Interface’s technical webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting details measurement devices used in lifting equipment, machines, and vehicles to improve operations. Interface load cells and instrumentation are used in operating cranes, for hoisting heavy objects, and measuring forces in infrastructure projects. Interface experts will provide answers as to how load cells are used in safety monitoring for lifting equipment. Learn about Interface sensor products suited for integration into existing equipment, as well as for test and measurement projects.
In the development of an airborne vehicle, like a plane or helicopter, wind tunnel systems are used to gather data across a variety of tests related to the aerodynamics of the vehicle’s design. Whether an object is stationary or mobile, wind tunnels provide insight into the effects of air as it moves over or around the test model. Interface is a supplier of measurement solutions used for aircraft and wind tunnel testing.
Wind tunnels are chambers that test small scale model versions of full systems, or in some cases, parts and components, depending on the size and capabilities of the wind tunnel. They work by allowing the engineers to control airflow within the tunnel and simulate the types of wind force that airplanes and other aircraft will experience in flight. Wind tunnels are also used for testing automobiles, bicycles, drones and space vehicles.
By taking careful measurements of the forces on the model, the engineer can predict the forces on the full-scale aircraft. And by using special diagnostic techniques, the engineer can better understand and improve the performance of the aircraft.
The process for measuring the force and how it reacts to this force works by mounting the model in the wind tunnel on a force balance or test stand. The output is a signal that is related to the forces and moments on the model. Balances can be used to measure both the lift and drag forces. The balance must be calibrated against a known value of the force before, and sometimes during, the test.
Interface’s strain gage load cells are commonly used in wind tunnel testing due to their quality, accuracy and reliability. The instrumentation requirements often depend on the application and type of test. The range of options for both load cells and instrumentation vary based on scale, use, cycle counts, and data requirements.
Instrumentation used in wind tunnel testing can be as simple as our 9325 Portable Sensor Display to a multi-channel data acquisition system. Interface analog, digital and wireless instrumentation solutions provide a range of possibilities. As is the case, wind tunnel testing is typically very sensitive. It is important to calibrate the instrumentation before each test to measurement accuracy.
Types of Wind Tunnel Tests Using Force Measurement Solutions
- Lift and drag: Load cells are used to measure the two most significant forces that impact aircraft design. Lift is the force that acts perpendicular to the direction of airflow and keeps the craft airborne. Drag is the force that acts parallel to the direction of airflow and opposes forward motion.
- Side force: This force acts perpendicular to both the direction of airflow and the lift force. It is caused by the difference in pressure between the upper and lower surfaces of the aircraft.
- Moments: Moments are the forces that act around a point. The most common moments measured in wind tunnels are the pitching moment, the yawing moment, and the rolling moment.
- Stability and control: Tests conducted to measure the stability and controllability of an aircraft are commonly using force measurement solutions for aircraft design changes or integrating new parts into an existing model.
- Performance: Particularly important with new designs, engineers use these tests to measure the simulated flight performance under maximum speed, range and fuel efficiency.
The specific tests that are conducted in a wind tunnel depend on the project requirements.
Multi-Axis Sensors for Wind Tunnel Testing Applications
In measuring the forces of a wind tunnel test, multi-axis sensors offer the perfect solution for collecting as much data as possible across every axis, giving the engineer a more complete picture on the aerodynamics of the plane. In fact, Interface has supplied multi-axis load cells for use in several wind tunnel testing applications, for OEMs, testing facilities and part makers.
We offer a variety of multi-axis options including 2, 3 and 6-axis standard and high-capacity configurations depending on testing and data requirements of the user. These sensors can precisely measure the applied force from one direction with little or no crosstalk from the force or moment. Interface products provide excellent performance and accuracy in force and torque measurement.
To match the demands of the volumes of data available using multi-axis sensors in wind tunnel testing, Interface often provides several data acquisition instrumentation solution along with our BlueDAQ software.
Wind Tunnel Test Application
A major aerospace company was developing a new airplane and needed to test their scaled model for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, by measuring loads created by lift and drag. Interface Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell was mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel and connected to the scaled model by a stalk. The wind tunnel blew air over the scaled model creating lift and drag, which was measured and compared to the theoretical airplane models. The output of the 6-axis sensor was connected to the BX8-AS Interface BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System, which was connected via USB cable to a computer. Using this solution, the company was able to analyze the collected data and made the necessary adjustments in their design to improve the aerodynamics of their theoretical airplane models.
