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Interface White Paper Highlights Contributing Factors to Load Cell Accuracy

Core to everything we do at Interface is within our foundational pillars of quality, service, accuracy, and innovation.

When it comes to precision load cells, our team of experienced engineers is fully committed to designing and building the best force measurement products in the industry. In fact, it is commonly known that with our published specifications, we often exceed them. It is why Interface products retain the industry-leading reputation for precision performance.

With innovation and imagination in our values, Interface team members look for ways to continuously test boundaries and explore possibilities, never losing sight of accuracy. We are students of the industry and understand the precise details and mechanics that go into force measurement product development to make our solutions are the most accurate on the market.

Critical to serving our customers is understanding the contributing factors of load cell accuracy and matching the products that best fit their requirements. There are many factors that can disrupt accuracy or skew data, such as the environment in which the load cell is being used, the type of load cell application use, even the mounting process.

All of these specifications must be correctly identified when choosing the right product for the project or product to ensure accurate results. To help our fellow community of engineers, manufacturers, and product designers to navigate the force measurement world, we have developed a new Contributing Factors to Load Cell Accuracy White Paper. Click here to get your copy today!

This Interface technical white paper includes a breakdown of the most critical factors of load cell accuracy, which includes:

  • Creep
  • Side and eccentric load
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Mounting process

Chief Engineer Ken Vining provides valuable insights into some of the steps to take to avoid accuracy failure, such as:

  • Utilizing a golden part
  • Preventing load cell misuse
  • Setting a preventative maintenance schedule
  • Recalibration

This valuable resource provides a quick reference to understand load cells and the intricate details that come with their proper and accurate use. Included below is a link to access the downloadable PDF of the white paper. This technical white paper is an addition to our long-standing commitment to providing expert resources for those using or researching use case applications for load cells.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS TO THIS NEW WHITEPAPER TODAY

The Interface Load Cell Field Guide is also available on Amazon.

Interface Customer Insights from Fall 2019 Survey

Twice a year Interface engages our valued customers to formally seek their feedback, insights, and future outlook regarding test and measurement. Our latest survey results show a continued demand in project-based force measurement technology, a growing need for innovation, and complete system and custom solution designs for OEMs.

In our continued commitment to customer experience, we surveyed thousands of Interface buyers to help us understand how we can best serve their needs today and in the future.  What we learned through this process is that accuracy, quality and trust remain constant when determining the types of force measurement products our customers buy and utilize.

Our semi-annual Interface Customer Satisfaction Survey consisted of a single question to measure our performance by a Net Promoter® Score (NPS) with an additional four questions to gather our customer’s direct insights and feedback. Interface utilizes the NPS score to provide predictability and measure overall satisfaction through trending data on how we perform for our customers.

The creator of NPS, Fred Reichheld, noted that the highest-performing companies will score greater than +50, while the average American company rates between +10 to +12 across all industries. When we asked our customers who have purchased Interface solutions over the past 18 months, how likely is it that you would recommend Interface to a friend or colleague, 86% of all those that answered said they are extremely to very likely to recommend Interface to others. The overall NPS rating for Interface based on our 2019 surveys now stands at +54.

Additional Questions from Interface’s Fall 2019 Survey:

QUESTION: What force measurement products do you generally use at your company?  

Not surprising, 100% of our customers noted they are using our most popular products, load cells. Interface customers also rank mini load cells, instrumentation, torque transducers, and calibration systems in the top five products they regularly use.

QUESTION: If applicable, do you calibrate your own load cells or send them to a calibration service provider?

In our survey, 61% of respondents shared they are sending out their load cells for calibration while 21% are doing an in-house calibration. This is aligned to Interface’s continued growth and demand for our expert calibration services.

QUESTION: Is the ability to customize your force measurement products important to you? 

More than half of the participants shared that customization is important in the applications. Interface also sees a growing trend in modified product requests and custom solutions for innovative use cases, as well as in applications with our OEM customers.

