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Maritime Measurement Solutions for Onshore and Submersible Applications

Maritime test and measurement applications are some of the most unique because they require specially designed equipment that can handle the often-harsh environments in testing and during ongoing operational use.

The solutions for the maritime industry require technologies that measure force, torque, and weight under extreme and uncommon conditions. Interface provides products that have been used for withstanding the rigorous requirements of monitoring underwater tension lines, seaborne components and material testing, boat and ship engine testing, equipment durability and safety regulation monitoring, lift capacity measurements, energy extraction equipment, and storm and tsunami monitoring.

We have been a long-time supplier of sensor technologies and instrumentation that are applied in building and maintaining boats, yachts, and other water vessels of all sizes. Our force measurement solutions are used for waterborne vessels, maintenance, safety equipment, and offshore products. You can learn more in our maritime case study here.

Interface offers a wide variety of submersible and wireless load cells, DAQ and instrumentation products, and rugged load shackles, load pins and tension links. Maritime manufacturers and field users rely on these quality products as they are designed for test and measurement requirements onshore, near-shore, and completely undersea.

Interface Maritime Capabilities and Solutions:

  • Stainless steel and rugged load cell designs for different temperatures and climates
  • Environmentally sealed products used in harsh environments
  • Wireless telemetry system components
  • Custom solutions based on safety and regulatory specifications
  • OEM engineered products for submersible use cases
  • Bluetooth and Wireless data acquisition and instrumentation for safety monitoring
  • Load pins and load shackles for continuous hoist and lifting applications

Mooring Line Tension

Included below are a few examples of applications our products are used for testing, force measurement, performance monitoring, regulatory and equipment maintenance:

  • Weight and tension monitor
  • Motor and engine testing
  • Submersible equipment tests
  • Commercial fishing wire rope testing
  • Hydrofoil testing in wave tank
  • Crane block safety check
  • Mooring tension testing and quick release hooks (QRH)
  • Crane capacity verification and force regulation
  • WTS yacht rigging inspection
  • Defense submergible tests

Crane CapacityInterface understands that the maritime industry has high standards and requirements force and torque testing, measurement, and weighing.  Accuracy in testing is absolutely critical. Interface’s quality measurement solutions provide accurate data needed for all types of maritime equipment used to ensure safety and success. Our Interface expert engineers can help you design customizable solutions for all types of applications using our products designed for offshore, underwater, and splash zone locations.

This is just a preview of our capabilities in the maritime industry. To learn more, check out our maritime solutions. We also recently developed a new maritime solutions brochure, which provides in-depth information on our submersible product offerings, as well as other ruggedized products for maritime applications.

Maritime-Brochure-2021

Where to Find 50 New Force Measurement Application Notes

One of the advantages we have at Interface is that our application engineers and solutions experts are constantly recommending Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and accessories for a wide range of projects and programs.  In this fortunate position, it enables our team to explain why and how these solutions work through a series of illustrative application notes. We detail the problem statement, the products required to achieve the desired outcome, and the measurable results in every Interface application note.

The purpose of our app notes is to show the range of capabilities for products we offer, as well as inspire product designers, engineers, and testing professionals to expand how they use sensor technologies. We also increased our industry solutions to highlight a growing interest of how our products are used in agriculture, maritime and infrastructure force and torque measurement projects.

In 2021, Interface produced a record 50+ new application notes.  We have so many application notes, we even produced a first ever complete Interface Applications Catalog.  The type of applications we detailed this year range from space docking to golf swing testing, with everything in between. You can find applications for livestock weighing, crash wall testing, crane safety regulation and even commercial fishing line tests.

Every application note includes a graphic that highlights how the test project is designed and how the products work together. All our illustrated application notes can be found here.  We also have a collection of animated application notes you can watch here.

So if you didn’t keep up with every application note we added this year, here is a quick reference:

