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Back to School Force Measurement Essentials

Interface has a long history of collaborating with colleges and universities around the world. From individual engineering students testing the force of launching miniature rockets to supplying onsite test labs with load cells and equipment for R&D, we are a resource for higher education learning and experimentation.

In our view, innovation and exploration have no boundaries. What validates new ideas and manifests problem solving requires modern and reliable tools that support student’s projects and activities. Its key to any program’s success. It is also why we are proud to be known around the globe as a leader in building and designing force measurement products that facilitate these initiatives through higher learning.

It is very inspiring to see new engineering students, future metrologists, and soon-to-be graduates designing new medical devices, creating new spacecraft and interplanetary vehicles, testing materials used for miniature consumer products and of course, building plenty of new robots and AI machines.

In our view, every university or college should have Interface force measurement products on hand to support these types of educational test and measurement research projects. Here is a simplified list of basic sensor products to get started.

Force Measurement Essentials for Higher Learning

  • Precision load cells in diverse designs and capacities
  • S-type load cells (load beams)
  • Miniature load cells and load buttons
  • Multi-axis sensors
  • Calibration grade equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Wireless sensor technologies
  • Rotary and reaction torque transducers
  • Verification load frames

Our investment in supporting educational programs runs deep into our history as a company. You will find our founder’s name on the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona. Following in his commitment to education, the Richard F. Caris Charitable Trust II continues to support STEM programs including sponsorship of the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

We drive to ensure that students who have a passion for science, technology and engineering have access to the best force measurement sensor technologies. It is why we offer a standard discount to all students and education institutions. You can learn more about our education support here. We know that learning requires the best tools, and we want to make sure that every student has the most accurate, quality and precision load cells available today.

As with all inquisitive minds, we thought it would be interesting to share what are other university and colleges buying for their learning programs and campus labs.

Top 10 products for testing projects and campus lab studies:

  1. 1200 LowProfile Load Cells are our most popular load cell, available in standard and high-capacity features.
  2. 1010 Load Cell model is a fatigue-rated low profile load cell in our 1000 product family, offering various capacities and functions.
  3. 2420 Load Cell is one of our stainless-steel standard and high-capacity load cells in our 2400 model series.
  4. 1500 Low-Capacity Load Cell designs are common requirements for applications where low sensitivity to eccentric load is important.
  5. WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell has an environmentally protected construction that comes in a variety of model capacities and configurations. It is great for small spaces and industrial applications.
  6. 3-Axis Load Cells are extremely popular multi-axis sensors designed to provide more testing data and often paired with BSC4 instrumentation. They are ideally suited for aerospace, robotics, automotive, and medical research testing applications.
  7. 6-Axis Load Cells are growing in popularity, for cost benefit and their unique ability to simultaneously measure Fx Fy Fz Mx My Mz.
  8. SSM Miniature Load Cells are one of many popular general-purpose s-type designed load cells. You call learn more about all our s-type models here.
  9. Torque Transducers of all types are used by university programs, engineering departments and metrology labs. There are many different options including rotary and reaction torque solutions. For all options, start here to choose the right one.
  10. Load Washer Load Cells are used because of the unique through-hole designs. They come in various models and dimensions, along with capacity options.

As with any project, the questions of what you want to measure, the applications, and where you are sending the data, are all core to choosing the sensor and instrumentation that is best suited for the learning environment or program.

Speaking of where to send the data for performance monitoring and analysis, the five most favorite types of instrumentation selected by university students and engineering labs include:

  1. DMA2 Signal Conditioner
  2. 9840 4-Channel Intelligent Indicator
  3. 9825 General Purpose Indicator
  4. BX8-AS BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System
  5. SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER

If you are heading back to school and thinking that it is time to revamp the testing lab or need new force measurement equipment, be sure to reach out to our education application engineers. They have years of experience and can help you get exactly what you need for your project and programs.

Be sure to tune into our Load Cell Basics, for answer to common questions about using these highly accurate sensors for your test and measurement projects. You can find all our Interface videos on our YouTube channel here.

If you are looking to explore more technical resources, be sure to go to our online support area and subscribe to our blogs for weekly updates.

ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

Types of Force Measurement Tests 101

Torque Transducers 101

Multi-Axis Sensors 101

S-Type Load Cells 101

Mini Load Cells 101

Force Measurement Instrumentation 101

Load Washers 101

Couplings 101

Load Shackles 101

Load Pins 101

Tension Links 101

Load Button Load Cells 101

Strain Gages 101

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Calibration Systems 101

Force Measurement Accessories 101

TEDS 101

Shunt Calibration 101

 

Test Stand Applications for Force and Torque

In the world of test and measurement, test stands are essential equipment for manufacturers and testing engineers. The test stand provides a host of different testing products in a single “cabinet-like” structure. These systems have been used for a long time to gather data on various functions of products during the product test phase.

Test stands works like a mobile test lab, hosted by a frame and containing one or more force or torque sensor components, software, and data acquisition instrumentation and accessories. Force stands are typically motorized or manual.  Motorized test stands, also known as mechanical or electrical, have the advantages of controlling performance by applying modes such as speed, cycles, and time into the testing procedure. The more advanced testing stands are frequently used for repetitive high-performance testing requirements, validating accuracy and quality. Manual test stands are used for simple testing protocols and frequently used in education programs.

