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Year in Review of Top Interface Solutions and Applications

As 2023 fades into the rearview mirror, the dust settles on a year where engineers, technicians, and designers across diverse industries conquered the complexities of measurement. Interface was at the forefront of innovative use cases and applications, providing quality devices worldwide to gather precision measurements.

With the growing demand for sensor technologies, we added new markets this year to capture some interesting customer applications, including in our two most recent solution additions: Manufacturing and Natural Resources.

Intrigued by the cross-industry use cases of how our products are used, we added 25 new industry submarkets in 2023. These new markets highlight the vast engineering prowess of those using Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation, and accessories to solve intricate challenges and deliver accurate results. We have highlighted these new submarkets below.

In our vast landscape of products, which industries and applications saw the most action? Join us as we dissect the data and unveil the top trends that define force measurement trends and use cases in 2023.

2023 Top 5 Industry Solutions

To no surprise, test and measurement took the number one spot as the highest-ranked industry solution on Interface’s site in 2023. Aerospace came in a very close second, with automotive following in third position based on user views and interest this past year. The final two most popular industry solutions were industrial automation and newcomer to the top five, agriculture.

2023 TOP 10 Most Viewed Solution Application Notes

The following highlights each industry and the five top-ranking application use cases that highlight how Interface products are used to solve real customer challenges in the respective industries using our measurement solutions.

These rankings are based on the popularity. We’ve measured views from all users, including engineers, lab technicians, buyers, product designers, testing and calibration experts, measurement professionals, educators, and specific industry experts.

2023 Ranking of Industry Solutions with Most Popular Application Use Cases

TIP: When applicable, find links to new submarkets in the different industries below the applications.

#1 TEST AND MEASUREMENT INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

2023 New Test and Measurement Submarket Solutions

#2 AEROSPACE INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

2023 New Aerospace and Defense Submarket Solutions

#3 AUTOMOTIVE AND VEHICLE INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

2023 New Automotive and Vehicle Submarket Solutions

#4 INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

2023 New Industrial Automation Submarket Solutions

#5 AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

#6 WEIGHING INDUSTRY SOLUTIONS

#7 MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS

2023 New Medical and Healthcare Submarket Solutions

#8 INFRASTRUCTURE

2023 New Infrastructure Submarket Solutions

#9 ENERGY

2023 New Energy Submarket Solutions

#10 INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)

#11 MARITIME

2023 New Maritime Submarket Solutions

#12 OEM SOLUTIONS

#13 ENTERTAINMENT

#14 CONSUMER PRODUCTS

2023 New Consumer Products Submarket Solutions

#15 LIFTING 

#16 NATURAL RESOURCES

2023 New Natural Resources Submarket Solutions

#17 MANUFACTURING

2023 New Manufacturing Submarket Solutions

Of course, we know that visually showcasing applications is also appealing, so we offer a series of animated application notes that you can view here.

What is the top animated application note of all time?

The #1 Animated Application Note of 2023

If you want additional application support or inspiration on how our products are used in different industries, save a copy of the Interface Applications Catalog.

Applications-Catalog-1

Please contact our application engineers for questions or to help source the right force measurement solution for your specific requirements.

Top 10 Trends in Test and Measurement

As a leader in force measurement, Interface is privy to the evolving landscape of test and measurement. These top 10 trends also shape our future.  Interface constantly invests in new sensor designs, technology, and tools to support our market-defining, high accuracy, quality products.

Interface offers various standard and custom sensors, instrumentation, technical support, and services for customers across various industries worldwide. The feedback we gather from the market and customers defines our priorities.

Based on the current demands of our products, requests for solution support, and incoming inquiries to our application experts, we compiled some key trends for 2023.

