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Force Solutions for Testing Machines

In test and measurement, one of the most common application for force sensors is industrial-scale testing machines of all kinds. Force and torque data is used in several ways with these types of applications. They can be used in the design phase to help perfect a product or component as it relates to force input or output. They can also be used as a monitoring device to tell users when a machine or its accessories need to be repaired or replaced.

For machine makers, product engineers and test lab equipment users, Interface supplies precision load cells, torque transducers, data acquisition devices and accessories.

Machine testing is one of our most prominent use cases for measurement sensors. Interface has seen quite a few different applications across industries. We’ve noted a few of our application notes that highlight these use cases by outlining how force measurement solutions are used in various machines.

Proving Theoretical Cutting Forces of Rotary Ultrasonic Machining

Rotary ultrasonic machining is a hybrid process that combines diamond grinding with ultrasonic machining to provide fast, high-quality drilling of many ceramic and glass applications. This new method has been theoretically proven using computer models. Rotary ultrasonic machining generates forces of a very small magnitude. To prove this theory, any load cell used for measurement must be sensitive, while at the same time retaining high structural stiffness within a compact, low-profile envelope. Interface suggest using its 3A120 3-Axis load cell installed in the rotary ultrasonic machine to measure the forces being applied to a sample part. With clear signals and minimal crosstalk, the applied forces are recorded and stored using an the BSC4D Multi-Channel PC Interface Module. The 3-Axis load cell provides excellent data helping uncover the relationship between machine cutting parameters and the forces applied on the component. Using this knowledge, the machining process can be reliably optimized for new materials and operations. Review the complete cutting forces of rotary ultrasonic machine application note.

Friction TestingFriction Testing Machine

A testing laboratory was looking to replace two single axis load cells used in their friction testing machine with one sensor that could measure force on the x, y, and z axis simultaneously. Interface’s 3A60 3-Axis load cell was installed on their existing machine with an Interface BSC4D-USB Multi-Channel PC Interface hooked directly to a PC laptop to monitor and log the data in real time. The testing laboratory was able to simplify their sensor set-up and improve their data collection, creating more value for their end customer. Friction testing is a common use case.  To learn more about this application for a friction testing machine, go here.

Spring Compression Testing Machine

In an upgrade in machinery and testing equipment, a customer sought a solution to test the performance of their springs in their specially designed spring test stand using a new wireless solution. Interface suggests using the WTS-5200XYZ 3-Axis Force Moment Load Cell which has 3 integral WTSAM-1E Wireless Transmitters and installing it into the customer’s spring compression frame. The WTS-5200XYZ 3-Axis Force Moment Load Cell will measure the force compression of the spring. The integral WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules will transmit and display the information wirelessly to the LCCA Wireless Instrument enclosure. It can also be programmed to trigger an alarm.  You can read about the spring testing machine here.

Weighing and Packaging Machine

A food brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process. In this case, they also want to weigh their potato chips being packaged and ensure the potato chips are at the exact weight needed due to regulatory standards. Interface’s suggested using multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells and install them to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer could control the automated production from their command center. With these products, the customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged. Learn more about the packaging machine here.

Interface sensors are used across industries to test advanced machinery because our products provide the most accurate data on the market to help improve the efficiency and quality of equipment and testing machines. To learn more about Interface solutions for testing machines, check out our application notes page at www.interfaceforce.com/application-notes/.

New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

The most common uses of force measurement in OEM (original equipment manufacturer) applications are when a force sensor is designed into a product that will be produced at mid to high volumes and provides real-time force feedback on certain product functions in use. Utilizing sensors as a feature enables data acquisition over time to monitor forces and understand how those forces effect product efficiency, safety, quality or all of these performance metrics. This ultimately is used to design a better product, in the current state and for future enhancements or to know when a product is performing best or risks breaking down.

Did you know that there is another application of force sensors in OEM applications that is playing a large role in the factory of the future? This is when we turn an active component into a sensor and use that data to create automated actions. This solution is used when there is a desire to take a moving component within a system and make it smarter, ultimately allowing it to make data-based decisions on its own.

