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Small Sensors Make Big In-Home Healthcare Impact

In-home healthcare is booming, resulting in innovative medical devices that transform how we manage health outside the hospital. Driven by advancements in wearable tech, remote monitoring, and portable medical devices, a seismic shift empowers individuals to manage chronic conditions, recover from surgery, or maintain independence with greater ease and comfort.

Ensuring the safety and effectiveness of in-home healthcare equipment and devices is crucial, and that’s where miniaturized force measurement sensors play a role. In-home healthcare innovators and product makers use miniature load cells to demonstrate greater impact in improving home-based medical devices’ accuracy and relability.

Interface has a long history of providing the medical and healthcare industry with force measurement products for medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and in-home healthcare applications.

Interface Mini Load Cells are used for in-home healthcare device testing and integrated measurement solutions. The types of products include our popular models: Compression Load Button Load CellSSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load CellMB Miniature Beam Load CellWMC Sealed High Capacity Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell, SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell, and our new SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cell.

Why Are Interface Mini Load Cells Used for In-home Healthcare Devices?

#1 Size: Dimensions matter for these types of applications. Interface offers compact and versatile measurement devices that integrate seamlessly into existing and new medical devices, from monitors to therapy equipment.

#2 Capacity: The range of solutions needs to fit dimensionally, as well as by the capacity of the measurement. Whether it is minuscule Newton meters or several pounds of force, it is important to use a miniature load cell that fits the exact measurement requirements.

#3 Precision: High accuracy is paramount when developing and monitoring in-home healthcare devices. The sensors must deliver precise measurements critical for device efficacy and patient safety.

#4 Endurance: The durability and reliability are also at the core of devices used outside a medical facility. They must be built to withstand the demands of home use, ensuring long-lasting performance.

#5 Integration:  Many medical device manufacturers use Interface solutions as part of the overall equipment, embedding our sensors in the device to provide real-time feedback and monitoring.

#6 Research and Development: Any approved medical device takes years to complete the final product, including the regulation and compliance. Interface Mini Load Cells are used by design houses and testing labs throughout the prototyping phases.

Examples of Load Cells Technologies Making a Big Impact

  • Smart Scales: Track weight changes, monitor medication adherence, and detect early signs of health issues.
  • Rehabilitation Equipment: Measure force and progress during physical therapy exercises, providing personalized feedback and improving outcomes. See: Treadmill Rehabilitation
  • Transfer Lifts: Ensure safe and comfortable patient transfers by accurately measuring weight and balance. See: Patient Hoyer Lift
  • Infusion Pumps: Precisely control medication delivery for chronic conditions, improving patient safety and treatment effectiveness. See:
  • Bed Weighing: Monitor weight fluctuations for accurate diagnoses and treatment plans, even at home. See: Hospital Bed Weighing App Note
  • Assistive devices for people with disabilities: The design must be tested with precision measurements to ensure they enhance functionality and independence.

The demand is high due to in-home medical devices. What was once viewed as for use in hospital settings is now in homes around the globe.  By enabling patients to manage their health at home, these devices can improve outcomes through increased compliance, early intervention, and personalized care. Home healthcare can be significantly cheaper than hospital care, benefiting patients and healthcare systems.

Our team of measurement application engineers provides standard, custom, and OEM sensor solutions for in-home medical devices. Our experts assist you in finding the right load cell for your specific needs.

We have proven experience providing sensors for seamless integration into existing equipment or new medical device designs to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Together, we can help leverage the power of miniature load cells to create a future of personalized, effective, and accessible in-home healthcare.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

New Technical White Paper Analyzes SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cells

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Measuring the Potential of IoT Wearables Using Load Cell Technology

Weighing

Accuracy Matters for Weighing and Scales

 

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.

Small in Dimension and Precise in Measurement

The world of force measurement is vast. Interface products are used across industries and in a wide range of applications. From the measurement of minute forces in catheter stint testing to jumbo load cells for massive structural testing of rockets, Interface load cells provide highly accurate measurement no matter the size of the load cell.

One of the many benefits of Interface products is the extensive range of measurement capacities and dimensions we offer, including our Mini Load Cells used for small and precise measurements. Interface Mini™ load cells are ideal for light touch, weight, or limited space test and measurement applications. The Mini Load Cells provide remarkably accurate measurements like our LowProfile load cells. With capacities available as low as 0.11 lbf / 0.5 N and as high as 100 kN, there are various miniature load cells for testing and options for custom OEM solutions.

