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Interface Sensors Used for Internet of Things

What is creating the increasing demands for sensor technologies today? One thing is just using sensors in things, putting sensors into things that didn’t use to utilize sensors. Advancing the use of data in objects, equipment, consumer goods, machines and tools is increasing the needs for advanced and reliable measurement devices. It’s why demand for Interface products used in Internet of Things applications are expanding rapidly.

Sensor data is being used through the entire life cycle of a product design, from early design to testing, through production and even aftermarket sales. The valuable insights that engineers and manufacturers gather from real-time user data and feedback in both test and actual market use is advancing iterations, use cases, and smart application types.  Interface is seeing this in the demands for miniature sensors used by OEMs and wireless technologies. The smarter the device, the better the sensor. That is why Interface is a preferred partner when IoT needs accurate information to make smart decisions.

Big data along with advancing IoT communication capabilities is presenting opportunities for manufacturing to use efficient, accurate, and cost-effective sensor solutions designed for making products and machines smarter. Users of IoT solutions and manufacturers of IoT products are using valuable sensory data to constantly measure applied forces, helping with innovation and redesigns. It’s being used for all types of smart devices, industrial automation robots, medical equipment, and even wireless mobile testing labs.

What type of products are being used in IoT?

We are seeing Interface load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, DAQ and instrumentation systems are designed for all kinds of advanced IoT applications. While many are taking advantage of our expanding line of wireless and Bluetooth load cells and instrumentation, we also see numerous requests for our Mini Load Cells to be designed into the actual product.

Interface has been supplying these sensor technologies for years. To capture some of growing demands miniaturized and wireless sensors, we’ve recently launched a new solutions area on our website, Internet of Things. We explore Industry 4.0 and wireless applications, offer a new Interface IoT Solutions brochure and highlight products that are used for IoT use cases.

Our solutions align with the requirements of IoT and Industry 4.0.  You see this in the array of capabilities in our products, including:

  • Wireless communications and enabled sensors for real-time collection
  • Miniature load cells and sensor technologies for modernization and innovation of product designs
  • Robotic sensor solutions for use in autonomous and mounted devices
  • OEM designed sensor solutions to use for stability and product intelligence
  • Intrinsically safe products used in harsh and changing environments
  • Safety and regulatory sensors for constant monitoring
  • Bluetooth and wireless telemetry system components used for monitoring and testing
  • Stainless steel and rugged designs for different temperatures and climates
  • Advanced instrumentation and software for accurate and reliable data capture
  • OEM engineered products for high-production counts

Whether you are using Interface measurement products for prototype testing, temperature testing, component and usability studies or small-scale testing machines, we have solutions that make your tests cordless, digital, and using internet speed to capture data.

Recent IoT Applications Using Interface Measurement Solutions

  • Smart factory tools and machines
  • Wireless testing equipment for labs
  • Autonomous vehicle components
  • Robots and robotic parts
  • Weighing and lifting apparatus
  • Safety regulation feedback and sensing devices
  • Predictive usability and durability testing
  • Fitness and health equipment use
  • Touch screen testing
  • Home health feedback sensors

To learn more about our products used for IoT applications, contact our application engineering experts.

Additional Resources

Wireless Telemetry System

WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell

WTS Brake Pedal Force Testing

IoT Solution That Monitors Rigging and Lifting in Real-Time Showcased at OTC50

Advancements in Instrumentation Webinar Recap

Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment

Faces of Interface Featuring Tim Matteson

The Faces of Interface is an important series for the Interface IQ Blog because it highlights the talented people that keep Interface going strong. In this new ForceLeaders feature we interviewed Tim Matteson, product quality and improvement engineer for our Mini OEM product line, to learn a little bit more about his history and what he’s working on these days.

Interface’s Tim Matteson grew up in the small town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (and yes, there are many cheese jokes here) between Green Bay and Milwaukee. He was fond of the electrical and mechanical world, having grown up with a father who owned an electronics business and often doing work for him. This interest drove Tim towards mechanical fields and hobbies.

Immediately after school, Tim went to work for a printing company called Action Printing in Wisconsin. His job was to keep the large, fast, and loud presses in working order. Through this work he learned he had a proficiency for troubleshooting and problem-solving. Tim worked his way through the ranks at Action Printing, eventually becoming the assistant plant manager where he managed a crew and ensured production remained efficient.

Eventually, and after a trip to warm and sunny Arizona, Tim and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery. Tim moved to Arizona shortly after the vacation and started working at another commercial printing company, Signature Offset. He spent 10-years there as the operations manager, and while he enjoyed his time with the company, the decline of the printing industry had Tim looking for a new opportunity.