For example, the manufacturing industry is using force sensors on machines within a production line that are responsible for picking components up for visual inspection. The sensor is integrated into the grabbing component and can tell the machine the exact force to use when picking up the component as not to damage it. This is a critical capability when dealing with expensive and delicate components that can break under too much force. In the past, a force measurement sensor would have been used only to test this functionality. When the sensor is designed directly into the machine, the user can both test beforehand and monitor and automate processes in real-time.

The need for this type of capability is growing rapidly amongst manufacturers across a wide variety of industry including aerospace and defense, industrial, medical, automotive, industrial automation, assembly and more. To further outline the potential for these types of solutions, Interface developed a new white paper that details  how sensor solutions for OEMs work with specific examples of the benefit of turning an active component into a sensor.

Included below is a brief intro to the recently released white paper. Get your copy by clicking on the link here. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about Interface solutions for OEM applications go here, or call us to speak to our OEM application experts at 480-948-5555. Ready to get started, let us know how we can help here.

WHITE PAPER EXCERPT

OEM SOLUTIONS: TURNING AN ACTIVE COMPONENT INTO A SENSOR

The age of industrial automation and big data is upon us. Manufacturers that fall behind in equipping their facilities and products with innovation that allows for automated processes, remote monitoring and better efficiency through technology, will quickly fall behind. This is due to the fact that automation helps to significantly improve process quality because it eliminates human error. It also creates long-term cost savings by speeding up several processes, or by helping to monitor products in use and in real-time to optimize performance and stability over time through better data collection.

Get your copy of the white paper to read more.

Special note, contributors to the white paper are Interface and sensor engineering experts, Brian Peters and Rob Fuge.

Additional Resources for OEM

Interface is a Critical Solutions Provider for OEMs

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

 

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

In the medical and healthcare industry, accuracy is an absolute imperative in the devices used in every stage including diagnosis, surgery, health monitoring and even after care. This also applies to the specialized equipment used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, in both design and maintenance, when producing medicine and other healthcare related products.

When it comes to product development in the United States, not only do med devices and pharmaceuticals need to pass rigorous FDA regulations, but they must also be proven to serve patients and doctors safely. This results from robust test and measurement data requirements before seeking clearance. These same types of fundamental safety requirements of testing are also standard in most developed countries when seeking approvals before release.

Medical industry manufacturers turn to Interface because our force measurement solutions are designed for high performance test and measurement, in both accuracy and reliability. There is also a high demand for Interface’s ability to customize solutions to meet the exact requirements of these sensitive applications.

In a variety of medical device applications, one noted example is Interface’s role in providing various miniature beam and in-line load cell solutions with ten times the overload protection to protect against accidental shock loads. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately track light movements required to control prosthetic fatigue testing, surgical equipment, knee or hip replacement and other medical devices. Other Interface solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing. Read more about these types of medical applications here.

Interface provides force measurement solutions for a wide variety of products and machines that help biotechnology and pharmaceutical product engineers to design, test and manufacturer devices of all shapes and sizes. When it comes to equipment used in the manufacturing of medicine, Interface products are used to optimize production and reduce waste.

TABLET HARDNESS TESTING

In this application, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to test and monitor the hardness of the tablets being created in their tablet forming machine. Interface’s SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was mounted to the hardness device inside the tablet forming machine. The SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was then connected to the 9870 High-Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator to record the force measurements.

TABLET FORMING MACHINE OPTIMIZATION

For a tablet forming machine optimization project in Europe, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces applied by the tablet forming machine in an effort to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, forming force, and motor cycle speed. The goal was to improve productivity and efficiency of the tablet forming process, while reducing losses such as cracked tablets or voids, by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criterion for given inputs. An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell 10K lbf was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data.

TABLET MACHINE HARDNESS CALIBRATION

Our partners in Germany also had the opportunity to work on a calibration project for a device that tested the hardness of tablets, such as a medicine in tablet form. The reason for this type of device is because medical tablets are overly sensitive to compression force when being formed and when ready to be shipped. If the tablets hardness isn’t tested properly, consistency in size and shape is nearly impossible. The need for force testing is because the device must provide very minimal and accurate forces to the tablet for product consistency. When this is applied to tablets that are used in medicine, accuracy in dosage is fundamental and an absolute necessity.