TIP: Explore your options with our Mini Load Cell Selection Guide

Typical applications for measuring tiny, accurate forces are within the medical, manufacturing, robotics, and consumer product industries.

Medical device manufacturers are working to provide handheld point-of-care devices for patients. Additionally, medical devices used within the human body must provide extremely delicate forces to achieve their intended purpose without harming the patient.

Take something that seems relatively simple, like a vascular clamp. These types of delicate instruments are used on heart valves. If they provide too little force, they cannot do their job. However, providing too much force could severely harm the patient. Medical device manufacturers of these surgical tools use miniature load cells to measure the clamping force to ensure precise accuracy to toe the line between too much and too little force, which is a very precise number.

In the pharmaceutical industry, very small load cells are crucial for accurately measuring the force applied to the pills (tablets) during the press marking phase and other manufacturing processes to ensure consistent dosage and tablet integrity.

With consumer products, precision force measurement is critical to various manufacturing processes and real-time monitoring. A load button load cell is the right size for testing the durability of a smart device by applying a force to the screen and measuring the amount of force the screen can withstand before cracking or breaking. Read: Touchscreen Force Testing App Note

A miniature load cell can measure the force required to open a food package. This information can be used to ensure that the packaging is easy for consumers to open and secure enough to protect the food from damage. In food processing, load cells measure the force applied to food during mixing, blending, and other processes to ensure consistent product quality and prevent damage to the food itself. For instance, load cells can monitor the force applied to a dough mixer to ensure the dough is correctly mixed without becoming overworked or tough.

MINIATURE LOAD CELLS FOR SMALLER, MORE PRECISE FORCE MEASUREMENT APPLICATIONS

CONVEXBT LOAD BUTTON LOAD CELL

ConvexBT Load Button Load CellThe ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell is superior to any other load button. Constructed from heat-treated stainless steel and environmentally sealed with integral temperature compensation. Learn more about ConvexBT on our YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/l4xEKNjKREw

  • 5 lbf to 1,000 lbf, 22.24 N to 4.44 N
  • Integral temperature compensation
  • Enhanced eccentric load rejection
  • Multi-point calibration
  • Integral load button
  • Minimal diameter

SMTM MICRO S-TYPE LOAD CELL

Model SMTM is the miniature overload-protected S-type load cell and is excellent to use where size is a constraint.

  • Capacity 5, 25, 50 lbf (20, 100, 200N)
  • It can be used in tension and compression
  • Micro-sized 3/4” x 3/4” x 1/4”
  • Excellent temperature compensation (0.005%/°F Temp Effect on Output)
  • Overload protected

SUPERSC S-TYPE MINIATURE LOAD CELL

The SuperSC is an economical general-purpose load cell with a high force in a compact design. The SuperSC is environmentally sealed and insensitive to off-axis loading. The proprietary form factor is 80% smaller and 50% lighter than other models of s-type load cells. READ: New Technical White Paper Analyzes SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cells

  • 25 to 1000 lbf (100 N to 5 kN)
  • High force in a compact design
  • Environmentally sealed
  • High stiffness
  • Low deflection

ULC ULTRA LOW CAPACITY LOAD CELL

ULC ULTRA LOW CAPACITY LOAD CELL

The Interface model ULC is the world’s most accurate ultra-low capacity load cell measuring loads from 0.1 to 2 N (10.2 grams to 500 gmf).

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Highest performance low capacity load cell in the world
  • Overload protected
  • Safe side load overload to 5X capacity
  • Low extraneous load sensitivity
  • Low-temperature effect on zero (0.002%/°F)
  • Tension and Compression
  • 5 ft integral cable included

MBP OVERLOAD PROTECTED MINIATURE BEAM LOAD CELL

Model MBP series load cells perform similarly to the famous Model MB series with the added safeguard of internal overload protection.

  • 5 lbf to 10 lbf
  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • 10x overload protection
  • Low height – 0.99 in (25.1 mm)
  • 0008%F temp. effect on output
  • 5′ Integral Cable (custom lengths available upon request)
  • NIST Traceable Calibration Certificate

SMALL AND PRECISE MEASUREMENT APPLICATIONS

SPECIMEN RESEARCH

In the medical industry, medical experts need the best equipment to research multiple specimens. In this case, a medical researcher needs to monitor the load force of their linear actuator that uses a needle to collect material from the desired specimen. Interface’s SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cell can easily be installed into the linear test stand. A needle with a gripper on the end is installed on the lower end of the SuperSC. As the needle is pushed to collect specimen material, the load feedback is captured using the 9330 Battery Powered High-Speed Data Logging Indicator through an SD card or another laptop. Read: Specimen Research App Note