Interface supports wind tunnel testing and all uses of force measurement in the advancements in aeropspace.
Wind tunnel testing is critical to the aircraft industry, as well as other industries like automotive and space. Interface has been providing multi-axis sensors and strain gage load cells to industry leaders and wind tunnel operators. We understand the unique needs of this type of testing and the instrumentation options that work best with our high-accuracy sensors. We also can work to provide custom solutions, load cells for use in extreme environmental conditions. Contact us to get the right solution for your specific testing program.
Interface sensors are utilized in lifting applications to accurately measure the weight or force being exerted on the lifting equipment of all sizes. Our lifting solutions include load cells, load pins, tension links and shackles, wireless technologies, and instrumentation. It is common to see our sensors integrated into hoists, cranes, and lifting devices to provide precise load measurements.
Interface lifting solutions apply to a wide range of industries and settings, including construction sites, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, transportation, healthcare facilities, maritime docks, aircraft testing and assembly, and more. Lifting applications can vary, such as loading and unloading goods, positioning heavy equipment or machinery, transferring patients in healthcare settings, or lifting materials for construction purposes.
Our load cells, load pins and shackles assist in monitoring loads for heavy lifting equipment operators to remain within safe working limits and prevent overloading. Interface tension links and tension load cells are used for measuring lifting or pulling heavy loads with chains, cables, or ropes. The sensors measure the tension in the lifting element, providing feedback on the load being lifted and ensuring it remains within safe limits. Check out our Lifting Solutions Overview for complete details.
Top Interface Lifting Solutions
- LP Stainless Steel Load Pin
- WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin
- ITL Tension Link Load Cell
- WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell
- WTSATL Lightweight Aluminum Wireless Tension Link
- ISHK-B Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle
- ISHK-D ‘D’ Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle
- WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle
- WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle
- Wireless Telemetry System Components: Load Cells, Transmitters, Base Stations and Displays
- Load Cells
- Digital Instrumentation and DAQ Systems
- Handheld Displyas, Self-Indicating and Weight Indicators
References of lifting equipment include cranes, hoists, forklifts, aerial work platforms, lifts, jacks, and various types of rigging and slings. These equipment types are designed to provide mechanical advantage, leverage, or power to lift, suspend, move, or position loads safely and efficiently. By leveraging sensor technologies, the benefits include increased safety for the operator, enhanced productivity, and efficiency optimization of load management. Additional benefits include predictive maintenance, plus smart and innovative utilization for modernization of projects and equipment.
Rigging engineers, whether working in testing environments from concert venues to rocket testing sites, use high-accuracy sensor technologies to ensure the safe and efficient movement of heavy equipment, machinery, and materials using cranes, hoists, pulleys, and other lifting devices. They are involved in the entire rigging process, from the initial assessment and design of rigging systems to overseeing the actual lifting operations.
Safety is of utmost importance in all lifting applications due to the potential risks associated with heavy loads, heights, and moving parts. The use of load monitoring devices such as load cells, tension links, load pins, or load shackles are critical to ensure the safe execution of lifting operations.
When Interface defines lifting applications, we are referring to the actions of objects, materials, or loads that are raised, lowered, or moved vertically or horizontally using lifting equipment or mechanisms. For use of our measurement solutions, these lifting applications involve the use of specialized equipment designed to safely and efficiently handle various types of loads.
In the construction industry, Interface load cells and load pins are integrated into smart cranes and construction equipment to provide real-time monitoring of the loads being lifted or carried. Lifting beams and spreader bars need high-accuracy measurement on the site. These sensors accurately measure the weight or force exerted on the equipment and provide data on the load’s status, ensuring safe operation within specified limits. This information can be used to prevent overloading, optimize load distribution, and enhance operational safety and prevent failure of any machinery.
Infrastructure demands durability, quality and accuracy of measurement. Interface load cells, tension links, load pins, and load shackles are employed in load testing applications to verify the strength and capacity of various lifting structures and equipment. They are used for a range of applications, including crane verification and safety monitoring, hoist monitoring, winch measurements, elevator suspension systems, lifting cables, overload alarms, and load testing. These tests measure the applied load and assess the structural integrity. Load cells or load shackles are often temporarily attached to lifting points or incorporated into the testing rig to capture accurate load data.
