Rod End Load Cells 101

Rod end load cells are designed to measure the tension and compression forces applied to a rod or similar structure. This type of load cell consists of a rod with a threaded connector. The load cell’s strain gage measures the deformation caused by the applied force. As the force is applied to the rod, it deforms slightly, causing a change in the electrical resistance of the strain gage.

To provide a complete analysis of the forces being applied to the structure, rod end load cells are often used in pairs, with one load cell measuring tension and the other measuring compression.

Interface Rod End Load Cells utilize proprietary temperature compensated strain gages for high-accuracy measurement. For example, our popular REC Rod End Load Cell is fatigue rated and designed to go up to 100,000,000+ fully reversed cycles which makes them ideal for test article failure tests. Our REC models are resistant to off-axis and impact loading with performance to .04%. They are environmentally sealed and made of stainless steel. They are easy to integrate in actuators.

Rod end load cells are commonly found in test labs and used in industrial environments, mechanical systems, and testing machines. They are adaptable and reliable force measurement devices utilized for applications in various industries.

Common Rod End Load Cell Use Cases

  • Material Testing: Rod end load cells are widely used in material testing applications, such as tensile testing, compression testing, and fatigue testing. They help measure the applied forces accurately and provide data for analyzing material properties, structural integrity, and performance.
  • Machine Force Monitoring: Rod end load cells are used in industrial machinery to monitor and control forces applied to rods, shafts, or other structural components. They help ensure that the machinery operates within safe load limits, preventing overloading and potential failures.
  • Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems: Rod end load cells are employed in hydraulic and pneumatic systems to measure the tension or compression forces experienced by cylinders, pistons, or actuators. This enables accurate force control and monitoring for proper system use.
  • Robotics and Industrial Automation: Rod end load cells are integrated into robotic systems to measure the forces exerted by robotic arms or grippers. This allows for precise force control, feedback, and safety features in tasks such as assembly, material handling, and force-sensitive operations.
  • Calibration and Test Lab Equipment: Rod end load cells are utilized in calibration and testing equipment, such as force testers and dynamometers. They provide reliable and traceable force measurements, ensuring the accuracy and calibration of the testing instruments.
  • Aerospace and Automotive Industries: Rod end load cells find application in both aerospace and automotive industries for various purposes, including component testing, structural analysis, quality control, and safety testing. There are many use cases to rod end load cells for multiple industries, as found in our application solutions.
  • Research and Development: Rod end load cells are used in research and development activities across different fields, enabling precise force measurements for studying material behavior, product development, and prototype testing.

Drone Fireworks Rod End Load Cell Application

Drone fireworks have become increasingly popular in recent years. During drone firework and light shows, drones are equipped with LED lights, flying in synchronized patterns to create displays in the night sky.  Four rod end styled Interface WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells  are installed to the necessary propeller motors measure the attached LED lights. Each are connected to a WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules. The WMC’s measure the weight of the LED lights to monitor weight shifting or any uneven weight distributions. Data results are wirelessly transmitted through the WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station.

Interface offers a wide range of rod end load cells. The following highlights our standard models for this type of load cell. Customization is an option if a rod end load cell is needed to be designed into machines or used as a component within a specific product.

Interface Standard Rod End Load Cells

REC Rod End Load Cell stainless steel mini with capacities from 1K to 50K lbf (5 kN to 220 kN).

WMC Rod End Load Cell industrial grade rod end type has capacities 15K to 200K lbf (65 kN to 900 kN).

WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell environmentally sealed in capacities from 5 to 500 lbf (22 to 2200 N). Submersible versions also available.

WMC Sealed High Capacity Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell ranging from 1K lbf to 10K lbf (5 kN to 45 kN). Submersible versions also available.

WMCP Overload Protected Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell With Male Threads is an excellent safeguard in rugged applications with capacities 1.1 to 2.2 lbf (500 to 1000 gmf).

WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell With Female Threads in 1.1 to 2.2 lbf (500 to 1000 gmf) capacities are stainless steel, sealed, and environmentally protected.