The NPS scoring is based on a scale of 0-10 for how likely they would recommend us, zero being least likely and 10 being extremely likely. Our average score from this recent survey is 8.3, with the highest majority of respondents indicating they are extremely likely (10) to recommend Interface products and services to a friend or colleague.

All feedback is important to us and our last question in our survey asks for direct feedback that we can share with our team members. As we focus on continuous improvement, we learn from our customer’s input. It helps us to find better and more innovative ways to ensure we meet and exceed our customer’s expectations. It’s what we strive for every day.

If you are a customer and would like to share information with us about your buying experience, you can always contact us directly or complete our feedback survey here.

Thank you to all our survey participants.  We are grateful and thankful for your business.

Interface 2019 Load Cell Field Guide Now Available on Amazon

The Interface Load Cell Field Guide, the most thorough guide in the industry for understanding and utilizing load cells and strain gages, has been updated for 2019 and re-released on Amazon. The popular primer from leaders in force measurement solutions provides in-depth information for understanding and using load cells and strain gages to accurately measure force.

The 2019 Load Cell Field Guide is the ultimate tool for engineers and students who are learning about and using load cells for test and measurement projects and products. The book is available today in paperback on Amazon and can be ordered for $15 here.

“The creation of this instructional guide was driven by a value included in Interface’s mission to always go above and beyond,” said Joel Strom, CEO, Interface, Inc. “We believe this informative reference is a helpful resource for engineers, STEM students, and universities around the world because it comes from a company that’s recognized as the pioneer in load cell design and manufacturing. Sharing our knowledge benefits all industries testing force.”

The “Interface Load Cell Field Guide” was first published in 2014 and has been distributed throughout the world. In the newly released 2019 edition, Interface updated the book to include more than 120 pages of instructive content that covers force measurement topics including types of load cells, general uses of load cells, load cell characteristics and various test application use cases. This type of essential information provides value to all load cell users and force measurement enthusiasts.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a strategic focus of the 51-year-old load cell manufacturer. The introduction of Interface’s University Program earlier this year provides the Load Cell Field Guide to support global education and STEM programs. The guide was authored, edited and published by a team of expert Interface engineers with deep experience in the force measurement industry.

For more information on the “Interface Load Cell Field Guide” or University Program, please call 480-948-5555 or visit /the-load-cell-field-guide/.

Press release: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-2019-load-cell-field-guide-from-interface-now-available-on-amazon-300911460.html 

Why Interface Load Cells Stand Out from the Competition

As you might expect, there’s a lot of care and attention to detail in our product development methods that allow Interface to create the most accurate and reliable force measurement tools on the market. Honed over our 51 plus years in the manufacturing of force measurement products, we have among the most refined and thorough processes in the industry. Today, we are going to reveal one of the unique testing processes in our LowProfile® load cell development which sets us apart from the competition, by a landslide!

It’s no secret, Interface LowProfile load cells are reliable and offer repeatable results. What isn’t widely known is this is because of the product’s overall capability to handle loads with minimum error due to misalignment. In plain English, these load cells are very forgiving to general misalignment when they are installed into the application. Why? Because of a process called moment compensation. This is one of the primary differentiators from other pancake load cells in the marketplace.

Moment compensation is one of the many production tests we run on our LowProfile load cells to guarantee minimal influence from off-axis loads known as “moments.” We compensate for moments by hanging a weight from a fixture and rotating it around the LowProfile load cell. The offset weights go around and take readings at specific locations. The computer records the data and identifies the highest readings and locations. The operator then modifies the geometry of the material from the beam to make the beamless stiff. Once this process is completed, we go around and repeat the process to confirm results until the product passes the specification criteria.

Moment compensation is performed on every individual Interface LowProfile load cell and most other Interface load cell models to ensure repeatability and accuracy. This is a big deal in the force measurement industry because most load cell manufacturers don’t test and compensate or have a specification for eccentric load sensitivity like we do.

Interface takes these extra steps because we understand that as product development becomes more complex, the margin for error gets smaller and smaller. Moment compensation also helps to maximize the operating life and minimize performance errors. With Interface LowProfile load cells, customers know that every step in our design and development process is conducted to ensure the premium quality which exceeds their needs and quality expectations.

