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Interface and Infrastructure Markets Form a Perfect Partnership

Infrastructure projects are growing, as investment continues to climb for projects related to rebuilding, renewing and innovating applications in this sector. These global investments come from public and private organizations as demands to address roads, bridges, water supplies, transportation, energy systems, and broadband requirements for the 21st century grow.

Experts who focus on infrastructure acknowledge these are means for civil existence and prosperity. Interface understands that our role in supporting the design, testing, manufacturing, constructing and maintenance required in infrastructure needs a top supplier of force measurement solutions.

Interface force measurement solutions have and are currently used around the world for infrastructure projects including bridges, generators, dams, waterways, transportation structures, construction projects, cranes and lifting apparatus, and heavy machinery.

Interface supplies durable and accurate sensor technologies used in testing equipment, technology, vehicles, tools and machines used in all types of infrastructure subsectors. We also find our products often designed into structures for regulatory and safety monitoring, whether that be to maintain tunnels or support wind generating farms.

Interface details force measurement products we commonly provide to those working and supporting the infrastructure sector in our Infrastructure Solutions Brochure. You can see some of these products in our Infrastructure Solutions video.

Interface load cells, load pins, instrumentation, multi-axis sensors, and torque transducers are top choices for those engaged in infrastructure projects and testing. Sensors are commonly used in measuring the related hardware used for industry products and structures. The types of infrastructure projects that Interface has supplied measurement solutions for includes transportation systems, communication structures, water and electrical facilities, and numerous inventions that are used to build, support, and maintain them, as outlined in Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface.

Our expert engineers can help design customizable force measurement solutions for all types of applications that require sensors for OEMs and to be used in the actual structure for continuous measuring and monitoring. We have engineered sensor products used for civil engineering designs and infrastructures used in structural monitoring, vibrational monitoring, load bearing testing, tunnels, bridges, and road construction. The range of projects are broad, so we are highlighting a few below that highlight our capabilities when accuracy, quality and reliability matter in design, testing, construction, and assessing current and limitations for safety requirements.

Hydraulic JackHydraulic Jacking System Testing

An equipment manufacturer needed to test their hydraulic jacking system’s ability to lift heavy loads and objects, like a bridge during construction. They wanted to monitor the forces being applied to ensure the hydraulic jack is not only safe to use, but works well enough to avoid any potential structural issues. Interface’s 1200 Standard High Capacity Load Cell can be attached in between the hydraulic jack and a heavy load. The load cell measures the forces of the hydraulic jack as it lifts the load cell located in between the jack and the object. With the 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator, the customer is also able to see the results in real-time. Read more here.

Aerial Lift Overload Control

A manufacturing company for aerial lifts wanted to test its self-propelled boom lift to ensure it can operate at heavy capacities when in use, and at different angles. They also wanted to prevent any accidents in case of a lifting overload, for the safety of any working individual who uses it. Interface’s solution was to attach the 3A160 3-Axis Force Load Cell to the bottom of the bucket of the boom lift. The multi-axis sensor provides high accuracy results, which were displayed using the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller in real time. The manufacturing company tested their aerial boom lifts and determined it was safely operable when maximum capacities has been reached in use. Read more here.

Truck Weighbridge Monitoring

A transportation company needed to record the weight or loads being carried by their vehicles. They would like a wireless weighing bridge that is able to transmit, log, and display the results in real time. Interface suggests installing multiple WTS 1200 LowProfile™ Load Cells under a weighbridge. When a truck drives over it, the load cells will transmit the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display can also display the weight inside for the driver to see in real time. The customer was able to measure, log, and graph the different loads their trucks carried wirelessly onto the weighbridge with success, providing for safe passage across transportation ways. Read more here.

Hydropower Turbine Generator Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor and detect any turbine generator faults in their hydroelectric power plant located on a river. Interface’s solution was to use the T2 Ultra Precision Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer and attach it to the turbine generator with Interface’s Shaft Style Torque Transducer Couplings. When water from the river pushes through the penstock to the outflow, it moves the turbine blades, creating electricity through the generator shaft. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged with the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator catching any unusual fluctuations and vibrations. Using this solution, the customer was able to monitor, graph, and log the torque measurement results of the turbine generator. Read more here.

