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ForceLeaders Summit Florida

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

The Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specification Watch List for Wireless Components

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

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

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

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

Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS)

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

Read: Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review

Applications Using Interface Wireless Telemetry System Solutions

Crane Capacity Verification

Mobile Force System

Inflatable Space Habitat

Gantry Crane Weighing

Robotic Arm

Aircraft Engine Hoist

Airplane Jacking System

Patient Hoyer Lift

Road Bridge Lift Monitoring

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring

Waste Management Container Weighing

Interface Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Measurement Tips for Lifting Use Cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifting Applications

Crane Capacity Verification

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

gantry crane lifting a heavy container

Gantry Crane Wireless Lifting for Heavy Containers

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

Patient Lifting Device

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

Find additional productions and solutions in our Lifting Solutions Overview.

Lifting Solutions Brochure

Unlocking the Power of DAQ Webinar Recap

Interface hosted a technical seminar on the topic of data acquisition systems. With the demands for more data and faster processing with requirements to connect multiple devices in testing environments, there is an increasing need for high accuracy DAQ systems. Keith Skidmore and Dave Reardon detail the basics of DAQ, trends, products, software options and answer to questions in the webinar, Unlocking the Power of DAQ.

To start, a data acquisition (DAQ) system consists of hardware and software components designed to collect, process, and analyze data from various sources and convert it into digital format for further analysis and storage.

Components of DAQ Systems

  • Input:  Sensors (Ex: Force, Torque), Digital Signals (Ex: DIO, Counters), Timing Signals (Ex: IRIG, GPS) and Serial Streams (Ex: RS-232, RS-422)
  • Signal Conditioning Circuitry: Excitation, Amplifier, Voltage Offsets, and Filters
  • Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC)
  • Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • Hardware and Software for processing, analyzing, display and recording
  • Output Signal: prior to ADC, after DAC, or even after processing

Analog data acquisition systems acquire and process analog signals. Analog signals can include sensors that measure load, force, torque, strain, temperature, pressure, voltage, current, and many other physical or electrical qualities.  Digital data acquisition systems acquire and process digital signals. Digital signals can include on and off states, counters, serial streams, text data, video, GPS signals, and other advanced options.

 Key Considerations for DAQ Systems

  • Features
    • Supported range of inputs mV/V, VDC, mA, partial bridge, encoder, pulse, frequency
    • Included software and related functionality
  • Form factor
    • Bench top, rack mount, portable, ruggedized and others
  • Sample rate
  • Connectivity
  • Power supply
  • Channel count and cost per channel

Interface DAQ Products

Interface offers a range of solutions for DAQ systems. The top products for DAQ include:

During the webinar, Keith and Dave detail a series of product groups for the Interface Data AQ Packs.

Data AQ Pack Brochure

Watch the webinar and learn more about product options, software, applications and best practice tips.

Accurate Force Measurement Data Under Any Conditions

Interface’s Keith Skidmore recently detailed the growing demands for more data in the product development process to create better products in the February 2023 edition of Quality Magazine. In his contributed article, Measuring Force Data in Extreme Conditions, he expertly highlights how this demand comes with the added requirements for measurement and sensor solutions that can perform in any condition.

As makers of products, machines, and components can attest, they need more testing and performance data to make critical design and smart production decisions. The added requirement to secure this data with precision, requires quality measurement solutions that can perform under extreme conditions.

Interface has long been attuned to these demands, with an increasing product line of ruggedized products. These products, including our submersibles, intrinsically safe and stainless steel load cells help to fulfill the requirements. Examples of these products include:

Noted in the article, Keith writes: As technology has progressed, test and measurement systems are becoming more advanced and capable for a wide variety of applications and industries. This is because manufacturers want more data in the product development process to create better products, and they need solutions that can perform in any condition, especially when running field testing. This is increasingly important in force measurement as real-world testing is paramount to a safe and reliable product. And with the need for real-world force testing comes the need for sensors that can work effectively in hazardous environments including rain, wind, underwater, explosive environments, and exposed conditions.

Read the complete article here to learn more about Interface’s popular ruggedized force measurement solutions, sensor materials used to perform in harsh environments, extreme temperature options and various submersible options.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

High Temperature Load Cells 101

Hazardous Environment Solutions from Interface

Interface Submersible Load Cells

Stainless Steel Load Cells 101

Coil Tubing Load Cells

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

VISIT QUALITY MAGAZINE

QM0223 - Keith Skidmore Article 2-23

Weighing Your Options Webinar Recap

Most often the subject of weighing is a reference to scales. Although most of the world knows Interfaced for our expertise in test and measurement, aerospace, automotive, energy, and medical industries, we know our way around all kinds of weighing applications and scales.