AUTOMOTIVE AND VEHICLE

Automotive Head Rest Testing

Pre-Installation Sealing Sensor Testing

Automotive Window Pinch Force Testing

Airbag Connector Testing

Vehicle Crash Test Load Cell Wall

Torque Measurement for Electric Vehicles

TEST AND MEASUREMENT

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing

Bike Helmet Impact Test

Bike Handlebar Fatigue Testing

Mobile Force System

Gaming Simulation Brake Pedal

Mountain Bike Shocks Testing

Spring Compression Testing

Proving Theoretical Cutting Forces of Rotary Ultrasonic Machining

Fitness Equipment and Machines

6-Axis Load Cell Solutions using Raspberry Pi

Mouse Touch-Pad Force Testing

Treadmill Force Measurement

Veterinary Weighing Scales

E-Bike Torque Measurement

Bike Power Pedals

Bike Load Testing

Bike Frame Fatigue Testing

Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Golf Ball Tee

INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION

Commercial Food Processing

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm

INFRASTRUCTURE

Aerial Lift Overload Control

Concrete Dam Flood Monitoring

Hydraulic Jacking System Testing

AGRICULTURE

Tractor PTO Torque Testing

Silo Grain Dispensing

Poultry Feeder Monitoring

WTS Equine Bridle Tension System

BTS Equine Bridle Tension System

Livestock Weighing System

Tractor Linkage Draft Control

Chicken Weighing

Silo Monitoring and Weighing

MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE

Tablet Machine Hardness Tester Calibration

Dental Handpiece Torque Check

Interventional Guidewire Quality Inspection

Tablet Hardness Testing

AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE

Space Dock Capture Ring Force Testing

Aircraft Yoke Torque Measurement

Aircraft Screwdriver Fastening Control

Landing Gear Joint Testing

Aircraft Engine Hoist

Rescue Helicopter Hoist Test

MARTIME

Mooring Quick Release Hooks (QRH)

Commercial Fishing Wire Rope Testing

Mooring Line Tension Testing

Crane Block Safety Check

Crane Capacity Verification

Crane Force Regulation

We would like to send a special thank you to our illustration and design team of Lauren O’Hagan and Scott Whitworth for all their work in creating this array of illustrations, along with a special shout out to Ken Bishop and Keith Skidmore that help us create all these application stories.

What’s new in 2022? Stay close to our Interface IQ Blog and watch our updates on the homepage and solutions for new inspirations and unique examples how engineers and product designers are thinking about using our sensors,

Deeper Dive into Maritime Solutions from Interface

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

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

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

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

New Maritime Case Study

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

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

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

For the full case study, click here.

Understanding Load Cell Temperature Compensation

The performance and accuracy of a load cell is affected by many different factors. When considering what load cell will work best for your force measurement requirements, it is important to understand how the impact of the environment, in particular the temperature impact on output.

An important consideration when selecting a load cell is to understand the potential temperature effect on output. This is defined as the change in output due to a change in ambient temperature. Output is defined as the algebraic difference between the load cell signal at applied load and the load cell signal at no load. You can find more detailed information in our Technical Library.

Temperature affects both zero balance and signal output. Errors can be either positive or negative. To compensate for this, we use certain materials that are better suited for hot or cold environments. For instance, aluminum is a very popular load cell material for higher temperatures because it has the highest thermal conductivity.

In addition to selecting the right material, Interface also develops its own proprietary strain gages, which allows us to cancel out signal output errors created by high or low temperatures.

In strain gage-based load cells, the effect is primarily due to the temperature coefficient of modules of elasticity of the force bearing metal. It is common in the industry to compensate for this effect by adding temperature sensitive resistors external to the strain gage bridge which drop the excitation voltage reaching the bridge. This has the disadvantages of adding thermal time constants to the transducer characteristic and of decreasing the output by 10%.

Our load cells are temperature compensated for zero balance. By compensating for zero balance, we can flatten the curve in the relationship between temperature and zero balance. An uncompensated load cell has a much more severe curve, which ultimately affects accuracy and performance.

Interface offers thousands of load cell designs, standard use and for hazardous environments. For instance, rocket engine tests subject our load cells to extremely high temperatures. For use in various maritime industry projects, they can be used in very cold coastlines and even submerged in cold water. No matter where you are, environment influences the load cells performance.

If you are concerned about temperature, Interface provides specifications for every load cell we manufacture. The Interface specification datasheet, as see referenced here, is available for download by product. It always includes all the necessary data required to understand the load cell’s ability to perform at the highest-level including compensation range, operating range, effect on zero balance and effect on span.

One thing that is also unique about our products is that while most competitors only compensate for hot temperatures (60 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit), Interface covers both hot and cold thermal compensation from 15 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, including adjust and verify cycles.

Be sure to tune into Load Cell Basics, where Keith Skidmore discusses temperature compensation.  He notes during this informative presentation that if the temperature is changing during a test that can affect the zero and the output of the load cell. How much effect depends how much temperature is changing and how well the load cell is compensated against the errors, which can be either positive or negative. Good news is they are repeatable from test to test so if you have large temperature swings you can characterize the system and then subtract out the shift if you know the temperature effect on zero.

Interface Application Engineers are available to answer questions regarding the effect of temperature on force measurement data, or the different ways we can help design a solution to compensate for your environment.

Interface Explores Maritime Applications Near and Offshore

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

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

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

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

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

Hydrofoil Testing in a Wave Tank

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

Mooring Line Tension Testing 

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

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection

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

Dock Crane Safety and Capacity Verification

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

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