Contributor: Carlos Salamanca, Interface Engineering

Are you a person that likes to learn visually? There’s an Interface video for that! Check out Interface’s Brian Peters explaining the process here:

For more information on Interface’s lineup up of our precision LowProfile load cells, please visit /product-category/load-cells/ or call to contact an Application Engineer at 480-948-5555.  You can also read about our entire line of load cells here.

Load Cell Brochure 6 Page

Multi-Axis Sensors 101

Have you ever tried to build a piece of furniture with half the tools necessary? It just doesn’t work. And this same problem occurs when you try to test and measure force and torque on complicated types of machinery like an aircraft assembly or advanced robotics on a single axis. In response to meet this complex force measurement need, Interface has developed a product line of 2-axis, 3-axis, 6-axis, and axial torsion load cell sensors.

Data-driven design is at the forefront of product development, especially in highly-regulated markets like aerospace, medical and industrial. Interface’s multi-axis sensors are designed to provide the most comprehensive force and torque data points on advanced machinery. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, these multi-axis sensors are able to provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety in their product design.

To provide you with more insight, here’s an overview of Interface’s multi-axis sensors and their unique capabilities.

3-Axis Load Cells

Multi Axis Sensor 3AXX 3 Axis Load Cells -

Interface’s 3-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes: X, Y, and Z – tension and compression. Each axis provides a unique mV/V output and requires no mathematical manipulation. The 3-axis load cell is built to minimize eccentric loading effects and crosstalk between axes. The company offers five different models in its 3A Series 3-axis load cell designed for a wide variety of capacities.

6-Axis Load Cells

Interface’s 6-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. An 8-channel amplifier with USB PC interface is also available which simplifies data analysis. The company offers five different models of 6-axis load cells for a wide variety of capacities.

Axial Torsion Load Cells

Interface’s axial torsion load cell is used for measuring both torque and force in a single sensor. Typical applications of its axial torsion transducer include bearing test and material test machines. The features of our axial torsion load cell include minimal cross talk, extraneous load resistance, and the load cell is fatigue rated. Customers can also add the following options, an integral cable, compression overload protection, and connector protector.

2-Axis Load Cells

Multi Axis Sensors AT102 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load CellThe Interface 2-axis load cells can measure in two directions, X and Y simultaneously. It is commonly used in applications where dual-axis measurement is important in design and testing.

Interface multi-axis load cells are ideally suited to many industrial and scientific applications, such as aerospace, robotics, automotive and medical research (orthopedics and biomechanical). In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic design via multi-axis testing. The automotive industry is using Interface’s multi-axis products in wind tunnels, and the military is using them to test the center of gravity in aerospace applications.

As with all force measurement products available from Interface, we’re happy to work with you to provide a custom design. We can customize our products for varying capacities between X-Y and Z, higher temperature capability, or OEM and private labeling if needed.

For more information on Interface’s multi-axis sensors, visit our web product page or review our product brochure for detailed specifications on every product.

Multi-Axis Brochure_6-Page

A Visit to The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab

In 2015, Interface’s visionary founder Richard F. Caris had many legacies, one of which is the donation he made to The University of Arizona’s (UA) Mirror Lab. This endowment was a testament to his unwavering commitment to innovation, exploration, and science. Because of his deep personal interest and generous donation to the lab, UA named it the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

At the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, scientists, engineers, and technicians are developing large, lightweight mirrors with unparalleled surface accuracy. The actual mirrors are helping to advance science and discovery around the world with the new generation of optical telescopes that can explore the universe through optical and infrared light. The actual mirrors developed at the lab represent a sweeping departure from the old conventional solid-glass mirrors.

Buell Tomasson Jannuzi, Jeffrey Kingsley, Ted Larson, Ken Vining in front of GMT Primary Mirror Segment 5 (S5). Photo Credit: Damien Jemison UA

Interface’s Chief Engineer Ken Vining and VP of Product Management and Marketing Ted Larson recently took a trip to Tucson, Arizona, to get an up close and personal view of the advancements that have been made over the last four years at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab. The experience is breathtaking for anyone that gets the opportunity to visit the lab.

