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Force Sensors Automate Safety Systems in Industrial Facilities

Automation has become a critical facet of the industrial sector as companies utilize robotics, cobots, IoT, and other sensing technologies to improve efficiency and output. However, production is not the only area of manufacturing benefiting from automation.

Worker safety and equipment monitoring are also getting a major boost from automation. Measurement sensors enable this new safety and alarm system automation wave.

Interface sensors have long been used to help automate monitoring systems in industrial machines found in manufacturing facilities. These sensors can help provide accurate data for continuous process controls of various machines on a production line or elsewhere. Deviations in that data identify issues where a machine may need to shut down or come down for maintenance abruptly. The automation functions enabled by sensors drive efficiency by notifying engineers before any disruption to production while also improving safety by avoiding malfunctions that could put workers at risk.

As the collaborative use of automation and technology has progressed, so have regulations around worker safety within industrial facilities. Robust safety systems, built with force and other sensor tech, are growing in use and application. The systems and sensor-enabled equipment are pervasive in manufacturing, whether part of cobots working on the production line or designing and testing equipment to move packages in a warehouse. Accurate measurement is quintessential to workplace safety and automation.

Included below is a list of some of the systems and machines that utilize Interface force sensors in both the testing and monitoring stages to improve workplace safety:

  • Lockout and Safety Alarms
  • Overload Protection for Heavy Equipment
  • Weighing and Scale Device Alarms
  • Industrial and Collaborative Robots (Cobots)
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
  • Assembly Line Equipment and Conveyor Belts
  • Crane and Lift Equipment Systems and Monitoring
  • Automated Palletizing Systems
  • Industrial Presses
  • Filling Machines
  • Testing and Inspection Equipment
  • Ergonomic Workstations and Tool Safety

The main benefits of using force sensing within these applications include the precision and accuracy of data, the ability to optimize processing using this data (especially over time), The ability to design automated safety measures based on collected data in real time, and the ability to optimize quality control in real-time. Here’s how:

Precision and Accuracy: Load cells and torque transducers provide highly accurate measurements of force and rotation, respectively. This allows for precise control of automated machinery, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing errors. Less rework and higher-quality products contribute to a safer work environment, as there’s less chance of operators needing to fix mistakes or handle malfunctioning equipment.

Process Optimization: Manufacturers can gain valuable insights into their machines’ operations by precisely measuring forces and torques. This data can be used to optimize processes, identify inefficiencies, and reduce waste. Optimized processes with smoother operation result in fewer chances of equipment malfunction and potential safety hazards.

Safety Measures: Interface sensor devices can be designed into automated machines, tools, and equipment to measure safety during use. For example, our transducers can detect overloads or excessive torque, which could lead to equipment failure and injure workers. These sensors help prevent accidents and create a safer work environment by triggering alarms or automatic shutdowns.

As noted, safety measures are required with collaborative robots in industrial facilities. Safety testing and equipment monitoring are needed to ensure humans and robots can work together. In this example, Interface suggests using four 3-axis Force Load Cells (creating one 6-axis Force Plate) installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. By installing a 6-axis force plate under the cobot and two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells in the pinchers of the cobot, if a human were to knock into the cobot or have a limb stuck in the pincher, the cobot would sense the amount of force measured from the load cells and be programmed to stop immediately. This safety and automation solution protects the equipment and, most importantly, the worker.

Quality Control: Accurate measurement of forces and torques allows for real-time product quality monitoring. This enables manufacturers to identify and address any deviations from specifications early in production, reducing the risk of defective products reaching the customer. Fewer defective products mean less chance of needing rework or repairs later, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Force sensor technology has played a key role in the evolution of modern industrial facilities as a tool to improve production while benefiting quality and powering workplace safety and health. It is one of the backbone solutions found in automation systems, and it offers highly accurate data to not only benefit real-time monitoring but also improve processes over time. Find additional manufacturing solutions and applications here.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Powering Up Precision Machine Building and Automation Webinar

Industrial Automation

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Automation and Robotics Demands Absolute Precision

Cobot Safety Programming

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Crane Block Safety Check App Note

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

 

Force Makes the Circular Economy Go Around

What is a circular economy? Manufacturers and innovators are taking new approaches to reduce resource consumption and address environmental challenges. The circular economy is a model in which resources are recycled from waste into products. These resources are redesigned, reused, and remanufactured. This economic model aims to minimize waste, continuing to create a sustainable environment.

Interface’s force sensor products are used in different facilities and resource manufacturing processes within the circular economy. Our load cells and instrumentation measure and monitor forces, loads, and weight within the tools, robotics, and machinery used to optimize resources. Our sensors are also commonly used to test new products for material strength, fatigue lifecycle, quality, and function.