  1. Miniaturization: Demand for smaller, lighter sensors is increasing across industries, from robotics and drones to medical devices and lifting technologies, and continues to be the top trend in T&M. Interface’s miniature load cells enable precise measurements in compact spaces. There is also a growing use of embedding our Mini sensors into OEM products for real-time feedback, like surgical robots and fitness equipment.
  2. Multi-Axis Measurements: Analyzing forces in multiple directions is becoming essential for complex testing scenarios. Interface’s Multi-Axis Sensors facilitate comprehensive data collection and a deeper understanding of force interactions.
  3. Wireless Data Acquisition: Eliminating cables simplifies testing setups and improves data access. Interface’s wireless load cells and data acquisition systems enhance data portability and streamline testing processes. These wireless systems, including sensors like our wireless load pins and tension links, provide immediate system monitoring and maintenance technologies without cables for machines, equipment, components, and consumer products.
  4. Smart Sensors and IoT Integration: The use of sensors to make smart decisions is rising, from use in smart city projects to automating production. Interface measurement devices with easy connectivity are revolutionizing test and measurement. Interface’s sensors with digital outputs and compatibility with IoT products enable real-time data analysis, remote monitoring, and predictive maintenance.
  5. Material Characterization: Interface’s force measurement solutions are increasingly used to characterize the mechanical properties of materials, crucial for optimizing product design and performance in industries like aerospace, automotive, and construction. Material testing is also used in circular economy applications, using old materials for new inventions.
  6. Testing in Harsh Environments: Interface’s rugged and environmentally sealed sensors are finding more applications in extreme conditions, from subsea exploration to high-temperature testing. These ATEX, submersible, high-temp, and stainless steel products allow testing in critical real-world scenarios.
  7. Complex Measurement Analysis: Advanced software tools and data analysis platforms are essential for effectively interpreting and utilizing force measurement data. Interface provides software packages such as our Log100 and BlueDAQ Software to facilitate deeper insights and decision-making.
  8. Efficiency and Cost Optimization: Test and measurement processes are refined for efficiency and cost savings in product designs, building new products, and retrofitting existing machinery and equipment. Interface’s solutions contribute by facilitating faster setup, accurate data collection, and improved product quality, leading to reduced testing costs and faster time to market.
  9. R&D Driving Sustainability and Efficiency: Interface has seen an increase in customers using our sensor technologies for products and processes that positively impact the environment. This includes using Interface sensors for applications that include recycling and waste management, restructuring infrastructure, renewable energy production, electric vehicles, and battery development. Interface devices are commonly used in designing long-lasting, low-maintenance consumer products.
  10. Advancing Possibilities in Measurement with Customized Solutions: The need for customized force measurement solutions with diverse industry applications is growing. Interface’s engineering expertise and wide range of products allow it to cater to specific testing requirements and develop bespoke solutions. This includes engineered-to-order load cells, transducers, and complete system configurations like Interface Data AQ Packs.

These are just some of the trends we are observing in 2023. These trends are in addition to priority of providing industry-leading technical expertise and application support to help every customer.

With our commitment to collaboration, innovation, and accuracy, we are well-positioned to work with you as we shape the future of force measurement and contribute to the advancements in various testing and measurement projects across industries.

Interface looks forward to helping you with your inventions, research, testing, and product designs requiring precision measurement technologies in the coming year. Let’s continue the journey together.

 

Load Cells Built for Stress Testing

Stress testing with load cells is an integral part of research, design, and manufacturing processes for various products and components. It helps to ensure that material, equipment, and final products can withstand the stresses they will be subjected to in regular use.

Stress testing with load cells involves applying a known load to a test specimen and measuring the resulting strain. The strain is then used to calculate the stress, which measures the force per unit area.

For destructive stress testing, the test specimen is loaded to failure. The failure load is then used to calculate the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of the material. In non-destructive testing, the test specimen is loaded to a predetermined stress level and then unloaded. The stress-strain curve is then plotted to determine Young’s modulus and the yield strength of the material.

Selecting the right load cell for any stress testing protocol is important. A detailed review of the sensor’s performance specifications is where to start. Consider the quality of the load cell, along with the materials used to build the testing device and the strain gages.

In designing and building load cells, material composition and build quality play a critical role in the quality, accuracy, and overall lifetime of a load cell. This is especially true when testing involves long, stress-test cycle testing. Interface load cells are designed for optimum fatigue life.

Built for Stress

When looking for a load cell that needs to go the distance over long periods, it’s essential to understand the difference between sensors built for stress and those not. In materials science, the S-N curve is a well-known tool. It is a graphical representation of the number of load cycles required to break a specimen at the range of peak cyclic stress levels.  S-N curves for the high-quality materials used in Interface load cells determine the stress level.

Commonly selected load cells used for high-stress level testing are known as fatigue-rated. Fatigue-rated load cells are designed explicitly for component durability and fatigue test machines where highly cyclical loading is present. These quality load cells resist extraneous bending and side-loading forces.

The table below outlines a load cell strain and safety factor comparison chart, which shows how Interface load cells, including our  1000 Fatigue-Rated Universal LowProfile® Load Cell and 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated Universal LowProfile® Load Cell stack up against generic competitive load cells.