The customer required a unique solution to properly re-calibrate the device. They needed a mini-load cell the size of a sugar cube that replaces the tablets and fits horizontally in the tablet test-box. A special cable exit was also critical for the compression only calibration application.

Interface provided an MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell which can measure forces on its side with a special cable exit on the flat side that attaches to a calibration indicator, such as the Interface battery powered handheld indicator and datalogger Model 9330. The MCC load cell calibration set compares the applied forces with the hardness tester to make sure that the tablet hardness tester uses the correct force for future tablet hardness tests. The BlueDAQ software included in our indicator helps to log and compare the data of the MCC reference load cell.

In the past, the customer’s medical tablet machines had to be rebuilt for calibrations, or a complex mechanism had to be integrated to enable vertical calibration. With Interface’s new solution, the customer successfully verified and calibrated the tablet hardness tester machine horizontally to conduct accurate hardness testing on tablets in the future. Interface’s MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell was perfect due to its small size, and convenience in measuring the forces on its side.

Read more about these healthcare and medical applications in these posts:

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Interface Load Cells in Medical Applications

Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications

To see more of Interface’s solutions designed for the medical device industry, visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/medical-healthcare/.

Interface Crane Use Cases and Application Notes

Manufacturers and engineers of heavy equipment are rigorous about the design quality, performance and most importantly preserving safety. Having tools to test and monitor this type of equipment allows equipment producers and users to review performance at all stages, ultimately maintaining a safe working environment which is critical to any construction, transportation, or infrastructure project job site. That’s why Interface provides quality force measurement products for a host of industrial equipment machines to accurately measure force, load capacity, weight, tension and more.

Interface has been a long-time supplier of force and torque sensors along with instrumentation products for projects involving all types of cranes and lifting machines. We are frequently asked to provide crane force measurement solutions for applications used in hoisting, lifting, moving, and transporting heavy objects. These use cases range across all types of environments, from constructing high rises in metropolitan centers around the world to maritime industry users loading docks and lifting watercraft.

To outline how force measurement is used to monitor cranes, we developed series of application notes explaining the components Interface provided to allow our customer to measure safety, reliability, and efficiency of their equipment.

Crane Capacity Verification

The first application note outlines a project in which the customer wanted to verify that their crane was strong enough to safely lift a heavy load at its rated maximum load capacity. It was determined that because of the size of the crane, a wireless solution was needed to avoid long wires and burdensome installation. Interface provided a Model WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell to measure the load’s maximum capacity. WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules were also used to trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight/force has been reached. To review the data the customer could transmit to a PC or laptop with a WTS-BS-4 USB base station. The data can also be reviewed through a WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display. With this solution, the customer was able to verify if the crane is safe and functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL), or safe working load (SWL) capacity.

Read the full Crane Capacity Verification Application Note here.

Crane Block Safety Check

The next example features a crane application in which the customer wanted to detect whether a crane block could lift a heavy load securely to keep working conditions safe for personnel. The customer specifically wanted the solution to include an alarm feature that notified them if lifting capacity was exceeded in real-time. Using a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin in place of a load bearing pin in the crane block, they could measure the force being applied by the heavy load. Data will be transmitted and displayed through both the WTS-BS-4 USB Base Station. It can also be paired with the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld for real-time safety monitoring. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module triggers an alarm when maximum capacity has been reached. The customer was able to verify if the crane was operating safely and was always functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL) or safe working load (SWL) capacity. The added alarm feature is critical for notifying users when the crane reaches unsafe limits during operations.

Read the entire Crane Block Safety Check Application note here.

Crane Force Regulation 

In the final application note, a customer wanted to regulate the maximum number of heavy loads being lifted, so that production time was both safe for workers and efficient. The goal was to complete lifting duties faster and with little or no expense. A wireless solution was also preferred, so that there would be no long cable interference during production. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which can be custom made to be used for any and all types of cranes. It is also great for lifting both short and long distances. The load pin was paired with the WTS Wireless Telemetry System, where force could be measured and logged. The customer was able to monitor the continuous force from the crane, and gather information on loads being lifted for continuous safety and production reporting requirements.

Read the complete Crane Force Regulation Application Note here.

You can read more about heavy equipment testing and use cases in our post, Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry.