise in the science and application of measurement. Interface has multiple onsite calibration labs with full testing rigs, machines, operating tools, instrumentation, and software used for tracking performance. Interface does calibrate every product we manufacture, to certify performance prior to releasing to the customer.

Interface Services Calibration Technicians operate within our Services Calibration and Repair Department at our Interface production facilities in Arizona. They provide services for Interface products for annual and regular calibration check-ups, as well as diagnostic, repair, and warranty evaluations. Interface recommends annual calibration services. If you need to schedule a service, go here.

Technicians perform calibrations and any additional needed services for customer owned equipment, works with quality and inspection managers to maintain the proper records within the services process application. They ensure that the measurements taken with our equipment are accurate. Interface calibration techs work on multiple shifts for a 24/6 operation. Interface is adding qualified technicians to our team to meet the demands in production and services.

Calibration technicians perform inspection, testing and validation to ensure conformance to established accuracy and calibration standards. They also help to create calibration procedures and help n sourcing errors or quality issues reported during calibration activities.

Requirements for Interface Calibration Technicians include:

  • Perform basic to mid-range diagnostics of force measurement equipment
  • Work collaboratively in a team environment to complete discrete tasks
  • Print and Review Calibration Certificates Competencies
  • Able to use fine motor skills to calibrate product
  • Able to work with hand and power tools, lifts, electronic test equipment, soldering and indicators
  • Understands industry and quality concepts and standards such as ISO, A2LA, NIST
  • Offers suggestions and improvements as they see them
  • Organize and schedule work in progress
  • Experience in calibration technology, science, engineering, or a related field

You can apply for positions Interface Calibration Technician jobs here.

For metrologists and calibration technicians, quality and control require strict adherence to ensure that the products and equipment are performing properly. As measurement is exact, both are responsible for performing routine audits and quality inspections to maintain compliance with good calibration practices.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Regular Calibration Service Maintains Load Cell Accuracy

Top Five Reasons Why Calibration Matters

Shunt Calibration 101

Extending Transducer Calibration Range by Extrapolation

Strain Gage Design Under Eccentric Load WRSGC Presentation

Specifying Accuracy Requirements When Selecting Load Cells

 

System Level Calibration Validates Accuracy and Performance

Interface strongly recommends when buying any force measurement sensor along with instrumentation that you request a system level calibration. The final step taken to confirm that a sensor and instrumentation are working properly together before leaving Interface is a system level calibration.

System level calibrations provide traceability and record for reference for validating performance and accuracy. It is important to review calibration certificates prior to use and for any troubleshooting. System level calibrations ensure that all system components, including connectors, cables, transducers, and instrumentation are ready to use out of the box.

Interface provides calibration to all individual force measurement components. A basic calibration for the load cell is performed and certified of how the transducer performs in isolation. Expert Interface Calibration Technicians always calibrate these devices to meet the design specification and the exact parameters outlined in the accompanying calibration certifications shipped with the part. A calibration certification characterizes the load cell performance across specific force range with different load points applied output from the load cell versus applied load, confirmed by the specification in voltage outputs, milliamps, or digital output types.

A system level calibration ensures that the performance of the transducer and instrumentation are operating as a system, together. A system level calibration and an associated certification proves the system pairing is functional and essentially plug-and-play ready.

The system level calibration is an important reference for traceability and troubleshooting for the entire system. It can help identify if a setting has been changed or if there is another issue that invalidated the system.

Interface can provide system level calibrations for load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and other measurement tools that are paired with indicators, amplifiers, USB, and digital instruments. Interface uses a very high quality NIST and NMI traceable mV/V transfer standard to ratiometrically scale or applied force to scale the system. We provide a separate digital indicator calibration certificate indicating how we scaled the instrument.

Interface guarantees our quality performance load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and related instrumentation. We certify our products to meet or exceed the quality clauses outlined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO).

Interface is A2LA Accredited for torque and force calibration in accordance with International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017.