This table compares actual strain levels in Interface LowProfile Load Cells versus generic load cells. The safety factors are a means of visualizing the merit of the various designs. The value of fatigue-rated load cells for fatigue applications is evident from the safety factor data. It is also apparent that Interface load cells with 4 mV/V output have lower stress levels and, therefore, more fatigue resistance than other cells, even though their output is only 3 mV/V or less.

Lower Stress by User Limits

Note that the tests in the safety factor comparison are based on fully reversed load cycles. This type of loading cycle is considerably more stringent than unidirectional loading, which is the more common application of load cells. Suppose a fatigue load cell is repeatedly loaded in only one direction. In that case, the Goodman Law predicts that it can be loaded to about 133% of the bidirectional fatigue-rated capacity with no degradation of its fatigue rating. Conversely, unidirectional loading to a fatigue cell’s rated capacity is much less stressful on the cell than bidirectional. It can be expected to yield a fatigue life well beyond the number of cycles that could be reasonably and economically applied in a verification test program. For additional information on this topic, please refer to Interface’s Load Cell Field Guide under Fatigue Theory.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Fatigue Testing with Interface Load Cells

Beam Stress Test

Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

Test and Measurement Solutions

LowProfile Load Cells 101

Stainless Steel Load Cells 101

Fatigue Testing with Interface Load Cells

Engineers rely on fatigue testing to ensure the safety and reliability of their product designs and structures. By understanding how materials behave under repeated loading, engineers can design components resistant to fatigue failure.

Fatigue testing requires accurate and reliable force measurement. Interface uses ‘fatigue-rated’ as an exact specification that defines a special class of load cell design and construction. Interface fatigue-rated load cells are designed to withstand the rigors of repeated loading, which makes them ideal for even the most demanding high cycle count fatigue testing applications.

In a typical fatigue testing setup, Interface fatigue-rated load cells are attached to the test specimen or the test machine, and the cyclic loading is applied according to the test protocol. The load cells continuously record the applied forces or stresses, allowing engineers and researchers to monitor how the material responds to repeated loading.

By analyzing the data from Interface load cells, researchers and material engineers can determine the material’s endurance limit, fatigue life, and stress-strain behavior. This information is invaluable for optimizing material selection, design, and manufacturing processes to enhance product performance and reliability while identifying fatigue and potential failure risks.

The use of fatigue-rated load cells and data logging instrumentation is necessary for most test and measurement applications, particularly when materials, parts, or assemblies are tested for destruction. This is true because an accurate record of the forces at every moment of the tests is the only way an engineer can analyze the stresses that occurred in the moments just before the ultimate failure. Read more about fatigue testing in our Interface’s Technical Library.

Interface Fatigue-Rated Load Cells

1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell

1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell

1500 Low Capacity LowProfile® Load Cell

1208 Flange Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell

Profile of a Fatigue-Rated Load Cell

  • Design stress levels in the flexures are about one-half as high as in a standard LowProfile load cell.
  • Internal high-stress points, such as sharp corners and edges, are specially polished to avoid crack propagation.
  • Extraneous load sensitivity is specified and adjusted to a lower level than in a standard LowProfile load cell.
  • All Interface fatigue-rated load cells have a specified service life of 100 million fully reversed, full-capacity loading cycles.

No one can accurately predict exactly when the failure will occur, nor which part of an assembly will be the weakest link that eventually will fail. This is why high cycle count testing is the best way to measure fatigue life. To read more about fatigue testing and fatigue theory, consult Interface’s Load Cell Field Guide.

Fatigue Testing Applications

Interface fatigue-rated load cells are used in various industries, including aerospace, automotive, civil engineering, and manufacturing. They are used to test various products, from aircraft wings and landing gear to furniture and industrial machinery.

How Interface fatigue-rated load cells are used in fatigue testing:

  • Aerospace: Interface fatigue-rated load cells test the durability of aircraft wings, landing gear, and other aerospace components. This helps to ensure that aircraft can withstand the rigors of repeated takeoffs, landings, and flights. These load cells test the materials used for structures and even rockets.
  • Automotive: Interface fatigue-rated load cells test the fatigue life of engine components, chassis, and suspension systems. This helps to ensure that vehicles are safe and reliable and that they can withstand the stresses of everyday driving.
  • Civil engineering: Interface fatigue-rated load cells test the fatigue resistance of bridges, buildings, and critical infrastructure. This helps to ensure that these structures can withstand the loads they are designed to carry and are safe for the public.
  • Manufacturing: Interface fatigue-rated load cells test the fatigue life of industrial machinery, tools, and consumer products. This helps to ensure that these products are reliable and can withstand the demands of everyday use.

