Force Sensors Automate Safety Systems in Industrial Facilities

Automation has become a critical facet of the industrial sector as companies utilize robotics, cobots, IoT, and other sensing technologies to improve efficiency and output. However, production is not the only area of manufacturing benefiting from automation.

Worker safety and equipment monitoring are also getting a major boost from automation. Measurement sensors enable this new safety and alarm system automation wave.

Interface sensors have long been used to help automate monitoring systems in industrial machines found in manufacturing facilities. These sensors can help provide accurate data for continuous process controls of various machines on a production line or elsewhere. Deviations in that data identify issues where a machine may need to shut down or come down for maintenance abruptly. The automation functions enabled by sensors drive efficiency by notifying engineers before any disruption to production while also improving safety by avoiding malfunctions that could put workers at risk.

As the collaborative use of automation and technology has progressed, so have regulations around worker safety within industrial facilities. Robust safety systems, built with force and other sensor tech, are growing in use and application. The systems and sensor-enabled equipment are pervasive in manufacturing, whether part of cobots working on the production line or designing and testing equipment to move packages in a warehouse. Accurate measurement is quintessential to workplace safety and automation.

Included below is a list of some of the systems and machines that utilize Interface force sensors in both the testing and monitoring stages to improve workplace safety:

  • Lockout and Safety Alarms
  • Overload Protection for Heavy Equipment
  • Weighing and Scale Device Alarms
  • Industrial and Collaborative Robots (Cobots)
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
  • Assembly Line Equipment and Conveyor Belts
  • Crane and Lift Equipment Systems and Monitoring
  • Automated Palletizing Systems
  • Industrial Presses
  • Filling Machines
  • Testing and Inspection Equipment
  • Ergonomic Workstations and Tool Safety

The main benefits of using force sensing within these applications include the precision and accuracy of data, the ability to optimize processing using this data (especially over time), The ability to design automated safety measures based on collected data in real time, and the ability to optimize quality control in real-time. Here’s how:

Precision and Accuracy: Load cells and torque transducers provide highly accurate measurements of force and rotation, respectively. This allows for precise control of automated machinery, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing errors. Less rework and higher-quality products contribute to a safer work environment, as there’s less chance of operators needing to fix mistakes or handle malfunctioning equipment.

Process Optimization: Manufacturers can gain valuable insights into their machines’ operations by precisely measuring forces and torques. This data can be used to optimize processes, identify inefficiencies, and reduce waste. Optimized processes with smoother operation result in fewer chances of equipment malfunction and potential safety hazards.

Safety Measures: Interface sensor devices can be designed into automated machines, tools, and equipment to measure safety during use. For example, our transducers can detect overloads or excessive torque, which could lead to equipment failure and injure workers. These sensors help prevent accidents and create a safer work environment by triggering alarms or automatic shutdowns.

As noted, safety measures are required with collaborative robots in industrial facilities. Safety testing and equipment monitoring are needed to ensure humans and robots can work together. In this example, Interface suggests using four 3-axis Force Load Cells (creating one 6-axis Force Plate) installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. By installing a 6-axis force plate under the cobot and two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells in the pinchers of the cobot, if a human were to knock into the cobot or have a limb stuck in the pincher, the cobot would sense the amount of force measured from the load cells and be programmed to stop immediately. This safety and automation solution protects the equipment and, most importantly, the worker.

Quality Control: Accurate measurement of forces and torques allows for real-time product quality monitoring. This enables manufacturers to identify and address any deviations from specifications early in production, reducing the risk of defective products reaching the customer. Fewer defective products mean less chance of needing rework or repairs later, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Force sensor technology has played a key role in the evolution of modern industrial facilities as a tool to improve production while benefiting quality and powering workplace safety and health. It is one of the backbone solutions found in automation systems, and it offers highly accurate data to not only benefit real-time monitoring but also improve processes over time. Find additional manufacturing solutions and applications here.


Powering Up Precision Machine Building and Automation Webinar

Industrial Automation

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Automation and Robotics Demands Absolute Precision

Cobot Safety Programming

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Crane Block Safety Check App Note

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore


Interface Load Cells 301 Characteristics and Applications Guide

The Interface Load Cells 301 Guide is a technical resource and a practical tool for test engineers and measurement device users. It equips you with comprehensive insights into load cell performance and optimization, empowering you to design and execute specific test plans confidently.

