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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.

Interface Differentiator is Proprietary Strain Gage Manufacturing

Interface products have been heralded for their accuracy, reliability, and quality for more than 50 years. We credit our vertically integrated approach to manufacturing as the most significant factor in our development of industry-leading force measurement products, meaning we control every part of the design, manufacturing and testing of our products before they are shipped to our customers.

The process for how we differentiate ourselves begins with Interface strain gages. By manufacturing our own proprietary strain gages here at our headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, we can optimize our load cells to a quality level very few providers can match.

Think of strain gages as the heart and soul of a load cell. These components power every aspect of the device and their quality dictates a significant portion of the load cells’ overall quality. In addition, customization of the strain gages is a critical factor in ensuring the load cell is meeting the specific requirements of a customer’s project.

The last point is critically important because Interface does not just provide one size fits all products. Yes, we have a large standard product line ready to ship. There are many times when we collaborate directly with our customers to understand their application and the challenges that may be present during a force measurement testing program or OEM design. This allows us to offer modified and custom products that are engineered to order.  Whether that comes in the form of an off-the-shelf product within our catalog of more than tens of thousands of options, or a new model using our strain gage technology to meet the needs of a unique application.

An example of our commitment to meeting customer needs is the way we develop our strain gages to compensate for temperature, an environmental factor that can drastically affect the accuracy of force data. Our strain gages are designed and manufactured to counteract the temperature characteristics of the modulus of the load cell structural material.

The benefit to this is that our load cells are temperature-insensitive and do not require modulus compensation resistors, ultimately producing a simpler and more reliable circuit with higher output signal. It also means no dynamic thermal mismatch errors from modulus compensation resistors which cannot be thermally connected with the load cell’s surface at the strain gage location.

In addition, our proprietary strain gages provide several key benefits. Included below are a few of the differentiators available with Interface strain gages:

  • A higher output of 4mV/V, while competitors provide 3mV/V or less, which provides superior performance, flexibility, and accuracy.
  • The ability to perform hot and cold thermal compensation, from 15˚ – 115˚F, while competitors typically only provide heat compensation (60˚ – 160˚F).
  • Eight strain gages per load cell compared to our competitors four gages, which provides superior compensation of eccentric loads to further minimize resulting errors.
  • Our strain gages also offer:
    • Higher signal-to-noise ratio
    • Higher resolution in precision measurement applications
    • Superior fatigue life

Another factor in the development of our strain gages is our expertise and knowledge of the manufacturing process. We have always developed our own strain gages going all the way back to 1968. Therefore, we have learned everything there is to know about it and can guarantee the quality of our load cells in any environment based on this tenured expertise and having manufactured and calibrated millions of force measurement devices.

To learn more about our vertically integrated manufacturing process and the various forms of product and system customization we offer, contact our specialized application engineers.

 

Engaging Interface Calibration and Repair Services Expertise

A high-quality load cell is a critical piece of technology for the design and testing of products throughout various, highly regulated industries including medical, aerospace and defense, automotive, and industrial automation. To get the most out of a load cell, just like anything else, you need to understand how to care for and maintain it. A poorly maintained load cell can lead to inaccurate data and poor performance.

Interface Calibration and Repair Services provide a valuable function for our customers in recalibration and technical support for the thousands of products manufactured by the leader in force measurement.  When cared for properly, a load cell should to be calibrated once a year or at least every two years under regular use. There are also certain circumstances where a load cell is damaged in use and needs immediate repair. Interface can handle calibration and repair of any load cell on the market, whether we build it or not.

A key differentiator for Interface is the fact that our calibration lab is ISO 17025 and A2LA accredited. These accreditations are typically for major calibration labs, not in a manufacturer’s facilities like ours. Our deep expertise in the development of load cells allows us to provide the highest quality calibration and repair services on the market because we know the product inside and out.

Interface’s Industry Leading Calibration and Repair Process

The Interface calibration team consists of 10 individuals dedicated to an optimized calibration and repair process that gets our customer’s load cells in and out as quickly as possible. The process begins with the front-end team, who manages the customer’s request, goes through the RMA process, and troubleshoots any additional concerns with the customer.

Once we review the product in-house at our Arizona headquarters, the load cell goes through a thorough inspection process to identify any necessary repairs and to ensure the load cell is in working condition for calibration. This includes an electrical test to evaluate if the load cell is in proper condition to calibrate. It’s also important to note that if the load cell can’t be repaired, there is no charge to the customer, and we work to find a replacement unit. The customer also approves any repairs that are necessary before work begins.