In fact, load cells are truly the heart of every scale system and make modern use cases for highly accurate weight data possible. At Interface, we design, manufacture, and guarantee the highest performing load cells in the world.

In our online seminar, Weighing Your Options, Keith Skidmore, and Jeff White detail Interface products used for weighing, along with engineering tips, applications, and frequently asked questions.

How have sensors historically been used for weighing and lifting? The most common uses are in weigh modules, floor, and bench scales, along with truck and rail transport weighcheck systems. Interface’s involvement in providing measurement solutions have traditionally focused on test and measurement applications, sensors for machines and rigs, as well as use in weighing components. Trends are moving to complete weighing solutions.

Sensors are used throughout the product life cycle, from R&D to distribution, including

  • Weighing individual parts or components
  • Equipment and machines that measure weight during assembly and production
  • Weighing ingredients in food and chemical processes
  • Weighing products during distribution
  • Weighing before and during transportation

Interface load cells can measure across a wide range of force, from 0.02 to 2,000k lbf.  Interface products used in weighing applications are diverse in design, including:

Our weighing sensors combined with available instrumentation use a variety of communication methods, including analog, digital, wireless and cloud based, to allow users to gather data in-facility or remotely. Junction boxes such as our JB1100 4-Channel Advanced Signal Conditioning Transmitter Indicator and Junction Box are frequently used for weighing systems. We can also customize sensors to meet specifications for weighing use cases.

Most Common Types of Instrumentation Used for Weighing

  • Analog Signal Conditioners
  • Digital Signal Conditioners
  • Active Junction Boxes
  • Digital Displays
  • Programmable Weight Controllers
  • Data Acquisition Systems
  • Wireless and Specialty Devices

Interface has also introduced several weigh system modules, like the WSSCLC-Mount Weighing Assembly. It is a stainless-steel construction and available in three sizes. It incorporates a safety retainer to prevent accidental vessel lifting or sliding. When used with Model WSSCLC Load Cell, the system is IP68 rated and good for rugged applications.

The place to start with any new weighing application is what do you need to weigh by and what is the smallest increasing increment? Interface application engineers can help you choose the correct equipment, including the load cell, weigh module, instrumentation, and any accessories. They will review the requirements such as live load, dead load, number of supports, washdown, weighing materials, temperature and temperature swings, hazardous environment and exposure, type of vessel, measurements of compression or tension, mixers or shakers attachments, rigid conduit, or piping and even shock loading issues.

Watch the complete online seminar to learn more about weighing systems used for tank and hoppers, conveyor belts, industrial equipment, continuous weighing and automation features for alarms and safety requirements. We detail do’s and don’ts along with frequently asked questions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Accuracy Matters for Weighing and Scales

Livestock Weighing System Application Note

Fruit Weighing

INF4-EtherCat Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator

CPG Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing

New Interface Case Study Exams Weighing and Scales

CPG Veterinary Weighing Scales

 

 

Weighing Your Options Webinar

Interface force measurement experts detail solutions used for all types of weighing and lifting applications. We discuss sensor models, capabilities, features and tips using various load cells, load pins, shackles, tension links, weighcheck systems and instrumentation. Learn about use cases, FAQs, measurement applications, options for harsh environments and OEM products. If you are exploring quality measurement solutions that provide high accuracy and reliability for scales, cranes, lifting equipment or tools, join us.

Force Sensing Keeps Factories Running Feature in Fierce Electronics

In the recent article, ‘May the force be with you: Force sensing keeps factories running, product quality high’ Dan O’Shea at Fierce Electronics writes about the growing demand for sensors in industrial automation applications.

Following his interview with Interface’s Keith Skidmore, Dan writes:

‘While some sensors are more focused on monitoring equipment or measuring environmental conditions around a manufacturing process, force sensors measure mechanical forces occurring in the equipment and processes, and the products being manufactured. They measure things like load, tension, resistance, weight or total pressure applied. By employing this kind of sensing technology, manufacturers can monitor the health of their equipment and improve quality assurance for their products.’

“Testing things by applying a force to them is super common. Many products in lots of industries get tested this way, from aerospace to automotive, through to consumer goods. Chairs, furniture, mattresses, ladders–basically, anything that’s being manufactured, there can be a desire to figure out how strong the various parts of those products are.” Keith Skidmore, engineer and regional sales director at Interface

Read the entire Fierce Electronics article here.

Interface provides industrial automation and IoT solutions to manufacturers, equipment makers and factories around the world. Sensors play a pivotal role in production and optimization through tools and process improvements.