Watch how Interface load cells are used in this bike frame testing application.

Interface has specialized in fatigue-rated load cells and their applications since our founding in 1968. Our LowProfile® fatigue-rated load cells provide up to 100 million duty cycles, and the gaged sensors in every load cell are individually inspected, tested, and certified to meet our rigid performance standards.

It is imperative to choose the right load cell for your fatigue testing application. Load cells come in various sizes and capacities, so it is vital to choose one that is right for your fatigue testing application. Ensure you know the maximum load that will be applied to the load cell, the type of loading, the accuracy requirement, and the environmental conditions for testing. Consult with Interface application engineers to find the suitable load cell for your testing requirements.

ADDITIONAL APPLICATIONS AND RESOURCES

CPG Bike Handlebar Fatigue Testing

Interface Specializes in Fatigue-Rated Load Cells

Prosthetics Load and Fatigue Testing App Note

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing App Note

Aircraft Wing Fatigue App Note

 

Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

Material tests are run to determine the quality, durability, and resistance of materials for parts and products. Selecting the right material is critical to performance of a product, system, or part, especially as it relates to the environmental factors. It is also core for adhering to regulatory standards and compliance requirements.

Whether it is construction and concrete materials, metals, fabrics, biomaterial, plastics, packaging, or some other matter, material testing is fundamental throughout the entire development lifecycle.

Among the various ways to test materials, force measurement is one of the most important. Common uses of force measurement in material tests include applications to measure hardness, torsion, strength, compression, bending, shear, impact, creep, fatigue, and nondestructive capabilities.

The use of load cells provides an adaptable tool that can be utilized for various types of material tests. Using force measurement sensors help to detect changes in load, which is used to determine the flexibility, strength, or weakness of properties in materials. This is critical for research and quality control.

For example, in metal material testing load cells are frequently used for characterizing and assessing the quality of metallic components and structures. Material test engineers use load cells to accurately measure the tensile strength, compression resistance, and yield properties of metal samples. By subjecting metals to controlled loads and monitoring the metals deformation during tests, Interface load cells provide critical data that informs engineering decisions and quality control processes. Material tests confirm that the metals chosen for products like aircraft structures, automotive components, and sports equipment, meet stringent performance standards. The measurement sensors are also vital for determining the reliability, longevity and safety of metal materials used for any product or part. See other examples of testing in our new Interface T&M Material Testing Overview.

It is the responsibility of a material testing engineer to determine the resilience, safety, and value of materials through mechanical testing, of which material testing is one of the five categories. Ultimately, product designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely upon material testing data to ensure their products can withstand the anticipated levels of force during use. They also need to know if the material will stretch or elongate, as well as pinpoint its exact breaking point.

Interface’s robust line of load cells, multi-axis sensors, and data acquisition systems are used for material testing. It is common to have our 1200 LowProfile load cells installed into material testing machines at test labs and onsite. We also supply a variety of miniature load cells and load pins for material testing, depending on the type of equipment and environment used for tests.

High accuracy load cells are essential in material testing due to their precision, versatility, and ability to provide real-time data, which helps researchers and engineers gain a better understanding of a material’s mechanical properties and behavior under different conditions.

If force must be measured, Interface has a solution. This applies to testing materials used for infrastructure, medical devices, aircraft, rockets, vehicles, robotics and consumer goods. As new materials and composites are introduced in revolutionary ways for use in construction, designing light weight products using polymers, and 3D printed components, it is imperative that material tests validate the use case based on high accuracy measurements.

Our force measurement products are being used to gather data from testing materials in applications used for machines, equipment, structures, packaging and more. Here are a few examples of material testing applications.

Inflatable Space Habitat

Inflatable habitats are the newest innovation in the space industry, creating a new interplanetary dwelling for humans to live and work past the Earth’s atmosphere. An innovative space industry company wanted to test the overall design and material of their inflatable habitats by conducting a burst test. Multiple clevises and LP Stainless Steel Load Pins were attached to the in the webbing material that create the inflatable habitat. When pressure was increased within the inflatable habitat, the load pins captured how much force the heavy duty material will hold at specific pressures until it explodes. Interface’s LP Stainless Steel Load Pins successfully measured the amount of force the inflatable habitat could withstand during the burst test.