The maritime industry uses Interface measurement devices in crane systems, winches, and lifting equipment onboard ships, on offshore platforms, or vessels. These ruggedized and often submersible sensors ensure that loads are properly managed and controlled, enabling safe and efficient lifting operations in challenging marine environments. Check out this Boat Hoist application note.
Warehouses and logistics use load cells or load pins for shipping container handling, pallet weighing, conveyor systems and freight and cargo monitoring. The sensors can be easily integrated into forklifts to measure the weight of the lifted load, ensuring safe lifting, and preventing overloading.
Interface load cells and sensor technologies are also being used in applications for patient lifting and transfer. Load cells or load shackles can be integrated into patient lifting and transfer equipment, such as hoists or patient slings, hospital beds and therapy equipment. These sensors help monitor the load and ensure safe and comfortable transfers for patients and caregivers.
By integrating Interface solutions into lifting applications, the result is enhanced safety, improved efficiency, and optimization of load management. Real-time data from sensors allows for precise control, early detection of anomalies, and preventive maintenance, ensuring smooth and secure lifting operations, whether that is for a patient in a hospital or a cargo load moving from dock to ship.
Interface offers standard products for lifting, as well as custom and OEM lifting solutions. Contact our application engineers to learn more about what type of lifting solution is best for your requirements.Lifting Solutions Brochure
A load pin, which often replaces a standard clevis or pivot pin, is a strain gage sensor that measures the force applied across the device. The strain gages are installed within a small bore through the center of the pin. Interface load pins have been used in a wide variety of projects across many industries.
Load pins are a simple, but highly powerful sensor that provides data collection for accurate and frequent measurement. The load pin can replace a bolt, clevis, sheave, and an equalizer pin, as well as other load-bearing components to measure tensile and compression forces.
Machined from high tensile stainless steel, Interface load pins are suitable for exposed situations including seawater. We offer standard sizes of load pins between 1.1K lbf to 3.3M lbf (500kgs to 1500 MT). We also offer wireless load pins. Interface load pins are custom manufactured to meet specific dimensional requirements for each application, as detailed in our Use Cases for Load Pins webinar.
The most commonly referenced applications for load pins are for overhead equipment like cranes and lifts. Through ingenuity of engineers and our customers, load pins are rapidly expanding in popularity for infrastructure, aerospace, maritime, agriculture, and industrial use cases. The load pins of today are used to test and measure force, load, and weight in a much larger variety of applications. They are also growing in demands due to their wireless capabilities for both short and long distances. This includes uses not only for cranes and lifting devices, as well as construction equipment, industrial machines, nautical craft and equipment, aerospace structural environments, and civil engineering applications.
Infrastructure investment and projects around the world are on the rise. Investments in transportation ways like highways, waterways, bridges, mass transit, water supplies and power generation are frequently in demand of load pin solutions for use in all phases of the projects, from construction to maintenance and real-time monitoring. Some of these examples are highlighted in Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface.
Interface has a great deal of experience supplying ruggedized and standard use load pins for testing. Our load pins are highly demanded in the infrastructure industry not only due to the accuracy and reliability of our sensors, but also due to the fact that we offer a myriad of communication channels to offer both wired and wireless solutions. As requirements are made to repair and rebuild public infrastructure resilience, equity, and safety for all users are key criteria in design and build stages. This is where Interface load pins are key to the solution, for durability, accuracy, quality, and ease-of-use.
Interface captured a few application examples of how our load pins are used for different types of projects, from maritime submersibles to monitoring new bridges during earth’s constant shifting.
A global manufacturer in aerospace needs to test their new assembly and design by testing its landing gear joints. They want to ensure there are no flaws in the gear shock absorber design and can handle the applied forces when the craft lands from a flight. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins can be installed and replace the normal pin joints. The aircraft undergoes multiple drop tests at different heights, where the forces are applied on the load pins which then transmits the measurement data. The force results are transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Digital Display for multiple transmitters. Read more about this load pin use case here.