AIRBAG CONNECTOR TESTING

Testing airbag connectors functionality is needed to ensure perfect deployment in case of a car crash. Eight to twelve connectors are installed in each vehicle, and tests must be made to clarify whether the connectors are working effectively. These connectors usually work when latched, but that does not ensure the electrical properties are performing. The amount of force needs to be tested to see when an electrical current is connected. Interface’s solution is to attach the WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell to the actuator of the test rig. The airbag connector is placed at the test rig’s bottom. Forces are applied and measured using the 9330 High-Speed Data Logger as the connector is pushed down to latch together. When connected to a computer, results can be logged, downloaded, and reviewed.

COBOT MONITORING SYSTEM

Collaborative robots, or cobots, are offering more manufacturing operations in the industrial packaging industry. Protective cages or fences are no longer needed for safety purposes, but safety testing is still required to ensure humans and robots can work together. Four 3-axis Force Load Cells (creating one 6-axis Force Plate) are installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. Interface suggests installing a 6-axis force plate under the cobot and two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells in the pinchers of the cobot. If a human were to knock into the cobot or have any object stuck in the pincher, the cobot would sense the force measured from the load cells and be programmed to stop immediately.

Interface can serve a wide range of test and measurement applications from millions of pounds force to the most minute. If you want sensors with small, more precise measurement capabilities, please check out our miniature load cell selection guide.

Interface Load Cells for Press Machines

Press machines are designed to measure and apply force for various reasons. Hydraulic presses can be used to shape materials or crush objects. Stamping presses make a visible impression or stamp onto materials, such as a pharmaceutical tablet or logo on a food product. Even sandwich presses follow many of the characteristics of more industrial presses.

Press machines are used across automotive, aerospace, construction, consumer goods, medical, agriculture, mining, and other industries.  The presses produce consistent, cost-effective quality parts, tools, and products. No matter what kind of press machine, it must undergo rigorous testing during the machine-building process. During operation, there must be continuous monitoring of the press force used in each application.

NEW! Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Interface load cells are critical to designing, testing, and using accurate and reliable press machinery. Interface load cells come in various shapes, dimensions, and capacities, allowing press machine builders and engineers to find the best solution for their specific machinery use case. Whether selecting a miniature load button load cell for a small press test or our WMC Load Cell to integrate into the machine, Interface has a range of products for press machine applications.

Benefits of using load cells in press machines:

  • Enhance Operator Safety
  • Prevention of Overloading
  • Improve Consistency
  • Avoid Damage to Equipment
  • Reduce Waste and Scrap
  • Increase Quality and Consistency of Work Product
  • Improve Process Control
  • Extend the Life of the Machine’s Operation
  • Increase Productivity

In a press machine test, the load cell is typically placed between the ram of the press and the die, where it can measure the force being applied to the object. The load cell is usually connected to a readout or display showing the operator the force applied to the part or material. This readout may be a simple analog or digital display, depending on the specific press and load cell being used in the machine. Review our Instrumentation Selection Guide to find the best option for your press.

There are numerous options for the types of load cells used for press machine applications. Hydraulic presses are some of the most common presses that use load cells. These machines are often built to form metal parts, such as gears, shafts, and bearings. The construction industry uses presses to assemble and test concrete structures. These presses are designed to crush and process minerals and ore in mining.

Mechanical presses are typically used for high-precision applications, such as metal stamping and forming. Miniature load cells are used in more precise applications that require smaller measurements. These use cases are often reserved for the medical or consumer goods industry, where the goal is to provide a stamping force for medicine or candy to label the product without crushing or damaging it. A precision Interface load cell ensures that the force applied to the material is consistent and accurate.

Another type of press using a sensor is known as a screw press which forms and compacts materials such as plastic and rubber. These press machines are found in chemical, food, and waste processing facilities.

Depending on the measurement capacity needed in the machine’s application, two popular Interface options are the Rod End Load Cells and Mini WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Load Cells. A rod end load cell is typically installed at the end of the piston or ram, where it can measure the tension or compression force being applied during the pressing operation.  These load cells provide accurate and reliable force measurement in various presses.

