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A Great Force for Crane and Hoist Solutions

In June 2023, Interface announced our acquisition of UK-based LCM Systems, broadening our international reach, significantly improving our capacity, and adding critical expertise to Interface for specialized measurement solutions designed for cranes and hoist equipment.

Interface and LCM offer our customers robust and diverse measurement devices for hoisting, winching, lifting, subsea, infrastructure, and industrial manufacturing applications.

The LCM-made products in Interface’s 35,000-plus catalog include Load Pins, Tension Links, and Shackles. This includes options for standard products, engineered-to-order, completely custom, ATEX, submersibles, and wireless solutions.

Sample of Interface Load Pins, Tension Links, and Shackles

 

ILMP Stainless Steel Load Monitoring Load Pin

LP Stainless Steel Load Pin

WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin

ITL Tension Link Load Cell

WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell

WTSATL Lightweight Aluminum Wireless Tension Link

WTSATL-JR Aluminum Compact Wireless Tension Link

ISHK-B Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle

ISHK-D ‘D’ Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle

WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle

WTSSHK-B-HL Wireless Bow Load Shackle

WTSSHK-B-JR Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle

WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle

TIP:  Use the Interface Load Pin Configuration Submission to get started in defining your exact pin requirements.

Recently, Ken Bishop, Interace’s senior director of custom solutions, had the opportunity to discuss our acquisition of LCM Systems with Overhead Crane and Hoist (OCH) magazine, specifically focusing on our industry-leading lineup of solutions for this industry courtesy of our expert team at LCM. Included below is a brief preview of the article. To read it thoroughly, please visit OCH’s digital magazine Interface Reveals Motivation Behind Acquisition of Long-Time Partner LCM SystemsHoist Magazine’s Overhead Crane and Hoist Winter 2023.

Highlights from the article in Overhead and Hoist Feature Article

In a move that should provide synergistic growth opportunities for both companies, Interface Inc., a US-based leader in force measurement product technology, design, and manufacturing, has recently acquired UK-based LCM Systems – a company it had already partnered with for the past ten years. In fact, Interface has been LCM’s exclusive distributor in the US market since 2018.

“Interface is a very diverse,” Ken Bishop, Interface’s senior director of custom solutions, declared, noting that it has a very strong reputation for producing high-quality load cells, load pins, load shackles, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and related measurement solutions for a variety of market sectors including aerospace, automotive, energy, factory automation, and subsea marine. “Given our ability to make high-precision products that our customers can count on, we have been able to grow our business over the years.”

Bishop said it was when certain new customer requirements emerged, for which Interface didn’t have other options to meet, that it decided to reach out to LCM: “At first, such opportunities came up now and then, but over time, we started to do more business with them as it became more and more apparent that there was a nice fit between the products and services that LCM offers and those offered by Interface.”

LCM was founded in 1984 to provide the yachting industry with precision load cell and readout systems but has expanded to also provide those products, as well as engineering and design services, to such other market sectors as energy, civil engineering, maritime, aerospace, heavy lifting and process engineering, including load cell products suitable for Zone 1 and 2 hazardous area applications…read more.

Load pin, Tension link, and Load Shackle App Note Catalog

Interface Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar Recap

Everything from mechanical engineering designs, equipment materials, and the sensors used in lifting machinery is changing the concept of lifting today. Interface experts Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop explore types of measurement products, applications, technical considerations, and tips for lifting use cases in the Interface recorded webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting.

Sensors are central in lifting equipment to maintain safety, quality, compliance, and efficiency. Interface provides a useful product selection online resource for lifting applications. Go to the Lifting Solutions Guide.

Interface load cells can help prevent accidents by providing real-time feedback on the weight of the lifted load. The measurement data helps ensure the lifting machinery is not overloaded or unbalanced, leading to structural failure, tipping over, or injury. Sensor technologies improve quality control by ensuring products are lifted to the correct specifications.