MARITIME: Quick Release Hooks (QRH)
A customer wanted to test their quick release hook (QRH) system when their vessels are docked. They wanted to ensure the mooring lines are secured, but also, the quick release hooks were able to be easily and safely released. Interface’s WTSLP Stainless Steel Load Pin was installed into the quick release hook, where forces from the mooring lines can be measured and displayed when paired with the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station. The load tension forces were displayed in real-time on the customer’s PC or laptop. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module alarm could also be triggered for the customer when maximum safety work load capacities have been reached or are overloaded. Using this solution, the customer was able to determine if their quick release hooks worked effectively within the safe working limit specifications, and was aware of any potential overload situations. Read more here.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring
A customer wanted to monitor seismic activity that occurs to a bridge by using force sensors and then continuously monitoring bridge forces before, during and after earthquakes occur. The customer preferred a wireless solution so they would not need to run long cables on the bridge. Interface helped to develop its LP Load Pin, which were custom made to fit their needs along Interface Inc. WTS Wireless Telemetry System continuous force monitoring was able to take place without long cables. Using this solution, the customer was able to monitor continuous loads, log information to the cloud and review information. Read about this solution here.
AGRICULTURE: Tractor Linkage Draft Control
A farming operation needs to measure the forces applied on their tractor’s draft control, between the tractor and any linked on attachments. Measuring the force helps the farmer sense any strains on the hitch of the tractor, and will be needed in order to apply any specific settings to the draft control when the tractor encounters rough terrain. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin is a wireless load pin that can be installed directly in the hitch, replacing the normal shear pin of the tractor. Force results are transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station, where they can view the results on a computer using Interface’s WTS toolkit. The customer can also view results on the WTS-BS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters in real-time. Read more about this IoT Agriculture solution here.
INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION: Crane Block Safety Check
A customer wanted a system to detect if their crane block can lift heavy loads securely, in order to keep working conditions and personnel safe. If lifting capacities are exceeded, the customer wanted a system to alarm them in real-time. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin replaced the existing load bearing pin in the crane block in order to measure the force being applied by the heavy load. The data was transmitted and displayed through both the WTS-BS-4 USB Base Station (when paired with the customer’s supplied PC computer/Laptop) and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld for real-time results. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module could also trigger an alarm when maximum capacity has been reached. The WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, combined with the WTS products, was able to measure and determine force applied the moment a heavy load is lifted. The results were transmitted wirelessly, and ensured the customer whether or not the crane block was safely operational during production.
Are load pins the right solution for your project? Contact our load pin application engineers to learn more.
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.
Lifting is the action of raising an object to a higher level or moving an object to a different position. Tension load cells accurately measure forms of lifting, as they measure pulling by design. Choosing the right sensor for this type of measurement requires consideration of the size of object that is lifted, and mechanism used in the act to create the lift. Read more in our latest case study Cranes and Lifting.
Often large capacity load cells are used in industrial equipment, cranes, forklifts, rigging, and even aircraft testing equipment to measure forces applied in heavy lifting and for load monitoring, as well as to maintain accuracy in movement. Larger capacity load cells can range from 10,000 to million lbf, or even larger. Rugged load cells are frequently selected for this type of equipment to sustain harsh environmental conditions for both testing and during real-time use.
Smaller capacity load cells, such as s-types and miniature beams, measure the lift action in machines, medical equipment, packaging, robotics, drones and moving equipment. In all circumstances, force measurement sensors help product engineers and manufacturers improve safety and the quality of products they build. They are versatile and easily integrated into machines and components.
Beyond the measurement specifications, other top feature considerations when selecting the right sensor include weight of the sensor, requirements for overload protection, enclosures and ruggedized material used to construct the device, signal outputs for data, cabling, or wireless functionality, mounting or clamping, and instrumentation for data acquisition.
For measurement in lifting applications, Interface products provide the industry’s most accurate and reliable data available through force measurement sensors. Products we provide for lifting include multi-axis sensors, load washer load cells, low profiles, miniature load cells, load shackles, load pins, tensions links, instrumentation, and torque transducers.
The following are examples of products we supply for lifting equipment and use cases.
AERIAL BOOM LIFT OPERATION
A manufacturer aerial lifts wants to test its self-propelled boom platform to ensure it can operate at heavy capacities when in use, and at different angles. This testing is vital for safety and protecting operators as well as those at the site of where equipment is in use. The sensors help to prevent any accidents in case of a lifting overload. The Interface application engineers recommends the multi-axis 3AXX 3-Axis Force Load Cell model 3A160 to capture the required data for monitoring in real-time. Paired with the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, the operator had accurate information when using the equipment.
AIRCRAFT LIFTING TEST RIG
An aerospace manufacturer is looking to accurately measure the valves in their aircraft lifting test equipment. Interface’s solution is to install a 1200 High Capacity Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell in between the aircraft testing rig and the lifting jack. The load cell will measure the load’s force safety valve when the lifting equipment opens. Results will be sent to the 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator, where the customer can see it displayed in real-time.