Bridge Seismic

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 also preferred a wireless solution so they would not need to run long cables on the bridge. Using Interface’s LP Load Pin custom made to fit their needs along Interface’s WTS Wireless Telemetry System for continuous force monitoring the designed solution was able to take place without long cables. The solution allowed the customer to monitor continuous loads, log information to the cloud and review information. Read more here.

Interface’s work with all facets of the infrastructure industry spans far and wide. Interface is a supplier of choice and key partner for providing reliable sensors and instrumentation solutions used in testing and monitoring of both the infrastructure and the equipment used to upgrade and refine it.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Infrastructure Industry Relies on Interface Force Measurement

Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface

Interface Solutions Designed for Infrastructure Challenges

Monitoring the Seismic Force of a Suspension Bridge

 

 

 

Examining Interface Aerospace Industry Solutions

Among the many industries Interface serves, the aerospace industry is one of the fastest growing users of our precision force measurement solutions. This is because ultra-accurate force, weight and torque measurements and data are critical to testing, performance and safety for airplanes, helicopters, and rockets.

Aerospace engineers and manufacturers of commercial, industrial, and military aerospace vehicles and associated components must measure multitudes of factors such as fatigue, structure durability, materials, weight distribution, drag, effects of inclement weather, velocity changes, thrust, and center of gravity to name a few.

Interface is synonymous with high performance sensors used for all types of test and measurement applications. For more than five decades, aerospace innovators and industrial giants have relied upon Interface to provide precision products and services they can trust.  Our test and measurement solutions are designed for use in the aerospace industry to withstand extreme conditions, whether they are for testing wings on commercial airplanes or used to measure the force of an intergalactic vessel launch.

Interface showcases products and use cases in our new aerospace solutions brochure detailing many the products and custom solutions we provide to the industry. We provide an overview of our accurate and reliable lineup of force measurement products, as well as highlighting various application examples to outline different ways we have long served the makers, builders, testers and engineers across the diverse aerospace industry.

To work in the aerospace industry, you have to meet the highest quality industry requirements in manufacturing and calibration. We take our commitment towards quality assurance very seriously and guarantee our products meet or exceed the quality clauses outlined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO). We test and calibrate all products we build in a certificated lab based in Arizona that holds A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540-1- 1994 accreditations. The strict adherence to these standards demonstrates our technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system. Every Interface manufactured sensor goes through rigorous testing and calibration before it’s released to our customers.

The sensors, instrumentation, and accessories we supply to aerospace equipment manufacturers and testing labs range from mini to jumbo load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and various wireless, digital and analog instrumentation devices. Interface sensors have been used regularly in the engineering and testing of military aircraft, missiles, space, commercial airliners, and for general aviation components as demonstrated in this aerospace and defense industry case study.

One aerospace use case of our force sensors is for structural testing. Interface LowProfile™ Load Cells are utilized for structural static and fatigue testing. Our moment and temperature compensated load cells use proprietary alloy strain gages for extreme accuracy and reliability. Using eight proprietary strain gages per sensor, our 4mV/V output well exceeds the performance. These load cells are offered in single, dual, and triple bridge configurations for different data acquisition and control requirements in aerospace vehicle production.

The range of aircraft and space vehicles that use Interface solutions include all types from unpowered gliders to commercial and military aircraft, as well as rockets, missiles, drones, launch vehicles, and spacecraft. These vehicles go through extensive and rigorous test and measurement programs and processes requiring the reliability and accuracy of Interface made products. Here are a few types of aerospace applications using Interface measurement solution:

Aircraft Wing Fatigue

Before any of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 twin-engine supersonic fighter jets can be put into operation, the wings of the aircraft must undergo fatigue testing in a controlled environment to ensure that they are capable of withstanding the forces that will be encountered during real-world flight throughout the lifetime of the aircraft. Highly accurate measurements must be recorded in order to make sure that a near-exact replication of in-flight conditions are being achieved. During fatigue tests, Interface’s 1248 Standard Precision Flange LowProfile Load Cells are installed in line with the hydraulic cylinders, which apply back-and-forth loading forces to the aircraft. This is carried out over the course of 18 months to simulate in-flight stresses and strains on the wings. Load cells are connected to indicators, which record output. Capable of withstanding more than 100 million (1×108) fully reversible load cycles, Interface’s LowProfile Fatigue-Rated Load Cells have performed flawlessly in F/A-18 wing testing with zero recorded failures in the many years that testing facilities around the world have been using them.