Industrial Robotic Arm

Robotic arms are frequently used in production facilities throughout the manufacturing process. Suppliers of these devices heavily rely on accurate and quality sensors to provide feedback. In this application, the designer needed to test the force of the arm apparatus to ensure it could safely secure packages on a moving conveyor belt without damaging any materials or products. This automated function helps to improve quality of packaging and increase productivity on the line.

Interface provided the model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell with model BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition Amplifier instrumentation. The 6-Axis load cell provides measurement of all forces and torques (Fx, Fʏ, Fz, Mx, Mʏ, Mz) and the BXB-HD44 Data Acquisition Amplifier logs, displays, and graphs these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system. Customer installed 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell between robot flange and robot grabber. The extensive data outputs from the multi-axis sensor provided the exact detailed measurements needed for the industrial robotic application.

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar Recap

Interface experts recently hosted a conversation about what is changing in the world of instrumentation, as it related to sensor technologies and force measurement.  The new event, Advancements in Instrumentation is a continuation of our ForceLeaders Interface Instructional on Instrumentation Event.

The conversation began with a focus on what has changed in the last five years and why instrumentation is such an important topic in T&M. 

TRENDS IN ADVANCED INSTRUMENTATION

The number one change in test and measurement that we have identified is the omnipresent use of sensors in things that didn’t use to have sensors. This includes consumer products, home healthcare medical devices, EVs, factory equipment, tools, robotics, just to name a few. With the demands for more feedback, more data, and more required performance monitoring, instrumentation requirements are growing in functionality. 

We are getting smarter in our applications and uses cases, which means we need smarter devices to capture all the information to make intelligent decisions in product design, engineering, and manufacturing. We see this with smart factories, smart vehicles, smart agriculture, smart tools, smart medical technologies, these innovations and advancements need more data to make smart decisions, in design, test, build and use.

Other trends we discussed include the infusion of IoT into test and measurement. As we connect more instruments and devices into our networks, it requires advanced instrumentation and changes in what has been used as basic and standard instruments in the past. We also see customization and programmability needs changing and movement towards more digital interfaces.  Specifically, during this hour-long discussion we dive into digital outputs, amplifiers, communication protocols and advancements in software options, including a quick MathScript demo. Watch the video here.

TYPES OF INSTRUMENTATION HIGHLIGHTED IN WEBINAR

  • Signal Conditioners
  • Data Acquisition Systems (DAQ) 
  • Indicators
  • USB Interface Modules
  • Wireless and Bluetooth Telemetry Systems
  • Portable
  • TEDS Ready

Interface highlighted a series of new instrumentation solutions in great detail. This includes recent releases like our BX8 DAQ Series, Wireless Telemetry System Additions, 9850 Torque and Load Cell Indicator and SI-USB4. We also shared what we are bringing to market this year, including new portable indicators, a DAQ systems designed specifically for torque transducers, advanced multi-channel solutions and new USB indicators for wireless sensors. We also talked about custom instrumentation solutions when you need something designed for a unique use case or OEM application.

Throughout the webinar, instrumentation selection criteria were highlighted to help make the right decisions in pairing your measurement devices to the available instrumentation options. We addressed common questions, do’s and don’ts, and tips that are helpful in evaluating what will work with your project, in your lab or at your factory.

ADVANCEMENTS IN INSTRUMENTATION WEBINAR TOPICS

  • Types of Advanced Instrumentation
  • Selection Criteria for Advanced Instrumentation
  • Recap Digital Versus Analog Options
  • What’s New in Wireless + Bluetooth Telemetry Systems 
  • New Instrumentation Solutions from Interface
  • Trends in Test Data Management + Systems
  • Applications + Uses Cases
  • FAQs

You can watch the entire conversation to learn more.

WHY INTERFACE FOR INSTRUMENTATION

With so many options available, we want to make it easier in choosing the right instrumentation. Here are a few reasons why Interface is a provider of choice when it comes to instrumentation for force measurement.

  • Interface is a single point of contact for measurement device and instrumentation
  • Interface offers a range of solutions from USB Interface Modules to Multi-Channel and Wireless DAQ Systems
  • Interface can partner to design and build complete systems
  • Interface has expertise for technical support
  • Interface has deep use case experience across all the sensors we offer, from load cells to wireless load pin technologies
  • Interface instructional videos, literature, software demonstrations and manuals available online in your Support area of the website
  • Interface provides software with our instrumentation

Additional Resources

Interface Instructional on Instrumentation Event

Recap of Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar

Instrumentation Analog Versus Digital Outputs

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101