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LowProfile Load Cells 101

In the field of force measurement, load cells are defined by a set of specifications attributed to a configured shape and size of the flexure model. These models are engineered to meet requirements in weight, size, cost, accuracy, use life, rated capacity, extraneous forces, test profile, error specs, temperature, altitude, pressure, and materials.

Of all the flexure models available, the low profile load cell is the most common force measurement sensor model used for general test and measurement applications.

Did you know that Interface is known for creating the first low profile load cells more than 50 years ago? Our founder first introduced the low profile in 1969 and later trademarked as the first of its kind precision LowProfile® Load Cell by Interface. With this invention, Interface became with market leader of precision load cells. In fact, our 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell, designed for eccentric load compensated tension and compression, remains our most popular product today.

This pancake-style shear beam cell design is world-renowned for durability, accuracy, and performance. The LowProfile design resembles two shear beam cells end-to-end, exhibiting the stability of a doubled-ended shear beam and augmented by the fact that the circular design is equivalent to four double-ended cells. Thus, it provides stability in eight directions at the center point.

The LowProfile designs include a base, bolted to the flexure around its outside rim. The base is a flat surface, guaranteed to provide optimum support for the flexure. The use of a base ensures the exceptional performance in the Interface LowProfile series, as each load cell is built, evaluated, and calibrated with the base.

Advantages of all Interface LowProfile design include:

  • Higher output
  • Better fatigue life
  • Better resistance to extraneous loads
  • Shorter load path
  • Extremely low compliance with higher stiffness
  • Option for compression overload protection integral to the cell
  • Proprietary strain gages
  • Customization

One process step that is standard in the LowProfile series is the adjustment to extraneous load sensitivity. Although the design itself cancels out the built of this sensitivity, Interface goes one step further and adjusts each cell to minimize it even more.

The Interface LowProfile Series is available in compression-only, tension and compression and calibration grade. There are high and low-capacity options, flange-style, amplified, as well as fatigue rated models. Various features are available through hundreds of configurations to accommodate the wide range of testing profiles, such as connectors, wireless, additional bridges, and overload protection.

The LowProfile Series has three major classifications: precision, ultra precision and fatigue rated. The basic construction of all the cells in the series is quite similar. The major differences are in the number of shear beams and the number of gages in the legs of the bridge.

LowProfile Precision Series: Standard capacities of the precision low profile designs can measure up to 2M lbf. The gaged sensors in every load cell are individually inspected and tested and certified to meet our rigid standards. With greater stiffness, respectable static error band specifications and resistance to extraneous loads, this is Interfaces number one line of products.  The standard 1200 is by far the most sought after low profile today.

1200 Precision LowProfile Load Cell Standard Series features:

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
    Performance to .04%
    High output – to 4 mV/V
    0.0008%/°F (.0015%/°C) temperature effect on output
    Low deflection
    Shunt calibration
    Barometric compensation

This 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell standard model is available through our QuickShip48 expedited delivery service. Click here to order now. For additional low profile capacities of the Model 1200 series, base options, connectors, bridge options and overload protection availability, go here for the specifications datasheet, model options, drawings and technical specifications.

LowProfile Ultra Precision Series: Engineers at Interface designed this series to meet the demands of sophisticated testing labs with precision performance in the critical parameters such as static error band, non-linearity, hysteresis, non-repeatability, and extraneous load sensitivity. The models in the 1100 Ultra Precision LowProfile® Load Cell are the most popular of this design.

LowProfile Fatigue Rated Series: This series guarantees fatigue life of 100 million fully reversed load cycles.  This series has tighter specifications on resistance to extraneous loads and offers stiffer compliance. Interface’s fatigue rated load cells typically have static overload rating of 300% in both tension and compression modes. Originally designed for aerospace testing, the Interface 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell are the most used fatigue-rated low profiles.

Interface also provides very high-grade low profiles for calibration. The LowProfile Gold Standard Calibration Series: Interface sets the standard in precision load cells. The model 1600 Gold Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell are uniquely designed for calibrating other load cells to the highest levels of quality and accuracy used in test and measurement. The Interface Model 1600 provides both tension and compression in one unit. It also has the options for a second and third bridge, as well as overload protection.