Interface high-accuracy test and measurement solutions are critical as organizations, and the general public become more focused on sustainability and developing innovations that improve our environmental footprint. These sensors allow companies to create better, safer, and higher-quality products that support recycling, limit the resources used, and find new ways to reuse products and materials.

Circular Economy Applications Using Interface Force Sensors

Waste Sorting and Recycling: Load cells are employed in waste sorting facilities and recycling centers to measure and monitor the weight of materials. This data helps optimize sorting processes, ensuring that recyclable materials are separated efficiently from non-recyclable waste. By accurately measuring the weight of recyclables, load cells assist in the recycling process, promoting resource recovery.

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs): Load cells are utilized in MRFs to track the flow of materials through the recycling process. They measure the weight of materials at different stages, such as when they are dumped onto conveyor belts or compacted into bales for transport. This information is crucial for monitoring recycling rates and improving the overall efficiency of recycling operations.

Product Lifecycle Analysis: Load cells can track the weight of products and materials at various stages. This data is valuable for conducting product lifecycle assessments (LCA) to understand the environmental impact of products and identify opportunities for reusing or recycling components, thereby reducing waste and conserving resources.

Resource Optimization in Manufacturing: In manufacturing processes, load cells are used to ensure precise material usage and to control the number of raw materials used in production. This minimizes waste, helps maintain product quality, and reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing. READ: Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Waste-to-Energy and Biogas Production: Load cells are used in waste-to-energy facilities and biogas plants to measure the weight of waste materials and organic feedstocks. This data assists in optimizing energy production while diverting waste from landfills.

Food Waste Reduction: Load cells are employed in commercial kitchens, restaurants, and production facilities to measure food waste. This information can be used to track and reduce food waste, promoting more sustainable food management practices.

Closed-Loop Supply Chains: In closed-loop supply chains, where products are designed for reuse or remanufacturing, load cells can play a role in measuring the condition and wear of components, helping determine when maintenance, refurbishment, or remanufacturing is necessary, extending the product’s life.

Optimizing Waste Sorting with Interface Load Cells

Inefficient sorting of recyclables in Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) leads to contamination of recycled materials. This reduces the quality of the recycled product and increases costs for reprocessors. Integrate Interface miniature s-type load cells into conveyor belts at MRFs. These sensors can weigh materials in real time as they move along the conveyor.  The SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures and monitors the weight of the materials. The WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module captures and transmits the results to the customer’s computer using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station.

The weight data is used to identify and separate materials. By setting weight thresholds, the system can trigger sorting mechanisms to divert different materials (e.g., plastics, metals, glass) into designated bins, improving the purity of the recycled streams. Real-time weight data allows for adjustments to conveyor speed and sorting mechanisms to handle surges in material flow or variations in material density. This reduces downtime and improves overall sorting efficiency. By recovering more high-quality recyclables, MRFs can divert waste from landfills, potentially reducing tipping fees.

Precise Disassembly for Remanufacturing with Interface Load Cells

Traditional methods can damage components during product disassembly for remanufacturing, reducing their reusability. This necessitates using clean materials for replacements, hindering the circular economy loop. The sensors can precisely measure the forces applied during disassembly by implementing Interface load cells into robotic disassembly lines.

Force data is used to control robotic disassembly actions. By monitoring the force applied, robots can carefully disassemble products without damaging components, allowing more parts to be reused in remanufactured products. For example, ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells can be used in the grips of the robotic arm to measure the amount of pressure being applied to the object it is lifting and moving. The DMA2 DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner converts the signal received from the ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells from mV/V to volts to the PLC Controller, which tells the robotic arm to stop clamping pressure when a specified amount of pressure is applied to the object.

Force data analysis can help identify areas for improvement in the disassembly process, such as adjusting robot gripper pressure or tool design. This reduces the risk of component damage and improves disassembly efficiency. By facilitating the recovery and reuse of components, Interface load cells help extend the lifespan of products and reduce reliance on clean materials.

These are just two examples of how Interface load cells can be utilized in the circular economy. By improving sorting efficiency, optimizing disassembly processes, and reducing reliance on clean materials, Interface load cells play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable future.

Interface’s load cells assist in precisely measuring forces and loads during product disassembly, refurbishment, and remanufacturing. Integrating force sensors into ways to help reduce resource consumption helps create and promote a more sustainable environment.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Waste Management Container Weighing

Interface Solutions for Waste Management Applications

Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Biomass Handling

Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Production on Earth and Beyond

Strain Testing 101

Strain refers to the deformation or change in shape a material experiences due to applied stress. It’s essentially a measure of how much the material stretches, compresses, or shears (distorts) in response to a force.

