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Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

In medical technology design, engineering and manufacturing, accuracy is everything. Not only are standards and regulations for product quality extremely high in the medical industry, the safety and wellbeing of patients and users depends on it.

Interface continues to provide the medical device and healthcare industry with the most accurate and reliable force measurement products used for R&D, testing, and embedding sensors for continuous measurement.

In our Medical and Healthcare Solutions Overview, Interface dives deeper into our capabilities and product line that is used throughout the lifecycle of development and supply of medical device and healthcare components. For decades, Interface has been a supplier of precision measurement solutions those that are used in the design, engineering, testing and manufacturing of products used in the industry. Here is a quick recap spotlighting why Interface is a preferred industry partner.

Interface Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface provides load cells and sensors of all capacities and sizes to use in the development of medical devices, healthcare tools, and technologies that improve the ability to diagnose, mitigate risks, treat illness, support wellness and advance science.

First and foremost, to qualify as a provider of products in the industry the proper certifications for quality are a necessity. Interface is celebrated for meeting and exceeding the quality needs for our customer’s projects in medical and healthcare. Our products are built and tested in accordance with A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540- 1-1994. This accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system.

The next qualification is experience. In the medical industry, they need to know that their suppliers understand their rigid requirements and use cases for their products. Our engineers and product teams have been providing proven sensor technologies used for a wide variety of medical devices, like prosthetics and surgical implements. These products require extremely accurate measurement before they are approved for use. Interface knows what it takes to meet these requirements.

The industry requires a range of capabilities and sizes of measurement devices like our various miniature and shear beam load cell solutions with 10x overload protection. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately measure performance. These solutions are used to control product use, for fatigue testing, test surgical equipment durability, measure implants and monitor equipment. Other Interface medical device and healthcare solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing to use in complex designs requiring multiple measurement outputs.

Prosthetics Performance

Prosthetic-Foot-Performance-App-NoteInterface supplies products to test how a prosthetics perform during different positions and stances. The products used in a prosthetic foot design test including the Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell, which was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot and the Model 3A120, which was connected to a portable data acquisition system. When standard precision solutions need a custom designed sensor, Interface’s solutions team and engineers work directly with medical device manufacturers to deliver specialized products, systems and software that meet the evolving needs and innovation requirements. Included below is an application note that outlines the prosthetic testing process using Interface force solutions.

In this example, a customer wanted to know how a prosthetic foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. This challenge required a force solution and Interface supplied 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell which were installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The Model 3A120 was then connected to a portable data acquisition system. With this solution, the customer was able to log data was for the X, Y, and Z axis, review the results and identify premature foot flat and dead spots during foot’s use. Using this data, they’re now able to make improvements to the design. Read more about this prosthetic load and fatigue testing application here.

Stent And Catheter Testing

Stent CatheterFor this specific use case, large testing rigs that contain approximately a dozen Interface load cells are used to test stents and heart valves that are surgically implanted into patients. The rigs subject the stents and heart valves to thousands of stress tests over months to determine their material properties. Stents stay in a patient’s body for the rest of their life, so accuracy and durability are extremely important. This application makes use of Interface’s Miniature Beam Load Cell product line, which is overload protected. This product line is extremely reliable and has never had a reported fatigue failure. Included below is another application example.

In this application note, the customer needed to apply known forces to stent and catheters to ensure they pass all necessary strength and flexibility testing. Interface’s solution was to use a MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell that is placed behind the guide wire for the stent or catheter. The motor will spin the linear drive and push the load cell and guide the wire through the testing maze. MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell is connected to the DIG-USB PC Interface Module. All forces are measured and stored on PC. Using this system, the Customer was able to perform required testing and log to PC, followed by being able to review results and take actions as needed. You can read more about this application use case for a stent testing system here.

A growing demand for our products utilized in OEM medical applications. Interface works with manufacturers across the world who design and build life-saving medical devices, implants, and tools, as detailed in the post Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications. Customers turn to Interface because of our proven track record for producing, at volume, the most accurate, reliable and efficient force measurement products and accessories for collecting critical data.

Interface has been involved in the engineering of unique sensor products for use in medical devices and equipment, from MedTech devices to some of the machinery used to manufacture medical products. Increasing success happens when you engage early.  Our experts are ready to assist with your medical device and healthcare test and measurement product needs.