The final step in the process is the actual calibration. Our calibration team has many years of experience and know load cells inside and out. We also work with the most advanced equipment, including our proprietary Gold Standard® and Platinum Standard® systems. These devices ensure that the load cells are calibrated to the most accurate capability possible before returning to the customer. More information about Interface Calibration Systems can be found in our Calibration Systems 101 blog here.

Our commitment to building quality calibration systems is evident by the customers who also use them to do calibration in-house. In fact, in nearly every major manufacturing testing lab, you will find an Interface Gold Standard Calibration System and Gold or Platinum Standard Load Cells. This is because our customers are working on some of the most advanced hardware in their respective industries and fields. Engineers and testing labs trust Interface for accuracy, performance and quality.

Interface customers not only need to ensure their measurements are as accurate as possible to avoid product failure, they also need to prove the accuracy of their testing equipment for those products to pass inspection and make it to the market. We provide both our expert calibration services in our calibration lab, or through high-quality, high-reliability systems available that we build for our customers.

Interface Calibration and Repair Services

  • 50+ Years of Calibration Experience
  • Calibration of All Manufacturers Load Cells
  • 100,000+ Calibrations Performed Annually
  • Custom Calibrations
  • IPerform Service Software for RMA, Tracking and Permanent Archive of Test Data
  • NMI Certified Gold and Platinum Standard Reference Load Cells
  • Interface Gold Standard Calibration Software Used for Data Collection and Analysis
  • Full-Service Machine Shop for Mechanical Requirements

Force Capabilities:

  • NIST/NMI Traceable Calibration
  • 2 gf – 1 Million lbf Calibration Capability
  • (9) Hydraulic & (5) Deadweight Test Stands to Support Your Calibration Requirements

Torque Capabilities:

  • 0.022 – 100K in-lbf Capacities
  • NIST Traceable to 2.2K in-lbf
  • NMI Traceable 2.2K – 100K in-lbf

Interface calibration and repair services are designed with the customer in mind. Our process is fast, reliable and will ensure premium accuracy for our customer’s most complex and high-quality data-dependent design and test projects. Our team of experts work with every customer to ensure personalized world-class service.  It starts with engagement, how can we help?

For more information on Interface calibration and repair services, please visit /calibration-repair/.

Click here to schedule a service today.

Contributor:  Chris Brandenburg, Technical Services Manager at Interface

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.

Considerations for Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Load Cells

In the world of force measurement and load cells, one size certainly does not fit all. There are thousands of different options for size and force ranges, and our load cell configurations vary widely based on the requirements of your project. Whether you are designing and testing products for the medical industry, or measuring force deep within a mine shaft, users need to be aware of certain force product details to ensure their getting the right tools for the job.

One of the critical considerations in the load cell selection process are the materials used in the construction of the load cell. If you did not already know, load cells can be made from several different metal materials. This list includes aluminum, steel, stainless steel, titanium, Inconel®, and even glass or carbon fiber.

Each material used depends on the end-use requirements and the need for strength, resistance, hysteresis, environmental concerns, output signal, size and weight, and budget.

For this post, the focus is on the three most used materials for load cells: aluminum, steel and stainless steel. Below is an outline comparing the different factors that make one material better than the others based on the testing requirements and use case.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a light and inexpensive metal, making it the most budget-friendly of the three. It is also the easiest to machine, as it does not require a heat treatment or secondary machining. Aluminum has a higher thermal conductivity, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your need. The hysteresis of aluminum load cells is also the lowest on this list. The most prominent benefit is that it can be used for constructing smaller load cells, so if size, weight, and total volume of the load cell is a key consideration for your project, aluminum would be the metal we’d recommend.

In adverse, when dealing with aluminum load cells it is important to understand that it is the softest material on this list, which means it is more susceptible to damage. This also means that it cannot handle as much stress, resulting in a lower output signal.

Steel

Steel is a stronger metal, so it is a bit more expensive than an aluminum load cell. It is still comparatively cost-effective. It also has the highest strength of the three materials outlined here. This means it is the least susceptible to damage and has the highest signal output. It also has higher environmental resistance than aluminum and less heat conductivity, which once again can be good or bad depending on the project.

The downsides to steel include the fact that it is more complicated to machine and requires a multi-step heat treatment operation. Compared to aluminum, the hysteresis is generally slightly higher for certain load cell designs. This can be remedied with additional engineering. It also does not provide the benefit of size, weight, and total volume flexibility that lighter aluminum provides.