Strain is quantified as the ratio of change in length to the original length, expressed as a percentage or decimal. Strain is a unitless quantity, often expressed as a percentage or decimal. On the other hand, stress refers to the internal force per unit area acting within a material due to an applied external force. It essentially quantifies the intensity of the internal forces resisting deformation.

Interface tension and compression load cells are used for strain testing across multiple industries. It is very common in general test and measurement applications.

Material scientists and engineers measure the change in a sample as it is stretched or squashed. This measurement is often used in material tests to determine durability and the ability to withstand different degrees of strain up to crushing forces.

Top Reasons to Use Strain Tests

#1 – Material Selection and Design Optimization: Strain testing helps engineers choose the most suitable material for a specific application. By understanding a material’s behavior under stress, they can select one that offers the desired strength, flexibility, and resistance to deformation. This knowledge also allows optimizing designs to ensure parts don’t overstress or underperform.

#2 – Strength and Durability Evaluation: Strain testing provides valuable data on a material’s yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and elastic limit. This information is crucial for assessing a material’s overall strength and durability. It helps engineers predict how a material will perform under real-world loads and ensure it can withstand the forces it will encounter during its service life.

#3 – Quality Control and Consistency: Strain testing is a valuable tool for quality control in manufacturing processes. It allows manufacturers to ensure their materials and products meet specific strength and performance standards. By testing samples from each production batch, they can identify any inconsistencies or weaknesses and take corrective actions to maintain consistent product quality.

#4 – Failure Analysis and Safety Improvement: Strain testing can analyze material failures after they occur. By understanding the type and location of the strain at the point of failure, engineers can determine the root cause of the problem. This information can be used to improve material selection, design, or manufacturing processes to prevent similar failures in the future, enhancing overall product safety.

#5 – Cost Savings: While strain testing requires an initial investment, it can lead to significant cost savings in the long run. Companies can avoid costly product failures and rework by selecting the right materials, optimizing designs, and ensuring quality control. Strain testing also helps prevent over-engineering, where unnecessarily strong materials are used, leading to heavier and more expensive products.

Strain testing is a crucial technique for engineers and material scientists, offering valuable insights into a material’s behavior. It measures the deformation, or elongation, a sample experiences when stretched (tension) or compressed. This information is vital for determining a material’s durability, strength, and resistance to crushing forces. Load cells play a crucial role in this process.

Strain testing relies on load cells to convert the force applied to specimens, materials, and structures into a measurable electrical signal. During stress testing, when force is applied, the body deforms slightly, causing the resistance of the strain gages to change. This change in resistance is then converted into a voltage output, which can be precisely measured throughout the entire test and up to the object’s destruction.

By measuring strain under controlled loading conditions, engineers can determine a material’s yield strength, the point at which it permanently deforms. Strain tests can calculate the maximum stress a material can withstand before breaking and evaluate the stress level beyond which the material will not return to its original shape after unloading.

Industry Use Cases of Strain Testing

  • Construction: Evaluating the strength of concrete, steel beams, and other building materials to ensure structural integrity. Learn more about our construction solutions.
  • Aerospace: Testing the ability of aircraft components like wings and fuselage to withstand extreme forces during flight. Read about our aircraft solutions.
  • Automotive: Assessing the durability of car parts like frames, axles, and suspension components under stress. Check out our auto-testing solutions.
  • Medical Devices: Verifying the strength and flexibility of implants, stents, and other medical equipment used in the human body. Explore our medical device solutions.
  • Consumer Goods: Ensuring the robustness of everyday products like furniture, sporting equipment, and electronic devices. Review different consumer product solutions.

Load cells provide invaluable data for material selection, design optimization, and ensuring product safety and performance across various industries. It’s a powerful tool that helps us understand the durability of materials and ensures they can withstand the forces they’ll encounter in the real world.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Strain Testing Solutions

Concrete Compression Testing

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Strain Gages 101

Prosthetics Load and Fatigue Testing App Note

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing App Note

Beam Stress Test

 

The Convenience of Interface Portable Instrumentation Devices

Due to their flexibility, portable instrumentation devices are ideal for test and measurement projects and programs. Interface offers a wide range of portable devices designed to help our customers take advantage of the power of Interface solutions wherever they are needed: in the field, at a workbench, or in the test lab.

Portable devices can be easily transported and set up in various locations. This allows measurements to be taken on-site, eliminating the need for a single testing location. Common use cases for portable devices are continuous monitoring applications.

Additionally, portable instruments are user-friendly and require minimal setup, making them ideal for field applications or quick spot checks. Their compact size suits them for tight spaces or situations where benchtop instruments are impractical.