Our team of application experts and load cell engineers, with their deep understanding and extensive experience, delve into critical topics. They provide technical explanations, visualizations, and scientific details that are informative and reliable, ensuring you understand and maximize the functionality of load cells in diverse applications.


  • Load Cell Stiffness
  • Load Cell Natural Frequency: Lightly Loaded Case
  • Load Cell Natural Frequency: Heavily Loaded Case
  • Contact Resonance
  • Application of Calibration Loads: Conditioning the Cell
  • Application of Calibration Loads: Impacts and Hysteresis
  • Test Protocols and Calibrations
  • Application of In-Use Loads: On-Axis Loading
  • Control of Off-Axis Loads
  • Reducing Extraneous Loading Effects by Optimizing Design
  • Overload Capacity with Extraneous Loading
  • Impact Loads

Learn how the inherent stiffness of load cells affects performance under different loading conditions. Use this guide to investigate load cell natural frequency in our analysis of lightly and heavily loaded scenarios to comprehend how to load variations influence frequency response.

Contact resonance is another crucial aspect covered extensively in this guide. Gain an understanding of this vital principle and its implications for accurate measurements. The effect of contact resonance can be minimized using high-quality rod end bearings and a higher capacity load cell to increase the load cell stiffness.

Additionally, we discuss the application of calibration loads, emphasizing the importance of conditioning the cell and addressing impacts and hysteresis during calibration procedures. Any transducer that depends upon the deflection of a metal for its operation, such as a load cell, torque transducer, or pressure transducer, retains a history of its previous loadings. This effect occurs because the minute motions of the crystalline structure of the metal, small as they are, have a frictional component that shows up as hysteresis.

Test protocols and calibrations are thoroughly examined, providing sensible guidelines for ensuring precision and reliability in measurement processes.

TIP: Load cells are routinely conditioned in one mode (either tension or compression) and then calibrated in that mode. If a calibration in the opposite mode is also required, the cell is conditioned in that mode before the second calibration. Thus, the calibration data reflects the cell’s operation only when it is conditioned in the mode in question.

We also delve into the application of in-use loads, focusing on on-axis loading techniques and strategies for controlling off-axis loads to enhance measurement accuracy. We explore methods for reducing extraneous loading effects by optimizing design, offering valuable insights into mitigating external influences on load cell performance.

TIP: All on-axis loadings generate some off-axis extraneous components, no matter how small. The amount of this extraneous loading is a function of the parts’ tolerance in the machine or load frame’s design, the precision with which the components are manufactured, the care with which the machine elements are aligned during assembly, the rigidity of the load-bearing parts, and the adequacy of the attaching hardware.

Overload capacity with extraneous loading and dealing with impact loads are also discussed in detail to equip engineers with the knowledge needed to safeguard load cells against adverse conditions.

TIP: One profound effect of off-axis loading is reducing the cell’s overload capacity. The typical 150% overload rating on a standard load cell or the 300% overload rating on a fatigue-rated cell is the allowed load on the primary axis without concurrent side loads, moments, or torques applied to the cell.

The Interface Load Cells 301 Guide is not just a resource but an influential tool for anyone using load cell technology. The information helps you optimize performance, enhance accuracy, and ensure the reliability of measurement systems in various applications, making it an essential asset for any test engineer or measurement device user.

You can find other helpful Interface guides here. Our exclusive 101 Series explores the ins and outs of force measurement. Subscribe and follow our updates.

Additional Resources

Interface Load Cells 201 General Procedures Guide

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Introducing Interface Load Cell Selection Guides

Interface Load Cell Field Guide

Interface Load Cell 301 Guide- 2024 Edition

Force Makes the Circular Economy Go Around

What is a circular economy? Manufacturers and innovators are taking new approaches to reduce resource consumption and address environmental challenges. The circular economy is a model in which resources are recycled from waste into products. These resources are redesigned, reused, and remanufactured. This economic model aims to minimize waste, continuing to create a sustainable environment.

Interface’s force sensor products are used in different facilities and resource manufacturing processes within the circular economy. Our load cells and instrumentation measure and monitor forces, loads, and weight within the tools, robotics, and machinery used to optimize resources. Our sensors are also commonly used to test new products for material strength, fatigue lifecycle, quality, and function.