1600 Gold Standard® LowProfile® Tension and Compression Load Cell Standard Series features:
• 0.01% creep
• High Output to 4 mV/V
• High-Precision Installed Base
• ±0.0008%/˚F Max Temperature Effect on Output
• Low Deflection
• Shunt Calibration
• Barometric Compensation
• Calibration Adapter
• 3-Run NIST Traceable ASTM E74 Calibrations
• 4% Lower Load Limit per ASTM E74

Low profile load cells are used for all types of testing. There are many options and designs available as standard models. We also provide engineered to order, custom and OEM solutions for all our load cells. As with all our standard load cells, we do offer various capacities, modifications, and custom options.

One thing that is for certain, the Interface LowProfile is a standard across the force measurement industry. They are common in testing rigs, designed in as components, often found in the best metrology labs throughout the world.  Industry leaders in manufacturing, aerospace, automation, food processing, medical and biosciences, energy and transportation choose LowProfiles for the meticulousness required in high-performance force measurement testing.

Low-Profile-Load-Cell-Brochure

Interface Solutions are Designed and Built to Last

Interface was founded by a visionary and entrepreneur, Richard F. Caris, who believed that if you designed and built dependable, quality, and accurate products, you would also build a sustainable company that will last generations.

His passion is what drives Interface today, sustaining his legacy and commitment to design products that revolutionize industries around the world. Interface, now owned by his two daughters, is a women-owned manufacturing and technology company that started in a garage and now is one of Arizona’s most enduring businesses. The company, started in 1968, continues to maintain its headquarters and productions facilities in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Today, we are the trusted partner and supplier of global test and measurement solutions for testing labs and by makers of robots, rockets, medical devices, airplanes, industrial automation and farming equipment, new energy products, vehicles of all types, along with maritime and entertainment inventions.

Interface’s purpose is simple, we enable innovation that improves people’s lives and keeps them safe.

When it comes to building products that last, we are adamant about control and quality throughout entire process. Every stage, from design engineering, machining, strain gage manufacturing and assembly, our team works to ensure the highest degree of performance possible for everything we manufacture.

It is not uncommon for Interface to get service requests for products that we built decades ago, in fact several decades ago. It is the depiction of what Mr. Caris planned for, and what we continue to strive for every day. Interface is a company that offers products built to last.

Fundamental to Interface, made is the USA has long been a celebrated distinction of Interface’s core offerings, including our LowProfile Load Cells, known as the first precision pancake-styled low profile load cells on the market. In fact, Interface has been engineering force measurement solutions for more than 54 years and has more than 35,000 products to show for it.

Our dedication to our customers around the world to be a total solutions provider in force measurement has driven expansion of our core load cell and torque transducers to include an extensive line of multi-axis sensors, miniature load cells, instrumentation, accessories, custom solutions, OEM products and engineered to order designs.

What makes Interface different? Our core differentiator is precision. We are known for providing high accuracy, innovative solutions, engineering excellence, and quality products that our customers trust.

Additional key differentiators that make Interface a leader:

  • Interface is the world’s largest producer of low profile load cells.
  • Interface makes our own self-temperature compensated strain gages from our exclusive proprietary alloy.
  • Interface load cells are creep tested to the tightest specification in the industry.
  • Interface performs more than 100,000 calibrations every year in the world’s largest calibration lab.
  • Interface LowProfile™ load cell is moment compensated to minimize sensitivity to extraneous loads.
  • Interface’s Gold Standard Calibration System is the industry gold standard’ for test and measurement.
  • Interface is the only major load cell company offering a comprehensive system for customers to calibrate their own load cells.
  • Interface LowProfile™ load cells are individually calibrated and tested through a series of performance tests before it leaves our facility.
  • Interface calibrations are NIST traceable. And our lab has A2LA accreditation for both load cell and torque sensor calibration.
  • Interface can modify and customize force measurement solutions, delivering the broadest variety of available options in the industry.

Read more about our full capabilities here.

Learn more about our dedicated team and the Interface story about a company that has long-stood the test of time. Interface is built to last.

Interface Company Brochure

Get an Inside Look at Interface’s Famously Blue Load Cells

Interface “blue” load cells have been utilized for millions of test and measurement projects and programs around the world.  Since the invention of Interface’s LowProfile® Load Cell, the world’s most popular pancake style load cell series has become a standard for testing engineers and lab technicians for more than five and half decades.  Today, Interface has more than 60 different types of Load Cells, including our line of Mini Load Cells.

Interface load cells come in capacities ranging from 1 lbf (500 gf) to 2 million lbf (9,000 kN). As a U.S.-based manufacturer, our extensive production and engineering facilities produce several shapes and sizes of our Interface load cells, as well as calibrate every model before it leaves our facilities.

Our expansive line of sensor models includes pancake and donut styled load cells in our LowProfile® Load Cell series and thru-hole load cells. Additionally, we offer canister, rod end, downhole, column, coil tubing, load buttons, and load washers. All of these models use Interface’s proprietary alloy strain gages to provide higher output, higher signal to noise ratio, higher resolution and superior fatigue life. This helps us build the most accurate and reliable sensors for test and measurement applications.

What makes Interface’s LowProfile Load Cells a top pick?

Here is a look inside our famous blue load cell, highlighting the top reasons Interface is selected for accuracy, quality and performance.

Interface’s load cell model that has the highest demand and usage is the 1200 Precision LowProfile series. They are used in all types of industry applications, from Material Tensile Testing to Aircraft Lifting Equipment Tests. It’s followed closely by the 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile series and 1100 Ultra Precision Load Cell series.  Every series has multiple configuration and capacity options. For example, the 1200 series provides off-the-shelf model options including:

1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell

1200 and 1201 Series 3-Wire Amplified Load Cell Universal or Compression-Only

WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell

1200 High-Capacity Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell

1201 Compression-Only Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell

Every designed load cell can also be engineered-to-order or customized to unique specifications.

The accuracy of data, engineered designs, proprietary strain gages, comprehensive specifications, quality inspections, detailed certifications and multiple calibrations of every load cell to ensure performance make the top of the list as to why Interface is considered best in class.

Here is an opportunity to get another inside look at the Interface LowProfile Load Cell:

If you are interested in reviewing this insider’s view with SI measurements, go here.

Take a closer look at the advantages of Interface’s LowProfile Load Cell in this cutaway view.

LowProfile Cutaway

Fine-Tuning Testing Solutions for Championship Racing Vehicles

As every championship race car team looks to find its competitive advantage, measured in seconds, Interface continues to play a pivotal role in ensuring accurate force measurement solutions are used to test the limits of every component used in motorsports.

The automotive industry has long depended on the quality and accuracy of Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation, and multi-axis sensors.  Did you know it is also used in the competitive arena of auto racing?  Performance demands are constantly being pushed for all types of racing machines, whether it’s for NASCAR, IndyCar, or even the amateur level racing. What is known in the racing community is that engineers and manufacturers of equipment and parts used in these high-performance vehicles rely on Interface for precision testing solutions.

In our new case study, Building a Championship Race Car, we detail some of the specific sensor technologies used in the racing arena for high performance testing. We highlight how Interface’s TXY 2-Axis Load Cell is used in testing tires. Leading tire manufacturers, including SCCA sponsors, utilize these sensors to get precise test data on tire uniformity. The TXY has minimal cross talk across its strain gage bridges, ideal for this type of testing.

We also detail how our top load cell, the LowProfile, is frequently used in testing shocks, springs, and struts.  With any racing vehicle, control is fundamental, and the equipment used to maintain that control must be proven to meet the exceptionalism and requirements of racing professionals and their teams.

In this technical article, learn how the popular AxialTQ Torque Transducer, a bearing-less, compact wireless design, affords the test engineer suitable data collection for engine analysis, as well as brake HP calculations for active performance testing.

A competitive spirit runs deep within our Interface team, it’s what we do. We like to ensure our products are top class and help our customers win!  We also have first-hand experience in how our products are used in the racing arena. That experience affirms the positive performance effects of force measurement in auto racing.

Did you know that Interface’s Vice President of Sales, Brian Peters, has accomplished eight National Championships in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) solo racing, and also competes in the One Lap of America cross-country, weeklong multi-competition racing event?

The annual SCCA National Championships draws more than 1,000 drivers from across North America to compete over two days. Wins are decided by mere thousandths of a second. Knowing how our products are used in high-performance racing environments, only fuels us more.

Performance and precision are critical and Interface force measurement solutions help to fine-tune critical racing vehicles, parts, and apparatus used to test different components in motorsports. We also like to say, it’s a competitive advantage. Read our case study to learn more.

Additional Resources

Powered by Interface Race Update from Brian Peters

Race Car Suspension Testing

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Automotive and Vehicle

Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a world-class manufacturer is when we’re able to work with customers on a custom solution that meets their unique and mission-critical needs. Custom solutions can be anything that’s needed from a customized sensor component to a complete custom system. One custom solution that is gaining popularity for its mobility, ease of use and wide variety of application options is what we call, testing systems in a box.