Wireless Handheld Display Options

First, we have our Wireless Telemetry System lineup of products known as WTS displays. Each of these products offers portability and convenience. The WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters is roaming handheld, allowing the operator to cycle the display between all available transmitter modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry systems. The data sent by transmitter modules can be utilized by multiple receivers such as displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules, and computer interfaces. Receivers support common industrial power supplies and are available in robust IP-rated enclosures with internal antennas optimized to give outstanding coverage.

Additional models include the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display For Unlimited Transmitters and the popular WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. Standard features for the WTS-BS series include:

  • Simple Operation
  • Single, Multiple, and Unlimited Transmitter Modules
  • Tare Function
  • Auto Shutdown
  • Rugged Construction

Portable Sensor Display

The 9325 Portable Sensor Display allows a simple display of strain bridge-based measurements such as load cells, torque transducers, and other mV/V output transducers with sensitivity up to +/-1 V/V. Up to six calibration ranges allow different tension and compression loading modes or additional sensors. Each calibration range will remember settings contributing to the user experience, such as selected units and tare values. Full configuration is available with a PC-based toolkit. Some simple configurations, such as two-point calibration, are available from the handheld using the menu system. The 9325NU Portable Sensor Display does not include the USB option. Primary 9325 Sensor Display features include:

  • Superior Linearity Performance Specifications
  • Measurement Rate up to 2400 Samples per Second
  • High Internal Resolution (up to 500,000 counts)
  • IP64 Environmentally Protected Enclosure
  • Battery Powered (Long Battery Life)
  • 128 x 64 Graphical Display with Backlight
  • Supports TEDS Template 33, 40, and 41
  • Live Calibration
  • Standard Audio Alarm
  • CE Environmental Approved

The applications for portable devices are vast, encompassing everything from environmental monitoring and quality control to troubleshooting machinery and building maintenance. With their versatility and ease of use, portable instrumentation devices are valuable for any test and measurement professional. Check out Interface’s easy-to-use Instrumentation Selection Guide to find the best solution for your specific applications.

Inventory Weighing Using Portable Instrumentation Solutions

Effective management of inventory is crucial for businesses. Maintaining precise records can be challenging when monitoring and managing stock from a distance is necessary. A weight-based inventory management system is needed in real-time. Interface suggests installing MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cells under each corner of the inventory shelves for this challenge. A JB104SS 4-Channel Stainless Steel Junction Box is connected to each load cell and to a WTS-AM-1E that wirelessly transmits the sum weight to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters. Results can be displayed, logged, and graphed seen in real time. Customers can use this solution to effectively monitor and manage their inventory using Interface’s force sensors. It also reduces labor expenses and fewer errors, enhancing overall productivity.

jib crane carrying a heavy load

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring with Portable Handheld Display

Jib cranes are used to move or carry heavy loads, as they are attached to a vertical mast or strong support structure. A tension monitoring system is needed to ensure the lifted loads do not exceed the jib crane’s capacity. Interface’s WTSATL-JR Aluminum Compact Wireless Tension Link can be attached to the cable of the jib crane. When a heavy load is placed at the end of the jib crane, the force results are wirelessly transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters. Using this solution, the customer could monitor the cable tension forces of the jib crane to ensure it did not reach its maximum capacity.

Catenary Mooring System with Interface Portable Display

A customer had a catenary mooring system used for various offshore applications. They needed to ensure the anchors and chains were securely locked to the node. They also needed to measure the strength and fatigue of the main node the chains and anchors attach to so they did not risk any mooring lines breaking or the node being damaged. Depending on how many points there are on the node, Interface’s special submersible ISHK-B Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackles were attached to the node. The chains and anchors are then attached to the shackles. The shackles measure the forces implemented by the chains and anchors, and results are displayed, logged, and graphed using the 9325-1 Portable Sensor Display. This instrument also has supplied software to connect to the customer’s PC. Interface’s submersible shackles and instrumentation helped verify the tensions of the anchors and chains attached to the node of their catenary mooring system.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar Recap

Digital Instrumentation 101

Interface Instrumentation Definitions

Introducing New Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar

 

Powering Up Precision Machine Building and Automation Webinar

Interface’s new webinar explores the world of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, wireless technologies, and instrumentation used in machine building and automation. Get engineering tips on the latest advancements in sensor technology, including miniaturization, wireless integration, and the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Join us to explore building smarter, more responsive machines.

The Textile Industry’s Future Demands Force Measurement Solutions

The textile industry is undergoing rapid transformation driven by increasing demand and the imperative for modernization. It involves complex manufacturing processes, including spinning, weaving, finishing, and dyeing, as well as the intricate design and maintenance of heavy-duty industrial machinery that can withstand continuous use.

Textiles are integral to our everyday lives, whether the comfort of clothing, textile functionality, or fashion’s creative expression through innovative textile inventions and IoT wear.