Press Forming and Load Monitoring

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

Tablet Forming Machine Optimization

A pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces the tablet forming machine applied to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, form, force, and the motor’s cycle speed. The goal was to improve the productivity and efficiency of the tablet-forming process while reducing losses (i.e., 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. After analyzing the data, the tablet producer could quantify adjustment levels by monitoring which forces produced optimal results for a given cycle speed, die set, and raw material. The enhancement of the data feedback significantly improves productivity and efficiency.

Candy Stamp Force Testing

Manufacturers of hard-shell candies often stamp text or logos on the candy shells. Stamping too hard breaks the candy shell and stamping too light results in an uneven or incomplete imprint. Using a test apparatus with an Interface Model WMC Mini Load Cell attached to hydraulic actuators was discovered to be an accurate way to measure the compression force required. Engineers determined the specific force needed to properly apply the imprint without breaking the candy shell using this solution.

Using Interface load cells on a press machine is a valuable investment that can help to improve the quality of the products being produced, extend the life of the press machine, and reduce the risk of accidents.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Press Forming and Load Monitoring

Press Load Monitoring App Note

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery

 

Wireless Telemetry Systems 101

A wireless telemetry system enables the remote measurement and transmission of data from one location to another without the need for physical wired connections.  As technology advances, wireless telemetry systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, reliable, and secure, enabling them to be applied in various industries and use cases for test and measurement applications.

Interface offers a wide range of wireless telemetry products. Components in wireless telemetry systems typically include sensors, transducers, instrumentation, communication modules, transmitters, displays, and printers.

The sensors measure tension, compression, weight, torque, or any other measurable quantity. Interface utilizes proprietary strain gage sensor technologies. Transducers convert analog signals from sensors into digital data that can be processed and transmitted to instrumentation.

Load cells are commonly used with wireless telemetry systems to measure and transmit data about the force or weight applied to an object. The load cell converts the force exerted on it into an electrical signal, which can then be wirelessly transmitted to a remote monitoring system.

The most popular Interface wireless load cells are our WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load CellWTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin and WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle. Interface works with our customers to develop engineered-to-order wireless solutions by request.

The analog output from the load cell may require signal conditioning to ensure accuracy and compatibility with the wireless telemetry system. Signal conditioning can also be required for amplification, filtering, and analog-to-digital conversion to convert the analog signal into a digital format.

Wireless communications modules are responsible for transmitting the data over wireless channels. It can use various communication technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, depending on the application’s requirements. The transmitter is responsible for wirelessly communicating the load data to the receiving end of the telemetry system.

There are various options for data collection. Data acquisition instrumentation is preferred in force measurement applications to collect vast amounts of data from sensors and transducers and prepare it for transmission.

At the receiving end of the telemetry system, another wireless communication module receives the data from the load cell’s transmitter. Once the data is processed, it can be analyzed, logged, and displayed on a user interface, such as a computer dashboard or a mobile app. This allows operators, engineers, or users to monitor the load values in real-time and make informed decisions based on the data

Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) Solutions

The Interface Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) offers flexibility by eliminating physical connections, making deploying sensors in remote or challenging environments easier. Wireless telemetry systems offer more flexibility in sensor placement and system configuration.

The absence of physical wires allows for easier repositioning or adding new sensors without significant infrastructure changes. This setup is particularly useful in scenarios where it is challenging or impractical to use wired connections, such as in large-scale industrial applications or when monitoring moving or rotating machinery.

Wireless Telemetry System Components

Wireless Transducers

Wireless Transmitters

Wireless Receivers

Wireless Output Modules

Wireless Displays and Instrumentation

This is a list of what types of products are available. The Interface WTS offering continues to grow with added products to the line. Check out the Wireless Modular System Overview for more system details.

Wireless Telemetry System Benefits

The Interface WTS is a wireless telemetry system that transmits high-quality data to single and multiple devices. It offers a wide variety of benefits, including:

  • High accuracy: The WTS offers measurement accuracy of ±0.02% of full scale, ensuring you get accurate readings from your sensors.
  • High speed: A high-speed system can transmit data up to 1000 Hz.
  • High resolution: The WTS has a resolution of 10,000 counts, which means that you can measure even slight changes in force.
  • Multiple configuration options: The WTS can be configured to meet a wide variety of needs. You can choose from a variety of transmitters, output modules, receivers, antennas, and displays.
  • Easy to use: It is a modular system that can be easily expanded to meet the needs of your application. It is supported by our powerful WTS Toolkit configuration software, making it easy to set up and use.
  • IP-rated enclosures: The WTS transmitters and receivers are available in two different-sized enclosures that are rated to IP67, making them dustproof and waterproof.

A major benefit of wireless telemetry systems is the ability to adapt and expand by adding additional sensors or devices without the constraints of wires and cables. They are easy to integrate, and installation is fast for immediate benefits.

Wireless telemetry integrates with the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based platforms, enabling centralized data storage, analysis, and easy access from multiple devices.

Read: Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review

Applications Using Interface Wireless Telemetry System Solutions

Aerospace: Wireless options are preferred for large projects that require careful movement and testing of aircraft, components, and systems. Providing flexibility in real-time data without the cable is a huge benefit. See these WTS solutions for Aircraft Engine Hoist and Airplane Jacking System

Industrial Automation: Load cells with wireless telemetry are commonly used in industrial environments for weighing large objects, such as in material handling, manufacturing, and logistics. Check out IoT Lifting Heavy Objects.

Medical and Healthcare: Wireless medical telemetry systems, such as wearable health devices, are used for patient monitoring. In medical settings, wireless load cells are used in patient lifts and hospital beds to monitor patient weight and movement. Learn more in our Patient Hoyer Lift application.

Agriculture: The agriculture industry uses WTS to monitor crop management programs and measure the weight of produce, animal feed, or livestock. Check out this use case: WTS Equine Bridle Tension System App Note.

Energy: The energy industry utilizes wireless load cells and telemetry products to remotely monitor oil wells, pipelines, and storage facilities. Check out Tank Weighing and Center of Gravity

Infrastructure: Civil engineers use WTS to assess the health and integrity of structures like bridges and dams. Monitoring loads on bridges and cranes to ensure safety and structural integrity. Check out Road Bridge Lift Monitoring.

Manufacturing: There are many examples of manufacturing WTS use cases. Wireless load cells are being used to monitor the weight of products as they move through the production line. This information can be used to ensure that products meet quality standards and identify any potential problems early on by fully utilizing the wireless telemetry capabilities.

Construction: In the construction industry, wireless load cells and telemetry systems monitor the load on beams and columns during construction to ensure that structures are safe and stable and to detect any potential problems before they cause an accident. Check out Jib Crane Tension Monitoring.

Transportation: In the transportation industry, wireless load cells are being used to monitor cargo weight on trucks and trains to ensure that loads are not overloaded and to comply with regulations. Read IoT Waste Management Container Weighing.

Automotive: The industry utilizes several machines and systems to test components used in the making of automobiles. Read how WTS is used in this brake testing application: WTS Brake Pedal Force Testing.

Entertainment: Protecting the artists, equipment, and attendees is top of mind for all venues. Wireless systems monitor environmental conditions, rigging, display mounts, and more. Read Multi-Stage Load Monitoring.

Integrating load cells with wireless telemetry systems provides a convenient and efficient way to monitor force or weight data remotely, allowing for real-time data analysis and enhancing the automation and safety of various processes.

If you are looking for a reliable and accurate wireless telemetry system, the Interface WTS is a great option. It is a powerful and versatile system that can be used in various applications. and industry use cases.

Interface Solutions Aid Pharmaceutical Industry

Among the many highly regulated and incredibly complex industries, the medical industry is highly dependent on tools and resources that are precise and measure with high accuracy.

The medical industry is a broad, encompassing hospitals, medical professionals, payers, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. In each sector, Interface has a long history of providing precision measurement solutions for R&D, prototyping, testing, manufacturing, packaging and monitoring use.

In every use case, safety of patients and quality of products is predicated on extreme accurateness. Throughout a pharmaceutical product’s life cycle, specialized measurement equipment and sensor technologies are used by scientists, engineers, researchers, lab technicians, regulators, quality groups and manufacturers. These instruments are utilized in design and maintenance to provide unmistakable evidence of process quality and safety.

Medical and healthcare companies, including those specifically in pharmaceuticals, turn to Interface because our high accuracy force measurement solutions are designed for reliable performance test and measurement projects. The science used in the pharmaceutical industry depends on quality measurement of force and weight. Interface load cells are designed for these types of precise requirements. There is also tremendous demand for Interface’s ability to customize solutions that meet the exact measurement requirements of these sensitive applications. Visit our new Interface Pharmaceutical Industry Solutions.

Interface supports a range of pharmaceutical applications including:

  • Weighing and distributing
  • Specimen testing equipment
  • Tablet hardness testing
  • Tablet forming machine optimization
  • Capsule filling machines
  • Quality control and safety
  • Mixing
  • Packaging and filling
  • Bioreactors and fermenters

Interface force measurement solutions are used for a variety of pharma-related products and machines that help biotechnology and pharmaceutical product engineers to design, test, and manufacture their products.  When it comes to equipment used in the manufacturing of medicine, Interface products are used to optimize production and reduce waste. Our miniature load cells are often integrated into machines and equipment to provide precision measurements during operations.