Material Tensile Testing Load Frame

A customer wanted to conduct a tensile force test on different samples and materials until failure. Materials include plastic, steel, or woven fabric. They wanted to measure tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress. Interface’s 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell was installed into the customer’s test frame. The tensile test was conducted, and force results were captured by the load cell and extensometer were synced through the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module. These results were then displayed on the customer’s PC with supplied software. With Interface’s force products, the customer was able to determine the tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress of a variety of different materials.

Material testing is often the first step in any new product development process. With Interface force measurement solutions, our customers can expect industry-leading accuracy, quality and reliability in testing the materials that will go into their next project. Contact us for products used for various test types.

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Tensile Testing for 3D Materials

Bending Beam Load Cell Basics

The Aviation Industry Soars Using Interface Solutions

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Interface Solutions Aid Pharmaceutical Industry

How Load Cells Are Transforming the Construction Industry

The construction industry is one the most universal, growing, and dangerous industries in the world. Interface force measurement solutions are used for all types of construction applications from bridge and high-rise building projects to foundation load tests and structural monitoring. Our sensors and instrumentation are used in crane and heavy lifting operations, material testing and equipment calibration.

Accuracy and quality of all measurement products used for design, testing, monitoring, and equipment evaluations is imperative in protecting the project’s assets and workers. One of the leading causes of construction accidents is overloading equipment. When equipment is overloaded, it can fail, leading to serious injuries. It is essential to utilize high accuracy load cell technologies to measure the amount of force being applied to construction equipment.

Interface force measurement solutions can help to prevent overloading accidents by using the measurement data to ensure that equipment is not being extended beyond its safety capabilities. Force measurement solutions can also be used to monitor the performance of equipment and identify potential problems before they lead to an accident.

Interface offers a wide variety of sensor solutions for construction equipment and material testing. Our load cells offer precise measurements of applied forces, furnishing essential data regarding the structural response under various load circumstances. This data plays a critical role in evaluating structural integrity, detecting potential vulnerabilities, and optimizing design to guarantee the safety and dependability of infrastructure.

Interface force measurement solutions can help to improve efficiency and productivity in the construction industry in all areas including engineering, testing and maintenance. By monitoring the performance of equipment, construction companies can identify areas where they can improve efficiency.

It is common to find Interface load cells, including load pins, load shackles, miniature and even jumbo load cells in use for various forms of construction projects, equipment and tools. These products, as well as torque transducers, instrumentation and wireless systems are frequently used in the testing and monitoring of the machinery, rigging and lifting devices, gear, and heavy duty vehicles that are used in various stages of building.

Interface provides various sensors for a range of construction use cases around the world, including:

  • Residential and commercial buildings
  • Infrastructure programs
  • Industrial construction
  • Material testing machines
  • Civil engineering projects
  • Mining and tunneling
  • Environmental remediation
  • Heavy equipment manufacturing
  • Vehicle OEMS
  • Cranes and lifting equipment


Construction is an ever-present and ever-growing industry estimated to reach nearly $13T in global spending with broad and diverse use of measurement solutions. From single dwelling construction tools to heavy machines used to move concrete slabs, measurement is fundamental in construction. Included below we have provided a few examples of how our sensors are being used in construction.

Construction Reach Stacker

A reach stacker is a vehicle used in construction site to lift, move, and stack heavy containers. A force monitoring system was needed to ensure the safety of surrounding personnel, and if the reach stacker can lift heavy loads. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins were installed into the corners of the lifting mechanism of the reach stacker, where heavy loaded containers are lifted and moved. The force results were then wirelessly transmitted to both the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters, or directly to the customer’s PC with the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Using this solution, the customer was able to monitor their reach stacker with Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System and ensure its ability to lift heavy loads on site.

Bridge Construction Wind Monitoring

Wind monitoring is a necessary operation during bridge constructions. Strong winds can destroy a bridge under construction since it is a work in progress with poor structural design. Monitoring these winds in real time is much more accurate than using predicted weather forecasts. Interface suggested installing the WTS-WSS Wireless Wind Speed Transmitter Module on the highest point of construction, such as a crane. Wind speed results were wirelessly transmitted to the customer’s PC through WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station with USB Interface in Industrial Enclosure. It was transmitted to the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters Data can be displayed, logged, and graphed with supplied Log100 software. Interface’s WTS-WSS Wireless Wind Speed Transmitter Module combined with Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System was perfect to monitor the wind speed in real-time during the bridge’s construction.