Despite the booming market for textile machinery fueled by automation and innovation, many manufacturers still rely on outdated equipment. This discrepancy presents a critical gap that Interface force measurement solutions are uniquely positioned to fill.

By retrofitting existing equipment with load cells, textile manufacturers can gain valuable insights into their processes, optimize production, improve fabric quality, and extend equipment life.

Why the Textile Industry Must Embrace Advanced Force Measurement Solutions Now

  • Streamlined Modernization: Retrofitting existing machinery with advanced load cells offers a cost-effective avenue to gain a significant competitive advantage. These solutions can seamlessly integrate into legacy hardware, revitalizing older machines and unlocking invaluable data streams.
  • Precision for Flawless Fabrics: Inconsistent yarn tension perpetually threatens fabric quality. Traditional tension monitoring methods are subjective and prone to inaccuracies. Advanced load cell technologies enable continuous, real-time tension monitoring, facilitating precise adjustments and optimizations that produce consistently high-quality fabrics.
  • Enhanced Production Efficiency and Reduced Downtime: Incorrect winding or unwinding tension can lead to fabric distortion, breakages, and equipment damage. Advanced sensors provide precise data for automated tension control, minimizing defects and prolonging equipment lifespan. This optimization ultimately boosts production efficiency while reducing costly downtime.
  • Informed Maintenance Strategies: Historically, determining machine load capacity has been speculative. Pairing Interface load cells with advanced instrumentation offers real-time insights, enabling proactive maintenance based on actual usage data. This approach maximizes equipment lifespan and minimizes unnecessary maintenance expenses.
  • Weaving Efficiency on Autopilot: Inefficient warp tensioning disrupts weaving processes, resulting in fabric irregularities and production losses. Integrating sensors into warp beams or tensioning mechanisms enables automated control, ensuring optimal tension for efficient weaving, reduced yarn breakage, and increased output. Check out Weave Loom Efficiency.

Interface force, torque, and weight measurement devices are valuable tools that can revolutionize the textile industry. By embracing this cutting-edge technology, manufacturers can unlock valuable process insights, enhance production for unparalleled efficiency, ensure consistency in fabric quality, extend equipment use, and significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Weave Loom Machine Optimization with Wireless Load Pin Load Cells

A weaving loom machine is a device used to create woven fabric by interlacing threads or yarns at right angles to each other. A real-time tension monitoring system is needed to ensure the tension of the material is perfect to create optimal weave efficiency. Instead of the traditional beam, Interface suggests integrating WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins into the beam. The WTSLPs capture the tension results in real-time and send the data to the customer’s PC through the WTS-BS-4 Industrial USB Base Station with supplied Log100 softwareLearn more.

In textile plants, fabric winding machines wind large fabric rolls together. A force measurement system is needed to continuously monitor the tension of the fabric as it winds and unwinds in the machine. Interface standard ILMP Stainless Steel Load Pins are installed in the fabric winding machine’s roller shafts. Each load pin is connected to the BX8-AS BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition.  Interface’s DAQ instrumentation collects the force readings where they can be displayed and monitored when connected to the customer’s computer with supplied BlueDAQ software. Learn more here.

Additional Applications of Interface Products in Textile Manufacturing

  • Retrofitting Machines
  • Wear IoT Textile Testing
  • Industrial Sewing Machine Automation And Feedback
  • Knitting Machine Tension Testing
  • Cloth Cutting Machine Measurement
  • Abrasion Resistance of Fabrics
  • Universal Test Machines for Textiles
  • Fabric Tear and Tensile Testing
  • Ring Spinning Frames
  • Textile Machine Maintenance And Calibration
  • Yarn Tension Monitoring
  • Stenter Equipment
  • Tumbler Dryers
  • Presses
  • Monitoring Tension during Weaving, Knitting, And Finishing
  • Assessing Machine Performance During Operations

The complex nature of textile manufacturing, encompassing spinning, weaving, finishing, and dyeing processes, demands sophisticated solutions to meet both functional and aesthetic requirements. Retrofitting existing machinery with advanced load cells represents a strategic investment in the future viability and competitiveness of the textile industry.

Textiles_Infographic

 

Load Cells Elevate Gantry Crane Performance

Interface provides a variety of measurement solutions for gantry crane applications. Load cells aren’t just an upgrade but a game-changer for gantry crane operations.

A gantry crane is an overhead crane with a horizontal beam supported by two legs traveling along a fixed track or wheels. They are used for lifting and moving heavy objects in various industrial settings, such as warehouses, shipyards, container yards, and construction sites.