Although the lab has been using Interface’s load cells long before 2015, the purpose of the Caris donation was to aid in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) with the lab’s revolutionary mirror casting capabilities.

These primary mirrors for the GMT are described as “a marvel of modern engineering and glassmaking.” Five of the seven 8.4-meter segmented mirrors have been cast thus far. The first mirror is complete and the other four are in various stages of production.

Completing any telescope project is a significant time commitment. In the last four years, a few segments have been cast. The project is expected to run until 2027. Although completing the GMT is a long-term endeavor, the lab is starting to think about future projects.

During Interface’s recent visit, our engineers made sure to provide careful guidance on product selection to promote future achievements and inventions.

The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab team has all these ideas they’re thinking about and we knew if they engaged Interface early, we could help them solve a lot of problems.” – Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface

While our experts were touring the Mirror Lab, they also discussed our new Interface University Program that provides special incentives for students and higher education programs. Interface knows that when programs learn with the best force measurement products, they can advance their learnings and encourage future innovations.

One of the additional benefits from the onsite visit was advancing Interface and the Mirror Lab’s collaboration in providing additional technical education, support, and resource to UA engineering students and Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab personnel. Interface has developed a variety of topics for educational seminars, including humidity’s effect on load cell performance, the basics of metrology, how to properly calibrate a load cell, and the impact of high elevation on load cells.

In case you’re curious about the last topic, elevation doesn’t have much of an effect on load cell performance. However, a telescope of this magnitude can test the boundaries like no other.  It is 18,000 feet at installation altitude, which gets a telescope above the ‘dirty’ parts of Earth’s atmosphere. If you are looking to learn more about the Interface University Program, contact us here.

Interface was founded in 1968 by Richard F. Caris.  You can read more about our history here.  If you would like to tour The University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, you can get tickets online.  Tours are Monday through Friday at 1 pm, and as available at 3 pm. Click here for tickets and information.

About UA:  Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state’s super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.  https://www.arizona.edu

 

 

Present and Future Interface Calibration Product Family

Calibration of force measurement tools is integral to accuracy and success in product design and development. As a follow-up to our feature on our expert calibration services, here is a quick introduction to some of our current and future calibration products.

The calibration product family includes five calibration systems that are designed for various needs and force measurement parameters. These systems include:

  • 55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration System and 2K lbf Automated Calibration System
  • 2K lbf Load Cell Verification System
  • Next Gen High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board (HRSBSC)
  • 4 Channel 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator

55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration System and 2K lbf Automated Calibration System

The 55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration Systems are Interface’s most popular systems because two capacities represent the two most popular capacities requested by customers.

“These systems allow customers to speed up their calibration process because rather than outsourcing calibration, it can all be done in-house.”  Ted Larson, VP of Product Development

The systems are unique in the industry because unlike competitor products, they feature a fully automated system that can measure both tension and compression in a single setup. These systems are designed to satisfy the calibration needs of the test and instrumentation, automotive, aerospace and metrology industries.

The 2K lbf Automated Calibration System, which is on track for release in Q2 of 2019, will offer the same level of accuracy, consistency and excellence as the 55K lbf and110K lbf Systems, but is designed for low-end capacity load cells. This system will serve as a bench top unit and integrate with the same software as the 55K lbf and 110K lbf Systems. It is being designed to serve the medical and automation industries.

The 2K lbf, 55K lbf and 110K lbf Systems will be able to be integrated to work as a dual range system for customers who need to calibrate a wide range of load cells.  Both systems utilize our industry-leading gold and platinum standard load cells, which provide the highest accuracy in the industry.