From the time we designed our first load cells in 1968, we have been providing calibration solutions. We even calibrate other manufacturers load cells.  Every year, Interface performs more than 100,000 calibrations. Every transducer’s calibration data is stored at Interface, providing a permanent archive. We utilize NMI Certified Gold and Platinum Standard reference load cells and our Interface Gold Standard Calibration Software for all calibrations.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Instrumentation Selection Guide

Top Five Reasons Why Calibration Matters

Recap of Accurate Report on Calibration

Regular Calibration Service Maintains Load Cell Accuracy

Shunt Calibration 101

Load Cell Basics Sensor Specifications

Enclosures 101

Individuals in the engineering and manufacturing world know Interface well for the reliability and accuracy of our force measurement products. However, some may not know that we also provide a wide variety of instrumentation and accessories for force measurement systems. One of those accessories that enhance the usability, durability, and ease of accessibility for force measurement products are enclosures.

Enclosures come in a wide variety of form factors and can be used for single or multiple products. Their purpose is to help in protecting devices, as well as facilitate easier mounting capabilities. They can also be used to combine multiple instruments to create a full measurement system for data recording and ongoing analysis.

Interface enclosures protect your sensor and instrumentation investments. They are durable for mobile force measurement solutions and are an easy-to-care for addition to any system.

There are a range of Interface enclosures, including NEMA rated options. NEMA ratings are a convenient system established by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association to rate how well various types of electrical enclosures protect against environmental hazards such as dust and dirt, water ingress (whether hose-directed, precipitation or submersion) and corrosion.

As detailed in our recent Ruggedized Test & Measurement Solutions webinar, here is a quick reference to NEMA ratings.

Single and Dual Instrument Enclosure

NEMA 4 Enclosure provides a convenient way to mount single and dual instruments (1/8 DIN Package) to walls and other vertical structures. Choose between bottom or rear exit cable glands. Both 110V and DC power options available.

Single and Dual Channel Internal Mount Enclosure

The internally mounted plastic NEMA 4 enclosure for 1/8 DIN single and dual instrumentation provides a convenient way to mount to walls and other vertical structures. This enclosure provides a greater degree of protection than other enclosures because the instrument is mounted behind a clear polycarbonate cover. The cover is secured with four screws. Includes bottom exit cable glands.

Interface Enclosure Examples

Special Purpose Wireless Enclosure

NEMA 4 Enclosure for 1 or more instruments (1/8 Din Package) that accommodates WTS Wireless Instrument Model WTS-9812 and related wireless antennas. Compatible with the Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) which includes sensor transmitters, receivers, and displays. High accuracy, high quality measurement is interfaced with simple yet powerful configuration and monitoring software. The WTS gives sensor manufacturers and integrators the complete flexibility to build their own sensor modules around it. The system easily replaces wired systems, reducing installation and maintenance costs. Connect wireless to one or more WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cells.

Single Instrument Enclosure

This NEMA 4 Enclosure provides a convenient way to mount single instrument (1/8 DIN Package) to walls and other vertical structures. Choose between bottom or rear exit cable glands. Both 110V and DC power options available. The instrumentation panel of for this type of instrumentation are available for use with Interface Models 9825 General Purpose Indicator9890 Strain Gage Load Cell, Mv/V Indicator, 9894 Analog Input Process Indicator and others.

Dual Channel Benchtop Enclosure

Designed for benchtop and laboratory use, these enclosures provide an alternative to panel mounting of meters when an instrument panel is not available. Suitable for 1/8 DIN size dual instrumentation. Attractive, no-maintenance, black ABS polycarbonate material. They provide a finished instrument look to what would otherwise be isolated meters on a work bench or shelf. Cooling slits in top and bottom surfaces. Analog output connector option available.