We have developed these unique all-in-one testing systems that combine force measurement sensors, transmitters and data display devices all together in a transportable case. The benefit for customers is that every aspect of this type of mobile test and measurement system is enclosed in the box and can be brought to remote testing locations along with a testing rig and computer. The wide variety of configurations also allow Interface to develop a test system for virtually any mobile requirement. Think of it as on-the-go testing that is flexible and adaptable to the test environment.

MOBILE TESTING CASE

When our customer wanted to perform force tests on a helicopter, we developed a mobile force measurement system that was put together in a ruggedized case to match the environmental conditions of the testing locations. The custom system included Model 9890 Indicators alongside SSM Fatigue Rated Load Cells. The case also featured rechargeable batteries for continuation of testing in remote locations. With this solution, the customer was able to easily perform their force tests while remaining independent of any confined lab or testing facility. They had a testing system that was completely versatile to the mobility requirements of test engineers.

AIRPLANE JACK POINT TESTING 

Interface developed a unique test system for an airplane jack testing solution. Once again, we put together a full system in mobile cases that included our precision LowProfile Load Cells, nearly 20 wireless transmitters, and a graphical display with visual alarms to read the output at each jack point. This allowed the customer to measure the forces at all jack points on a plane from front to tail and both wings. The testing system was created to be portable and provide constant feedback through the hardware and instrumentation via wireless signals.

MULTI-AXIS SPRING TEST SYSTEM

The final custom solution we are highlighting in this post is smaller in design, but just as impactful for the customer. This system included a 3-Axis Load Cell in a compact box with three indicator panels. The system was used to simultaneously measure both force and moment on a spring and provide the data on the indicator screen. The system was compact, easy to use and simply needed to be connected to the test rig to accurately collect data from the spring.

Mobile test systems provide a massive benefit to engineers and product manufacturers who want to be able to collect accurate and reliable data on the go and not be constrained by wires and large heavy solutions. Test systems enclosed within a box are a great solution for many of these remote challenges, as they protect the equipment and also provide a functional “on-the-go” testing system, anywhere.

As more demands for testing within the actual environment become core to the engineering and design of small and large apparatus, these types of unique solutions from Interface can be customized to capacity and test specifications based on the customer’s needs.

Our experienced engineers and application experts are able to look at specific objectives and present the best components to get the best results. From force and torque measurement sensors to digital instrumentation, wireless and supported by batteries, we can build the custom components to be enclosed in a case that is an all-in-one testing system or design the solution to put into an existing configuration. Taking advantage of our expertise, we work together with our customers to develop the right solution that fits their exact requirements.

Be sure to watch, “Making the Case for Custom Solutions” to get more insights on customization considerations and options when you partner with Interface Custom Solutions.

To learn more about Interface’s custom solutions and explore options and possibilities in building your testing system, go here to contact us to get started.

READ MORE CUSTOM SOLUTION POSTS

What is New in Custom Solutions

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

How to Choose the Right Load Cell

Load cells are used to test and confirm the design of hardware, components, and fixtures used across industries and by consumers. From the structural integrity of an airplane to the sensitivity of a smartphone touchscreen, there’s a load cell available to measure force. In fact, here at Interface we have over tens of thousands of products used in force measurement, for all types of different applications.

How do engineers and product designers go about choosing the right load cell for a specific application or testing project?

Have no fear, Interface has put together a short guide on choosing the load cell that is right for you. This blog will cover the basic questions to answer when selecting a product, as well the most important factors affecting load cell choice.  Be sure to watch the online video, Load Cell Basics, that highlights key factors of consideration when choosing the right load cell for additional insights.

The basic questions you need to consider when selecting a load cell include:

  • What are the expected loads? What is the minimum and maximum load you’ll be measuring?
  • Is there any potential for higher peak loads than what you intend to measure? What are these expected peak forces?
  • Is it tension, compression, or both?
  • Will there be any off-axis loads? If so, what is their geometry? Do you want to measure them too?
  • Will it be a static, dynamic or fatigue measurement?
  • What is the environment in which you’ll be conducting your test? Will the load cell need to be sealed?
  • How accurate do your measurements need to be? Do they need to be at the highest accuracy of ±0.02-0.05% or within ±0.5-1%?
  • What additional features, accessories and instrumentation does your application require to complete a test?
  • Do you need standard electrical connectors or customized options? What about additional bridges or amplifiers?
  • How are you planning to collect and analyze the data output from the load cell?