Metal Bending Force Material Testing for Construction

A construction material supplier wanted to know how much force it takes to bend different grades of steel metal used for building and infrastructure projects. They use their metal bending machine to create different metal hardware and wanted to record the amounts of force it takes to bend the metal used for their projects. Interface suggested using a wireless method, so cables do not interfere with the machine. The WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell was attached to the head of the hydraulic operated steel bender. Results were wirelessly transmit to the customers PC through the WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station with USB Interface, where data can be displayed, logged, and graphed with supplied Log100 software. Using this solution, the customer was able to record the force results of his metal bending machine with Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System.

Interface is adept at providing solutions suited for use in construction projects, equipment and ongoing monitoring programs.  If you have questions about what products are suited for your specific project, equipment or testing programs, contact us. We are here to help.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry

Interface Solutions for Heavy Equipment

Gantry Crane Weighing

Lifting Heavy Objects

Rigging Engineers Choose Interface Measurement Solutions

Innovative Interface Lifting Solutions

Modernizing Infrastructure with Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface Solutions for Structural Testing

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Innovative Interface Load Pin Applications

 

 

Are Load Cells Used in Vacuum Environments?

Vacuum testing labs are essential for ensuring that products and materials are safe and dependable in vacuum environments. A vacuum environment is an area where there is little or no matter. This means that there are very few gas molecules present, and the pressure is incredibly low. Vacuum environments are often created using vacuum pumps, which remove gas molecules from an enclosed space.

Vacuum environments are used to simulate the conditions that products and materials will experience in space or other high-altitude environments. These types of testing labs typically have a vacuum chamber that can be evacuated to an incredibly low pressure. The vacuum chamber is then used to evaluate products and materials for a variety of properties. Engineers use vacuum environments in testing for reduced contamination, improving heat transfer, and to reduce the weight of products.

Tests performed in vacuum labs are used to determine the rate at which gases are released from a product or material and the ability of a product or material to withstand a vacuum without leaking. Thermal cycling tests are done to assess the ability of a product or material to withstand changes in temperature in a vacuum environment. Other tests are done to understand how the test article withstands exposure to radiation.

Vacuum testing labs are used by a variety of industries, including aerospace, medical, and defense. These labs are common for material process testing and used in R&D. Vacuum testing helps to identify potential problems with products and materials before they are used in a real vacuum environment. Engineers use this type of testing to improve the performance of products and materials and ensure they meet the required standards. Contact Interfaced to explore your options.

Can load cells be used in a vacuum environment?

Load cells can be used in a vacuum environment. However, not all load cells are created equal or suited for this specialized use case. Some load cells are designed that make them appropriate for vacuum environments, while others are not. Load cells that are not engineered to perform in vacuum environments may not be able to withstand the low pressures and outgassing that can occur in a vacuum. Using quality load cells that are manufactured by force measurement experts in sensor technologies is important in any consideration. It is critical to review the specifications and requirements with a qualified applications engineer.

Key considerations when choosing a load cell for a vacuum environment:

  • Outgassing: Load cells that are used in vacuum environments will have low outgassing rates. This means that they will not release gases into the vacuum chamber, which can contaminate the environment and interfere with measurements.
  • Mechanical strength: Load cells must be able to withstand the low pressures that can occur in a vacuum. They will also be able to withstand the conditions that can be generated by vacuum processes, such as outgassing and condensation. Form factor and model material of the load cell are important in choosing a load cell for this use case.
  • Temperature range: Load cells will need to operate in a wide range of temperatures. This is important because vacuum chambers can be very cold, especially when they are first evacuated, or when they are used to simulate high altitudes or space.

If you are looking for a load cell that can be used in a vacuum environment, please review with Interface application engineers to determine if the model fits your test requirements. We also can offer custom solutions to ensure that the load cell maintains the accuracy and performance specifications based on your exact test plan.

Can a load cell be vented for use in a vacuum testing lab?

Technically yes, you can vent a load cell to be used in vacuum. This allows the internal cavity of the load cell to equalize with external vacuum. However, this does not prevent outgassing and can cause the gages and wiring to be subject to humidity and condensation.