Special Purpose Portable Systems

Custom Enclosure that can be built to accommodate customer requirement for any instrument or load cell type. Features and options available for custom system enclosures include:

  • Environmental Sealed Case with IP67 Rating
  • Custom Cut Foam Inserts
  • Instrumentation
  • Force Sensors – Standard, Engineered-to-Order and Custom
  • Cables and Connectors
  • Internal Battery Pack
  • Onboard Battery Charger
  • Internal
  • DC Power Charging Receptacle
  • AC Power Charging Receptacle
  • AC to DC Switch
  • Internal Cooling Fan

Watch to learn more

Rack Mount

Also available is a mounting rack that accommodates the BX8-HD15 BlueDAQ Series and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series. The mounting rack holds up to five BX8 lab enclosures. Simultaneous acquisition and evaluation of measured values up to 40 channels with key guard and synchronization cable (included in delivery).

Enclosures provide special sealing options to protect instrumentation from harsh or hazardous conditions. They are a perfect pairing with using sealed sensors including Interface’s Load Cells, S-Type Load Cells and Load Beams, Miniature Load Cells and Load Buttons, Coil Tubing Load Cells, Load Washers, Load Pins, Tension Links and Shackles.

To learn more about our enclosure options, please contact our application engineers.

Enclosures Brochure

Strain Gage Design Under Eccentric Load WRSGC Presentation

By Ashlesa Mohapatra, product design engineer, Interface

In the global marketplace, Interface is well known as providing the force measurement industry’s most reliable and accurate products. One of the key reasons that Interface consistently earns this recognition is because we manufacture our own strain gages. Products engineered and manufactured at Interface use our proprietary strain gages, and each designed for the specific transducer model based on the application type and environment for use.

As an example of our dedication to quality and excellence in performance as it pertains to strain gages, I recently shared a technical presentation on the negative effects of eccentric load and how strain gage design can reduce these challenges.

Below is a brief recap of this presentation made to the attendees of the Western Regional Strain Gage Committee meeting that took place in Tempe, Arizona in October 2022. The summary explains why strain gage design can make all the difference in quality versus poor performance with load cells.

Interface redesigned the strain gages on one of our mini load cells, the LBSU Miniature Load Cell Load Button, also known as our ConvexBT – The Most Innovative Load Button Load Cell. Our goal in the redesign was to create more controlled and repeatable loading, in turn creating a more predictable output. Our research focused on strain gage designs for load cells where mechanical moment compensation is not feasible.

The main challenge with this initiative was overcoming the errors associated with eccentric loading by making the installation process smoother through a redesign.  This is difficult because strain gages are very small in size and therefore more difficult to work with, in addition they are extremely sensitive to the environment with factors like temperature, humidity, cleanliness and electric interference all potentially effecting performance.

Before diving into the redesign, I would like to touch on eccentric loading and the errors it will cause, as well as the varied factors in strain gage manufacturing that can lead to errors causing eccentric load. There are two types of eccentricity: loading and mounting. Eccentric load results from improper loading or mounting of the strain gage, which leads to off-axis loads and bending. This causes several problems including distorted measurement results, decreased load cell accuracy, and diminishing life of the load cell.

When a strain gage is mounted on the load cell incorrectly or gages are badly bonded, it will almost always be an error source and contribute to mounting errors. Also, when strain gages are not bonded to the load cell at appropriate temperature and humidity, it leads to bubbles under the gage. Chemical composition of the strain gage is critical, such as the adhesive between the foil and backing, based on the application in which load cell will be used in a lab, machine, or testing program.

With these factors in mind, we set out on a redesign continuous improvement project. The previous design of this products strain gages was rectangular in shape. So, when the load cell was loaded, eccentrically or not, the strain field would not pass through because of shape. Therefore, we began to look at other shapes for our strain gage design, ultimately landing on a circular “diaphragm” style strain gage that allow strain fields to pass through.

One of the features of this newly designed strain gage is the proprietary adhesive foil we used to adhere the foil to the backing. This adhesive provided a great deal of benefit including a lower modulus of elasticity making it resilient to adhesive failure, and the elasticity also allows for better flow.