Additional Medical and Health Care Industry Resources

OEM: Medical Bag Weighing

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHITE PAPER EXCERPT

OEM SOLUTIONS: TURNING AN ACTIVE COMPONENT INTO A SENSOR

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

Get your copy of the white paper to read more.

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

Additional Resources for OEM

Interface is a Critical Solutions Provider for OEMs

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

 

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Recently, Interface commissioned an independent research report on multi-axis sensors demand and use cases. This is a product line that Interface has made significant investments in as more customers require increased load cell functionality and additional source data from their force sensors. The research results confirm that the current demand is in fact expanding worldwide, and the overall users and market size is expected to grow by double digits over the next six years.

Included below is a brief overview of the state of the multi-axis, as well as an explanation of their overall purpose and why the growth of this type of test and measurement device continues to increase in popularity. We will also continue to break out the results of this research paper, so tune into the InterfaceIQ blog for more multi-axis research content. To learn more about these advanced sensors, view our ForceLeaders webinar Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors.

Multi-Axis Sensors Market Overview: The rise of IoT and Industry 4.0 had enabled automation. Machines continue to get smarter and can make split-second decisions using real-time data. Force measurement plays a key role in this transformation. Load cells that are tracking performance and reliability have more insights than ever before. They will continue to grow in their accuracy and capabilities. Load cell and sensor technologies are being used to identify precisely when and where something went wrong on a production line. Load cells will be growing in playing a key role in making production lines more efficient, less reliant on human resources and less costly.

There has been increased need for multi-axis sensors that measure and collect data points on up to six axes. Multi-axis sensors were invented because of the increased requirements for data, both in testing and during actual product use. And this is not slowing down anytime soon. Over the next decade, load cells will continue to keep up with the demand to handle more measurement data points. More sensors will need to be packed into a single device to collect more data with less equipment.

Five Key Take-Aways from Interface’s Multi-Axis Market Research:

  1. There is a growing requirement for high-performance sensor fusion of multi-axis sensor systems to enable the newly emerging technologies and highly demanding applications.
  2. Advancements in technology enabling effective components at a lighter and smaller size, such as the swift rise of unmanned vehicles in both the defense and civil applications and the increasing applications based on motion sensing, are the factors driving the multi-axis sensor use cases for testing and to embed into products.
  3. Digitizing force sensors is another trend changing our product innovators and manufacturer’s designs of machines and equipment through advanced measurement data. Many have strongly invested in more advanced digital electronics to efficiently harvest and store more data. Revolutions in industries and technologies is the dominant trend in force measurement, not to mention the entire manufacturing and engineering industry. Harnessing big data enables product users to remotely monitor assets and increase use of analytics.
  4. With network-connected force measurement through sensors and instrumentation, OEMs have greater control over testing and product development. Equipment using multi-axis sensors to track performance and reliability provide valuable data on how equipment is performing and predict when machines need maintenance.
  5. Global machine makers and equipment builders want smaller force sensors they can permanently install in the products. Smaller, wireless sensors are easier and less expensive to install. As more industrial networks are created to share higher-quality data, more and more sensors will be added to these machines.

What: Multi-axis sensors allow the user to measure forces and torques, which occur in more than one spatial direction, as with measurements in x- and y-direction. This allows manufacturers to obtain more data on a wider variety of axes, allowing them to make better design decisions and ultimately improve the product quality. A crucial focus is force measurement in manufacturing, where force transducers are frequently used to determine the force for weight measurement or in the process of production.

Why? Data-driven test and measurement is at the forefront of product development, especially in highly regulated markets like aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial. One of the most significant applications for multi-axis sensors is seen in manufacturing facilities who want to integrate more autonomy and robotic processes. The goal is to streamline logistics procedures and reduce human errors and workplace accidents. The report also found that there is a great deal interest for last-mile delivery robots, either on the ground, on the sea or drones in the air.

Interface’s Role: Interface multi-axis load cells are ideal for industrial and scientific applications. They are used by engineers and testing labs in various industries and market segments including aerospace, robotics, automotive, advanced manufacturing, for medical devices and research. Our products designed to provide the most comprehensive force and torque data points on advanced machinery. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, these multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety in their product design.

In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic designs and usability standards with multi-axis sensor testing. The automotive industry is using Interface’s multi-axis products in wind tunnels, and the military is using them to test the center of gravity in aerospace applications.

Here are a few applications use cases that show how multi-axis is advancing products in multiple industries:

Wind Tunnel

Seat Testing Machine

Friction Testing

Industrial Robotic Arm

Ball and Socket Prosthetic

Prosthetic Foot Performance

Syringe Plunger Force Measurement

Research was conducted independently by Search4Research.

Faces of Interface Featuring Richard Snelson

Richard Snelson, president of Measurements Incorporated, is the leader of our outstanding manufacturers’ representative firm serving the Mid-Atlantic coast of the US. The origin of the company, that supports customers in this region with application solutions for structural, material, and environmental testing, is an intriguing story.

In this new Faces of Interface feature, Richard highlights one of his favorite projects and provides his thoughts on representing the most reliable and accurate force measurement products in the industry from Interface.

Richard grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was brought up hearing all about his ‘old man’ and the incredible work he got to do with customers across the technology landscape. His father and two partners started Measurements Incorporated in 1976. The company had spun out of another company called Micro Measurements. At that time, they sold a limited range of product lines to a wide range of customers. Some of the most memorable customers Richard would hear about from his dad included those that worked with bridges, battle tanks and even cadavers.

After high school, Richard attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he would go on to earn a split degree in business, marketing, and management. During his college years, Richard also received a ton of career experience working multiple jobs. His summers were spent as a technician in the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, where his role include working on a reactor. He also worked on the Brooklyn Bridge, replacing cables on the massive structure, as well as working for a friend of his dad in the oil and gas industry. These jobs not only put Richard through college, but they also exposed him to hands-on experience working with organizations and on projects like what his dad would talk about at home when he was growing up.

The experiences and incredible stories he was told throughout his youth pushed Richard to accept a role working for his father’s company. He started out selling one product line, XY plotters, to major test labs and facilities across the Mid-Atlantic. After finding a great deal of success, Richard was given the entire state of Delaware to sell every product line in the company’s portfolio. This eventually expanded into Pennsylvania and Maryland.

As he grew his expertise as a sales rep at Measurements Incorporated, Richard also began buying out the other two owners as they retired and eventually retained sole ownership of the company in 2003. Today the company carries an ever-expanding product line of test and measurement equipment and serves some of the most reputable organizations across multiple industries including, aerospace, defense, medical, industrial, and more.

I put myself in the customer’s place and offer a complete solution, sometimes reminding them of things they might not initially think of and the end result is that we are all successful.” Richard Snelson, president of Measurements, Incorporated.

Like his father, Richard has also collected many of his own fun, interesting, and sometimes incredibly nerve-racking stories. Among his favorite are the two times he was asked to head over to One World Trade Center to oversee installation equipment and then later assess a challenge with a sensor on the building’s enormous spire on the very top. Richard and few other men from the company charged with some of the tower’s maintenance and caretaking went up to the top together. During the assessment, Richard and the maintenance company’s president were tasked with repelling up the spire to identify and fix the sensor. Richard enjoyed an unforgettable experience and got a sweat-inducing picture in the process that you can see in his photo above!

Richard has a long-time relationship with Interface that began in 2006. He raves about the quality of the brand and the confidence he and his customers have in the accuracy and reliability of our force measurement sensors. He has great respect for the people he works with regularly, including his Regional Sales Director, Elliot Speidell. Richard often finds himself identifying the signature blue paint job on our load sensors during customer facility tours. He’s proud that he’s able to offer the industry’s leading force measurement solutions to some of the world’s most prominent organizations.

When he’s not dangling off one of the tallest buildings in the world or helping solve key customer challenges with a bevy of critical instrumentation, Richard enjoys time spent with family, his wife of 36 years Tracey, their two children Courtney and Derek, and their grandson Everett. The family loves to spend their time outdoors and can often be found sailing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Richard also enjoys recreational shooting and cruising around on his motorcycle.

We couldn’t have asked for a better partner in Richard and his team at Measurements Incorporated. We are happy to share his story. Looking for more Faces of Interfaces? Go check out our ForceLeaders here.