Cabling is extremely important when using any sensor in this environment. There are options to make the load cells wireless using Bluetooth technology.

Caution: Interface recommends that all our products used in this type of environment are designed, built, and calibrated for use in this environment. Venting an existing load cell can alter the performance and damage the cell.  By designing the load cell with venting for use, we can ensure that it will meet the vacuum test range.

Interface also can install thermocouples to work with the sensor to detect temperature in this type of testing environment. In fact, our engineers have designed load cells to package the thermocouples inside the form factor for convenience and performance benefits.

Interface engineers have worked with testing labs for decades. We are available to assist with any use case requirements to determine the best measurement solution.

Detailing Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells

A pillow block bearing is usually used to create a rolling system. This bearing type is often used for industrial rolls for textiles, paper, and materials. It is also used on conveyor belts in manufacturing facilities. Other common use cases in various industries include transportation, medical device design, and aerospace.

Interface offers specialized load cells that measure and monitor weight and other forces on pillow block bearings, aptly known as Interface Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells. The force measurement is performed for this load cell between two supports.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cell Spans Multiple Industries

Pillow block bearing load cells are important in all industries where accurate load measurement is required during production and use of small and large rollers. Some examples include:

  • Steel industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in roller mills to measure the force required to crush or shape steel.
  • Textile industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in textile machines such as looms and knitting machines to measure the tension on the yarn.
  • Packaging industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in packaging machines to measure the force required to cut or seal packaging materials.

Pillow block load cells are valuable in building and enhancing infrastructure. Our PBLC1 is a great solution for monitoring trains on a track in motion. When our PBLC1 is installed on a track, and the train runs across it, the sensor can provide a signal to a station elsewhere in the world. If any force indicators suggest that there could be a problem with the weight the train is holding or the train itself, the sensor can also trigger an automatic shutdown of the train. These sensors could prevent major damage from train derailments and other train-related incidents by detecting errors before they inflict damage.

These weights are important to measure or monitor as they can tell you if you run out of material on a roll or if a production line conveyor belt is holding too much weight. An example of the feed roller system using our wireless options is below.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

Feed roller systems are common in production and manufacturing. In this example, a feed roller system needs to monitor the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. This reduces waste and ensures quality in the product use. They would also prefer a wireless system. Interface suggests installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The measurement output is sent to the instrumentation device, our WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data is 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 can be displayed, graphed, and logged a computer. Learn more about this type of use case in our Feed Roller System Application Note.

In addition to this use case, here are a few other ways Pillow Block Load Cells are used to measure weight and force:

  • Material handling: Pillow block load cells are commonly used in conveyor systems to measure the weight of transported materials.
  • Automotive industry: Pillow block load cells are used in assembly line applications to measure the weight of assembled parts and components.
  • Heavy machinery: Pillow block load cells are used in cranes, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery to measure loads and monitor the equipment’s performance.
  • Manufacturing: Pillow block load cells are used in material testing machines to measure the force required to break or deform materials.
  • Aerospace: Pillow block load cells are used in aerospace applications to measure the weight and balance of aircraft and spacecraft.
  • Medical industry: Pillow block load cells are used in medical equipment such as patient lifts and hospital beds to measure patients’ weight.
  • Food industry: Pillow block load cells are used in food processing and packaging equipment to measure the weight of ingredients and finished products.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cells Product Overview

This type of force sensor is suitable for measuring forces under pillow block bearings for diameter Ø 20mm (Ø 0.79 in) and for measuring axle weight in test stands for trains and vehicles. Our system is compatible with INA Pillow Block Bearings and is installed underneath the bearing to measure force. There are three model versions, with the options for additional multi-axis measurements for engineers to order products.

PBLC1 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC2 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC3 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

Features and benefits of our Pillow Block Load Cell include:

  • Capacities from 5 to 30 kN (1.1K to 6.7K lbf)
  • Compatible with INA pillow block bearings
  • IP65 moisture protection
  • Rugged electro-galvanized surface

In addition, our Pillow Block Load Cell is also available in multi-axis versions, allowing more force data from your test application. This helps measure forces such as the center of gravity, tension across a load-bearing beam, and more. These multi-axis versions come in two and three-axis models. If you want accurate measurements for your pillow block-bearing use cases, contact our specialized application engineers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Interface New Product Releases Winter 2023

Infrastructure Industry Relies on Interface Force Measurement

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Industrial Automation

 

Interface Solutions in the World of Sports

With our headquarters in the golf capitol of the U.S., it is easy to see why Interface test and measurement solutions rank top for engineers and golf manufacturers to test the force of golf balls, range equipment, clubs, and even the carts that roam the course. But our sensor technologies have a much broader reach, in both sport and geography.

