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Faces of Interface Featuring Melissa Enriquez

There are three staples of an Interface product: accuracy, reliability, and quality. In today’s Faces of Interface, we talked Melissa Enriquez, Quality Engineer, who is one of the engineers responsible for ensuring the third, and arguably most important staple of our products meets Interface standards. We had a wonderful time learning Melissa’s story and hope you enjoy it too!

Melissa’s journey to the engineering world was not as typical as some of our other team members. In fact, she had not really pictured herself in this type of career at all. When she applied for her first job in Michigan, there was two open positions. One was in accounting and the other in quality. She was hired for the role in quality, and the rest is history.

The opportunity to be part of a quality team really opened doors for Melissa. She received on the job training as an SPC coordinator and enjoyed the role. This also eventually led to her getting her certification in SPC, ASQ and more. She also attended community college in Michigan and got her associates degree in Applied Sciences, followed by two bachelor’s degrees a few years later. She has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and a biomechanical engineering degree from Wayne State University.

After taking on the responsibilities of quality engineering, Melissa began to climb the ranks. She worked across multiple industries including automotive, aerospace, military and defense, and others. One of her more prominent roles was with Burtek, where her work with the company’s partners Raytheon and Lockheed Martin won awards for excellence in quality. In addition, her name can still be found across military equipment around the world due to being listed as a Quality Test Director on those products.

Her last stop before joining Interface was at Cobasys, an energy storage solution company helping to push battery technology forward in the electric vehicle market. In this role, Melissa helped to implement multiple quality standards, a supplier management program, and much more.

In September 2021, Melissa came to work for Interface. She has served as a quality supervisor and quality engineer. She joined Interface because she wanted to get back to being direct with the products and fix problems directly. Her role involves ensuring every product that leaves our doors is up to the high Interface standards. This includes supervising quality inspectors, performing root cause analysis and corrective action, problem solving, updating documents to make requirements clear and engaging in finding ways to advance our product quality processes. What she enjoys most about Interface is the people, the ability to make a difference in the company, and the quality products and services we provide to our customers.

When she is not upholding the Interface standard, Melissa can be found enjoying her two hobbies – sports and music. As a UofM alumni, she is a big supporter of all Michigan Wolverine sports. As far as music goes, she spent a lot of her younger years playing instruments, including drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, and trumpet. Today, she indulges that passion by listening to a wide variety of music and attending concerts.

Melissa is a big part of why Interface remains successful with a reputable brand known for exceptional quality. Our commitment to quality only goes as far as our people’s commitment to meet and exceed these standards. Melissa is a huge proponent of ensuring that everything that passes her desk is of the quality our customers have come to expect and demand from the leader in force measurement.

To learn more about Interface’s outstanding teams and individuals, check into our blog every month for a new Faces of Interface story.

The Five Critical Factors of Load Cell Quality

Accurate data and high-quality test and measurement programs have many contributing factors. None are more important than the devices and equipment used on the test line. At Interface, we understand this better than anyone else.

Quality is why our force measurement products are used and known across multiple, highly regulated, and complex industries for providing the most reliable and accurate data anywhere. It is also why Interface is recognized as the preeminent leader in load cell quality.

How do we reach this high standard that we continue to hit with every product that leaves our facility? It is our overriding commitment to quality and consistency. The most important aspect of this is the fact that Interface controls the entire manufacturing process of our load cells. Many providers outsource certain components like that strain gages. We build the strain gages, the load cells, integrate the strain gages into the load cells and we do our own test, calibration, and quality inspection on each device.

Through our development process, which has been created and perfected over 52 years, we have learned what makes a great load cell. To start, Interface Chief Engineer Ken Vining outlines the top factors in load cell quality.

Five Most Critical Factors of Load Cell Quality

#1 Repeatability

Repeatability is first on the list and it is what our customers consider the most important aspect of buying an Interface load cell. Anyone can develop a load cell that is accurate for the first 10 to 15 measurements, but as environmental factors and stress are inflicted upon the load cell it needs to last. Due to our experience in this industry, we understand how certain temperatures, loads and other factors can diminish the accuracy of a load cell. This is one of the reasons we work so closely with our customers. Every application is different, and if we understand the application, we can deliver a custom load cell that withstands the various stressors over time without providing diminishing returns. This ensures that our customers receive the same, high-quality data after 10 years of use that they received on day one.

#2 Longevity

Like repeatable data accuracy over time, the load cell also needs to feature a high-quality and ruggedized build to last physically. Constant application of weight, pressure or torque can diminish the build quality and strength of a load cell if it does not meet the material requirements of the application. This can also reduce accuracy and lead to higher costs if customers must replace their load cells regularly. Interface has worked across a wide variety of industries and we understand the materials necessary for nearly any environment. With proper use, build quality and routine maintenance, load cells should last a very long time. In fact, Interface still has load cells in use in the field from when we started building quality product more than five decades ago.

#3 Accuracy

Data accuracy is affected by a litany of factors in load cells. In fact, we wrote an entire white paper on this very topic called, “Contributing Factors to Load Cell Accuracy.” Once again, the application of the load cell is what determines the conditions that affect accuracy. These conditions include creep, side and eccentric load, temperature, humidity, the mounting process and more. Interface can customize each of our load cells to ensure these conditions are accounted for to maintain premium accuracy.

#4 Sensitivity to Off-Axis Loads

A typical load cell is designed to measure load in one direction. However, nearly any project using force measurement test processes is going to introduce an off-axis load. If the load cell is not designed to adjust for this and compensate for what is called moment, the data output will be skewed. This is another reason that customers need to be extremely specific when discussing the application of the load cell. There are several ways to compensate for moment; however, most of these adjustments are physical and occur in the design and manufacturing process. With a correctly calibrated and designed load cell, off-axis loads will be eliminated and will not affect the accuracy of the data.

Special Note: Our recent release of the new ConvexBT product, the first to market miniature load button load cell that is designed to solve for off-axis (eccentric) loading. Read more here.

#5 Access to Prominent Force Measurement Experts

Every factor of quality listed above is realized and accomplished through a close and transparent relationship between customer and force measurement provider. Every application dictates a different force measurement solution. When we understand the application, we can select the right type of load cell or customize an off the shelf load cell to meet the quality and accuracy needs necessary for any project. This is why a customer’s access to a force measurement expert is an integral part of load cell quality.

Every force test and measurement project can create a different challenge and developing an accurate and reliable load cell to meet those challenges can be tough. Therefore, Interface considers these five factors, and hundreds more, for every product we engineer and build. This is our unwavering commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Contributor:  Ken Vining, Chief Engineer and Head of Quality