In our opinion, steel provides the best value for a load cell in terms of money and performance, if size, weight and total volume is not an issue with your project or application.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a stronger material than aluminum; however, it is not as strong as steel. The output signal performance for stainless steel load cells is somewhere in the middle of steel and aluminum. The main benefit of stainless steel is that it is the best material to use in a corrosive environment because of the metal’s environmental resistance properties.

The downside to stainless steel is that it is a bit more difficult to machine but does only requires a simple heat treatment process. It is also the most expensive metal of the three and has the highest hysteresis. We would recommend stainless steel when the user needs to collect data in a hazardous environment. Read more here about our Ex Rated products.

Understanding the difference between these materials is critical to getting the most accurate data from your force tests based on the environment and the nature of the product or system you are testing.

If you’re unsure about the requirements your project demands, be sure to reach out to us at 480-948-5555, or visit our website to be connected with an application engineer. We can discuss your specific challenge and help you select the load cell with the right material for your needs.

Contributor Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface

 

Load Button Load Cells 101

Manufactured devices, technology advancements and product designs are getting smaller and smaller as innovations demand less space to do more for their consumers. As engineers are designing products with miniaturized components, they also need high quality test and measurement solutions that produce accurate results within these smaller testing spaces.

Interface has created a series Load Button Load Cells to meet these exact requirements. These load buttons are designed and manufactured to specifically fit into small and confined spaces, providing the precision-based measurements as expected from larger load cells.

Interface Load Button Load Cells are compact strain gauge-based sensors used in a wide variety of applications, including test and measurement and for general measurement applications. Interface standard LBM and LBS Load Button Load Cells can fulfill the need for compression force measurements at a very respectable precision level for most applications.

Product diameters range from 1 inch to 3 inches, with heights from 0.39 inch to 1.5 inches. The shaped load button load cell has a spherical radius to help confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell. And while these products are small, they are capable of measuring compression forces from 10 lbf all the way to 50,000 lbf. The spherical radius of our Load Cell Load Buttons also help to confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell.

Interface Load Button Load Cells 

Interface’s Custom Solutions Team and Product Engineers can also help to design a specific size and capacity to fit our customer’s exact requirements. Let us know what you need by contacting us here.

Load Button Load Cells Functionality and Proper Use

Applications that use compression loads on load button load cells requires an understanding of the distribution of forces between surfaces of various shapes and finishes.

The first and most important rule is to always avoid applying a compression load flat-to-flat from a plate to the top surface of a load button hub. The reason for this is simple, it’s impossible to maintain two surfaces parallel enough to guarantee that the force will end up being centered on the primary axis of the load button load cell. Any slight misalignment, even by a few micro-inches, could move the contact point off to one edge of a hub, thus inducing a large moment into the measurement.

Minor misalignments merely shift the contact point slightly off the centerline. In addition to compensating for misalignment, the use of a load button load cell of the correct spherical radius is necessary to confine the stresses at the contact point within the limits of the materials. Generally, load button load cells and bearing plates are made from hardened tool steel, and the contacting surfaces are ground to a finish of 32µ inch RMS. If you use too small of a radius it will cause a failure of the material at the contact point, and a rough finish will result in galling and wear of the loading surfaces.

Interface Load Button Load Cells in the Real World 

The evolving world of technology and product design has created a high demand for these types of small and accurate testing equipment. Innovative industries are looking at new ways to fit more capabilities into a single device that is the same size or even smaller. OEM applications that require this type of testing equipment include medical devices, drones, industrial automation, packaging and robotics.

We have highlighted a few examples of how Interface Load Button Load Cells have been used in the medical industry to solve complex challenges related to measuring compression force in confined spaces.

Measuring Vascular Clamp Force

A customer in the medical industry wanted to test various types of vascular clamps to see which type would generate the best clamping force for surgery. Using a Model LBS Load Cell, the clamps were secured onto the compression button. A Model 9330 High Speed Data Logging Indicator provided compression force measurements and allowed the customer to determine the most appropriate clamp type. Read the full application use case here.

Optimizing Surgical Stapler Force

Another customer needed to optimize the design of their surgical stapler to make it easier and more efficient for a medical professional to use. The original equipment manufacturer mounted the surgical stapler onto a test rig to enable force verification, and then connected a Model LBMU Compression Load Cell Button to a Model 9890 Load Cell Indicator. The indicator would collect compression force data from the stapler, and that data was then analyzed to allow the OEM to determine the design changes needed to reduce the amount of force applied to use the stapler.  Learn more about this application here.