Types of Interface Load Cells Used by Pharmaceutical Companies

Pharmaceutical Tablet Forming Machine Optimization

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 the motor’s 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 criterion for given inputs. An Interface 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 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data. 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.

Tablet Hardness Testing for Pharmaceuticals

A pharmaceutical producer wanted to test and monitor the hardness of the pills being created in their tablet forming machine. Interface’s SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was mounted to the hardness device inside the tablet forming machine. The SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was then connected to the 9870 High-Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator to record the force measurements. The tablet producer was able to verify and test the specific hardness needed for their tablets being produced by their tablet forming machine.

Pharmaceutical Tablet Machine Hardness Calibration

A customer wanted to regularly recalibrate tablet hardness testers. The customer needed a miniature load cell the size of a sugar cube that replaces the tablets and fits horizontally in the tablet test-box. Therefore, a special cable exit was important for the compression only calibration application. In the past, the machines had to be rebuilt for calibrations, or a complex mechanism had to be integrated to enable vertical calibration. However, Interface’s MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell measures forces on its side with a special cable exit on the flat side that attaches to the calibration indicator, such as the Interface handheld indicator and datalogger Model 9330. The MCC load-cell calibration set compared the applied forces with the hardness tester to make sure that the tablet hardness tester uses the correct force for future tablet hardness tests. The BlueDAQ software helped to log and compare the data of the MCC reference load cell. The customer successfully verified and calibrated the tablet hardness tester machine horizontally to conduct accurate hardness testing on tablets in the future. Interface’s MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell was perfect due to its small size, and convenient to measure the forces on its side.

Like medical devices, pharmaceutical machines and products must undergo a variety of mission-critical tests before they are safe for distribution to uses. Interface products are selected by the pharmaceutical industry is due to our product’s accuracy and reliability, in addition to our deep experience in supplying solutions to those in the medical business.

Pharmaceuticals_InfographicPoster

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Accuracy Matters for Weighing and Scales

 

Why Product Design Houses Choose Interface

When people think of force measurement, they often think that it is a tool for testing products. However, load cells, torque transducers and multi-axis sensors also play a fundamental role throughout the entire product design process. In fact, many products today actually design force sensors directly into products.

Product design houses are companies that fulfill outsourced design work for a variety of industries. These specialized design houses are contracted to develop and bring products to life.

A product design house primarily focuses on designing physical products or tangible goods. The services they offer to product makers, engineers, manufacturers, and innovators typically involve the entire product development lifecycle, from conceptualization and design to prototyping and manufacturing.

Due to our experience and expertise across multiple industries, Interface collaborates with product design houses in identifying the right sensors and systems to use during different stages of the design process. Whether it is for accurately measuring forces for impact and fatigue testing, identifying precise weights for packaging, modeling consumer usability, or testing material strength, Interface products are chosen by design houses based on their range of capabilities, accuracy, versatility and quality.

How Product Design Houses Use Interface Products

  • Concept Development and Prototyping: Product design houses often use Interface product design files when refining their initial product ideas or creating new concepts. When the products move into physical modeling, Interface products are used for testing and validation at this early stage.
  • Industrial Design: Industrial designers use Interface load cells and other sensor products for measuring functionality of the product.
  • Design Validation and Testing: Conducting tests and simulations to validate the product’s performance, durability, and safety are the number one reason why design houses utilize Interface measurement solutions. Design houses put sensor technologies into products to provide force data for user feedback, to optimize performance, safeguard consumers and activate components.
  • Mechanical Engineering: The mechanical engineering team of a design house will connect with Interface when they are working on the technical phases of product design. Our products are used to help ensure the final product can be fabricated efficiently, performs consistently, and meets applicable safety standards.
  • Materials and Manufacturing: Experts at design houses that are versed in materials science and manufacturing processes will consult with Interface in finding measurement solutions that can access and validate material testing and production systems. Within the manufacturing realm, these devices are employed in quality control processes to ensure consistent product standards.
  • Packaging: If a product has packaging that must meet durability, temperature, pressure or fatigue requirements, Interface will provide sensors and instrumentation for design testing.
  • Regulatory Compliance and Certification Support: For products subject to regulatory standards, design houses utilize high accuracy measurement solutions in creating specifications, reporting, and compliance requirements before moving to market.