Another feature is the full bridge gage pattern we used that provides three key advantages. This includes fewer solder joints and reduced risk for electrical shorts due to simplified wiring, reduced symmetry error, and consistent thermal performance.

One process improvement we wanted to point out was that in our calibration process we only used 5V excitation voltage. Most manufacturers use 10V to calibrate their load cells. Due to lack of thermal mass in the thin diaphragm design of our strain gage, the zero will shift due to high voltage and low poor heat dissipation with 10V. We use a 5V excitation voltage to calibrate these miniature load cells instead of the alternative to prevent overheating of the cell.

To further improve the design, we enhanced the inspection process. Our diaphragm gages are quality inspected for accurate mounting with visual and electrical testing. Visual testing includes checking for air bubbles under the gage, badly bonded edges, unreliable solder connections and flux residues. Electrical tests include checking for electrical continuity and insulation resistance.

We then moved our attention to the circuit board. Some manufacturers use a circuit board in the cable due to the limited space within the cell to improve zero balance zero balance and to better compensate for temperature. However, bending or moving this cable would put pressure on the board and shift the zero. Therefore, we elected to install an abradable compensation resistors inside the flexure instead of the cable. This keeps the compensation resistor close to the gages and is intimately bonded to the body of the sensor to improve the reaction time of the cell to temperature.

To evaluate and confirm that our design was superior, we assessed three different strain gage styles: the rectangular gages (discreet gages), patch gages, and our diaphragm gage. Each of the gage styles were placed on three different load cells and loaded at one degree centricity. This test was run at 45 degree increments eight times. The results showed diaphragm style provided more reproducible result under eccentric load compared to other gages.

This was an interesting undertaking that taught the project team a lot about strain gage design and eccentric load. What I took away from this experience, other than a superior design for our ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells, is that any commercially successful product has a strong process behind it. You also need to have a clearly defined process that includes a continuous improvement plan. Interface Minis are a popular product line that has been around for many years. As soon as a product like this hits a point of stagnation, it will lose its hold on the market. I am proud of our team’s ability to avoid stagnation by taking critical steps to improving the Mini product line, maintaining our reputation for having the best quality, accurate and reliable products no matter the capacity available for precision force measurement.

Western Regional Strain Gage Committee (WRSGC), a technical division of the national Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM), was established to promote a free interchange of information about strain measurement techniques using strain gages.

Interface is a proud member and sponsor of WRSGC. Our engineers participate in the technical conferences, in both presentation and attendance. Interface’s Product Design Engineer Ashlesa Mohapatra presented at the event held in Arizona, October 17-19, 2022.

Faces of Interface Featuring Robert Hawk

In today’s Faces of Interface feature, we spoke with Robert Hawk, director of information technology (IT). He is responsible for keeping Interface’s business operational using all kinds of hardware and software, which is core to our fundamental success.

Robert was our very first IT guru at the company and since joining the company and has helped modernize our systems to keep our operations running smoothly. We sat down with Robert to learn about his background and get some insight on everything he does for Interface, our customers, our partners, and global network.

Robert’s background in the world of information technology started with his time in United States Army. He spent his early years in the service with the Infantry. When looking for new opportunities and challenges for his career, he switched his military specialty to Communications and IT, and he then transitioned to the Wyoming Army National Guard.

During his time with the National Guard, Robert worked as an Admin NCO for the 115th Fires Brigade and the IT Department at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base Medical Center. While doing all this, he also continued his support of the Communications and IT section as a Wyoming Army National Guard soldier serving on weekends. Thank you for your service! He obtained two Master of Science graduate degrees, one in Computer Information Systems and one in Computer Engineering.

Robert’s transition to the private sector was as an outsourced IT consultant, serving customers in Wyoming and then Arizona. It was a demanding role that required long hours and some travel; however, it was a wonderful experience. He decided that he wanted to spend more time with his family, and this is when he found Interface.