Tim joined Interface in August 2010 as our second shift manager, which entailed keep an eye on production throughout our facility. After a few years, he moved to become the department supervisor of one of our most popular product lines, Interface Mini Load Cells. He then moved up again, becoming a business unit manager. In this role, he oversaw production for three different product lines, including our popular minis. And now today, Tim runs the Mini OEM product line as the product quality and improvement engineer.

In this role, Tim oversees the production of one of Interface’s fastest-growing business units in OEMs. His job is to ensure that production is running as efficiently as possible and that every product that leaves the floor has the same premium quality that Interface is known for in the industry. Tim says that the thing he enjoys most about working at Interface is the fact that he gets to put his problem-solving and troubleshooting skills to work every day. He’s also dealing with a lot of detailed drawings of Interface products, which brings back fond memories of his drafting days.

In his free time, Tim likes to spend his time outdoors exploring Arizona. One of he and his wife’s favorites spots to hike is the Superstition Mountains. The couple has also hiked the Grand Canyon 10 times now, often camping out at our state’s Wonder of the World. He says that he and his wife probably spend so much time outdoors nowadays because they’ve escaped the winter weather and can enjoy time outside nearly all year long.

Tune in each month as we feature another Interface employee or partner. To view the entire series, visit our ForceLeaders page here.

UPDATE:  Tim has received his Greenbelt Certification, you can read more about his great accomplishment here.

Advancing Load Button Load Cell Capabilities with ConvexBT

Demands for high precision testing utilized for compact designs and in confined spaces is growing. The requirements for quality, accuracy and most importantly reliability are what has driven the experienced engineers at Interface to create the newly released ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cell product line.

The revolutionary design of the ConvexBT is a first of its kind load button load cell, providing better temperature resistance and more enhanced eccentric load rejection. Miniature load cells categorized as load buttons have been sensitive to off-axis, eccentric or misaligned loads. This means if the load is not exactly perpendicular to the surface it is resting on, the data could become skewed or inaccurate.

Interface designed the ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cell to confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell providing superior performance in comparison to similar products on the market in repeatability, better data and reproducible results.

As technology advances, there is a growing demand to make devices and products more compact and convenient. This trend is happening across industries and is especially prevalent in medical, industrial automation and products reliant on advanced communications technology. To design and validate these products, our customers need force-sensing solutions that can fit in confined spaces and provide extremely accurate data. This is the driving force behind the development of ConvexBT, the next generation in force measurement device.” – Ted Larson, VP product management and marketing, Interface.

CONVEXBT FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS

The newly released 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 non-linearity 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

Other load cell load buttons designs have also been extremely sensitive to temperature conditions. Interface has redesigned its ConvexBT ultra-precision product line of load buttons to ensure that this is no longer something the user has to account for by taking the sensing technology disrupted by temperature out of the cable, and designing it directly into the load button.

The new available ConvexBT models include the following capacities:

  1. ConvexBT Model LBSU-10 lbs 3/8″
  2. ConvexBT Model LBSU-25 lbs 3/8″
  3. ConvexBT Model LBSU-50 lbs 3/8″
  4. ConvexBT Model LBSU-100 lbs 1/2″
  5. ConvexBT Model LBSU-250 lbs 1/2″

Additional model capacities will be available this year.  You can view the complete product specifications as well as technical guide by visiting the product page here.

ConvexBT was developed through a combination of intense research into growing technology trends in force measurement and actively collaborating with our customers to understand their unique challenges, By introducing the industry’s most advanced and versatile ultra-precision load button load cells, we are solving the test and measurement challenges associated with miniaturization of existing and new technologies.” – Greg Adams, CEO at Interface

The revolutionary ultra-precision line of ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cells uniquely uses multi-point calibration for testing force on miniaturized products and within confined spaces where accuracy is paramount to success and safety. The requirements are critical to common buyers of miniature load cells, especially for use in medical devices, robotics and in industrial automation applications

In addition to its ability to solve test and measurement challenges with compact devices, another key benefit of ConvexBT is its versatility in that it can be used as a traditional test and measurement solution. It can also be installed into OEM components and devices as an advanced miniature sensing solution to collect accurate real-time force data on the product as it is in use.

ConvexBT is available now under the product family of Interface Mini® Load Cells. The product is part of a growing line of Interface Load Button Load Cells. The new ConvexBT model LBSU specifications are available here: /product-category/load-button-load-cells/.

Read more about Off-Axis Loads and Temperature Sensitive Applications here.

Addressing Off-Axis Loads and Temperature Sensitive Applications

As technology progresses, one of the main differences we see over years and years of iteration on a wide range of consumer and commercial technology is miniaturization. There are hundreds of thousands of examples of advancing technology that went from the room-size of a mainframe decades ago, to a handheld device today. As technology grows more compact and convenient, the equipment used to design, test and manufacture these devices has to follow suit.