These services can vary from one product design house to another, and some design houses may specialize in specific industries or types of products.

Product design houses leverage Interface load cells across various industries to measure and monitor forces and weights with precision. For example, in medical device development, Interface miniature load cells are used for patient lifts, ensuring secure and accurate weight measurements.

Whether used in material testing, robotics, or agricultural machinery, load cells enable product design houses to create innovative solutions tailored to specific industry requirements, enhancing overall product performance and reliability. Here are a few examples of house product designers use force measurement solutions during the design phase.

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

To meet safety protocols in relation to the manufacturing of various furniture products, fatigue testing, shock testing, and proof testing must be rigorously performed before diffusion into the marketplace, and into the homes of consumers. Force testing of furniture products is critical in determining the posted max loads to protect manufacturers from liability due to damage that might result from the misuse of those products and overloading. Using Interface’s SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell along with Interface’s 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator provided a solution that measures the force being applied in fatigue cycle testing of a furniture product, in this case, testing the rocking mechanism in an office chair. Throughout the testing phase, changes were made to the design to improve the safety and life of the furniture, ensuring product quality and protecting the manufacturer from future liability.

Self-Checkout Kiosk Functional Testing

To assess the design of self-checkout kiosks, part of the development cycle is to ensure the weighing feature is functioning properly with the right amount of sensitivity when customers want to weigh products like fruits or vegetables. The designers also needed a system that measures the force it takes for the self-checkout kiosk to activate a response for consumers. Interface suggested installing SSB Load Beam Load Cells under the plate where items are weighed. When connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, force results are wirelessly transmitted to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station on the customer’s PC. Data can be logged and graphed with included Log100 software. Interface’s wireless force system successfully measured the amount of force it took for the self-checkout kiosk to react and ensure it is functioning properly.

 

Design of a Prosthetic Foot

In the design of this medical device, the product designers need to know how the foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. To measure this, Interface’s 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The 3A120 was then connected to the BSC4D Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Computer Interface Module. Using this solution, data was logged for X, Y, and Z axis. The design house was able to review the results and identify premature flat foot and dead spots during foot’s production for consumer use. They utilized this vital information to make improvements to the design.

Interface works with design houses and product design engineers across the continuum of a product’s development through go-to-market. We supply standard measurement sensors like our load cells, along with custom solutions that are uniquely engineered for a particular use case.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

Interface Mini Load Cells Growing in Product Use and Testing

Center of Gravity Testing in Robotics Demands Precision Load Cells

As the use of robotics expands across industries and the types of robotic motions grow in complexity, advanced testing using quality measurement solutions is essential. Contact momentum and gross measurements of indicators are not enough for sophisticated robotics. With the requirements for robots and cobots to have fluid and inertial movement capabilities, control and feedback demand maximized feedback and resolution.

Related to the testing of inertia, load shifting, and interaction, is defining the center of gravity for robots’ actions and applications. The center of gravity (CoG) of a robotic system is a critical factor in its stability and performance.

The CoG is the point at which the entire weight of the system is evenly distributed. If the CoG is not properly located, the system may be unstable and prone to tipping over, which could damage the robot.

For any robotic application that deploys advanced mobility features, the center of gravity can affect the way the system moves. It can also impact the exactness of its movements. Thus, it is essential to use measurement solutions that are highly precise. See: Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors.

Why Robotic Engineers Care About CoG Testing

  • Stability: The CoG is a major factor in determining the stability of a robot. If the CoG is not properly located, the robot may be unstable and prone to tipping over. This can be a safety hazard, and it can also damage the robot. It is an expensive mistake to not have stability proven before moving forward with the design.
  • Performance: The CoG can also affect the performance of a robot. If the CoG is located too high, the robot may be less maneuverable. If the CoG is located too low, the robot may be less stable. By optimizing the CoG, robotic engineers can improve the performance of the robot and use for actions that rely on exact movement.
  • Safety: In some industries, such as manufacturing, medical and aerospace, there are safety regulations that require robots to have a certain CoG. For example, in the automotive industry, robots that are used to weld cars must have a CoG that is below a certain point. By testing the CoG of their robots, robotic engineers can ensure that they are meeting safety regulations.

There are different methods for determining the CoG of a robotic system. One common method is to use strain gage load cells. Not all load cells are designed for precision measurement. Interface specializes in precision. Center of gravity testing demands strict measurement. For example, Interface compression load cells are often used in center of gravity testing for robotics because they are very accurate and can measure remarkably small forces.