Rescue Helicopter Hoist Test

When a customer wanted to test the strength of the cable line used in the hoist of their helicopter during rescue missions and situations, see if both the cable and the hoist can withstand a heavy load safely, and for long periods of time while the helicopter is in flight, they turned to Interface. We supplied a WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle, which is attached to each mooring cable in use. Results are sent to the customers through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station when connected to the customer’s supplied computer. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view mooring cable line tension. Using this solution, the customer was able to add a heavy load to the end of the helicopter hoist, to ensure it is strong and safe enough to carry both rescue personnel and objects while being in midair.

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 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 using Interface products. Whether you need a million-pound jumbo load cell, custom load pin, or wireless instrumentation, we understand aerospace requirements and our engineers are on stand-by to assist. Get your copy of our new Aerospace Solutions Brochure here.

Additional Resources

Solutions Provider for Aerospace & Defense

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions

Interface Displays Force Measurement Aerospace Applications at Space Tech Expo

Aerospace and Defense Industry Solutions

Interface Recognized as Contributor to Human Flight Success

Deeper Dive into Maritime Solutions from Interface

The maritime industry is one that Interface products are uniquely designed for based on the extensive technical requirements and challenges needing ruggedized solutions to perform in harsh environments. Like any industry that manufacturers vehicles and large machinery, the maritime industry requires supremely accurate force measurement systems for performance and safety testing and ongoing infield use. However, the maritime industry has the added challenge of needing measurement technologies and equipment that function in offshore and submersible environments, and that can hold up to intensely cold temperatures while still providing accurate data.

In our new maritime case study, we take a deeper dive into some of the use cases and solutions we provide to the industry.

Interface offers an entire line of products commonly used in maritime applications of all types, including our performance load cells, load pins, load shackles, tension links, wireless instrumentation, miniature load cells and engineered-to-order products. Interface products are used to test and measure continuous performance for waterborne vessels, dock equipment such as cranes and lifting apparatus, submersible devices, and offshore machines. Interface maritime solutions are made to survive in the conditions conducive to the industry, allowing users and component manufacturers to test and operate equipment that guarantee accuracy and reliability in performance.  Read more about solutions for maritime in this post.

To highlight some of the maritime applications and use cases of our products, the recently published case study exemplifies why Interface maritime solutions are aligned to the industry’s high standards and requirements for force and torque test and measurement, and weighing.

New Maritime Case Study

Interface has been a longtime leader in supplying products to the maritime industry. From hydrofoil testing to yacht rigging inspection, and even on the enormous cranes used on shipping docks, we provide solutions for a wide variety of applications in maritime. The U.S. maritime industry employs over 400,000 workers and according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), annual sales of boats, marine products and services were estimated at $42B. This includes organizations that develop hardware to support shipyards, marine terminals, fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing, commercial diving, and marine transportation.

Interface is vendor of choice for maritime, for example we offer load cells that can wirelessly transmit data through underwater applications and harsh weather conditions. These load cells can survive through underwater submersions at different capacities, and still be able to relay information to those at the surface level. Interface load cells can also regulate harsh maritime situations such as underwater tension lines, underwater oil drilling, and storm and tsunami monitoring.

Interface wireless load pins, load shackles, and tension links are ideal for sea applications paired with our different wireless sensor transmitters, receivers, and handheld displays. Our Wireless Crosby Bow Load Shackles are used for mooring line tension testing and rigging inspections. Our load shackles are also inter-changeable with our WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell. The WTS-BS-4 Wireless Industrial USB Base Station is a popular transmitter that gives outstanding coverage and can be easily paired with one of our handheld displays such as the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters, or the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld for Single Transmitters.

For the full case study, click here.

Solutions Provider for Aerospace & Defense

Interface has developed highly innovative force measurement solutions for a variety of complex and highly regulated industries. These industries require the most accurate and reliable test and measurement equipment on the market because bad data and unknown variables can spell disaster. This fact has never been truer than it is in the aerospace and defense sector.