This is one of the driving factors for Interface to increase the product types and capabilities in our Load Button Load Cells and Interface Mini Load Cell products. Interface’s Load Button Load Cells are designed for customers who require the measurement of forces in a very confined space. They provide the most accuracy in as little space as possible. Diameters range from 1 inch to 3 inches, with heights from 0.39 inch to 1.5 inches.

For many years, load button load cells have been sensitive to off-axis, eccentric or misaligned loads. This means that if the load is not exactly perpendicular to the surface it’s resting on, the data could become skewed or inaccurate. All on-axis load generates some level, no matter how small, of off-axis extraneous components. This can cause a variety of challenges including slight inaccuracies and reduction of the load cells overload capacity.

With Interface’s family of load button load cells, we bring premium accuracy and repeatability, even under eccentric angular loading. The shaped load button has a spherical radius to help confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell. Our design engineers and force measurement experts have purposefully tested applications under a wide variety of load conditions to ensure that the our load button series can continue to deliver premium performance. We have been extremely pleased with the results and continue to advance our offerings, including the soon to be released precision focused ConvexBT load button load cells.

The load button load cells’ size has in the past precluded the use of internal temperature compensation. We have redesigned our ultra precision product line of load buttons to ensure that this is no longer something the user has to account for when testing a product in certain environmental conditions.

Interface engineers have eliminated this issue by taking the technology out of the load button load cells cable and designing it back into the product. This ensures that temperature-sensitive applications do not suffer from errors caused by the load cell being exposed to different environmental conditions than the cable.

These new features open new possibilities to test compression force on a broader range of products and environments. To learn more about our ultra precision Load Cell Load Buttons and how it can make a difference in your design and testing process when dealing with tight and confined spaces, contact our Application Engineer experts here.

To see the complete line of Load Button Load Cells, visit here.  Watch for the release announcement of our new ultra precision ConvexBT product coming out this month.

Contributors:  James Richardson, Interface Mechanical Engineering Manager and Ted Larson, VP Product Management and Marketing

Source:  Interface Load Cell Field Guide

 

Load Button Load Cells 101

Manufactured devices, technology advancements and product designs are getting smaller and smaller as innovations demand less space to do more for their consumers. As engineers are designing products with miniaturized components, they also need high quality test and measurement solutions that produce accurate results within these smaller testing spaces.

Interface has created a series Load Button Load Cells to meet these exact requirements. These load buttons are designed and manufactured to specifically fit into small and confined spaces, providing the precision-based measurements as expected from larger load cells.

Interface Load Button Load Cells are compact strain gauge-based sensors used in a wide variety of applications, including test and measurement and for general measurement applications. Interface standard LBM and LBS Load Button Load Cells can fulfill the need for compression force measurements at a very respectable precision level for most applications.

Product diameters range from 1 inch to 3 inches, with heights from 0.39 inch to 1.5 inches. The shaped load button load cell has a spherical radius to help confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell. And while these products are small, they are capable of measuring compression forces from 10 lbf all the way to 50,000 lbf. The spherical radius of our Load Cell Load Buttons also help to confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell.

Interface Load Button Load Cells 

Interface’s Custom Solutions Team and Product Engineers can also help to design a specific size and capacity to fit our customer’s exact requirements. Let us know what you need by contacting us here.

Load Button Load Cells Functionality and Proper Use

Applications that use compression loads on load button load cells requires an understanding of the distribution of forces between surfaces of various shapes and finishes.

The first and most important rule is to always avoid applying a compression load flat-to-flat from a plate to the top surface of a load button hub. The reason for this is simple, it’s impossible to maintain two surfaces parallel enough to guarantee that the force will end up being centered on the primary axis of the load button load cell. Any slight misalignment, even by a few micro-inches, could move the contact point off to one edge of a hub, thus inducing a large moment into the measurement.

Minor misalignments merely shift the contact point slightly off the centerline. In addition to compensating for misalignment, the use of a load button load cell of the correct spherical radius is necessary to confine the stresses at the contact point within the limits of the materials. Generally, load button load cells and bearing plates are made from hardened tool steel, and the contacting surfaces are ground to a finish of 32µ inch RMS. If you use too small of a radius it will cause a failure of the material at the contact point, and a rough finish will result in galling and wear of the loading surfaces.

Interface Load Button Load Cells in the Real World 

The evolving world of technology and product design has created a high demand for these types of small and accurate testing equipment. Innovative industries are looking at new ways to fit more capabilities into a single device that is the same size or even smaller. OEM applications that require this type of testing equipment include medical devices, drones, industrial automation, packaging and robotics.

We have highlighted a few examples of how Interface Load Button Load Cells have been used in the medical industry to solve complex challenges related to measuring compression force in confined spaces.

Measuring Vascular Clamp Force

A customer in the medical industry wanted to test various types of vascular clamps to see which type would generate the best clamping force for surgery. Using a Model LBS Load Cell, the clamps were secured onto the compression button. A Model 9330 High Speed Data Logging Indicator provided compression force measurements and allowed the customer to determine the most appropriate clamp type. Read the full application use case here.

Optimizing Surgical Stapler Force

Another customer needed to optimize the design of their surgical stapler to make it easier and more efficient for a medical professional to use. The original equipment manufacturer mounted the surgical stapler onto a test rig to enable force verification, and then connected a Model LBMU Compression Load Cell Button to a Model 9890 Load Cell Indicator. The indicator would collect compression force data from the stapler, and that data was then analyzed to allow the OEM to determine the design changes needed to reduce the amount of force applied to use the stapler.  Learn more about this application here.

For more information on our expanding lineup of Load Button Load Cells, see the overview below. In addition, say tuned in to the IQ Blog for an exciting announcement about new Interface Load Button Load Cell technology.  Most standard Load Button Load Cells are available to ship within 2 business days. Contact us for more information or visit our QS48 now.

Click here to see the full line of Load Button Load Cells.  

Mini Load Cells 101

With the miniaturization and compact size of many products and technologies used in today’s market, it is critical that sensors are designed to fit all types of applications both big and small. This is especially true in the medical, aerospace, industrial automation, and automotive industries.

Interface customer’s requirements for miniature load cells has rapidly expanded the diversification of load cell products that are “mini” in capacities as low as 0.11 lbf / 0.5 N and as high as 100 kN. Interface Mini Load Cell solutions include miniature beam load cells, miniature sensors, load buttons, load washers, tension force mini load cells, S-type load cells, and sealed stainless steel load cells.

Interface’s mini load cells are used for customers who are looking for smaller cells, or for those designing for light touch or lightweight products. Our miniature load cells provide exceedingly accurate measurements similar to our full-size load cells, all with proprietary alloy strain gages. Mini’s are available standard and can be modified, as well as completely customized depending on the exact requirements of the client’s project or embedding into original equipment. Decreased size should never equal less accurate measurements. Our customers can expect Interface miniature load cells perform with the exact quality and accuracy as all our larger load cells.

To provide you with more insight, here is a quick overview of some of Interface’s most popular mini load cells and their unique capabilities. You can download the full Interface Mini Load Cell brochure here.

Load Buttons

Interface’s load button cells are designed for customers who require the measurement of forces in a very confined space. They are designed to provide the most accuracy in as little space as possible. The smaller LBM or LBS can fulfill the need for force measurements at a very respectable precision level that is enough for most applications. Diameters range from 1 inch to 3 inches, with heights from 0.39 inch to 1.5 inches. The shaped load button has a spherical radius to help confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell.

S-Beam Cells

This line is designed for customers looking for extremely compact load cells that still offer great accuracy. The SM (Super-Mini) series load cells are a low-cost, yet accurate, cell with a straight-through loading design. The SSM (Sealed Super-Mini) series offers the same benefits as the SM series with a rugged S-Cell with a splash-proof cover. Both series give exceptional results in applications that can be designed to operate the cell in tension. Some caution should be exercised when using these cells if they will be compressed to ensure that the loading does not introduce side loads into the cell.

Bending Beam Cell

With Interface’s bending beam cell, the cell is bolted to support through the two mount holes. The cell is designed to concentrate the forces into the area where the gages are mounted on the top and bottom faces of the beam. Our line of bending beam cells also have a splash-proof sealing cover.

Double Bending Beam Cell

The double bending beam cell from Interface is a useful variation on the traditional bending beam. In general, this configuration is much more user-friendly because of its short vertical dimension and compact design. It is especially useful for applications where the cells could easily be damaged by tension/compression overload. The variation is achieved by forming two bending beams into one cell. This allows the loading fixtures to be attached at the threaded holes on the centerline, between the beams, which makes the sensitive axis pass through the cell on a single line of action.

Interface mini load cells can be ordered in different sizes, with a wide range of capacities. Many of the minis can be used in off-the-shelf applications. We are also happy to work with customers to custom design load cells to fit their exact needs for size, weight, and accuracy.

For more information on Interface’s Mini Load Cells, visit our web product page or review our product brochure below for detailed specifications on every product.

Mini Load Cell Brochure_6-Page

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