Interface high-accuracy test and measurement solutions are critical as organizations, and the general public become more focused on sustainability and developing innovations that improve our environmental footprint. These sensors allow companies to create better, safer, and higher-quality products that support recycling, limit the resources used, and find new ways to reuse products and materials.

Circular Economy Applications Using Interface Force Sensors

Waste Sorting and Recycling: Load cells are employed in waste sorting facilities and recycling centers to measure and monitor the weight of materials. This data helps optimize sorting processes, ensuring that recyclable materials are separated efficiently from non-recyclable waste. By accurately measuring the weight of recyclables, load cells assist in the recycling process, promoting resource recovery.

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs): Load cells are utilized in MRFs to track the flow of materials through the recycling process. They measure the weight of materials at different stages, such as when they are dumped onto conveyor belts or compacted into bales for transport. This information is crucial for monitoring recycling rates and improving the overall efficiency of recycling operations.

Product Lifecycle Analysis: Load cells can track the weight of products and materials at various stages. This data is valuable for conducting product lifecycle assessments (LCA) to understand the environmental impact of products and identify opportunities for reusing or recycling components, thereby reducing waste and conserving resources.

Resource Optimization in Manufacturing: In manufacturing processes, load cells are used to ensure precise material usage and to control the number of raw materials used in production. This minimizes waste, helps maintain product quality, and reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing. READ: Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Waste-to-Energy and Biogas Production: Load cells are used in waste-to-energy facilities and biogas plants to measure the weight of waste materials and organic feedstocks. This data assists in optimizing energy production while diverting waste from landfills.

Food Waste Reduction: Load cells are employed in commercial kitchens, restaurants, and production facilities to measure food waste. This information can be used to track and reduce food waste, promoting more sustainable food management practices.

Closed-Loop Supply Chains: In closed-loop supply chains, where products are designed for reuse or remanufacturing, load cells can play a role in measuring the condition and wear of components, helping determine when maintenance, refurbishment, or remanufacturing is necessary, extending the product’s life.

Optimizing Waste Sorting with Interface Load Cells

Inefficient sorting of recyclables in Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) leads to contamination of recycled materials. This reduces the quality of the recycled product and increases costs for reprocessors. Integrate Interface miniature s-type load cells into conveyor belts at MRFs. These sensors can weigh materials in real time as they move along the conveyor.  The SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures and monitors the weight of the materials. The WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module captures and transmits the results to the customer’s computer using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

The weight data is used to identify and separate materials. By setting weight thresholds, the system can trigger sorting mechanisms to divert different materials (e.g., plastics, metals, glass) into designated bins, improving the purity of the recycled streams. Real-time weight data allows for adjustments to conveyor speed and sorting mechanisms to handle surges in material flow or variations in material density. This reduces downtime and improves overall sorting efficiency. By recovering more high-quality recyclables, MRFs can divert waste from landfills, potentially reducing tipping fees.

Precise Disassembly for Remanufacturing with Interface Load Cells

Traditional methods can damage components during product disassembly for remanufacturing, reducing their reusability. This necessitates using clean materials for replacements, hindering the circular economy loop. The sensors can precisely measure the forces applied during disassembly by implementing Interface load cells into robotic disassembly lines.

Force data is used to control robotic disassembly actions. By monitoring the force applied, robots can carefully disassemble products without damaging components, allowing more parts to be reused in remanufactured products. For example, ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells can be used in the grips of the robotic arm to measure the amount of pressure being applied to the object it is lifting and moving. The DMA2 DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner converts the signal received from the ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells from mV/V to volts to the PLC Controller, which tells the robotic arm to stop clamping pressure when a specified amount of pressure is applied to the object.

Force data analysis can help identify areas for improvement in the disassembly process, such as adjusting robot gripper pressure or tool design. This reduces the risk of component damage and improves disassembly efficiency. By facilitating the recovery and reuse of components, Interface load cells help extend the lifespan of products and reduce reliance on clean materials.

These are just two examples of how Interface load cells can be utilized in the circular economy. By improving sorting efficiency, optimizing disassembly processes, and reducing reliance on clean materials, Interface load cells play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable future.

Interface’s load cells assist in precisely measuring forces and loads during product disassembly, refurbishment, and remanufacturing. Integrating force sensors into ways to help reduce resource consumption helps create and promote a more sustainable environment.