Interface hired Rob as our first official IT guy in 2014. In fact, which was the name of the role at the time – IT Guy! In the eight years since Rob joined Interface, he has brought our technology light years forward to meet the demands of a growing and thriving manufacturing technology brand leader. The company’s investments in IT allowed Rob to modernize our infrastructure, systems and vastly improve our digital efficiency internally, and with customers. One example is our transition from Windows 95 to Windows 11. He and his team are now rolling out an entire ERP system that will create huge efficiencies and capabilities for the 54-year-old business.

His role at Interface includes managing a team of nine information technology people who are responsible for ensuring the business and production is running smoothly, all the time for a 24/7 business. He is committed to always staying on the lookout for innovative technologies to help streamline operations, support continuous improvements, and help stay on the forefront of ways to engage with all stakeholders. He is also keen to keeping Interface on the forefront of information security.

One thing that you will certainly learn from Rob is that he loves his work because he enjoys helping Interface in their role of helping our customers achieve remarkable things across a wide variety of applications.

Robert is a bit of a workaholic, so part of his free time includes learning, recertifying, and reading up on the newest technologies. He is definitely an IT guy through and through. When he gets some time away, his hobbies include giving back to the military community through charity work with veteran’s organizations. He also loves to ride his motorcycle. Most importantly, he spends time with his three kids aged 21, 19 and 12. In fact, the 19-year-old works for us here at Interface!

Robert is a critical member of Interface’s team, and we could not provide the outstanding technology solutions we do without his work on our digital systems. We thank him for his dedication to his craft and to Interface! What keeps him up at night, keeps us running all day!

 

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

In engineering and manufacturing, when introducing a product onto the market the requirements and regulations can be immense. Each industry has strict guidelines to ensure safety, durability, quality, and overall customer satisfaction. To meet these requirements, most product and component maker will have experienced quality engineers to help meet the necessary requirements in production.

Quality Engineers work in a variety of industries including automotive, transportation, infrastructure, aerospace and defense, industrial automation, medical and healthcare devices, and consumer product manufacturing. Their role is to monitor, test, and report on the quality. They are also instrumental in strategy, process development, and increasing output. Depending on the position, they are responsible for inspecting and testing raw materials, components, mechanical systems, hardware and software, as well as final products.

The Quality Engineer works with manufacturers, developers, project managers. Commonly, they are aligned with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure manufactured products and fabrication processes meet quality standards, safety regulations, and satisfy all stakeholders. They are the safeguard for companies that are creating, building and distributing products and materials.

Accuracy of testing and measurement data is fundamental to quality engineers. Critical to quality assurance and control processes, quality engineers rely heavily on all types of Interface high-accuracy load cells, weighing systems, and instrumentation for force measurement quality systems. Manufacturing quality engineers rely on products from Interface to test both products and equipment on a manufacturing line to ensure they perform reliably and meet certain safety standards.

Force measurement systems also make role of a quality engineer easier through the use of accurate data. This is because force measurement often enables automated, real-time monitoring of many processes used in the making of things. Interface precision load cells are used to monitor assembly line machine processes, test and monitor automation equipment like robotics, and weighcheck systems, and ruggedized equipment for quality control onsite and in remote locations.

Included below are a few examples of how force measurement systems are used in quality engineering.

Medical Device Interventional Guidewire Quality Inspection

A medical device manufacturer needs to do quality checks on threaded ends of their interventional guidewire devices. The threaded end of the guidewire contains an extremely small 000-120 thread that needs to be tested with go and no-go gauges in order to see if it will mate with other critical subassemblies. They requested a custom made turnkey test stand that is both inexpensive and flexible for varying lengths and models of guidewires.  Interface suggests a system where the customer can axially load and insert the guidewire through the MRT Miniature Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer, secure it, and use an automated stepper motor on a slide base to test the thread quality. When in use, the MRT measures the torque magnitudes of both no-go and go gauges which indicate quality of the threaded guidewire.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine Quality Monitoring

One aspect of quality in the consumer packaged goods space is ensuring equal distributions of individually wrapped snack bags such as chips or candy. When snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process, Interface offered a solution. We suggested multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells, and installed them to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer is able to control the automated production from their command center. The customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged utilizing this machine.