Interface LowProfile Load Cells, Load Pins, Load Shackles, and Tension Links improve efficiency by automating the lifting process. For example, load cells can control the speed and movement of a lifting mechanism, ensuring that the load is lifted safely and efficiently. These measurement sensors can reduce costs by minimizing damage to equipment and products. By preventing overloads and ensuring that loads are lifted safely, load cell devices can extend the lifespan of equipment and prevent costly accidents.

In many industries, regulations require load cells for lifting applications to ensure compliance and overload protection. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of load cells in many lifting applications for monitoring and reporting.

Automation of lifting is on the rise. Using robotics and component activation is commonly designed into new equipment and retrofitting existing hardware. These features also provide valuable operating safety and alarm systems based on key measurements. Modernizing equipment to meet today’s and future use cases is important to operators and manufacturers of lifting equipment. This includes utilizing wireless components and using cloud-based data (IoT).

Lifting sensors are more commonly found in settings with high-temperature variances and exposure to extreme environmental conditions. The measurement solutions must withstand these variances while providing continuous monitoring capabilities. Today’s use cases require smaller load cells, like our beam load cells, while not sacrificing precision measurement.

Interface products are used for all types of lifting equipment, apparatus, and machines, including:

  • All Purpose Cranes
  • Patient Lifts and Medical Equipment
  • Drones with Lift and Carry Capabilities
  • Aircraft Lifts and Rigging
  • Lifting Gantry Systems and Mobile Gantry Cranes
  • Jib Cranes
  • Engine and Floor Cranes
  • Scaffold Runway Systems
  • Venue and Entertainment AV Equipment
  • Rigging Equipment
  • Pallet Movers
  • Elevators
  • Loaders and Bulldozers

During the webinar, Interface experts shared tips and best practices. Here is a quick summary of tips for lifting use cases.

Top Measurement Tips for Lifting Use Cases

TIP #1 Select the right force sensor. Factors to consider when selecting a force sensor include the maximum force it can measure, accuracy, weight, dimensions, and environmental conditions for use.

TIP #2 Proper installation will define your application’s success. It is important to install the force sensor correctly to ensure accurate measurements.

TIP #3 Calibrate the force sensor regularly, preferably once a year. Regularly run calibration-grade tests if the load cell is embedded into the lifting device.

TIP #4 Based on each use case, instrumentation can make all the difference in your program. For example, a data acquisition system collects force data to monitor the lifting process, identify potential problems, and generate reports.

TIP #5 Design the lifting system with safety in mind. Force measurement can improve the safety of lifting systems by preventing overloading, detecting imbalances in the load, and monitoring the condition of the lifting equipment.

Tune into the webinar to hear Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop detail best practices, key considerations to identify stable and unstable lifting, and a thorough review of industry applications using Interface products.

Lifting Applications

Crane Capacity Verification

A customer wants to verify that their crane is strong enough to safely lift a heavy load at its rated maximum load capacity. A wireless solution is needed to avoid long cables and to have a faster installation time. Interface’s Model WTSATL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules can also trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight/force has been reached. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display or on the customer’s PC.

gantry crane lifting a heavy container

Gantry Crane Wireless Lifting for Heavy Containers

Gantry cranes are used for mobile and lifting applications in industrial and construction. A weighing system is needed to see if the gantry crane can lift heavy containers or loads, preventing crane failure or accidents. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins can be installed into the corners of the lifting mechanism of the gantry crane, where heavy-loaded containers are lifted and moved. The force results are then transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters and a connected computer using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

Patient Lifting Device

In the medical field, sometimes it is necessary to weigh or transfer patients who are disabled and cannot walk. A Hoyer lift is used to move patients around. A manufacturer would like a force system to weigh disabled patients and see the maximum weight it can hold. Interface’s WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell is attached to the top of the Hoyer lift. The force results are wirelessly transmitted to the medical laptop through the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

Find additional productions and solutions in our Lifting Solutions Overview.