Waste Management Container Weighing

Interface Solutions for Waste Management Applications

Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Biomass Handling

Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Production on Earth and Beyond

Strain Testing 101

Strain refers to the deformation or change in shape a material experiences due to applied stress. It’s essentially a measure of how much the material stretches, compresses, or shears (distorts) in response to a force.

Strain is quantified as the ratio of change in length to the original length, expressed as a percentage or decimal. Strain is a unitless quantity, often expressed as a percentage or decimal. On the other hand, stress refers to the internal force per unit area acting within a material due to an applied external force. It essentially quantifies the intensity of the internal forces resisting deformation.

Interface tension and compression load cells are used for strain testing across multiple industries. It is very common in general test and measurement applications.

Material scientists and engineers measure the change in a sample as it is stretched or squashed. This measurement is often used in material tests to determine durability and the ability to withstand different degrees of strain up to crushing forces.

Top Reasons to Use Strain Tests

#1 – Material Selection and Design Optimization: Strain testing helps engineers choose the most suitable material for a specific application. By understanding a material’s behavior under stress, they can select one that offers the desired strength, flexibility, and resistance to deformation. This knowledge also allows optimizing designs to ensure parts don’t overstress or underperform.

#2 – Strength and Durability Evaluation: Strain testing provides valuable data on a material’s yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and elastic limit. This information is crucial for assessing a material’s overall strength and durability. It helps engineers predict how a material will perform under real-world loads and ensure it can withstand the forces it will encounter during its service life.

#3 – Quality Control and Consistency: Strain testing is a valuable tool for quality control in manufacturing processes. It allows manufacturers to ensure their materials and products meet specific strength and performance standards. By testing samples from each production batch, they can identify any inconsistencies or weaknesses and take corrective actions to maintain consistent product quality.

#4 – Failure Analysis and Safety Improvement: Strain testing can analyze material failures after they occur. By understanding the type and location of the strain at the point of failure, engineers can determine the root cause of the problem. This information can be used to improve material selection, design, or manufacturing processes to prevent similar failures in the future, enhancing overall product safety.

#5 – Cost Savings: While strain testing requires an initial investment, it can lead to significant cost savings in the long run. Companies can avoid costly product failures and rework by selecting the right materials, optimizing designs, and ensuring quality control. Strain testing also helps prevent over-engineering, where unnecessarily strong materials are used, leading to heavier and more expensive products.

Strain testing is a crucial technique for engineers and material scientists, offering valuable insights into a material’s behavior. It measures the deformation, or elongation, a sample experiences when stretched (tension) or compressed. This information is vital for determining a material’s durability, strength, and resistance to crushing forces. Load cells play a crucial role in this process.

Strain testing relies on load cells to convert the force applied to specimens, materials, and structures into a measurable electrical signal. During stress testing, when force is applied, the body deforms slightly, causing the resistance of the strain gages to change. This change in resistance is then converted into a voltage output, which can be precisely measured throughout the entire test and up to the object’s destruction.

By measuring strain under controlled loading conditions, engineers can determine a material’s yield strength, the point at which it permanently deforms. Strain tests can calculate the maximum stress a material can withstand before breaking and evaluate the stress level beyond which the material will not return to its original shape after unloading.

Industry Use Cases of Strain Testing

  • Construction: Evaluating the strength of concrete, steel beams, and other building materials to ensure structural integrity. Learn more about our construction solutions.
  • Aerospace: Testing the ability of aircraft components like wings and fuselage to withstand extreme forces during flight. Read about our aircraft solutions.
  • Automotive: Assessing the durability of car parts like frames, axles, and suspension components under stress. Check out our auto-testing solutions.
  • Medical Devices: Verifying the strength and flexibility of implants, stents, and other medical equipment used in the human body. Explore our medical device solutions.
  • Consumer Goods: Ensuring the robustness of everyday products like furniture, sporting equipment, and electronic devices. Review different consumer product solutions.

Load cells provide invaluable data for material selection, design optimization, and ensuring product safety and performance across various industries. It’s a powerful tool that helps us understand the durability of materials and ensures they can withstand the forces they’ll encounter in the real world.


Strain Testing Solutions

Concrete Compression Testing

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Strain Gages 101

Prosthetics Load and Fatigue Testing App Note

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing App Note

Beam Stress Test


New Interface Accessories Selection Guide

Interface Accessories support full functionality and accurate use of your Interface equipment, including calibration systems, instrumentation, load cells, and torque transducers.