 

Interface Load Cell Indicators

At Interface, our claim to fame is that we offer the most accurate and reliable force measurement devices on the market, from load cells to torque transducers and everything in-between. However, no test is complete without the system used to gather the data to evaluate performance results. That’s why we provide a wide variety of instrumentation solutions that include signal conditionersoutput moduleshigh speed data loggersportable load cell indicators, and weight indicators to complete any testing system.

Among the Interface instrumentation products, the most frequently purchased with a force measurement devices are our load cell indicators in various models including handheld, digital, wireless, multichannel, programmable, output modules, analog and bidirectional.

What is a load cell Indicator?

A load cell indicator is a high-accuracy device connected to the output of a load cell to amplify and display the value of the measured load force and weight. Load cell indicators are often needed where the force, load, or weight measurement needs to be visually displayed for the user and displaying the results on a PC is not feasible or desired in the testing environment. For example, testing in the field or confined spaces can make it impossible to connect directly to a PC. In these situations, indicators are used to quickly review and capture force data in real-time.

A few key benefits of load cell indicators include that they provide stable excitation voltage and converts force measurement sensor signals to a digital display. Commonly available features include analog or digital output, selectable digital filtering, peak and valley monitoring and set-point outputs. Additionally, each load cell indicator can be used to connect to four (or more) digital load cells and can display individual readings or the sum of all connected load cells.

Need a load cell indicator?

Interface offers a wide variety of load cell indicators in multiple configurations. Interface indicators come in single to multi-channel weight transmitters and can be found in handheld and portable designs. Things to consider when selecting an indicator are internal sample rate and update rate of the output. A few of our most popular indicators include:

9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator

Model 9890 is a powerful multipurpose digital load cell meter ideal for weight and force measurement applications. With a max current of 350 mA at 10 V, it can support up to 12 load cells making it perfect for multipoint weight measurement purposes. The dual-scale capability allows for displays in two different units of measure. See a demonstration video here.

9320 Battery Powered Portable Load Cell Indicator

Model 9320 is a bipolar 7-digit handheld meter featuring two independently scalable ranges, peak and valley monitoring, display hold, mV/V calibration, and a power save feature. Typical battery life exceeds 45 hours of continuous use and 450 in low power mode. IEEE1451.4 TEDS Plug and Play compliant.

482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator

Model 482 is battery powered, bidirectional, and comes in a NEMA 4X stainless enclosure. Standard options include 523,000 internal counts, 0.8-inch LCD 6-digit display and a measurement rate that goes up to 40 Hz. Available options include analog and relay outputs.

1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller

The Interface 1280 Series programmable digital weight indicator with color touchscreen, web server view and multiple protocol types delivers uncompromising speed for today’s operations and expansive options for tomorrow’s requirements.

INF4-Ethernet IP Weight Transmitter and Indicator

The Interface INF4-Ethernet IP weight transmitter and indicator has a six-digit red LED display (8 mm height), space-saving compact design, four buttons for the system calibration, and a six-indicator LED.

See all the indicator options here.

Load Cell Indicator Application Note

The application note below provides an example of the benefit of a load cell indicator in real-world use within the medical industry.

A pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces applied by the tablet forming machine to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, forming force, and motor-cycle speed. The goal was to improve productivity and efficiency of the tablet forming process while reducing losses, such as cracked tablets or voids, by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criteria for given inputs.

An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell (10K lbf Capacity) was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data.

The indicator was selected as the data collection device because a laptop could have interfered with the test cycle due to space restrictions. The output of the load cell was connected to the 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator and set aside so that the cable did not interfere with the cycle and no snagging would occur. A cable tie was used to stow aside the cable and to ensure there was enough clearance for the entire cycle.

After analyzing the data, the tablet producer was able to quantify adjustment levels by monitoring which forces produced the most optimal results for a given cycle speed, die set, and raw material. Productivity and efficiency were greatly improved by the enhancement of the data feedback.

To learn more about Interface load cell indicators and for a complete list of products, you can download our instrumentation brochure here. You can also read more about instrumentation options in test and measurement in this post.

Faces of Interface Featuring James Richardson

Born in Arizona but growing up in the rural area of Cotton City, New Mexico, James Richardson was only exposed to the opportunity of a career in engineering after moving back to Arizona. After graduating as his high school class Salutatorian in 1995, he started college in Eastern Arizona.

He later moved to Mesa in 1999 where he took a job working for his uncle at Dewitt Equipment fixing restaurant and cooking equipment like ovens, fryers and microwaves, and along with refrigeration equipment including air conditioning units, freezers, and ice machines. It was also during this time he learned to braze, solder and TIG weld.

At Dewitt, his on the job training for fixing equipment built up his foundation for engineering. The spark that really kicked it off came on a sweltering Arizona summer day when James was repairing an A/C unit on a restaurant’s loose gravel rooftop. The temperature was so high that the gravel began to sink, melting the soles of his shoes. At this point, James realized he enjoyed working with his hands and on advanced equipment; however, it was time to finish his formal education in engineering and pursue a job that included more time inside where there was ample air conditioning.

By this time James had already completed an Associate Degree at Maricopa Community College and he was about 18 months from completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Arizona State University. Completing this degree, he later earned a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ohio University. Towards the end of his bachelor’s degree, he got an internship at Honeywell Aerospace. His first job after earning his degree was with Enertron Inc., a leading provider of thermal management solutions for the aerospace, military, medical, telecommunications, and IC fab equipment industries. In this role, he designed heat sinks for circuit boards used for lasers, lighting and computers.

After three years with Enertron, he moved to Cleveland Electric Laboratories where he served as an applications engineer working on turbine engine instrumentation. This is where James got his first hands on experience with force measurement equipment. His job was to design instrumentation for strain, temperature, and pressure measurements. At one point he even designed a load pin for a customer.

In his role, he was also introduced to Interface. The company he was working for owned several Interface products and he became familiar with their high-quality and premium accuracy. Then in 2015, a headhunter called him out of the blue to offer him a chance to work for Interface. James was excited about the prospect of working for a company that put quality first. In fact, the thing that hooked him about Interface was the declared focus of “Quality is Our Driving Force,” and the fact that each of the four interviewers reiterated the importance of this statement in their interview.

James joined Interface as a production engineer. He remained in this role for about four years before being promoted to Senior Engineer, and then to his current role as Mechanical Engineering Manager where he leads a team of five other engineers. In this leadership position, James is responsible for overseeing development efforts for some of Interface’s most important product lines including the specialized 1923 and 1925 wireless custom solutions and our downhole products for the energy markets. James was instrumental in the latest new product release, the new ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell.

In addition to this critical role, James also loves to learn about the many ways that Interface products directly affect him and people close to him. This includes how measuring systems ensure the proper weight of food in nutritional planning and packaging, measurement of things like blood donations, and safety test systems for airplanes. The work done at Interface is incredibly important to everyday life and many people don’t even realize it.

In his free time, James can be found spending time with his wife of 21 years and their four children, two sons and two daughters. The family enjoys the outdoors together, partaking in activities like bike rides and hikes. He also brings some of his passion for engineering home. He’s intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing and owns a printer himself. He’s designed and printed things like bowties, wallets, wall-mounts for various gadgets, and even toys for the kids. In case you missed it, the photo of James is his own 3-D printed bowtie. It was a big hit at the Interface holiday party.

Another interesting fact about James is that throughout his career he’s tried to connect with co-workers from different countries by learning their language. Throughout his life he’s learned a little bit of Polish and German, and is fluent in Spanish, which he learned while spending two years as a missionary in South America.

We asked James to describe his thoughts on his career in engineering in another language. He responded, “Un dicho o una frase que a mí me gusta pensar, cuando algo no sale buenisimo, es: “Siempre hay una manera mejor.” This translates to a saying or phrase that I like to think of when something doesn’t turn out great, “There is always a better way.”

To learn more about the ConvexBT, check out the datasheet here:

ConvexBT

Understanding Uncertainty in Load Cell Calibration

In force measurement testing, accuracy is the most critical factor in ensuring the data you collect can help to identify challenges, failures and opportunities in the product design and development cycle. Here at Interface, we have mastered the art of load cell accuracy by employing a vertically integrated manufacturing process that allows us to control the development of our products most critical components.