Vehicle Crash Test Load Cell Wall Quality Inspection

A facility wanted to do crash tests on their vehicles for quality inspection. There are multiple tests such as structural testing of the vehicle, developmental tests, and regulatory and compliance tests and they needed to measure the force of the vehicle crash tests, on all axes. Interface’ suggested using multiple 3A400 3-Axis Force Load Cells, and attach it to the back of a cement crash wall. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Interface BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System, force result measurements will be recorded and displayed with the customer’s PC or laptop. The customer was able to measure the force of impact for all of their different vehicle crash testing demonstrations.

The applications of force measurements for quality engineers are large, and the necessity of obtaining this data is critical to creating, safe, reliable and high-quality products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

The Five Critical Factors of Load Cell Quality

Our Reputation is Defined by Our Industry-Leading Quality

Interface Solutions for Research and Development

Digital Instrumentation 101

Digital instrumentation used for test and measurement provides faster data input and output, and more robust analytics. Interface offers several types of digital instrumentation devices that transform load cell and strain bridge input into digital data output in numerous protocols and bus formats.

Instrumentation that utilizes analog output has long been the standard in the industry. As new requirements for use cases and applications grow, test and measurement engineers and professionals find digital instrumentation advantageous because of the lower cost, easy integration and scalability. They also like the advantage of daisy-chaining multiple sensors together on a single cable run.

Advancements in sensor technologies coincide with growing demands to gather more testing data. This is seen through the use of multi-axis sensors, along with requirements for multi-channel instrumentation that can integrate into existing systems already designed with specific digital connections and protocols, as highlighted in using Interfaces BX8 with our 6-Axis sensors. Change is also coming with a strong desire to utilize instrumentation that can easily work within cable free environments or in remote locations.

In addition to improving speed of data output, digital instrumentation offers an abundance of benefits. This is primarily due to the digital signal, as they are less susceptible to noise and are more secure. Digital instrumentation typically has built in error detection. Digital signals are best for transmitting signals across longer distances or when you need to allow for simultaneous multi-directional transmissions. Many people like the ease of integration, both into existing networks as well as with other testing devices.

Types of Interface Digital Instrumentation

  • Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
  • Portable and Programmable Indicators
  • Battery Powered Indicators and Bidirectional Indicators
  • Single and Multi-Channel Transmitters
  • Controllers and Programmable Controllers
  • USB Output Modules
  • PC Interface Modules
  • Sensor to USB Output Converters
  • Data Acquisition Systems
  • Wireless Instrumentation

Connection options available for Interface Digital Instrumentation include, RS232, RS485, RS422, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, and Ethernet Protocols. The types of data output protocols available include ASCII, Modbus, CANopen, DeviceNet, Profibus DP Modbus/TCP, Ethernet TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT and several others. See the complete list of connections and protocols in our Digital Instrumentation Overview.

Top selling digital instrumentation models from Interface, with many available in various protocols:

Do you have questions about the type of instrumentation that will support your application?  You can see more of the solutions by visiting our instrumentation selection guide.  Here are six questions begin evaluating your instrumentation options:

  • Where are you going to connect your sensor technology and how?
  • Do you need to store your data?
  • Do you prefer an analog or digital output device?
  • Are you going to plug-in your instrumentation or use hand-held, wireless or Bluetooth connectivity?
  • How will your data output be displayed?
  • How many channels do you need for your project or program?

For additional help with instrumentation, please contact our application engineers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Digital Instrumentation for Force Measurement

Ultimate BlueDAQ Software Guide for Interface Instrumentation

Interface Instrumentation Definitions

Instrumentation Selection Guide

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar

Interface Instructional on Instrumentation Event

Instrumentation

Force Measurement Installation Guides

Interface is a long-time provider of the world’s most accurate and reliable force measurement products. Our sensor and instrumentation solutions are used across industries to test and monitor everything from critical infrastructure and to advanced robotics. Innovators and engineers know that our quality is unmatched. However, any measurement device manufacturer nor superior quality of a product can save users from poor performance when making this one critical mistake, poor installation.