We provide various sensors, instrumentation, and calibration accessories, from shielded cables, mating connectors, and couplings to load cell simulators, TEDS, and resistors.

Accessories are available in many design configurations. Our new Accessories Selection Guide will help you complete your project design with the highest performance. Use this guide to combine available accessories designed for the specific measurement products.

Get Started Using the New Accessories Selection Guide

Accessories Guide for Calibration Systems

Accessories Guide for Instrumentation

Accessories Guide for Load Cells

Accessories Guide for Torque Transducers

Accessories assist with the reliability and performance of load cells and torque transducers. We also offer several different enclosures, from benchtop enclosures to wall-mount enclosures to sealed internal-mount enclosures for single and dual instruments.

Our top and bottom plates distribute the load over the support structure foundation, providing a prepared surface for the load cell. Precisely machined clevises, jam nuts, thread adapters, mounting plates, and rod end bearings provide rigid connections and reduce alignment errors.


The Interface Accessories Guide is a valuable tool for navigating our extensive line of accessories. Save time and use this new guide to determine which accessories are best suited for your application, whether for a load cell, torque transducer, instrumentation, or calibration system.

Important considerations when buying a new measurement device include:

  1. How and where do you plan to connect to Interface devices?
  2. Do you have the right cable to pair with your device?
  3. Are adapters necessary to make the product fit your application?
  4. Will you be mounting the device to a hardened, flat surface?
  5. How will you be monitoring the instrument’s performance?
  6. Are enclosures helpful to protect your instruments?

Along with your specific application requirements, these questions will assist you in determining where to begin your search for the right accessories.  Use the new Interface Accessories Selection Guide or contact our experienced Application Engineers to determine which accessories support your application.


The Convenience of Interface Portable Instrumentation Devices

Due to their flexibility, portable instrumentation devices are ideal for test and measurement projects and programs. Interface offers a wide range of portable devices designed to help our customers take advantage of the power of Interface solutions wherever they are needed: in the field, at a workbench, or in the test lab.

Portable devices can be easily transported and set up in various locations. This allows measurements to be taken on-site, eliminating the need for a single testing location. Common use cases for portable devices are continuous monitoring applications.

Additionally, portable instruments are user-friendly and require minimal setup, making them ideal for field applications or quick spot checks. Their compact size suits them for tight spaces or situations where benchtop instruments are impractical.

Wireless Handheld Display Options

First, we have our Wireless Telemetry System lineup of products known as WTS displays. Each of these products offers portability and convenience. The WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters is roaming handheld, allowing the operator to cycle the display between all available transmitter modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry systems. 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.

Additional models include the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display For Unlimited Transmitters and the popular WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. Standard features for the WTS-BS series include:

  • Simple Operation
  • Single, Multiple, and Unlimited Transmitter Modules
  • Tare Function
  • Auto Shutdown
  • Rugged Construction

Portable Sensor Display

The 9325 Portable Sensor Display allows a simple display of strain bridge-based measurements such as load cells, torque transducers, and other mV/V output transducers with sensitivity up to +/-1 V/V. Up to six calibration ranges allow different tension and compression loading modes or additional sensors. Each calibration range will remember settings contributing to the user experience, such as selected units and tare values. Full configuration is available with a PC-based toolkit. Some simple configurations, such as two-point calibration, are available from the handheld using the menu system. The 9325NU Portable Sensor Display does not include the USB option. Primary 9325 Sensor Display features include:

  • Superior Linearity Performance Specifications
  • Measurement Rate up to 2400 Samples per Second
  • High Internal Resolution (up to 500,000 counts)
  • IP64 Environmentally Protected Enclosure
  • Battery Powered (Long Battery Life)
  • 128 x 64 Graphical Display with Backlight
  • Supports TEDS Template 33, 40, and 41
  • Live Calibration
  • Standard Audio Alarm
  • CE Environmental Approved

The applications for portable devices are vast, encompassing everything from environmental monitoring and quality control to troubleshooting machinery and building maintenance. With their versatility and ease of use, portable instrumentation devices are valuable for any test and measurement professional. Check out Interface’s easy-to-use Instrumentation Selection Guide to find the best solution for your specific applications.