2K lbf Load Cell Verification System

The 2K lbf Load Cell Verification System is another calibration product that is on track for a Q2 2019 release. This system is being designed as a direct response to OEMs who deal with large volumes of load cells and need a quick, low-cost way of verifying load cells used in equipment. Currently, customers who suspect a calibration issue are often forced to remove load cells from equipment and be sent in to be repaired, recalibrated or to receive a new load cell. This process and the resulting downtime costs money due to lack of production, and there is often no issue present with the load cells.

The 2k lbf Load Cell Verification System can identify a calibration or performance issue, allowing the customer to accurately determine if the load cells need to be replaced or need a tune-up, significantly reducing unnecessary downtime.

Next-Gen High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board (HRSBSC)

The High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board, which Interface pioneered more than three decades ago, will be receiving an innovation update to improve performance and capabilities. The HRSBSC is designed for use with Interface Gold Standard Calibration Systems and can be provided in a single or dual channel solution. This product’s primary industries include test and instrumentation and metrology. The development of Interface’s Next-Gen HRSBSC is slated for Q4 of 2019.

4 Channel 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator 

Interface recently introduced a new version of the 4 Channel Model T which features a more modern display with additional channels available. It’s now easier to use and has the same high stability and industry-leading performance as the older version of the 9840. Although the quality is the same, the updated version can be integrated with Interface’s Gold Standard® system and frames, as well as with Windows 10.

The 4 Channel Model T 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator allows single loads with three measurements to directly compare outputs to Interface’s Gold Standard load cell, and all measurements can be captured through Interface’s Gold Standard software. This allows users to compare multiple load cells and gather data on whether the load cells are accurate or uncalibrated. The 4 Channel Model T solution also has the option for high-level input channels.

Stay tuned for updates on current and upcoming additions to our family of innovative calibration products.

Contributor: Ted Larson, VP of Product Development and Marketing, Interface

 

Interface Goes Above and Beyond with Custom Solutions

For clients in need of customized force measurement solutions, look no further than Interface. We excel in providing customers with specialized load cells and torque transducers that can’t be purchased off the shelf—and we have a robust solutions design team to back it up.

Our dedicated engineers and measurement experts, company resources, and advanced engineering lab give Interface the competitive advantage to make any force measurement application work.

Starting the Customization Process

To create these specialized force measurement solutions, we start by assessing our customers’ fundamental requirements.

  1. Does the solution need to be customized from the ground-up?
  2. Does the solution already exist, and it needs to include some custom features?

From there, we determine what the load cell needs to mount to and what specifications it needs to perform in its intended environment. Interface also can transmit load cells wirelessly to our customers’ networks.

“We can customize the load cell, the torque transducer, or we can provide a total system solution. Essentially, if we can make it, we can customize it!” – Ken Bishop, Sales Engineering Director at Interface

Building Custom Solutions: Food Industry Sensors

To best understand how we approach a custom solution, consider this real-world example. A meat processing plant needs a custom load cell solution to weigh its product during processing. With this scenario, there were 225 sides of beef that needed to be accounted for on each trolley. Keeping track of all that meat is no easy task. That is until Interface deployed an intuitive wireless sensor network to make monitoring simple.

Interface addressed this task by engineering a wireless base station to talk to the customer’s network. The base station transmitted a signal that was converted to Ethernet. In this case, the solution also needed to be water resistant to withstand the intense water pressures for cleaning. By using a custom wireless network, the sensors could easily communicate with staff members to alert them of critical information without failure or disturbances.  Read more about our custom solution case studies here.

Engineers at the Ready

What allows [user_id] Even prototyping at Interface is faster on average than any other provider in the market. We also have access to a host of strategic partners that give us breadth and depth in all components and technologies. If a technological requirement extends outside of Interface’s capabilities, we have the partners in place to fully optimize the solution to meet the exact custom requirements.

Going back to the start, if you have a need with specific requirements that fall outside our standard products, contact us and let our specialized engineers identify the possibilities. You can also detail your requirements in our easy to use request for custom solutions. Don’t hesitate to contact us about developing a custom force measurement solution. We’re excited to hear about your unique challenges!

Contributor: Ken Bishop, Sales Engineering Director, Interface