Interface load cells measure force, and they can be used to determine the weight of a system at different points. By measuring the weight of a system at different points, it is possible to calculate the location of the CoG.

Interface load cells used for center of gravity testing are typically in our miniature load cell line, due to the size of the installation and testing environment. Miniature load cells are easily embedded into robotics, as well as can be used for continuous monitoring.

Surgical Robotic Haptic Force and CoG

Robots used for surgery often utilize haptic force feedback for ensuring that the surgeon does not apply too much force, creating harm or greater impact on the patient. Haptic is the use of force, vibration, or other tactile stimuli to create the sensation of touch. In the context of invasive surgery, haptic force feedback from robotics is used to provide the surgeon with feedback about the forces they are applying to the patient’s tissue. CoG testing can help to prevent the robotic arm from tipping over during surgery.

CoG testing is important for haptic force feedback in invasive surgery because it ensures that the robotic arm is stable and does not tip over during surgery. The CoG is the point at which the entire weight of the robotic arm is evenly distributed. If the CoG is not properly located, the robotic arm may be unstable and prone to tipping over. This can be a safety hazard for the surgeon and the patient.

CoG testing is also used to optimize the design of the robotic arm for haptic force feedback. CoG testing using precision load cells can verify the performance of the robotic arm in haptic force feedback applications. After the robotic arm has been designed and optimized, CoG can ensure that the robotic arm is able to provide the surgeon with the feedback they need to perform surgery safely and accurately.

Robotic Center of Gravity on Production Line

A company is developing a new robotic arm that will be used to simulate human behavior on a manufacturing product line. The robotic arm will be used to pick and place products, and it is important that the arm is stable and does not tip over. To ensure the stability of the robotic arm, the company needs to determine the CoG of the arm. The load cell is placed on the arm, and the arm will be moved through a range of motions. The data from the load cell will be used to calculate the CoG of the arm.

CoG Testing and Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-axis load cells are growing in use for robotics testing to provide data across 2, 3 or 6 axes at any given time. These high functioning sensors are ideal for robotic tests where there are simulations of human behaviors. This is detailed in Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life.

To perform CoG testing using precision load cells, a robotic system can be placed on a platform that is supported by the load cells. We call these force plates. The load cells measure the weight of the system at different points, and the data is then used to calculate the location of the CoG. Visit our 6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm application note to learn more about force plates and multi-axis sensors.


Benefits Of Using Precision Load Cells for CoG Testing:

  • Interface precision load cells provide advanced sensors functional beyond contact and simple indicator measurement, to maximize robotic feedback and optimize performance.
  • Interface precision load cells can provide accurate measurements of the weight of a robotic system at different points.
  • Interface precision load cells are repeatable and dependable, which means that the results of CoG testing are consistent when testing robots and cobots.
  • Interface precision load cells are easy to use, which makes them a practical option for CoG testing and integration into the actual robot.

There are several benefits to using an Interface Mini Load Cells, like our ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell or MBI Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cell for high accuracy CoG testing.

First, the miniature load cell is small and lightweight, which makes it easy to attach to the robotic arm. Second, the load cell is designed for precision measurement, which ensures that the CoG of the arm is accurately determined. Third, the quality of Interface precision load cells provides repeatable and dependable measurement, which means that the results of CoG testing are consistent.

Using a miniature load cell of high accuracy is a valuable way to test the CoG of a robot used to simulate human behavior on a product line. This ensures that the robot is stable and does not tip over, which is critical for safety and efficiency.

In addition to testing the CoG of a robotic arm, other tests for these types of robotics include the weight of the arm, the distribution of the weight of the arm, and the friction between the arm and the surface it is moving on. By considering these factors, it is possible to accurately determine the CoG of a robotic arm and ensure that it is stable and safe to operate.

There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of CoG testing using load cells, including the design, capacity and range of measurement of the load cells, the stability of the platform, and the distribution of the weight of the system.

CoG testing is an important part of the design and development of robotic systems. By determining the CoG of a system, it is possible to improve its stability and performance. If you are interested in learning more about CoG testing using Interface precision load cells, please contact us.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Types of Robots Using Interface Sensors

Robotic Grinding and Polishing

Collaborative Robots Using Interface Sensors

Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors

Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life

Robotic Surgery Force Feedback

IoT Industrial Robotic Arm App Note

Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Reduced Gravity Simulation

Tank Weighing and Center of Gravity App Note

 

Automation-and-Robotics-Case-Study

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.