Inventory Weighing Using Portable Instrumentation Solutions

Effective management of inventory is crucial for businesses. Maintaining precise records can be challenging when monitoring and managing stock from a distance is necessary. A weight-based inventory management system is needed in real-time. Interface suggests installing MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cells under each corner of the inventory shelves for this challenge. A JB104SS 4-Channel Stainless Steel Junction Box is connected to each load cell and to a WTS-AM-1E that wirelessly transmits the sum weight to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters. Results can be displayed, logged, and graphed seen in real time. Customers can use this solution to effectively monitor and manage their inventory using Interface’s force sensors. It also reduces labor expenses and fewer errors, enhancing overall productivity.

jib crane carrying a heavy load

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring with Portable Handheld Display

Jib cranes are used to move or carry heavy loads, as they are attached to a vertical mast or strong support structure. A tension monitoring system is needed to ensure the lifted loads do not exceed the jib crane’s capacity. Interface’s WTSATL-JR Aluminum Compact Wireless Tension Link can be attached to the cable of the jib crane. When a heavy load is placed at the end of the jib crane, the force results are wirelessly transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters. Using this solution, the customer could monitor the cable tension forces of the jib crane to ensure it did not reach its maximum capacity.

Catenary Mooring System with Interface Portable Display

A customer had a catenary mooring system used for various offshore applications. They needed to ensure the anchors and chains were securely locked to the node. They also needed to measure the strength and fatigue of the main node the chains and anchors attach to so they did not risk any mooring lines breaking or the node being damaged. Depending on how many points there are on the node, Interface’s special submersible ISHK-B Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackles were attached to the node. The chains and anchors are then attached to the shackles. The shackles measure the forces implemented by the chains and anchors, and results are displayed, logged, and graphed using the 9325-1 Portable Sensor Display. This instrument also has supplied software to connect to the customer’s PC. Interface’s submersible shackles and instrumentation helped verify the tensions of the anchors and chains attached to the node of their catenary mooring system.


The Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar Recap

Digital Instrumentation 101

Interface Instrumentation Definitions

Introducing New Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar


Understanding the Anatomy of Fatigue Failure

Interface’s specialized fatigue-rated load cells are commonly used for fatigue testing. This test and measurement application, sometimes called lifecycle testing, determines how long the product can endure while performing its normal function.

Fatigue testing validates safe and reliable product designs and structures and is also used to determine the point of destruction. By understanding the fatigue behavior of materials, components, and assemblies, engineers can design products resistant to fatigue failure.

Critical to fatigue testing is the quality of the measurement device. Understanding the load cell’s electrical, mechanical, and performance specifications is important before using it in any fatigue testing. This first step helps confirm the load cell is designed and capable of withstanding the cycling and load requirements of the test—in other words, to ensure the load cell doesn’t fail during fatigue testing.

Interface force measurement experts detail the anatomy of fatigue failure in our popular Interface Load Cell Field Guide. The ultimate load cell resource is available for download here.

Fatigue Failure Theory

It is well known that metals will fail in a statically loaded situation if the yield strength is exceeded. As load cells are structural devices stressed during their normal use, they are commonly given ultimate overload ratings to characterize the magnitude of static load they will withstand without failing structurally.

However, all metal structures, including load cells, are also subject to failure due to repetitive loadings much lower than the ultimate overload rating. This phenomenon is known as fatigue failure, and it is because the stress that a metal can withstand under cyclic loading usually becomes less and less as the number of cyclic loadings is increased.

The cause of this apparent anomaly can be explained by noting that metals are typically not perfectly homogeneous solids. They are composed of crystals, and at locations called grain boundaries, along slip planes, or in a region of a microscopic defect, minute strains under load can occur that do not completely reverse during unloading, leaving the material with a slight plastic deformation at the end of each complete cycle. This effect is highly dependent on the magnitude of the load and the number of cycles.

It is generally acknowledged that a structural fatigue failure develops in three stages:

  • Repeated cycling builds up local plastic deformation, and a microscopic crack is initiated.
  • The crack propagates, and a larger section becomes weakened.
  • Stress concentration in the cracking section increases rapidly, and continued cycling enlarges the crack until a sudden fracture occurs.