For more information on our expanding lineup of Load Button Load Cells, see the overview below. In addition, say tuned in to the IQ Blog for an exciting announcement about new Interface Load Button Load Cell technology.  Most standard Load Button Load Cells are available to ship within 2 business days. Contact us for more information or visit our QS48 now.

Click here to see the full line of Load Button Load Cells.  

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions

The aerospace industry is responsible for some of the greatest inventions and innovation in our global history. The engineering and manufacturing of a single rocket engine design, using handwritten calculations and with less computing power than a modern smartphone, took us to the moon.

The NASA Parker Solar Probe is the culmination of some of the most impressive technology ever developed by mankind, journeying through the skies and beyond earth’s atmosphere with the ability to reach a top speed of 430,000 miles per hour.

The aerospace industry is an assembly of researchers, design houses, test labs and manufacturing companies that engineer and build vehicles to travel within and beyond Earth’s atmosphere. The range of aircraft and space vehicles include all types from unpowered gliders to commercial and military aircraft, as well as rockets, missiles, launch vehicles, and spacecraft. The term aerospace comes from the combination of the words aeronautics and spaceflight. All of these vehicles go through extensive and rigorous test and measurement programs and processes.

For more than half a decade, Interface has served some of the most prominent www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace organizations in the nation including NASA, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and more. Our sensor technology has been used to design, test and manufacture airplane frames, wings, landing gear, rocket engines and even the machines that build the components for these products. These projects require the most precise data available, not only to ensure that the airplane or spaceship can fly and land, but more importantly to guarantee its safety for the pilot, crew and passengers.

Interface is humbled and proud to provide critical force measurement solutions and technology to the aerospace industry, in support of science, innovation and exploration.

Interface is often selected by our aerospace customers over the competition because we offer the most accurate and reliable force measurement products on the market. In this blog, we will be outlining how Interface serves the www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace in validating designs, improving performance and maintain the highest safety possible.

AIRCRAFT

One of the most important tests to run in aircraft development is static and fatigue testing on the frame of the aircraft and the wings. Engineers will often simulate the effects of various forces on the aircraft and wings with actuators which act as of wind, weather, debris and more. Hundreds of Interface load cells are used to measure those forces to either validate the simulations or find errors in order to adjust the simulation and design accordingly. Load cells are also used on the machines controlling these forces in the test environment to ensure the actuators are simulating the right amount of force.

READ THIS APP NOTE FOR AIRCRAFT WING FATIGUE TESTING

ROCKETS

For a spacecraft that can weigh up to 1,000 tons, you need a lot of force to get it off the ground and safely out of the earth’s atmosphere. One of the ways that engineers test the thrust force of a rocket engine is with load cells. During these tests, the engine is attached under the mounting plate, which is part of a test stand. Interface load cells are installed between the plate and test stand and when the rocket thrust pushes up on the plate, the load cells relay the force data to the engineers. These tests help engineers make adjustments to the engine to use the precise amount of force to lift the craft into space, but not too much so that it doesn’t burn up too much fuel.

READ THIS CASE STUDY: LAUNCHING INTO ORBIT WITH INTERFACE

AEROSPACE MANUFACTURING

Before the air and spacecrafts are even assembled, the components need to be manufactured in a plant. There are hundreds of machines that are used on the production line for the hundreds of thousands of components needed to complete the craft. Interface load cells and torque transducers can be found on many of these machines. Not only are they used to help test the machines, they are also used to measure various forces on the machines in real-time. Our products are used to provide a wealth of insight to tell the manufacturers if the machine is working properly, needs to be recalibrated or needs repairs.

READ THIS APP NOTE FOR ROCKET STRUCTURAL TESTING

For more information on the numerous applications of Interface products in the aerospace and space industry, visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace/. Here you can read application notes and browse the various products we offer for our customers.

To watch an actual aircraft structural, check out this great Airbus video of an actual test.

Contributor: Randy White, Regional Sales Director at Interface

Finding the Center of Gravity

Even after more than a half-century in the force measurement industry, Interface continues to find new  and innovative use cases for our precision products.

Recently, we were approached by a customer who needed help finding the center of gravity in order to optimize weight distribution and balance for a product in development. Our outstanding team here at Interface put our heads together to develop a unique testing method to help discover this critical data point.

One of the most rewarding experiences in managing our custom solutions is learning about a new customer challenge and developing a novel solution to address it.” Ken Bishop, Director of Sales and Customer Solutions, Interface, Inc.

For this specific use case, the customer had a cylindrical tank filled with material for which they needed to find the center of gravity. Because we were able to calculate the distance of the tank, we were able to understand the weight distribution and create a test to find the center.