There are a wide variety of testing devices and sensor products that are used as part of the entire test process. As parts roll off the production line, the test stand will sit at the end of the line where the test engineer can immediately load the product into the test rig. Test stands help to streamline the test process by providing all available test functions in a single, mobile application.

Interface is a supplier of choice for precision components of various capacities and dimensions for test stand configurations requiring precision and accuracy in performance. Interface load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation equipment are commonly used in numerous product test applications by engineers, metrologists, testing professionals and product designers around the world.

Included below are a few examples of specific test applications and the Interface components used in the different style testing stands.

Linear Test Stand

In this example, an Interface customer wanted to add a crush test to their test stand to measure the force it took to deform a piece of material. Interface provided an Model 1210 Load Cell with an internal amplification of 0-10VDC output.

The load cell was installed into the load string of the customer’s load frame, and the scaled analog output from the load cell was connected to the customer’s test stand instrumentation. When the force levels reached the crushing point, the customer’s software was able to read the output of the amplified load cell and record the value.

See the application note for the Linear Test Stand here.

Motor Test Stand

In the quality control lab at a major automotive manufacturing company, a test engineer needed to test, record, and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load. Interface supplied the new AxialTQ® Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, that could measure and record these torque values.

Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ transducer, along with the AxialTQ Output Module, and a laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

See the application note for the Motor Test Stand here.

Verification Test Stand

In this application, a customer needed a test stand application to verify that its load cell was in good, working order. Interface helped to create a solution that used a load cell to verify the customer’s load cell. The solution involved the customer’s supplied verification load frame and an Interface Model 1210 Precision LowProfile® Load Cell connected with a Model SI-USB 2-Channel PC Interface Module.

The customer was able to install their load cell and Model 1210 Precision LowProfile Load cell into the verification load frame. Applied forces were displayed and recorded by Model SI-USB PC Interface Module for review and record keeping on customer’s computer. This allows the customer to have a proven load cell verification test stand at their disposal to ensure its test load cell is always in working order.

See the application note for the Verification Test Stand here.

These are just a few examples of the different types of test stands that Interface can provide off-the-shelf or custom force measurement solution components. If your project involves a mechanical test stand and you are interested in learning more about adding force sensors, please contact our application engineers.

Advanced Testing with Telemetry Systems from Interface

In product development, flexibility is a crucial facet of creating efficient workflows. Having a diverse set of flexible tools and testing instruments allows engineers and manufacturers to approach their work from a wide variety of angles and environments.

Interface is keenly aware of the growing demand for manufacturers and integrators to have advanced systems that easily replace hard-wired systems, reducing installation and maintenance costs. Based on these needs, Interface offers a variety of off-the-shelf and custom force measurement wireless solutions, in multiple capacities, capabilities, ranges, and dimensions for all types of applications.

Case in point is Interface’s two advanced telemetry systems, the Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) and the new Interface Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS). These telemetry systems transmit high-quality data from load cells to single and multiple devices. Both the WTS and the BTS offer a wide variety of benefits, including high accuracy, high resolution, IP-rated enclosures, and multiple configuration options. The quality of Interface load cell performance is fully realized utilizing the convenience of these systems, which are acting as a data bridge between the load cell and a display device.

The WTS and BTS products are designed to provide OEMs, labs, and engineers with flexibility in where and how they conduct product testing using load cells. The WTS was designed for a controlled lab environment or engineering facility with access to Wi-Fi® or ethernet data. The BTS solution was created to allow for field testing in areas with little to no access to the internet. Included below is a more in-depth breakdown of the features of Interface’s industry-leading telemetry systems.

WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station with USBWireless Telemetry System (WTS)

The WTS is a high-speed, modular system that allows for data collection from long ranges. It is powerful and easily expandable for measuring multiple sensor types and can connect with up to 100 sensors within a half-mile range. The device is supported by powerful configuration software with data logging and visualization for local or remote access. It comes in a wide variety of different model types, including integrated transmitter models, repeater models, output models, display models and antenna models. It can connect with up to 100 sensors up-to a half a mile range.

To see the range of wireless WTS products, go to /product-category/wireless-telemetry-system.

Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS)

The BTS features high measurement resolution, which produces a noise-free resolution of 1 in 92,000 counts (16.5 bit) when used with a 3mV/V sensor and 1 in 184,000 counts (17.5 bit) when used with a 6mV/V sensor. The system also allows for advert format and encoding as well as details on connected services to facilitate simple integration of the device within custom apps for OEM applications. BTS can connect up to 12 sensors to a single mobile device or to multiple mobile devices.

The premium advantage of the BTS, above the long battery life, low cost and mobile apps visualization resources, is its ability to connect directly to mobile devices to collect data on-the-go without an internet connection. This allows engineers to complete field testing in remote locations or hard to access areas. Free iOS and Android apps are available for download and enable users to create dashboards with varying degrees of detail based on application requirements. The BTS output can be visualized on phones and tablets by using digital displays, gages, tanks, and charts.

To learn more about the new Bluetooth Telemetry System (BTS) offered by Interface, go to /products/instrumentation/bts-bluetooth-telemetry-system.

For more information on Interface’s WTS and BTS products read below.  You can access a detailed spec sheet comparing the products along with individual datasheets online by registering online at Interface.com.

WTS BTS Brochure