Even the most high-end manufactured load cells and finely tuned components endure accuracy degradation over continued use. Therefore, we have also invested in equipment and talent with deep expertise in load cell recalibration, as well as offering gold and platinum standard calibration systems to customers. Recalibration is recommended on an annual basis, or of course, whenever our customers feel they need to confirm they are getting the right data out of their load cells.

One of the key factors of calibration and recalibration is understanding how to estimate practical uncertainty in load cell calibration. Measurement uncertainty is defined as an estimate of the range of measured values within which the true value lies or, alternatively, the degree of doubt about a measured value. In every application, there will be an uncertainty requirement on the force measurement. The equipment used to make the measurement must be traceable to a realization of the SI unit of force (the newton) within this required uncertainty.

Each application is different in terms of its uncertainty requirement. For instance, an application testing force in the aerospace and defense or medical sector will include a much more stringent uncertainty requirement than something like a commercial scale used to measure someone’s weight or food. It is critical to understand the uncertainty requirement on the application to ensure the force measurement device used is calibrated to handle the project.

How does one go about estimating uncertainty in load cell calibration? The first thing to understand is the GUM, a guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement. This guide establishes general rules for evaluating and expressing uncertainty in measurement that are intended to be applicable to a broad spectrum of measurements.

Next, we have included a list of different considerations, as we measure uncertainty here at Interface. These factors will help guide you as you determine uncertainty for yourself. This list includes:

  1. Determine what parameter is to be measured and the units of measure.
  2. Identify the components of the calibration process and the accompanying sources of error.
  3. Write an expression for the uncertainty of each source of error.
  4. Determine the probability distribution for each source of error.
  5. Calculate a standard uncertainty for each source of error for the range or value of interest.
  6. Construct an uncertainty budget that lists all the components and their standard uncertainty calculations
  7. Combine the standard uncertainty calculations and apply a coverage factor to obtain the final expanded uncertainty.

It is also important to consider the different methods of load cell calibration. There are three different methods, and each has an approximate feasible expanded uncertainty. The different calibration methods include:

  • Direct dead weight – this method is the best for accuracy at 0.005% uncertainty, but it is slow, and the equipment is space inefficient.
  • Leveraged dead weight – middle of the road for accuracy at 0.01% uncertainty, and slow and space inefficient.
  • Hydraulic force generation comparison – this method has reasonable accuracy at 0.04% uncertainty and is also the fastest and most space-efficient option.

The final point is the sources of error in calibration. Error is defined as the difference between the measured value and the true value. There is a long list of different factors that can cause error and increase uncertainty. These factors may include drift, creep, misalignment, or environmental factors such as temperature. To compensate for this, it is important to understand the various formulas that can be used to find the true value based on the given measurement and the various factors for error.

To learn more about uncertainty and the different ways users can address uncertainty and overcome it, please give us a call at 480-948-5555, or visit our website to contact our Application Engineers.

Contributor:  LaVar Clegg, Interface

Source: NCLSI Measurement Training Summit 2014

ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell Featured Online at Sensor Tips

Interface’s newest product release, ConvexBT, is featured in the Sensor Tips, the respected online resource publication for electronics engineering challenges of today and tomorrow.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COMPLETE SENSOR TIPS ARTICLE

As sensor requirements for force measurement are being utilized as miniature-sized components, the load button load cell ConvexBT is designed to give precision level performance in force measurement.  The new release is designed for accuracy and flexibility.

As shared in Industry Today, the ConvexBT capabilities far exceed what is available in these grow dimension requirements due to specifications to make devices and products more compact and convenient. Industries such as medical, industrial automation and products reliant on advanced communications technology need to validate these products with force-sensing solutions that can fit in confined spaces and provide extremely accurate data.

ConvexBT product comes in two different sizes: 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch, which are all manufactured using 17-4 PH heat treated stainless steel. These options provide a wide measurement range from 10 to 250 lbf, a compensated temperature range of 60° to 160°F, and an operating temperature range of -40° to 175°F.

Additional specifications for ConvexBT include:

  • 2.00 ± 20% mV/V rated output
  • ± 0.25 nonlinearity as a percentage of full scale
  • ± 0.25 hysteresis as a percentage of full scale
  • ± 0.50 static error band as a percentage of full scale

Download the complete ConvexBT specifications datasheet and STP / CAD files here.

Check out introduction video for ConvexBT, the next generation in force measurement device.