For our worldwide customers in aerospace, Interface supplies a variety of sensor solutions, including load cells, tension links, load shackles, wireless instrumentation and more. And Interface is a proud supplier to some of the world leading manufacturing aircraft, spacecraft, military, and defense organizations such as the U.S. Government, NASA, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Bombardier, Embraer, Boeing, Airbus Gulfstream, Cessna and more of the world’s most prominent (and well known) rocket builders.

To further highlight our work in the aerospace and defense industry, we’ve also put together a case study outlining, in detail, some of the specific applications in which force measurement sensors can be used. The case study dives deeper into three specific applications highlighting the products used for aircraft wing fatigue, aircraft engine hoist, and parachute deployment and deceleration testing.

READ: The new Aerospace & Defense Case Study can be read in full here.

As a premier partner to these and many other leading global aerospace and defense companies, we’ve seen a lot of high-profile applications which require both off-the-shelf and custom manufactured force solutions. Our engineers and application experts partner with our customers to ensure they get the product that fits the exact requirements, weather it’s a submersible sensor or built for extreme compression and fatigue condition tests.

Our precision load cells have been used on thousands of different projects, both big and small. From aircrafts to ground vehicles and infrastructure, here are a few examples of the projects we’ve supplied various load cells, from jumbo to mini, various torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, customized load pins and as well as wireless telemetry testing systems:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions Blog

Launching into Orbit with Interface

Force Measurement for Space Travel

 

Interface Explores Maritime Applications Near and Offshore

Land, air, and sea are all the places where Interface force measurement devices are used to test and confirm product designs and measure real-time functions of equipment. Interface has long been providing an array of sensor solutions for use in the maritime industry.

The solutions are diverse including hydrofoil watercraft testing, yacht rigging inspections, and safety weight monitoring on massive cranes used on shipping docks and offshore. Interface provides various load cells, load pins, tension links, load shackles, instrumentation, and wireless products for splash zone, offshore and underwater sites.

The reason we are a top choice for products in or around the water is because of our line of submersible and rugged load cells and sensors designed for underwater applications and use in harsh weather conditions. From rigs and docks to structural waterways and bridges, our load cells can survive through underwater submersions at different capacities, and still be able to relay reliable and accurate data to instrumentation and receivers at the surface level. Interface measurement technologies are helping customers regulate harsh maritime situations including underwater tension lines for commercial fishing, nearshore hoisting apparatus at shipyards, undersea energy exploration, as well as storm and tsunami monitoring.

Specifically, our wireless load pins, load shackles, and tension links are ideal for marine applications. These products can be paired with our different wireless sensor transmitters, receivers, and handheld displays. Our Wireless Crosby Bow Load Shackles have been used for line tension testing and rigging. Our load shackles are inter-changeable with our WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell. The WTS-BS-4 Wireless Industrial USB Base Station is also a popular transmitter that gives outstanding coverage and can be easily paired with one of our handheld displays such as the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters or the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld for Single Transmitters.

Check out a few of our applications notes to see how these products can be used for testing in the maritime industry:

Hydrofoil Testing in a Wave Tank

Hydrofoil design for watercraft is a delicate balance between performance and complexity. Finding the right shape without using overly complex angles to achieve the desired amount of lift is crucial when designing a successful hydrofoil. Once an engineer’s concepts are ready for testing, using the best force measurement equipment is required to sense the subtle differences between hydrofoil designs. Lift and drag are the most important characteristics of a hydrofoil. The Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell is needed to read these forces. The Fz senses lift and the Fx and Fy sense the drag. Using a model BSC4D-USB bridge amplifier increases the visibility of the load cells output signals. When using the load cell and bridge amplifier, the engineers can record the real-world lift and drag forces the hydrofoils are having on the watercraft. This data allows a more in-depth comparison of proposed hydrofoil designs to find the best model for the job. Learn more.

Mooring Line Tension Testing 

Due to the changing weather conditions, mooring cable lines undergo wear and tear. Users want to ensure all mooring lines for ships or vessels are securely docked at the same loading tension so that they do not risk the mooring lines to break or cause damage. Interface WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link can be attached to each mooring cable in use. Results are sent to the customers through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station when connected to the customer’s supplied PC computer or laptop. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view multiple mooring cable line tensions. Using these Interface products, the customer was able to verify the tensions to multiple mooring cable lines. Thus, resulting in the security of their ship being safely docked on shore. Check out the app note here.