Next, these are the most important factors affecting accuracy, which will have a heavy influence over the load cell you choose. It’s important to understand how your application and the load cell will be affected by each of the factors, which include:

  • Mechanical – Dimensions and Mounting
  • Electrical – Output and Excitation
  • Environmental – Temperature and Moisture

One of the most important factors in choosing the right load cell is understanding how it will be mounted for testing or as a component within a design. There are a wide variety of mounting types including threaded connections, inline, through hole or even adhesive. Understanding the mounting type that suits your application is critical to getting the correct data because a poorly mounted load cell will distort the results and can damage the load cell.

The mounting process also requires you to understand which direction the load is coming from, in addition to any extraneous loads that may be present. The load cell mating surface is also an important factor. For example, when using our LowProfile® load cells without a pre-installed base, the best practice is to ensure that the mating surface is clean and flat to within a 0.0002-inch total indicator reading and is of suitable material, thickness, and hardness (Rc 30 or higher). Also make sure that bolts are torqued to the recommended level.

If you’re conducting a fatigue measurement, it’s also important to address the frequency and magnitude of load cycles with your load cell provider. Factors to address include single mode versus reverse cycles, deflection versus output resolution, and material types. Interface offers a wide variety of fatigue-rated load cells that are perfect for these types of applications.

Another consideration in choosing the right load cell is the electrical signal. Load cells work by converting force into an electrical signal. Therefore, it’s important to understand the electrical output type necessary for your application, which could include millivolt, voltage, current or digital output. You can find the excitation voltage data on our website for each of our load cells. Additional considerations include noise immunity, cable length and proper grounding.

The environment is also a critical factor in ensuring accurate performance of your load cell. Interface provides load cells in a variety of material types including aluminum, steel, and stainless steel. Each material has a variety of properties that make them more suitable for different environments. For a more in-depth perspective on the different strengths and weaknesses of materials, please read our blog titled, Considerations for Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Load Cells. For applications where load cells need to be submerged in liquid or enter an explosive environment, we also have a variety of harsh environment and IP rated load cells, in addition to load cells suitable for high humidity or splash resistance. Learn more about our intrinsically safe load cells here.

Learn more about choosing the right load cell in these online resources:

WATCH: Load Cell Basics with Keith Skidmore

WATCH: How to Choose a Load Cell with Design Engineer Carlos Salamanca

READ: Load Cell Field Guide

VISIT: Interface Technical Library

To learn more about choosing the right load cell for any application, connect with our applications engineers about the force measurement needs for your next project at 480-948-5555.

The Anatomy of a Load Cell

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes the things we use everyday work? At Interface, our engineers think about what makes up an Interface load cell on the production floor and in our design lab every day.

Whether we are manufacturing a new load cell or speaking to a customer about how it can help solve their test and measurement challenges, we are always thinking about what a load cell can do and how to perfect the process of building one that exceeds all customer expectations in performance, reliability and accuracy.

One thing that people ask us about all the time is, what does it look like inside the pioneering Interface blue load cell? In the photo below, you have a cross-section of a basic load cell identifying each of the components and how it all comes together to provide industries around the globe world-class force measurement solutions.

The first component to understand is the strain gage. This mechanism is embedded in the gage cavity and is a sensor that varies its resistance as it is stretched or compressed. When tension or compression is applied, the strain gage converts force, pressure, and weight into a change that can then be measured in the electrical resistance. You can read more in our recent strain gage 101 blog. Here at Interface, we manufacture our own strain gages in-house to ensure premium quality and accuracy.

The main features of a strain gage are illustrated in the following image:

  1. Grid Lines – strain sensitive pattern
  2. End Loops – provide creep compensation
  3. Solder Pads – used to solder interconnecting wire to the gage
  4. Fiducials – assist with the gage alignment
  5. Backing – insulates and supports foil and bonds the strain gage to the flexure

There are also multiple gage configurations depending on the type of load cell. These include:

  • Linear – measures the strain under bending (used in mini beam load cells)
  • Shear – measures strain under shear force (used in low-profile load cells)
  • Poisson – measures strain under normal stress (used in the Interface 2100 Series Column Load Cells)
  • Chevron – measures strain under torsion (used in the Interface 5400 Series Flange Load Cells)

The next component to understand is the load bearing component of the load cell. It is made up of the hub, diaphragm, outer ring, inner ring and base. This component deflects under load to allow the strain gages to send a signal through the connector to the data acquisition device. Customization can include changing the metal materials used to meet environmental or strength concerns and designing the beam height and thickness to meet certain size and stress considerations.