Lifting Solutions Brochure

Outlining Force Solutions for Structural Outrigging

Across a wide variety of industries, heavy machinery, maritime, construction, and other infrastructure often need additional structural support. This includes support that prevents equipment, vessels, and buildings from falling over, capsizing or collapsing.

Typically, the solution to provide this critical structural support comes in the form of an outrigger. For vehicles, both land and maritime, an outrigger is a projecting structure, with specific meaning depending on types of vessels, or the legs on a wheeled vehicle that are folded out when it needs stabilization.

For buildings, outriggers are interior lateral structural systems provided to improve the overturning stiffness and strength of high-rise buildings. It is a lateral load resisting system that is located within the building. The whole system consists of a core structure connected to the perimeter columns of the building.

These types of structural supports became popularized in the 1980s as an addition to high-rise buildings as they are effective up to 150 floors due to its unique combination of architectural flexibility and structural efficiency. Outrigging has been adapted for large vehicles and boats, such as large cranes that are extremely top heavy and can create balance problems, or yachts that need to be stabilized when stored out of water.

With the addition of these supports, various forms of testing need to be done to ensure the outrigger can support the vehicle or structure it is installed upon. This is where Interface’s force measurement testing and monitoring products are utilized in different outrigging applications.

Interface load cells are used by outrigging engineers, civil engineers and heavy equipment manufacturers, oil and gas, construction industry and marine equipment companies. Read more why Rigging Engineers Choose Interface Measurement Solutions.

The role of force measurement sensor technologies in outrigging is to provide high accuracy measurement of the outrigging equipment in test and actual use. The applications range from integration of sensors into outrigger equipment, to load cells for real-time monitoring of the physical structure using outrigger supports.

The most common Interface products used for outrigging include:

For example, Interface load shackle cells are used to measure the forces during outrigger testing as well as on the outrigger equipment that support the structure. The data from the sensor is critical information used to assess the structural integrity of the outrigger or structure and to identify any potential weaknesses.

Interface load cells, such as our load shackles or load pins, are typically placed in strategic locations on the outrigger or structure where the force is expected to be greatest. The load cell is then connected to a data acquisition system (DAQ) or indicator that records the force readings. The data can then be analyzed to determine the maximum force applied to the outrigger or structure, as well as the distribution of force over the structure.

Load cells can also be used to monitor the performance of outriggers or structures over time. This can be helpful in identifying any changes in the structural integrity that may be caused by wear and tear, environmental factors, or other factors. Utilizing instrumentation with alarm capabilities is helpful, as well as a tool for maintenance.

Load cells are an important safety feature in outrigging equipment. They can help to prevent accidents and ensure that the equipment is used safely. A load cell is used to prevent a crane collapse during the construction of a high-rise building in a large congested metropolitan city. The crane is used for lifting a heavy beam. The load cell alerts the operator when the load is too heavy.

Ultimately, force measurement provides several benefits to testing and monitoring different outrigger applications, including:

  • Increased safety: By measuring the force applied to the outrigger, a load cell can help to prevent overloading and damage to the outrigger. It is also valuable for continuous monitoring during lifting use cases, such as with a crane or heavy machinery.
  • Improved efficiency: By monitoring the performance of the outrigger, a load cell can help to identify any potential problems early on, which can help to prevent costly downtime.
  • Reduced risk: By providing accurate data on the force applied to the outrigger, a load cell can help to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Examples of how force measurement is used to test outrigger solutions in a variety of industries:

  • In the oil and gas industry, load cells are used to test the outriggers of offshore drilling rigs. This helps to ensure that the rigs are safe to operate in high-wind and wave conditions.
  • In the construction industry, load cells are used to test the outriggers of cranes and other lifting equipment. This helps to ensure that the equipment is safe to use and that it will not overload the outriggers.
  • In civil engineering, load cells are used to test the structural integrity of bridges and other structures. This helps to ensure that the structures are safe to use and that they will not collapse underload.