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection

For a customer who wants to have a complete rigging inspection to make sure the mast, still lines, and all movable hoisting lines are functional and meet the proper specifications for sailing, Interface has the products to help. To test the tension of the forestay, shroud, and backstay cables, and the tension of the movable lines when sailing, Interface provided a WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle paired with the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters. This allows customers to switch and view between multiple shackles being tested during the inspection. The WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station can also be attached to the customer’s PC or laptop to display real time measurements from the shackles and log data. With this combination of technology, the customer was able to conduct both a running and standing rigging inspection of their ship or vessel and was able to determine if all lines were functional and met safety standards. Learn more here.

Dock Crane Safety and Capacity Verification

It is essential that heavy equipment used on the dock can verify that their crane is strong enough to safely lift a heavy load. For productivity and timing, it also is helpful to constantly measure and rate maximum load capacity. In these environments, a wireless solution is needed to avoid long cables, and to have a faster installation time. Using the WTSTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, operators can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules also can trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight and force. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display, or, on the customer’s receiving technology. Read more here.

As you can see, Interface has got Maritime covered with a wide variety of products suitable for submersion and the harsh weather that can be found at sea. In addition, if our off-the-shelf products don’t quite meet your use case, Interface’s custom solutions team will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs.

Recap of Use Cases for Load Pins Webinar

Interface load pins continue to grow in demand as an easy to integrate and cost-effective sensor solution for many diverse applications as direct replacements for clevis or pivot pins. Most commonly used for lifting and rigging mechanisms in construction, structural assemblies and moving devices, load pins are typically used in rope, chain and brake anchors, sheaves, shackles, bearing blocks and pivots.

To provide greater insights and answers to questions asked to our force measurement application experts, Interface hosted a ForceLeaders Forum event, Use Cases for Load Pins. The event, now archived on our YouTube channel, highlights why more and more industries are using load pins include for projects related to infrastructure, aerospace and defense, industrial automation, manufacturing, maritime, and in energy markets such as oil and gas.

Regional Sales Director Elliot Speidell covered a series of topics in this live event, which included:

  • Who is Using Load Pins and Why?
  • Models and Design Aspects of Load Pins
  • Integration Considerations
  • Installation Factors
  • Load Pin Capabilities including Wireless Features
  • Standard and Customization Options
  • New-Found Applications Using Load Pins
  • Differences and Advantages
  • FAQs

WATCH NOW: THE ‘USE CASES FOR LOAD PINS’ ON-DEMAND EVENT

This webinar covers great detail in installation tips, integration considerations, design features and more.  Here are just a few highlights from the webinar.

Load pins measure tensile and compression forces via strain gages that are installed within a small bore through the center of the pin. Two grooves are machined into the outer circumference of the pin to define the shear planes, which are located between the forces being measured. They are made of rugged stainless-steel material and are commonly used for safety applications.  They are easy to retrofit and inherently waterproof by design, making it useful in submersible and adverse environmental conditions. Load pins have multiple bridge options and can be cabled or wireless.

One of the most important features and distinctions of a load pin is the ability to customize the design to fit the application. Due to the nature of requirements and fact most load pins are custom solutions, they often do not have any charges for NRE. Contact our application experts to learn of the possibilities and design options.

When installing a load pin various factors need to be considered which can influence the performance or accuracy. The fit of the pin within a structure is important to the overall performance of the load pin. For an optimal performance, an H7/g6 clearance would normally be recommended; however, this is not always achievable in the field and some slight loss of repeatability and linearity can normally be tolerated to achieve an “easy to fit” requirement.

Load pins are a great sensor to use in a “smart system” application for automated feedback, alarms, and real-time notifications.  They integrate with all types of instrumentation, including digital output options. Though they are simple and easy to use, they are known for hardiness. It is important to understand they are not “precision performance” devices, they are designed for standard force measurement applications that require immediate feedback. Also, they are easy to incorporate with existing actuator set-ups.

Watch the event to learn more about the questions engineers and testing experts asked us about using load pins. For specific industry examples, from bridges to crane regulation use, tune into the recorded event or visit our application notes here. Need us to get started on a custom design?  Contact us today.