The center of gravity of an object is calculated when the weight of the given object is concentrated into the center of the object. This is determined by measuring the weight seen by each of the four legs.  If the weight is distributed evenly, the material is in the center location.  This center location can also be referred to as the origin.

Utilizing a Model 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, which is highly customizable instrumentation for any application, we were able to write a program to achieve our goal. We then placed two Model 1211 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cells on each end of the rack where the tank resided, using four load cells in total. Because we knew the distance of the object and had load cells to measure the weight at both ends, we were easily able to calculate and identify the origin point on the tank. In this case, the center of gravity.

Ken noted that during his tenured career at Interface, this was the first time he and the team had been tasked with finding the center of gravity in relationship to the distance for an object. As Interface’s team thought about how to develop the custom solution, they also considered additional applications in which this information could be beneficial.

The result of this successful test and measurement application, Interface considers the center of gravity analysis as a beneficial test to optimize flight performance of an airplane. This is important when there is that instant that a plane is not flying at max capacity. There may be open seats all around you, but in order to keep weight distribution in balance, the attendants may need to limit which seats are occupied during a flight. If planes were equipped with this type of sensor technology to calculate center of gravity, they could more evenly distribute weight and ensure optimal performance.  This same type of application can apply to any vehicle that moves on land, air or water with people or cargo.

SEE THE APPLICATION NOTE FOR CENTER OF GRAVITY TESTING

In the growing demands for urban mobility, unmanned vehicles and drone technologies, this type of testing application can help with vehicles, aircraft, space vehicles, boats and more with performance and safety.

Force measurement has a limitless number of applications to improve performance, maximize efficiency and even work in real-time to provide smart decisions. At Interface, we are discovering new ways to redevelop our load cell, torque and multi-axis sensor products for customized solutions to meet the growing demands for innovation.

Interface works with a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, metrology and industrial automation by teaming up to create unique use cases and applications that require our custom force measurement solutions. If you have a unique project that requires a custom solution, please visit the custom solutions page on our site at /custom-solutions/ or contact us at 480-948-5555.

Contributor:  Ken Bishop, Sales and Custom Solutions Director at Interface

Tank Weighing And Center Of Gravity App Note
Drone App Note

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

In the product manufacturing process, repeatability, process control, and inspection are some of the most important factors in creating high-performance products. At Interface, reliability and accuracy are the two most important features of our renowned force measurement products. For this reason, Interface continues to invest in the highest quality test and inspection technology to ensure each product that leaves the production floor is of the utmost Interface brand quality.

In this blog, we will be discussing our investment in top-of-the-line vision sensor technology and systems that help us to effectively reduce waste, improve efficiencies in manufacturing, and guarantee proper performance.

For many years, Interface has relied on our employees for their keen visual inspection of products that come off the production line. These trusted employees are looking at a number of things, including: are wires installed properly and are the serial and revision numbers correct. These respected and experienced Interface team members can inspect hundreds or thousands of products a day, with a heavy reliance on the human eye.

Interface load cells must meet stringent quality processing production standards, along with our calibration requirements before they are shipped to our customers. Interface will scrap any product that does not meet the exact precision standards for performance. In fact, if the product fails, we will not utilize the product at all. We will start our manufacturing process over to ensure the integrity and quality is met, as is expected with any Interface branded force measurement product.

In a recent experience of solving for a wiring issue that could cost thousands in waste, we sought out an innovative way to approach the challenge. To solve the visualization and human dependency concerns, we invested in a Keyence Vision Sensor IV2 Series. This camera system allows us to reduce human error by programming the camera to pick up misaligned wiring and notify the user.

It works with advanced sensor technology that can identify production issues and will provide the user with a green light if everything looks good, or a red light if there is an issue. The system is helping to significantly reduce both inspection time and production line errors. The vision technology system is currently implemented on our MBS mini load cell line, one of our highest volume production lines. Since implementing the system, we have not seen a failure that caused any type of loss.

We are now looking into how we could use the Keyence Vision Sensor technology in other areas of production. For instance, we are testing how the camera could be used to read serial and revision numbers that are laser marked onto our products. Every once in a while, if the laser is misaligned or the user hits an extra keystroke, the numbers could be off, and the customer will have an error in their records. With the innovative visualization system, the camera’s sensors could read the serial numbers and let the user know if there is an error quickly.

To learn more about how Interface is investing in innovation and technology to improve our processes and production methods, check out the IQ Blog at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.  You can also learn more about Interface’s 2019 Arizona Manufacturer of the Year Award here.

Contribution from Nick Siegel, Design Engineer, Interface