WMCF Miniature Sealed Stainless Steel Load Cell is an industrial design with capacities from 5 to 10 lbf with female threads.

MTFS Miniature Tension Force Load Cell is a small sized tension load cell available in capacity ranges from 1 kN to 100 kN (224.8 to 22.5K lbf).

NEW! ITCA Tension And Compression Load Cell is ideal for measuring both tensile and compressive forces 2.2K lbf to 330.6K lbf (1 MT to 150 MT). The standard metric threads at each end of the load cell are designed to accept standard spherical seating rod-end bearings. Customization is available.

Benefits of Interface Rod End Load Cells

#1 High accuracy: Our rod end load cells provide high accuracy in measuring the tension or compression force applied to a rod or similar structure. They are capable of measuring very small changes in force, making them suitable for precise measurement requirements and applications.

#2 Range of measurement and dimensions: Interface rod end load cells are available in a wide range of measurement capacities and compact size making them suitable for use in a variety of industrial and mechanical applications.

#3 Durability: Rod end load cells are designed to withstand harsh environments, high loads, and repetitive use. They are made from ruggedized materials, stainless steel or aluminum, so that can withstand exposure to moisture, dust, and other environmental factors.

#4 Versatility: Rod end load cells can be used in a variety of applications including material testing and manufacturing processes. They can be easily integrated into existing actuation systems and are compatible with a variety of instrumentation and control systems.

Rod end load cells, as highlighted in our recent Testing Lab Essentials Webinar, are used in applications that involve the measurement of tension or compression force on a rod or similar structure, such as in material testing or in the calibration of testing machines.

Why Mechanical Engineers Choose Interface Solutions

Mechanical engineers play a crucial role in the design, development, and maintenance of mechanical systems that are integral to modern society and industries. They apply tenets of physics, materials science, and engineering to design, test and analyze, fabricate, and maintain mechanical systems in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, energy, robotics, and manufacturing.

Frequently, mechanical engineers use Interface force measurement devices to gather data, analyze performance, and ensure the safety and reliability of mechanical systems. Force measurement technologies help them to quantify the magnitude and direction of forces acting on objects or structures.

Mechanical engineers are active in the research and development of modern technologies and innovations, from small components to large industrial machines. This vital role is typically involved in the selection of materials, manufacturing processes, and quality control to ensure that mechanical systems are safe, dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Interface’s quality and accuracy of load cells make them a preferred engineering solution for various use cases. The range of products are used for multiple testing and design applications. The most common products selected by mechanical engineers include:

Engineers use sensors to determine the forces acting on different components or subsystems within a larger system, such as an engine, gearbox, or suspension system, during operation. This information can be used to verify that components are operating within their design limits, identify potential failure points, and optimize performance.

Force measurement devices are used by mechanical engineers in quality control processes to ensure that mechanical systems meet design specifications and performance requirements by performing tests during the manufacturing process, such as checking the tension in bolts, verifying the strength of welds, or measuring the force required for assembly or disassembly of components.

Mechanical engineers use impact force sensors to measure the forces experienced by a vehicle during crash testing, or fatigue testing machines to apply cyclic loads to components or structures to simulate real-world conditions. They participate in the design, development, and optimization of renewable energy systems such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power. Read Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy.

Mechanical engineers are at the forefront of advancements in robotics and automation, including designing and developing autonomous vehicles, drones, robotic manufacturing systems, and automated processes for industries such as automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. Advancements in materials science is a key role for many mechanical engineers. As well, these types of engineers play a crucial role in advancing the field of biomechanics and developing medical devices.

IoT and smart systems that integrate mechanical components with sensors, actuators, and control systems to create intelligent and connected systems are a result of the work of mechanical engineers. This includes developing smart buildings, smart appliances, smart transportation systems, and other IoT-enabled devices. Read Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities

Mechanical engineers use force measurement devices to perform tests and experiments to determine the forces experienced by mechanical systems. Load cells help them to quantify the loads on structural components, such as beams, columns, or joints, to understand their performance under different conditions.


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