Testing the Reins

Think of nearly any piece of hardware, especially those with moving components, and chances are a force measurement device was used in its development and testing.

Interface supplies load cells, torque transducers, load pins, tension links, and data acquisition devices utilized in testing hardware components for automobiles, drones, rocket engines, medical devices, bridges, watercraft, and everything in-between including for horses.

The applications for our products grow broader every year, so much so that we are rarely surprised with the ingenuity and innovation abound. There are no limitations, including in the equipment utilized in core agriculture markets, which comprises of products used in the equine industry.

In one customer’s project, were able to provide valuable sensor technology for a test and measurement project for products used with horses. Included below is a brief preview of the two new applications notes we developed based on the specific requirements for this equine industry design.

A customer came to Interface needing to quantify the poll pressure on the bridle of a horse. We created a solution using both a Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) and a Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS) Equine Bridle Tension System, with two SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cells in both the line of the reins and that of the cheekpiece on one side of the horse to study the dynamic response of the cheekpiece tension to rein tension in the ridden horse. Utilizing the WTS or BTS, the valuable data can be displayed and recorded in real time.

Within the real experimental system these sensors were used to test the tension resulting from the rider’s hands, the horse’s mouth and the bit, the elasticity of the equine mouth provides a “floating” fulcrum and a potential source of time-lag and decoherence between the dynamic rein and cheekpiece tensions. Because the cheekpiece is directly attached to the headpiece, we we’re able to assume that forces seen in the cheekpiece are those that are applied to the poll of the horse.

Want to learn more about this agriculture industry solution?  Be sure to read the Equine Industry WTS and BTS Bridle Tension System application notes.

Load Pins 101

A load pin is a type of load cell that can replace bolts, clevis, sheave, and equalizer pins, as well as other load-bearing components to measure tensile and compression forces. Load pins are internally gauged with a bored center containing strain gauges, allowing them to convert force into an electrical signal for engineers to accurately collect data.

Most applications for load pins in the past have been for overhead equipment like cranes and lifts. Load pins have expanded in popularity and are now often used to test and measure force, load, and limitations in a much larger variety of applications. This includes uses not only for cranes and lifting devices, but also construction equipment, industrial machines, nautical craft and equipment, aerospace, and civil engineering applications. A primary system approach with structural applications is for safety and to prevent excesses in loading and lifting.

New model types with wireless and Bluetooth technology are also resulting in more use cases for these specialized force measurement solutions. This applies to both test and measurement as well as for installed OEM components within a larger structure or apparatus.

Top Load Pin Benefits

  • Easy to install new or retrofit
  • Robust construction
  • Replaces existing load bearing pins without any system modifications
  • Engineered to order designs available
  • Can be supplied with integral connector
  • Custom sizes and higher capacities available

Load pins come in many standard shapes and sizes, as well customization options to meet a specific design or use requirement. Interface provides these measuring devices, which often replace a bolt or pin, for safety and application monitoring. Some of our load pins are exclusively designed to meet the needs of applications in hazardous environments like the oil and gas industry, or marine industry where they’ll be submerged in water during testing and for continuous use.

The Interface Load Pins are machined from high tensile stainless steel and are suitable for exposed situations including seawater. We offer standard load pins with ratings between 1.1K lbf to 3.3M lbf (500kgs to 1500 MT). We also offer custom manufactured load pins suit applications from 100 kgs to 1500+ MT.

LP Stainless-Steel Load Pin – Great for lifting applications for both short and long distances. This product can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model LP Load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN).

WTSLP Wireless Stainless-Steel Load Pin This advanced load can transmit wirelessly up to 600 (1,969 feet) meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station.  The capacities range goes all the way up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN). The wireless option utilizes low power consumption for long battery life. It is configured and calibrated via PC using a base station and telemetry toolkit and compatible with Interface WTS Wireless products. The load pin is robust and uses a lightweight housing. It is environmentally sealed to IP67.

Load Pin Application

One of the largest scale applications of load pins we provided were used to measure force on a large bridge infrastructure project in the western U.S. The goal was to continuously monitor the standard force created by regular traffic, as well as the seismic force before, during, and after earthquakes. The monitoring sensors needed to be integrated into a dampener that would be attached to the structural tower.