LIFTING HEAVY OBJECTS
In this common use case, a customer needs to measure the load when using a crane to move heavy construction materials around the work site. This includes monitoring the weight of these objects as they are lifted in the air. It was critical that the device offer high accuracy readings and also work within the equipment already in place. Key is the instrumentation capabilities to provide wireless outputs. Interface recommends using our WTSSHK-B Wireless Load Shackle connected in crane load string to measure forces. Model WTS-BS-1-HA Battery Powered Handheld Display is used to wirelessly receive load information and display results.
Read more about these types of lifting applications in our new case study. If you need help in deciding which product works best for your lifting application, contact us.Cranes and Lifting Case Study
Interface serves a wide variety of industries that design and manufacture movers of people and objects. The transportation sector consists of companies that assist in the movement people or goods, as well as supporting infrastructure. Whether it is automobiles or planes, trains or helicopters, spacecraft or water vessels, Interface provides solutions to help test and measure force, weight, torque, lift and more.
The safety, quality and reliability of the overall transportation industry are all important considerations in design, build and performance. Human safety being the most critical requirement of any transport vehicle or structure.
This means that stringent testing is necessary to confirm the design of every part and system on a vehicle. Force measurement sensors can used to test a wide variety of factors on every type of invention that moves or transports a person or thing. From the torque of an electrical vehicle engine to the weight distribution of an aircraft, these types of tests help to refine the designs of components, vessels, and vehicles, confirming safety and dependability.
All Interface product categories have a role in the testing of all these transportation entities. Many of our sensor technologies are also ideal for performance monitoring and integration into product designs, whether it’s for ongoing measurement of weighing ship cargo with load pins, load shackles and tension links or using our torque transducers for engine testing on e-bikes, automobiles, trucks, buses, and other transport vehicles. If it moves, it needs to be measured. Our force and torque solutions are ideal for every segment of this market sector.
Let’s take a quick tour of a few application examples that demonstrate the different products we provide that are helping get people and objects safely moving down the road, on the rails, in the air and even into space.
Wind Tunnel Testing
A major aerospace company was developing a new airplane and needed to test their scaled model for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, by measuring loads created by lift and drag. Interface offered a Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell which was mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel and connected to the scaled model by a stalk. A Model BX8-AS was then connected to the sensor to collect data. The wind tunnel blew air over the scaled model creating lift and drag, which was measured and compared to the theoretical airplane models. Software in the PC converted raw data signals to actual force and torque values at the stalk. Using this solution, the company was able to analyze the collect data and made the necessary adjustments in their design to improve the aerodynamics of their theoretical airplane models. Read more.
Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing
A garbage disposal company wanted to test the load capacity of their garbage truck bins so they know when it reached maximum capacity. Interface’s solution was to customize and install 4 SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells under the garbage box body, on either side. When trash continues to be piled inside the box body, it will push more force down onto the SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells. When maximum load capacity has been reached, the results can be reviewed and displayed when connected to the 482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator in real time. With this system, the customer was able to test the maximum load capacity of the garbage bin attached to the truck, so they know when to empty the truck’s garbage at the transfer station. Read more.
Engine Head Bolt Tightening
An industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an auto manufacturing plant. They needed to tighten all head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine. Several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque, angle, and ensure the head bolt was properly tightened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation. When the machine comes down and screws on the engine head bolts the torque and angle profile are sent to the customer’s machine controller. Based on the feedback received by the machine controller, the automation will pass the engine to the next step in the assembly line or fail and have the engine evaluated further. This allowed the customer to ensure the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant. Read more.
Bicycle Load Testing
A mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame. They also want to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during this final step of the product testing process. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. When a heavy load is added to the seat, the SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures the vibrations and load forces applied to the bike to indicate any stress points through a number of cycles. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. This solution helped the mountain bike manufacturing company gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing cycle. Read more.
These are just a brief example of the work we do in transportation. Interface systems have been involved in projects with boats, races cars, construction vehicles and even rocket ships. Manufacturers turn to Interface because of our track record for accuracy and the transportation industry relies on this data to keep its customers safe.
For additional insights and ideas related to transportation solutions, here are a few more posts to read.
To review more application notes pertaining to transportation or to talk to an application engineer about your next project, contact us or call us at 480-948-5555.