Key features of gantry cranes include:

  • Mobility: Unlike bridge cranes, fixed to a runway system, gantry cranes can move freely within their designated area. This makes them more versatile and suitable for outdoor applications.
  • Lifting capacity: Gantry cranes can be designed to lift a wide range of weights, from a few to hundreds of tons.
  • Portability: Some gantry cranes are portable and can be easily moved from one location to another.
  • Versatility: Gantry cranes can be equipped with various attachments, such as hooks, magnets, and buckets, to handle a wide range of materials.

Benefits of Using Force Measurement Solutions with Gantry Cranes

Load cells, load pins, tension links, wireless telemetry systems, and instrumentation devices from Interface are valuable to makers and users of gantry cranes.  These vital measurement solutions offer several safe and efficient operation benefits:

Overload Prevention

  • Safety: The biggest reason is preventing crane overload. Exceeding the crane’s capacity can lead to catastrophic consequences, including equipment damage, structural failure, injuries, and even fatalities. Force measurement devices, often in the form of load cells or tension links, directly measure the weight of the lifted object, ensuring it stays within safe limits.
  • Alerts and Alarm Settings: Many devices paired with specific instruments can trigger audible or visual alarms if the load approaches the limit, giving the operator time to adjust. Some advanced systems automatically shut down the lifting operation to prevent potential overload.

Improved Efficiency and Accuracy

  • Optimal load handling: Knowing the exact weight of the load allows operators to position it precisely and efficiently. This is crucial for tasks like loading and unloading containers or placing heavy machinery with minimal risk of damage.
  • Reduced energy consumption: By lifting only the necessary weight, you optimize energy usage by avoiding unnecessary strain on the crane’s motors and systems.

Maintenance and Inspection

  • Monitoring crane health: Force measurement data can be used to track crane performance over time and identify potential issues early on. This helps with preventive maintenance and ensures the crane stays in top working condition.
  • Compliance with regulations: Many workplaces have regulations requiring the monitoring of crane loads for safety reasons. Force measurement devices provide accurate data to demonstrate compliance.

Gantry Crane Applications

Tension monitoring in cable cranes: For cranes using cables instead of hydraulics, tension links measure cable tension, safeguarding against cable stress and potential breaks.

Center of gravity determination: In complex lifts with unevenly distributed weight, measuring forces at different points helps determine the load’s center of gravity, which is crucial for safe lifting and maneuvering.

Retrofitting existing cranes for safety: Crane-safe load monitoring systems are vital to crane safety. Load pins for accurate measurement are an excellent way to modernize gantry cranes. Replacing existing load-bearing pins in the crane header block to sense the load, detect the moment of lifting a load, and monitor the cranes’ maximum safe load limit.

Weighing within winch assembly: Load pins are used to measure the weight of aluminum and steel rolls. The custom load pin was designed to fit within the winch assembly, with an anti-rotation bracket to ensure correct positioning.  We also supplied a large digit wall-mounted display to enable them to see resulting loads easily.

Safety measurement system:  If the lifting load exceeds the safe lifting load, audible or visual alarms can be triggered, or if part of a control system, that action will automatically stop the lift. Additionally, having a real-time display of the lifted load allows crane operators to lift the maximum allowable amount, improving productivity by reducing the number of lifts required to complete a task.

To improve operational efficiency and safety, a measurement system is an excellent tool that can alert the crane operator to imminent excess lifting conditions that may cause harm to operators and equipment. Overall, force measurement devices are essential for the safe, efficient, and compliant operation of gantry cranes, making them a valuable investment for any lifting operation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Load Pins, Tension Links, & Shackles

Gantry Crane Weighing

A Great Force for Crane and Hoist Solutions

Interface Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar Recap

Seaside Ports are Optimizing Efficiency and Safety Using Interface Sensor Technologies

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

Crane Block Safety Animated Application Note

 

What is Proof Testing and Why Does it Matter?

Proof testing determines that the failure of critical components and parts could result in costly damage to equipment and even injury in severe cases. Our measurement products are designed to be used in proof testing applications.

In proof testing applications, testing and measuring an object’s performance under extremely intense conditions, often above the specified operational use, is critical. This allows testing engineers to ensure the object can handle its rated load and go above and beyond to understand maximum performance and failure.

Interface load cells and data acquisition systems are frequently used for proof testing, which determines the strength and integrity of a test subject by applying a controlled, measured load to it. It is commonly used for general test and measurement applications for stress, fatigue, and materials testing. It is frequently used by industries such as construction, natural resources, infrastructure, heavy machinery, and manufacturing to verify the strong point and durability of objects and structures.