The solution allows the company to monitor force from emitted data to cross-reference the standard traffic force with the seismic force to understand its effect on the bridge. Its purpose is to help with predictive maintenance and influence future bridge designs to better compensate for the forces of an earthquake or other natural disasters, which are common in this part of the world.

READ THE SEISMIC BRIDGE MONITORING APPLICATION NOTE HERE

READ THE INFRASTRUCTURE CASE STUDY HERE

The project required a custom product that could handle the inimitable and considerable force of a bridge under every scenario of distress. Engineers developed a custom load pin to handle the force of movement in the bridge in the event of an earthquake. This load pin was much larger than our standard version and is rated at 900,000 lbf. The large load pins were designed to be integrated into the dampener with wireless data acquisition modules connected to the load pins to allow for remote access to the data. With the integration of Interface’s custom load pins and data acquisition module, the customer was always able to continuously collect data for real-time evaluation. The sturdy construction of our load pins and 900,000 lbf rating allowed for readings during all degrees of seismic activity.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins and there many applications, please contact our application specialists today.

Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry

In the world of heavy machinery, the ability to protect these investments is critical to an efficient and cost-effective worksite. This is especially true in the construction industry, where any type of damage or disruption to onsite equipment can significantly delay project timelines and cost a construction company hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more.

Protecting equipment is important in the industry; however, the safety of people is paramount. Severe failures of the equipment can be dangerous to machine operators. One way construction companies are protecting people and their material investments is through the use of force sensor technologies with Interface’s precision load cells, torque transducers, load pins, tension links and load shackles, as well as data acquisition instrumentation.

The use of force measurement is a growing trend in construction because companies realize that they can use force sensors to track performance data on a wide variety of heavy machinery. This data can inform machine operators when they were pushing the machines past their respective limits.

Applications of Force Measurement Products Used in the Construction Industry

One of the key use cases of force sensors used in the construction industry is on heavy machinery attachments. Construction sites frequently utilize a crane, which is used to lift large bundles of material such as wood or steel with a grabbing type attachment, or used to transport construction workers to large heights with a basket or platform attachment.

For cranes outfitted with a lifting attachment such as a claw, a tension sensor can be used on the pulley mechanism to measure the weight lifted by the crane. The tension sensor can provide real-time data to the construction crew to help monitor the lifting process and provide the operator with the information necessary to refrain from lifting weights that are too heavy for the crane to handle. If the claw arm lifts more than the crane is able to withstand, the attachment could break off, or worse, the crane could topple over.

Another example of a crane attachment that can benefit from a force measurement sensor is the basket or platform type attachment used to transport workers to great heights. In this use case, a rotary actuator between the basket attachment and crane can be outfitted with a pressure transducer. This type of sensor will help measure the force placed on the attachment point to help rotate the basket in multiple directions and provide force data to ensure the basket isn’t over-rotated or carrying too much weight.

The final example of sensor technology used in construction is with a smart clamp. This is a use case that can be seen in multiple industries, in addition to the construction industry. A smart clamp, or soft-touch clamp, uses a compression load cell attached to a gauged piece of metal on both ends of the clamp. The clamp attachment is often placed on the end of a forklift type machine and used to transport delicate materials, packages, and other materials.

The compression load cell works by providing data back to the operator, letting them know how much force can be used to grab the object without breaking it. This used case is often found in the consumer packaging industry but can also be applied to the construction industry when transporting delicate building materials.

For many years, construction companies used this type of equipment and heavy machinery without the use of force sensors, making it harder to keep the equipment and workers safe. Today, more companies that develop attachments and heavy machinery have begun exploring force sensors to optimize the use of these machines. This creates a safer, more efficient and cost-effective environment for construction companies and protects their workers.

To learn more about specific construction industry use cases, review our detailed application notes below:

Lifting Heavy Objects

Harness Durability Testing

Interface is engaging with a number of customers in these industries to develop solutions to keep equipment safe and performing at optimal efficiency. To learn more about how force sensors can be used to protect your investments, contact our specialized application engineers and representatives of Interface products and solutions.

Contributor: Dan McAneny, co-founder and sales engineer at Tritek Solutions, one of Interface’s sales representatives covering the Pacific Northwest.