Fatigue Life Prediction

Accurate prediction of fatigue life of any structure is not a reality. Well-controlled tests on the simplest configurations of test specimens result in a wide scatter band of results. The analysis is even more complex, with the structure typical of a load cell. Theoretical analysis can produce approximations, however, which can be useful in estimating the margin of safety at which a particular load cell design is operating.

In materials science, the S-N curve is a well-known tool. It represents the load cycles required to break a specimen at peak cyclic stress levels. Thus, the fatigue life can be approximated if the stress level is known. However, some factors make fatigue life difficult to characterize.

The fatigue rating of a load cell is a distinct specification that guarantees a service life of up to 100 million fully reversed load cycles at full rated capacity. Load cells are typically integrated into testing machines or equipment.


1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell

1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell

1500 Low Capacity LowProfile® Load Cell

1208 Flange Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell

Interface fatigue-rated load cells are vital for test and measurement projects in various industries, from aerospace and automotive to civil engineering and manufacturing. Manufacturers of test machines, aircraft, spacecraft, automotive components, consumer products, heavy machinery, bridges, energy production equipment, and industrial systems use our fatigue-rated load cells.


Fatigue Testing with Interface Load Cells

Interface Specializes in Fatigue-Rated Load Cells

Prosthetics Load and Fatigue Testing App Note

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing App Note

Load Cells for Adhesive and Bonding Shear Testing

Thousands of adhesives and bonding agents are used to assemble parts and final goods. In addition to their bonding characteristics, they may be required to have a certain elasticity, resistance to chemicals, electrical conductivity, temperature coefficient, or other controlled parameters.

A shear testing machine uses a load cell to measure the shear strength of bonds and adhesives. A load cell transforms bond and adhesive tests from a subjective evaluation of adhesion strength into a precise and objective measurement tool. This allows various industries to make data-driven decisions regarding adhesive selection, formulation optimization, and quality control.

Specifically, adhesive or bonding shear force testing is used to evaluate the strength of a joint formed by an adhesive between two materials. It measures the force required to separate the bonded materials by a sliding motion parallel to the adhesive joint instead of pulling them directly apart to measure tensile strength or peeling them from one another, which defines the peel strength.

Benefits of Using Load Cells for Adhesive and Bonding Shear Force Testing

  • Material Characterization: Shear testing data helps characterize the shear properties of adhesives and the materials they bond. This information is valuable for selecting appropriate adhesives for specific applications and predicting their performance under stress. Read more in Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers.
  • Improved Design and Development: The data from shear testing informs researchers, product designers, product development teams, and engineering of new adhesives and bonded products. By understanding how different materials and adhesives perform under shear stress, engineers can optimize designs for better performance and durability.
  • Failure Detection: Product manufacturers can identify the bond’s failure mode by analyzing the force data. Did the adhesive itself fail? Did the bonded materials detach during the test? When did the failure occur? This quantifiable information helps understand the weak points and prepare improvements before assembly and product release.
  • Quality Control: Manufacturers must validate consistent bond strength across production batches. By performing standardized shear tests with a load cell, the data helps maintain product quality and prevent potential production, distribution, and use failures.

What is Peel Strength Testing?

The peel test is common for adhesives, adhesive-coated tapes, and paints. The test parameters are usually detailed in a government or industry specification, and the pull rate is often closely controlled. Adhesive-backed tapes are tested this way.

Many industries rely on standardized peel test methods for quality control. Load cells are used for reliable peel testing and quality assurance analysis. The load cell data can be captured electronically, allowing you to analyze the force variations throughout the peeling process, not just the peak force. This can reveal aspects like initial adhesion strength or how the force changes as the peel progresses.

During a peel test, you need a way to measure the force required to precisely separate two bonded materials. Unlike a simple hand pull, a load cell quantifies the peeling force. This allows you to analyze the results numerically and compare them to specifications or between different samples. This is an important step in R&D for all parts, components, and final products.

Building a Shear Testing Machine

The design of a shear tester is relatively straightforward if the following conditions are met:

  • The line of action of the primary axis of the load cell should be aligned with the contact point on the test sample to minimize moment loads on the load cell.
  • The linear bearing motion should be carefully adjusted to run exactly parallel with the primary axis of the load cell to avoid a side load into the load cell.
  • The load cell’s capacity should be at least twice the expected maximum load to be applied during a test cycle to provide enough extra capacity to protect the cell when a sudden failure of the test sample impacts it.
  • The linear drive should have a wide range of controlled speeds and a high-resolution displacement measuring capability, including an
  • Usan an automatic adjustable stop with fast braking to protect the load cell from damage. The usual system is a stepper motor drive with precision high-ratio reduction gear.

