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Detailing Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells

A pillow block bearing is usually used to create a rolling system. This bearing type is often used for industrial rolls for textiles, paper, and materials. It is also used on conveyor belts in manufacturing facilities. Other common use cases in various industries include transportation, medical device design, and aerospace.

Interface offers specialized load cells that measure and monitor weight and other forces on pillow block bearings, aptly known as Interface Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells. The force measurement is performed for this load cell between two supports.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cell Spans Multiple Industries

Pillow block bearing load cells are important in all industries where accurate load measurement is required during production and use of small and large rollers. Some examples include:

  • Steel industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in roller mills to measure the force required to crush or shape steel.
  • Textile industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in textile machines such as looms and knitting machines to measure the tension on the yarn.
  • Packaging industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in packaging machines to measure the force required to cut or seal packaging materials.

Pillow block load cells are valuable in building and enhancing infrastructure. Our PBLC1 is a great solution for monitoring trains on a track in motion. When our PBLC1 is installed on a track, and the train runs across it, the sensor can provide a signal to a station elsewhere in the world. If any force indicators suggest that there could be a problem with the weight the train is holding or the train itself, the sensor can also trigger an automatic shutdown of the train. These sensors could prevent major damage from train derailments and other train-related incidents by detecting errors before they inflict damage.

These weights are important to measure or monitor as they can tell you if you run out of material on a roll or if a production line conveyor belt is holding too much weight. An example of the feed roller system using our wireless options is below.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

Feed roller systems are common in production and manufacturing. In this example, a feed roller system needs to monitor the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. This reduces waste and ensures quality in the product use. They would also prefer a wireless system. Interface suggests installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The measurement output is sent to the instrumentation device, our WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data is then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, where data can be displayed, graphed, and logged a computer. Learn more about this type of use case in our Feed Roller System Application Note.

In addition to this use case, here are a few other ways Pillow Block Load Cells are used to measure weight and force:

  • Material handling: Pillow block load cells are commonly used in conveyor systems to measure the weight of transported materials.
  • Automotive industry: Pillow block load cells are used in assembly line applications to measure the weight of assembled parts and components.
  • Heavy machinery: Pillow block load cells are used in cranes, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery to measure loads and monitor the equipment’s performance.
  • Manufacturing: Pillow block load cells are used in material testing machines to measure the force required to break or deform materials.
  • Aerospace: Pillow block load cells are used in aerospace applications to measure the weight and balance of aircraft and spacecraft.
  • Medical industry: Pillow block load cells are used in medical equipment such as patient lifts and hospital beds to measure patients’ weight.
  • Food industry: Pillow block load cells are used in food processing and packaging equipment to measure the weight of ingredients and finished products.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cells Product Overview

This type of force sensor is suitable for measuring forces under pillow block bearings for diameter Ø 20mm (Ø 0.79 in) and for measuring axle weight in test stands for trains and vehicles. Our system is compatible with INA Pillow Block Bearings and is installed underneath the bearing to measure force. There are three model versions, with the options for additional multi-axis measurements for engineers to order products.

PBLC1 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC2 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC3 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

Features and benefits of our Pillow Block Load Cell include:

  • Capacities from 5 to 30 kN (1.1K to 6.7K lbf)
  • Compatible with INA pillow block bearings
  • IP65 moisture protection
  • Rugged electro-galvanized surface

In addition, our Pillow Block Load Cell is also available in multi-axis versions, allowing more force data from your test application. This helps measure forces such as the center of gravity, tension across a load-bearing beam, and more. These multi-axis versions come in two and three-axis models. If you want accurate measurements for your pillow block-bearing use cases, contact our specialized application engineers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Interface New Product Releases Winter 2023

Infrastructure Industry Relies on Interface Force Measurement

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Industrial Automation

 

The Anatomy of a Load Cell

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes the things we use everyday work? At Interface, our engineers think about what makes up an Interface load cell on the production floor and in our design lab every day.

Whether we are manufacturing a new load cell or speaking to a customer about how it can help solve their test and measurement challenges, we are always thinking about what a load cell can do and how to perfect the process of building one that exceeds all customer expectations in performance, reliability and accuracy.

One thing that people ask us about all the time is, what does it look like inside the pioneering Interface blue load cell? In the photo below, you have a cross-section of a basic load cell identifying each of the components and how it all comes together to provide industries around the globe world-class force measurement solutions.

The first component to understand is the strain gage. This mechanism is embedded in the gage cavity and is a sensor that varies its resistance as it is stretched or compressed. When tension or compression is applied, the strain gage converts force, pressure, and weight into a change that can then be measured in the electrical resistance. You can read more in our recent strain gage 101 blog. Here at Interface, we manufacture our own strain gages in-house to ensure premium quality and accuracy.

The main features of a strain gage are illustrated in the following image:

  1. Grid Lines – strain sensitive pattern
  2. End Loops – provide creep compensation
  3. Solder Pads – used to solder interconnecting wire to the gage
  4. Fiducials – assist with the gage alignment
  5. Backing – insulates and supports foil and bonds the strain gage to the flexure

There are also multiple gage configurations depending on the type of load cell. These include:

  • Linear – measures the strain under bending (used in mini beam load cells)
  • Shear – measures strain under shear force (used in low-profile load cells)
  • Poisson – measures strain under normal stress (used in the Interface 2100 Series Column Load Cells)
  • Chevron – measures strain under torsion (used in the Interface 5400 Series Flange Load Cells)

The next component to understand is the load bearing component of the load cell. It is made up of the hub, diaphragm, outer ring, inner ring and base. This component deflects under load to allow the strain gages to send a signal through the connector to the data acquisition device. Customization can include changing the metal materials used to meet environmental or strength concerns and designing the beam height and thickness to meet certain size and stress considerations.

The mounting ring and connector are also incredibly important to the proper use of a load cell and accurate data collection. The mounting ring is the area in which the load cell is mounted to the test rig to measure force and collect data. It is important to pay attention to mounting instructions because an improperly mounted load cell can cause inaccurate results, as well as damage to the load cell. There are also mounting adapters available to fit a wide variety of test rigs.

The connector is the component that allows the load cell to connect to a data acquisition device. The connector is attached via a wire to the data acquisition device and force data is sent through this device to the user through ethernet or Bluetooth® depending on the load cell and data acquisition device configuration. Interface also sells a wide variety of data acquisition devices.

Load cells have many configurations and capacities. In fact, we have made tens of thousands of them over the years to meet standard, modified and engineered to order specifications. The load cell diagram above represents a popular low profile “pancake” load cell.  There are many other styles including miniature load cells, bending and dual bending beams, column-style, S-beam and load button load cells. However, even as the shapes and uses change, the anatomy remains relatively similar, with these main components acting as the workhorse of the load cell and providing accurate force data to the user.

For more information on Interface and our wide range of load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices check out our product categories on our site or download our product literature here.