The mounting ring and connector are also incredibly important to the proper use of a load cell and accurate data collection. The mounting ring is the area in which the load cell is mounted to the test rig to measure force and collect data. It is important to pay attention to mounting instructions because an improperly mounted load cell can cause inaccurate results, as well as damage to the load cell. There are also mounting adapters available to fit a wide variety of test rigs.

The connector is the component that allows the load cell to connect to a data acquisition device. The connector is attached via a wire to the data acquisition device and force data is sent through this device to the user through ethernet or Bluetooth® depending on the load cell and data acquisition device configuration. Interface also sells a wide variety of data acquisition devices.

Load cells have many configurations and capacities. In fact, we have made tens of thousands of them over the years to meet standard, modified and engineered to order specifications. The load cell diagram above represents a popular low profile “pancake” load cell.  There are many other styles including miniature load cells, bending and dual bending beams, column-style, S-beam and load button load cells. However, even as the shapes and uses change, the anatomy remains relatively similar, with these main components acting as the workhorse of the load cell and providing accurate force data to the user.

For more information on Interface and our wide range of load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices check out our product categories on our site or download our product literature here.

Test Stand Applications for Force and Torque

In the world of test and measurement, test stands are essential equipment for manufacturers and testing engineers. The test stand provides a host of different testing products in a single “cabinet-like” structure. These systems have been used for a long time to gather data on various functions of products during the product test phase.

Test stands works like a mobile test lab, hosted by a frame and containing one or more force or torque sensor components, software, and data acquisition instrumentation and accessories. Force stands are typically motorized or manual.  Motorized test stands, also known as mechanical or electrical, have the advantages of controlling performance by applying modes such as speed, cycles, and time into the testing procedure. The more advanced testing stands are frequently used for repetitive high-performance testing requirements, validating accuracy and quality. Manual test stands are used for simple testing protocols and frequently used in education programs.

There are a wide variety of testing devices and sensor products that are used as part of the entire test process. As parts roll off the production line, the test stand will sit at the end of the line where the test engineer can immediately load the product into the test rig. Test stands help to streamline the test process by providing all available test functions in a single, mobile application.

Interface is a supplier of choice for precision components of various capacities and dimensions for test stand configurations requiring precision and accuracy in performance. Interface load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation equipment are commonly used in numerous product test applications by engineers, metrologists, testing professionals and product designers around the world.

Included below are a few examples of specific test applications and the Interface components used in the different style testing stands.

Linear Test Stand

In this example, an Interface customer wanted to add a crush test to their test stand to measure the force it took to deform a piece of material. Interface provided an Model 1210 Load Cell with an internal amplification of 0-10VDC output.

The load cell was installed into the load string of the customer’s load frame, and the scaled analog output from the load cell was connected to the customer’s test stand instrumentation. When the force levels reached the crushing point, the customer’s software was able to read the output of the amplified load cell and record the value.

See the application note for the Linear Test Stand here.

Motor Test Stand

In the quality control lab at a major automotive manufacturing company, a test engineer needed to test, record, and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load. Interface supplied the new AxialTQ® Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, that could measure and record these torque values.

Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ transducer, along with the AxialTQ Output Module, and a laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

See the application note for the Motor Test Stand here.

Verification Test Stand

In this application, a customer needed a test stand application to verify that its load cell was in good, working order. Interface helped to create a solution that used a load cell to verify the customer’s load cell. The solution involved the customer’s supplied verification load frame and an Interface Model 1210 Precision LowProfile® Load Cell connected with a Model SI-USB 2-Channel PC Interface Module.

The customer was able to install their load cell and Model 1210 Precision LowProfile Load cell into the verification load frame. Applied forces were displayed and recorded by Model SI-USB PC Interface Module for review and record keeping on customer’s computer. This allows the customer to have a proven load cell verification test stand at their disposal to ensure its test load cell is always in working order.

See the application note for the Verification Test Stand here.

These are just a few examples of the different types of test stands that Interface can provide off-the-shelf or custom force measurement solution components. If your project involves a mechanical test stand and you are interested in learning more about adding force sensors, please contact our application engineers.

Finding the Center of Gravity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEE THE APPLICATION NOTE FOR CENTER OF GRAVITY TESTING

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

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

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

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

Tank-Weighing-and-Center-of-Gravity-1