Proper installation is one of the absolute keys to reliable and accurate test data and successful measurement programs. This is true for any type of test and measurement protocol, in particular utilizing force measurement.

Preparing for any installation for any load cell force or weighing measurement system is dependent of the integrity of the physical installation, interconnection of the components, following proper performance of the system components, and calibration.

Installation success is such an important topic, we asked Interface engineers and application experts for their thoughts on the top reasons why proper installation is critical to a successful test or vice versa. They also shared helpful guidance on why improper installation can be so damaging.

  • Poor installation can lead to damaging the load cell, so to protect your investment follow the installation instructions that a accompany your product.
  • When we provide performance metrics on our product, it is based on our in-house calibration. When improperly installed, you will not be hitting the performance numbers you need during use.
  • Improper installation can cause overload which can not only damage the load cell, but also create unsafe working conditions.
  • Installation guides not only give you the proper installation techniques, but they also provide the correct order for installation.
  • And our favorite tip, and the most relatable, “Improper installation with ultimately lead to headaches!

Installation can also vary widely between load cells and other force measurement solutions. Each product has different processes depending on the mounting components, the application being tested or monitored, the environment in which the application is being tested or monitored, and more. It is important to carefully review any materials provided with the instrumentation and sensor.

Interface provides a wide variety of installation guides, instructions and technical support online. You can find these instruction guides by visiting our support installation and manuals option.

In addition, we have resources providing clear explanation on installation and its importance. Recently, our video and blog series titled, I’ve Got A Load cell – Now What? Part 6 – Usage & Best Practices, includes in-depth information on installation and mounting.

Mechanical Installation Tips

Once you have your load cell hooked up and your instrumentation scale, it is time to put it to work. You want to review the attachment, including thread engagement and mounting. If you are threading into the live end, the center hub on the low profile load cell, make sure you have enough threads engaging into the load cell itself. We recommend that you thread it into where the studs bottom out, then back up a half a turn. Next step is to preload tension load by about 130% of capacity and jam the jam nut. We want to ensure that we do not have any repeatability issues due to thread engagement of the flexure. If you cannot provide a preload, reference the torque values in the installation guide.

Mounting to Base, Structure or Plate Tips

  • Use Grade 8 or Better Hardware
  • Mount to Total Flatness of .002″
  • R30-33 Hardness Scale
  • Follow the star patter to proper torque values
  • Preinstalled Bases

Interface bases help in making integration to any assembly much easier. Interface manufactures bases with the same high-performance materials and specifications for hardness and flatness as our load cells. The bases offer threaded holes, which make it easier for mechanics like hydraulic actuators.

We also offer several references for troubleshooting. Two important considerations to review during set-up are the mechanical and electrical installation requirements.

Mechanical Installation Troubleshooting: Load cells not mounted in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations may not perform to specifications. It is important to review the mounting surfaces, hardware, and orientation during the installation.

Electrical Installation Troubleshooting: Proper load cell performance is depending upon the electrical system. The areas to inspect during any install are the connections, cables, settings of excitation voltage and loading of the bridge circuit.

We urge that to get the most out of your new load cell to reference the materials provided in the installation guides. If you have any questions, Interface is also here to help. Feel free to reach out to your local representatives and distributors or call us directly at 480-948-5555 to speak with an engineer to help solve your installation challenges.

Weighing Sensor Applications and Innovative Use Cases

The advancements in sensor technologies have expanded the capabilities of how accurate data can improve performance of weighing equipment, tools, machines, components, and products. Design and manufacturing engineers are using precision weight measurements today with higher frequency to improve durability, usability, and reliability.