Outriggers play a critical role in the safety and support of vehicles, infrastructure projects and massive structures. Interface force measurement products also play a necessary role in safeguarding outriggers and the operators. If you have an outrigging use case and are wondering which products are best suiting for your specific requirements, contact Interface Application Engineers for help.

Construction Brochure

Why Mechanical Engineers Choose Interface Solutions

Mechanical engineers play a crucial role in the design, development, and maintenance of mechanical systems that are integral to modern society and industries. They apply tenets of physics, materials science, and engineering to design, test and analyze, fabricate, and maintain mechanical systems in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, energy, robotics, and manufacturing.

Frequently, mechanical engineers use Interface force measurement devices to gather data, analyze performance, and ensure the safety and reliability of mechanical systems. Force measurement technologies help them to quantify the magnitude and direction of forces acting on objects or structures.

Mechanical engineers are active in the research and development of modern technologies and innovations, from small components to large industrial machines. This vital role is typically involved in the selection of materials, manufacturing processes, and quality control to ensure that mechanical systems are safe, dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Interface’s quality and accuracy of load cells make them a preferred engineering solution for various use cases. The range of products are used for multiple testing and design applications. The most common products selected by mechanical engineers include:

Engineers use sensors to determine the forces acting on different components or subsystems within a larger system, such as an engine, gearbox, or suspension system, during operation. This information can be used to verify that components are operating within their design limits, identify potential failure points, and optimize performance.

Force measurement devices are used by mechanical engineers in quality control processes to ensure that mechanical systems meet design specifications and performance requirements by performing tests during the manufacturing process, such as checking the tension in bolts, verifying the strength of welds, or measuring the force required for assembly or disassembly of components.

Mechanical engineers use impact force sensors to measure the forces experienced by a vehicle during crash testing, or fatigue testing machines to apply cyclic loads to components or structures to simulate real-world conditions. They participate in the design, development, and optimization of renewable energy systems such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power. Read Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy.

Mechanical engineers are at the forefront of advancements in robotics and automation, including designing and developing autonomous vehicles, drones, robotic manufacturing systems, and automated processes for industries such as automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. Advancements in materials science is a key role for many mechanical engineers. As well, these types of engineers play a crucial role in advancing the field of biomechanics and developing medical devices.

IoT and smart systems that integrate mechanical components with sensors, actuators, and control systems to create intelligent and connected systems are a result of the work of mechanical engineers. This includes developing smart buildings, smart appliances, smart transportation systems, and other IoT-enabled devices. Read Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities

Mechanical engineers use force measurement devices to perform tests and experiments to determine the forces experienced by mechanical systems. Load cells help them to quantify the loads on structural components, such as beams, columns, or joints, to understand their performance under different conditions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Electrical Engineers Choose Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface Celebrates Engineers

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Use Cases for Load Pins

Performance Structural Loading App Note

Interface OEM Solutions Process

 

 

Interface Solutions for Industrial Markets

The industrial market is vast. The industry classification covers everything from manufacturing and assembly to mining and agriculture. The highly regulated environments involved in industrial applications often require advanced equipment and technologies for product design and development, as well as after market performance management. Force and torque products are critical sensor components used in industrial applications.

Interface has been a partner to industrial customers for more than 50 years. We engineer, build, and supply force and torque sensors and acquisition devices designed to provide industrial engineers and manufacturers with high quality data that monitors and confirms the design and in-action processes of their equipment. Applications for industrial markets involve everything from heavy machinery to weighing solutions. The accuracy of these devices is critical to high-quality outcomes, low-costs and most importantly, worker safety.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS 

An example of an industrial process that requires an accurate force sensor is a crane application used in lifting heaving objects. Interface engaged with a customer who needed to measure the lifting capabilities of a crane using an Interface load shackle. The purpose of the shackle was to ensure the crane wasn’t lifting more than it could handle, putting worker safety at risk and potentially damaging the machine.