Top Three Reasons Why Proof Testing Matters

#1 Safety: Proof testing qualifies and quantifies the safety of equipment and structures that sustain substantial loads. Identifying weaknesses or defects is preventative, as failure can result in catastrophe. Proof testing for safety is standard for applications that include lifting equipment, rigging gear, structural supports, and components in aircraft or spacecraft.

#2 Quality: Proof testing is common during quality control to verify that equipment or materials meet the required specifications. Whether it is the equipment used in manufacturing equipment or the materials used to construct a building, proof testing is essential in defining and measuring adherence to quality standards.

#3 Reliability: Proof testing provides accurate data on the performance and trustworthiness of the tested objects. By understanding how it reacts under stress, product engineers and testing labs can validate the lifespan of a specific component or product. It is also used to define preventative maintenance requirements. It impacts production lines, product versioning, inspections, and, ultimately, the customer’s user experience.

Proof tests provide vital safety and performance measurements for equipment or structures with significant loads. It helps to prevent accidents, improve reliability, and ensure the quality and integrity of the tested item. Consult Interface Application Engineers to determine the best measurement devices for proof testing.

Proof Testing Using Load Cells

Step One: Load Cell and Set-Up

The starting point is selecting the proper measurement tool, in this case, a load cell. Consider the object’s size, expected load range, and accuracy requirements. Choose a load cell with a capacity slightly exceeding the maximum anticipated load during use.

TIP! Use Interface’s Load Cell Selection Guide

Mount the load cell and object in a stable, controlled environment. Ensure proper alignment and distribution of force on the load cell. Connect the load cell to the data acquisition system with a dedicated readout unit, computer software, or data logger, depending on your needs.

Step Two: Pre-Test and Zeroing

Most test engineers will run a pre-test at low load. This is done by applying a small force and monitoring the readings to ensure everything functions correctly and there are no extraneous signals. Zeroing the load cell to set the baseline measurement without any applied force is important. READ: Why Is Load Cell Zero Balance Important to Accuracy?

Step Three: The Test

When you start the proof test application and data recording, most technicians will increase the load gradually. As defined in a test plan, follow a preset loading schedule, typically in increments, until reaching the desired test load. This could be a static load held for a specific time or a cyclic load simulating real-world conditions. Next, using your load cell measurement instrumentation, monitor the load cell readings, object behavior, and any potential visual deformations throughout the test.

Step Four: Analysis

The proof testing provides data that can be used to analyze the load-displacement curve, identifying any deviations from expected behavior, excessive deflections, or potential failure points. Based on the data, determine if the object met the strength and performance requirements or exhibited any unacceptable flaws. This is why a high-performance, accurate load cell matters in proof testing. It determines the quality of your analysis. As with any testing, it is valuable to maintain records of the test procedure, data, and conclusions for future reference or further analysis. This step is crucial for regulatory and product liability requirements.

The specific requirements and procedures for proof testing will vary depending on the product, equipment, structure, industry standards, and regulations.

Proof Testing Example

The most straightforward solution, where it is necessary to measure the load in a tension cable subject to safety considerations, is to enclose the load cell in a compression cage, which converts tension into compression. The compression cell is trapped between the two plates. Thus, the load cell’s only overload failure mode is in compression, allowing a motion of 0.001″ to 0.010″ before the load cell becomes solid. Even if the load cell is destroyed, the compression cage cannot drop the load unless it fails. Therefore, the cage can be proof-tested with a dummy load cell or an overload-protected cell, and the risk of injury to personnel is avoided.

TIP! This example is detailed in our Interface Load Cell Field Guide. Get your copy here.

The nature of proof testing applications requires a diverse line of performance measurement tools. Interface products extend from overload capabilities for our precision LowProfile load cells to complete DAQ systems. These options provide perfect testing solutions when necessary to push the limits on a product, component, or part.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Enhancing Structural Testing with Multi-Axis Load Cells

Fatigue Testing with Interface Load Cells

Load Cells Built for Stress Testing

Benefits of Proof Loading Verification

Manufacturing: Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

Data AQ Pack Guide

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Force Measurement Solutions Support Innovation in Manufacturing

The manufacturing world is enormous, covering multiple industries and applications for force measurement. The manufacturing sector comprises factories and plants that use machines and equipment to build parts and final goods.

With an estimated 21 million manufacturing companies worldwide, the industry is also becoming more advanced and regulated, with technologies such as AI and automation influencing manufacturing processes to drive efficiency and safety.

There are various types of manufacturing, from repetitive, continuous, batch, job shop, and discrete.  All employ tools, machines, and equipment used through multiple processes. Manufacturers use Interface load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation to improve products and processes, meet performance requirements, automate machines, protect workers, and test designs. Force measurement supports innovation in manufacturing.