What has changed in the last decade that has spurred this high demand for weighing sensor technologies? Primarily it is related to the capabilities and features. This includes the ruggedization of load cell form factors to withstand harsh conditions, wireless capabilities to transmit and analyze data for continuous monitoring, smaller sensors like load buttons, ease of use and installation, and submersible options. There is also a growing requirement to design weighing sensors into a product to activate components for real-time user feedback and ensure safety.

Examples of how sensors in weighing applications are supporting innovation are abundant. Manufacturers utilize weight in design, build and supply. Defined weight is used in most product specifications, which requires precise accuracy in measurement. Utilizing precision force sensing solutions and instrumentation allows product engineers and manufacturers of all types to collect data in real time. IoT enabled weighing and scale solutions are frequently used in the modernization of products and industrial automation.

Interface supplies highly accurate and reliable load cells and sensor technologies for weighing and scale solutions. Industry use cases range from medical bag weighing to ice machine weighing. Weighing and scales must be dependable and always provide correct data. Precision sensors are a critical part of this requirement.

Common Weighing Use Cases for Advanced Sensor Technologies

  • Center of gravity testing
  • Inventory management and control
  • Batching and packaging
  • Check weighing
  • Process control
  • Sample testing and material testing
  • Equipment safety monitoring
  • Transporta tion technologies
  • All types of scales

The abilities to use precision weighing sensor devices in the form of load pins, load shackles, tension links, load beams, miniature load cells, and wireless load cells continues to expand the boundaries beyond what has been known as test and measurement. Facilities and cities use connected force sensing trash receptacles for optimizing schedules of waste management companies to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.  Innovative smart pallet force sensing helps to track products and goods at the dock to reduce expenses and increase productivity. Silo weighing for inventory management. Setpoints are configured to automatically generate purchase orders when product levels fall below a defined threshold.

Additional applications recently featured in Weighing Your Options Webinar demonstrate how Interface weighing solutions support breakthrough use cases and inventive new products. Here are a few examples of these weighing applications.

Tank Weighing and Center of Gravity Using Weighcheck Load Cells

Interface’s customer needs to monitor the amount of material in a tank by weight and locate the center of gravity. The proposed solution is to use Interface’s A4200 Zinc Plated or A4600 Stainless Steel Weighcheck Load Cells, along with Interface instrumentation 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller. Interface provided a solution that monitors the amount of material by weight in their tank while locating the center of gravity. Watch as Ken Bishop demonstrates the A4200 and A4600 weighcheck load cells  https://youtu.be/G6NA84I73Zo .

Produce Weighing Using Platform Scale Load Cells

A customer owns and operates a fruit packaging plant. They want to weigh the bins full of fruit that are loaded onto conveyor belts that transfer the fruit to other steps of the distribution process. Interface suggests installing SPI Low Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells, along with WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, in the center of the platforms the bins of fruit are loaded on. The WTS-AM-1E’s wirelessly transmit the data collected from the SPI’s to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, and the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to a computer. Results can be graphed, logged, and seen during operation using this system.

Livestock Weighing System Use Sealed Beam Load Cells

A rancher wants to accurately weigh their cows for multiple reasons. They want to make sure their cows are at a healthy weight and want to maintain their weight. But they also want to know the optimal time for breeding based on the weight of their livestock. Interface’s solution is to bolt four SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells at the bottom of a metal platform, that is placed on the inside of the customer’s cattle cage. Once the cow has walked onto the plate, the SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells will measure the force pressure applied. With all four connected to JB104SS Junction Box, which is then connected to the 480 Bidirectional Weight Indicator combined accurate weight results for real-time display.

Crane Weighing Verification Using Wireless Tension Link Load Cells

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 helps to avoid long cables and for faster installation time. Interface WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cells can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules also can 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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Cranes and Lifting

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing

CPG Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine

Weighing Your Options Webinar Recap

CPG Veterinary Weighing Scales

CPG Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing

CPG Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing App Note