Interface model WTSSHK-B Wireless Load Shackle was connected to a crane load string to measure forces. A model WTS-BS-1-HA Battery Powered Handheld Display was used to wirelessly receive load information and display results. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully measure lifting and reading weight wirelessly on a handheld display while the crane was in action.

Another great example of the industrial industry’s use of force applications can be seen in manufacturing automation. One of the growing trends in marketing automation is the use of robotics to replace repetitive human tasks. Robotic arms are often found on assembly lines and they carry out a single task over and over. If the robotic arm isn’t properly calibrated, it can ruin an entire production line and lead to significant losses. To qualify the accuracy, many OEM’s use load cells and torque transducers to continuously measure the intricate movements of a robotic arm.

One Interface customer used a robotic arm to close packaging on a production line. If the arm wasn’t accurate, it could apply to much force and crush the packaging or not close the packaging as intended, leading to losses in shipping.

Interface supplied a 6-Axis Load Cell with a model BX8 Data Acquisition and Amplifier System. The Interface Multi-Axis 6-Axis Load Cell was able to measure all forces and torques on every axis and the BX8 8-Channel Data Acquisition System was able to log, display, and graph these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system.

READ MORE HERE: FORCE MEASUREMENT IS REDUCING WASTE AND AUTOMATING THE CONSUMER PACKAGING INDUSTRY

Another consideration for specialized industrial applications is in harsh environments. There are hundreds of thousands of engineers and manufacturers that spend their days working in these environments. Whether its operating inside of facilities with large machines and intricate moving parts, working hundreds of feet in the air repairing a bridge, or deep within a mine shaft, these professionals put themselves in danger every day by the nature of their work. As engineers and manufacturers, many of us are also tasked to solve for safety challenges and keep these professionals protected in any environment.

One of the ways we contribute to industrial safety is with the development of our Interface Ex Rated Load Cells, also known as Interface Intrinsically Safe Products. These specialized load cells and force measurement solutions are designed and manufactured so that the materials and electronic components are safe for use in hazardous gas and dust environments when installed per applicable installation instructions. These components are designed for those applications found in dangerous environments in particular industries like oil and gas, mining, aerospace, automotive and more.

The applications for industrial vary widely because the industry is diverse. Interfaces designs and manufacturers force and torque products for hundreds of different industrial use cases and applications every year. Our team of engineers can even create custom solutions for new and innovative industrial requirements. Included below are examples of some of the products typically used by our industrial customers.

  • 2400 Load Cell Series – The 2400 is a stainless-steel load cell designed for applications requiring a hermetic seal for use in general industrial applications.
  • 3200 Load Cell Series – The 3200 precision stainless steel load cell series has all the features of the Interface Model 1200 LowProfile® (one of Interface’s most popular products) and in addition it is stainless steel and hermetically sealed for harsh applications.
  • SSMH Load Cell Series – Model SSMH S-type load cell provides a suitable force measurement sensor for applications in coal mining and transfer and other heavy industries where explosive dusts and environment conditions are potentially explosion-hazard rated. SSMH capacities available that provide intrinsically safe certification.
  • Stainless Steel Load Buttons – Interface’s load button load cells are designed for customers who require the measurement of forces in a very confined space. They are designed to provide the most accuracy in as little space as possible.
  • 5400 Series Reaction Torque Transducer Series – Model 5400 series features a rugged flange-style designed with thru-holes, low deflection, high torsional stiffness and the ability to withstand large overhung moments.
  • Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) – High accuracy, high quality measurement is interfaced with simple yet powerful configuration and monitoring software. The WTS gives sensor manufacturers and integrators the complete flexibility to build their own sensor modules around it. The system easily replaces wired systems, reducing installation and maintenance costs.

These are just a few examples of Interface applications notes and products designed for industrial applications. For more information on Interface solutions design for the Industrial industry, contact our experienced application engineers.