For additional information about shear testing, an illustration of the shear testing machine, and peel tests, please use the Interface Load Cell Field Guide.

If you have questions about choosing the right load cell for your machine or test, consult with our application engineers. You can also reference our easy-to-use Load Cell Selection Guide.


Why Machine and Equipment Manufacturers Choose Interface

Load Cells Built for Stress Testing

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

The Basics of Shear and Bending Beams

Load Cells Maximize Weighbridge Performance

What is a weighbridge? By definition, a weighbridge, also known as a truck scale or weight scale, is a large, heavy-duty platform scale used to weigh vehicles and their cargo. They are typically found in industrial settings where large or commercial vehicles, cargo, and various materials must be weighed.

Weighbridges come in all shapes and sizes and measure the weight of various products. The heart and soul of a weighbridge is a sensor that provides the user with accurate weight data.

Traditional weighbridges often rely on mechanical components that can wear down over time, leading to slight inaccuracies. Interface load cells are incredibly precise and deliver highly accurate weight readings, even with constant use. This minimizes errors in measurements, ensuring reliable data for every weighbridge operation.

One of the most common weighbridge applications using load cells is measuring large trucks at weigh stops on highways and in transport centers. However, weighbridge load cells are used in weighing applications for railways, waste containers, supermarket scales, warehouses, test benches, heavy-duty equipment, and industrial scales.

Typical Weighbridge Use Cases

  • Compliance with weight limits: Many countries regulate transportation, including a vehicle’s maximum weight. For example, weighbridges ensure that trucks are not overloaded, which can damage roads and bridges and be dangerous.
  • Shipping costs: Weighbridges are used to weigh shipments to calculate accurate shipping costs.
  • Track inventory: Warehouses, shipyards, manufacturers, and distribution companies can use weighbridges to track their inventory by weighing incoming and outgoing goods.
  • Waste disposal: Weighbridges can weigh waste materials during landfill disposal by automating equipment to manage waste.

Our load cells support many weighbridge applications because we supply highly accurate and reliable force sensor technologies commonly used in weighing applications across all industries. We understand weighing sensors must be highly accurate and reliable to ensure precise data. Check out our weighing solutions guide to help select the right measurement device for your application.

Interface weighing solutions that make an excellent fit for weighbridge applications include:

Top Five Benefits of Precision Load Cells For Weighbridges

#1—Precision load cells offer superior accuracy to traditional mechanical weighbridge systems. This minimizes errors in weight measurements, ensuring reliable data for transactions, compliance checks, and inventory management.

#2—Reliability is vital in these applications. Interface load cells deliver consistent weight readings even with repeated use. This allows for dependable performance, which is crucial for tasks like batching or monitoring materials.

#3—Unlike mechanical systems with moving parts, precision load cells are reliable instruments that increase lifespan and reduce maintenance costs and downtime for weighbridge operations.

#4—Precision load cells offer a broader range of weight capacities. This allows a single weighbridge with these load cells to accommodate various vehicle sizes and weights, offering greater flexibility.

#5- Interface offers a range of highly durable load cells designed to withstand harsh industrial environments, ensuring long-lasting performance and reliable weight measurements.

Truck Weighbridge Solution

A customer owned a truck company and needed to record the weight of loads being carried by their trucks. They wanted a wireless weighing bridge to transmit, log, and display the results in real time. Interface suggested installing multiple WTS 1200 LowProfile™ Load Cells under a weighing bridge. When the truck drives over it, the load cells transmit the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with the provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display also displayed the weight inside for the driver to see in real-time. Using this solution, the customer successfully measured, logged, and graphed the different loads their trucks carried wirelessly onto the weighbridge.

Interface has also seen applications, including the use of weighcheck load cells in machinery for bag filling, bottle filling, high-speed check weighers, multi-head packing machines, silo and tank weighing systems, and conveyor scales.

Interface is the perfect force solutions partner for weighbridge applications across industries. To learn more about these solutions for weighbridges and other weighing applications, please visit our Weighing Solutions Overview and Applications.


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