Why is force measurement so heavily involved in the making and designing of sports equipment? It is obvious even by definition; sports are considered an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

The physical exertion often utilizes some type of apparatus, device, tool, material, equipment, or gear that requires measurement of tension, compression, or rotation. Every sport differs and type of testing also will vary, whether from initial fatigue testing or actual designing sensors into the fitness equipment like a treadmill.

Our force measurement sensors are used across a wide variety of sports equipment to evaluate performance, lifecycle, durability, and quality.

Our specialty is building high accuracy solutions for the testing and monitoring of parts and total systems that move and create force, which is vital to makers and product designers of sports equipment and machines. Our force measurement solutions are ideal for stand-alone testing rigs, production equipment, as well as to embed in sports products in order to increase operability and reliability for end users.

Interface force measurement solutions are commonplace in sports gear and equipment R&D labs, design houses, manufacturer test and production facilities. The range of products we provide is as broad as the variety of sport categories, both individual and team. This applies to products used by consumers, as well as by professional athletes, trainers, and pro sport teams. We also collaborate with several engineers and manufacturers that build exercise and training equipment.

Interface has a history of providing our low profiles, s-types and miniature load cells for testing products used in individual sports such as running, weightlifting, mountain climbing, skiing, skating, bowling, fishing and cycling. We have created solutions that measure force and torque for gear used by competitive team sports including football, soccer, hockey, rugby, tennis, baseball, water sports and more. We have even seen an extended use in tools and equipment used in auto racing and even esports, who are using our sensors to test the actual gaming devices like brake pedals, driving gear and touch screens.

Interface is a global supplier of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation for sport and fitness equipment. Here a few examples of where Interface solutions were used to influence the design, test, quality, and user experience.


Fitness Equipment Testing

A premiere maker of machines used in training and gyms around the world needs multiple load measurement systems for their different fitness machines. These machines included elliptical, leg press, rowing machine, and the cable machine to start. They want to ensure the machines functioning properly to prevent injuries. It can also be used for trainers who want to conduct strength and endurance tests.  A combination of products such as the WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell, SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells, and AT103 Axial Torsion Force and Torque Transducers. Paired with Interface’s proper instrumentation, the forces can be measured, graphed, and displayed during the testing stage. Read more about these solutions here.

Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Golfers undergoing training or practice wanted a system that will monitor and record their striking accuracy and swing movement. Interface created a custom made SSB Sealed Beam Load Cell that can be attached in line with the golf handle. When a golf ball is struck, force measurements are recorded, logged, and graphed using the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter. The results transmit directly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully record, graph, and log a golf player’s striking accuracy and swing movement with Interface’s wireless force system. Read more here.

Mountain Bike Load Testing

A mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame. They want to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during this final step of the product testing process for their future consumers. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. With this system, the mountain bike manufacturing company was able to gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing. Learn more here.

 

Golf Ball Tee Testing Machine

A customer wanted to ensure their golf ball automatic tee mechanism is working for their consumers- both buying their tee’s for home use or for golfing ranges. They needed a system that will sense the presence of a golf ball, which will trigger and automatically dispense new golf ball to the tee. Interface’s WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell was installed within the golf tee, which would measure the golf balls pressure on the tee when loaded or unloaded. This load cell is electrically connected to the motor which initiates the cycle to release another ball onto the tee. Force measurements can be measured using the 9330 High Speed Data Logger when connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. With Interface’s products, the customer was provided a force solution that was able to measure the presence of a golf ball on their auto-tee machine. Get more information here.

These are just a few examples of Interface’s work in the sporting goods and fitness industry. If it moves, rotates, pushes, or pulls, chances are that Interface has a solution that can help perfect the performance. To learn more about our work in sports and consumer goods.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Measures Fitness Equipment with Extreme Accuracy – Case Study

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Race Car Suspension Testing

CPG Treadmill Force Measurement

CPG Gaming Simulation Brake Pedal

CPG Bike Power Pedals

CPG Bike Helmet Impact Test

Mountain Bike Shocks Testing

Fine-Tuning Testing Solutions for Championship Racing Vehicles