With advancements and process improvements, testing and measuring are primary to every manufacturing stage. It begins with product planning through machine building. Moving to assembly and monitoring production lines, sensors are at work through final distribution. Manufacturing engineers use Interface devices to test assembly line equipment, design and operate robotics, improve machinery, and operate tools like presses.

Manufacturing equipment and processes that utilize Interface load cells and torque transducers:

  • Conveyor Belts
  • Robotics and Cobots
  • Torque Wrenches
  • Tension Testing Machines
  • Weighing Systems and Scales
  • Heavy Machinery
  • Transportation and Moving Equipment
  • Mixers
  • Packaging Equipment
  • Sorting and Picking Devices
  • Material and Stress Testing Labs
  • Fatigue and Compression Testing Equip

How Manufacturers Use Interface Products

  • Research and Development: The measurement data from transducers provides a valuable roadmap to improving the design of products and processes.
  • Testing: Every product undergoes rigorous testing before hitting the line. Interface force measurement devices are essential for this manufacturing phase to validate the use, lifecycle, and materials.
  • Machine and Tool Building:  Machine builders use Interface sensor technologies to weigh raw materials, components, and finished products to ensure they meet the required specifications. Force measurement devices are important in measuring applied force by equipment and processes that help control product quality and prevent accidents. Machine builders frequently use load cells to monitor loads over time to detect and prevent potential machine problems. Read more about why Machine Builders Choose Interface.
  • Quality Assurance: Interface products are used to measure the weight of manufactured products to ensure that they meet specifications. This is important for consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other products where precise weight measurement is critical for safety and effectiveness.
  • Automation: Force measurement products are valuable in automation. As robotics, cobots, tools, and machinery are designed to automate tasks and processes in manufacturing, load cells like our multi-axis sensors provide valuable analysis data through all phases of automation.
  • Retrofitting Existing Equipment with Sensors: Manufacturers require modern tools and equipment to meet growing demands. Interface products are used to retrofit machines and update tools with sensor-based technologies, such as replacing machine pins with load pins that measure loading and lifting in real-time.
  • Safety and Regulation: Sensors prevent accidents by detecting dangerous conditions in the manufacturing industry. Using measurement systems for alarms, alerts, and monitoring of equipment and tools is critical in manufacturing plants.
  • Process Control: Manufacturing operations monitor the force or weight of materials in a facility to control the process and ensure that products are made to the correct specifications.
  • Productivity and Equipment Maintenance: Using Interface products to monitor the condition of equipment and detect potential problems before they cause downtime helps to prevent costly breakdowns and production delays.

Our depth of force measurement expertise and experience enable us to innovate, engineer, and produce the world’s most accurate, reliable, and quality sensor technology for manufacturers worldwide.  This can be seen through some specific application examples in which Interface solutions have been involved. We have included a few of these examples below.

robotic grinder containing 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition SystemRobotic Grinding and Polishing During Production

Robotic grinding and polishing are commonly used in manufacturing. Robots or cobots are programmed to grind and polish on varied materials and surfaces. A force measurement system must be implemented to monitor and control the force exerted on the grinding workpiece. Interface’s Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell can be installed between the flange and the grinding tool. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition, the customer can receive force and torque measurements when connected to their control system using BlueDAQ software. The 6A40-6 Axis Load Cell measures all forces and torques (Fx, Fʏ, Fz, Mx, Mʏ, Mz), and our BXB-HD44 Data Acquisition logs, displays and graphs these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system. Manufacturing: Robotic Grinding and Polishing application.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

A customer has a feed roller system that monitors the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. They preferred a wireless system. Interface suggested installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The forces were measured when connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data was then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, where data was displayed, graphed, and logged on the customer’s PC or laptop. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells installed at the bottom roller were able to measure and monitor the forces to maintain the straight feed by the rollers. Manufacturing: Feed Roller System app note.

Press Load Monitoring for Material Testing

Press forming is a method to deform different materials. For instance, materials such as steel can be bent, stretched, or formed into shapes. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces the press-forming machine applies. This ensures quality control and traceability during the production process. Interface recommends installing the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell for large press forming machines. When the material is placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied is measured by the Interface 1000 Series Load Cell. The captured force results are sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged on the customer’s PC using the provided software. Interface’s force measurement products and instrumentation accurately monitored and logged the force results of the press force machine, ensuring zero-error production performance.

Interface began designing and manufacturing load cells and other force measurement equipment in 1968. These precision load cells are commonly found in factories worldwide in testing equipment, scales, machines, and production line devices. Load cells help bring life to older machines with accurate measurements while in use, ultimately improving maintenance and worker safety in manufacturing.

Our force measurement products are versatile and valuable tools for manufacturers. Our sensor solutions improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and the equipment and tools used to make them.

Manufacturing Solutions Brochure