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Conveyor Belts Use Load Cells to Keep Things Moving

Conveyor belts are incredibly versatile machines with numerous applications across industries, constantly moving materials from one point to another. During some of the busiest packaging and shipment times of the year, it is a good reminder of why measurement solutions keep things moving fast and efficiently.

Critical for automated manufacturing, conveyor belts rely on precise weight distribution, timing, and speed of the conveyor belt operation to keep production in sync.

Conveyors are used for sorting and merging systems, inspection systems, and automated loading and unloading using robotic arms or other equipment to handle materials efficiently. Their versatility and adaptability make them critical in modernizing industries, including construction, mining, manufacturing, logistics, maritime, and agriculture.

Boxes, cans, bottles, and other packages glide smoothly through packaging lines on conveyor belts, ensuring efficient sorting, labeling, and palletizing. These machines efficiently load and unload ships, trucks, and trains with bulk materials, minimizing manual labor and maximizing throughput. Conveyor belts are crucial in sorting and distributing packages in warehouses and postal facilities, speeding up delivery processes.

It is also important to recognize how specialized conveyor belts transport people in public spaces. Conveyor belts seamlessly whisk luggage from check-in counters to aircraft and vice versa, ensuring a smooth passenger experience.

Force measurement can be applied to testing and monitoring conveyor belts in several ways. One of the most common ways is by using load cells to measure the alignment of the belt. Load cells can detect subtle changes in belt behavior, such as uneven loading or misalignment, which can indicate internal damage like cracks or tears. Early identification of these issues allows for timely interventions, preventing further damage and costly repairs.

Testing the conveyor belt rotation or ability to hold weight is a requirement for equipment makers and engineers. Machine builders use Interface sensors in the design of conveyors. In addition to monitoring the system during peak usage, load cells are instrumental in testing the equipment’s quality and durability.

Load cells on the head and tail pulley shafts continuously monitor belt tension for preventative maintenance. This data helps identify deviations from optimal tension levels, leading to premature belt wear, pulley misalignment, and energy inefficiency.  You can prevent costly repairs and downtime by addressing these issues early on.

Conveyor systems often have multiple belts working in tandem. Load cells can monitor the load distribution across these belts, ensuring balanced operation and preventing the overloading of individual components.

Conveyor Belt Adhesion Test

A customer wanted to test the adhesion strength between a conveyor belt’s many layers and textiles. They wanted to conduct a separation test from the rubber of the conveyor belt from the other layers. They also wanted a wireless solution. Interface suggested a SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell to be installed in the customer’s tensile test load frame, where it measured the forces applied as the test was conducted and the layers were pulled and separated. When connected to the WTS-AM-1F Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, the data was wirelessly transmitted to WTS-BS-5 Wireless Analog Output Receiver. The WTS-BS-5 then connected to the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator to display, graph, and log the data with the supplied BlueDAQ software. With Interface’s force measurement system and solution, the customer successfully tested the strength of the adhesion applied to their conveyor belts through the layer separation test.

Force measurement sensors can be built into machines as a real-time monitoring system. This type of force application can let engineers know if there is a problem with the system that needs to be taken down for repairs by reviewing data and seeing discrepancies in the normal forces on the conveyor belt. This is particularly important in maintaining efficiency on production lines to ensure minimal downtown.

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt equipped with PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells and 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and ControllerFood And Beverage Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belts for the food and beverage industry must be maintained and properly aligned to transport products. A load cell is needed to prevent misalignment and to reduce the risk of damage or malfunction of the belt while in operation. Interface suggested installing PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells onto the conveyor belt. They are designed for easy maintenance. The PBLCs measured and monitored the force of the conveyor belt while preventing misalignment. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells successfully maintained the proper alignment of the conveyor belt for the food and beverages being transported while also monitoring the forces being implemented.

In automotive, electronics, and other production settings, conveyor belts move components and products along the assembly line, facilitating efficient workflow and ensuring precise positioning.

Conveyor belts easily handle diverse materials, from transporting heavy metal sheets in steel mills to delicate circuit boards in electronics factories. They are the go-to for transporting vast quantities of mined ores, coal, grains, and other bulk materials over long distances and uneven terrain.

Conveyor belts move waste and recyclables efficiently in processing facilities, ensuring efficient sorting and processing. Industrial automation robotics often supports this as part of advanced conveyor systems.

Automating Conveyor Production Lines

Collaborative robots, known as cobots, are used to working alongside humans next to conveyor belts on the production line. Extensive safety measures must be taken for the conveyor and the robot for optimal efficiency and operations. A multi-axis sensor is a tool for this use case. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell is installed at the head of the cobot. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell interfaces with the BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for data collection of force and torque measurements on the line. The customer connected the BX8’s analog outputs to their control system. As a result, the customer can log, display, and graph these measurements during the robot and belt operations. The results are sent to the customer’s control system via analog or digital output.

Interface products are commonplace in these types of applications. Force measurement is integral to advanced manufacturing systems like conveyor belts. Our sensors are utilized to ensure accuracy and repeatability throughout the production line.

We understand manufacturing test and measurement applications, and our custom OEM solutions are ideal for manufacturers who require direct installation to monitor weight, force, and torque into conveyor belt systems.  Contact our application experts to see how we can help you modernize your conveyor systems with advanced sensor technologies.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Manufacturing Solutions

Interface Solutions for Heavy Equipment

Heavy Machinery Solutions

Production Line Solutions

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Examining Machine Builder Applications

 

Force Measurement Solutions for the Forestry Industry

The natural resources industry spans multiple subsectors, including minerals and mining, aquacultures, environmental services, water management, agribusiness, energy, and forestry.

Within the forestry sector, sensor technologies aid in optimizing operations, ensuring safety, and enhancing efficiency. Sensors are used in forestry heavy equipment, forest and timber management tools, logging machines, wood product manufacturing, pulp and paper manufacturing, and the recycling of forest products.

Interface force measurement solutions have a role across the continuum of forestry, from providing universal load cells to accurately measure the performance of tools and machinery during operations to supplying torque transducers for testing vehicles and equipment used in managing and securing resources.

Interface products are ideal for forest management, harvesting, and processing use cases, whether designing heavy-duty machinery using load cells to prevent overloading or protecting operators with sensor-based alarm systems and monitoring tools.

Interface devices are used in tree harvesting equipment to measure the force required to cut down trees accurately, ensuring minimal waste and maximizing resource utilization. With heavy machinery, such as log skidders and loaders, force sensors can precisely measure the weight of logs and timber transported. This data aids in preventing overloading, which can damage the equipment and negatively impact the environment. Interface sensors, including our load pins and load shackles, are also used in crane and winch systems to measure weight and load in lifting and lowering logs with the appropriate force.

Timber Weighing and Harvesting

A timber company needed a weighing system for sustainable forest management and to measure the amount of timber harvested. Weighing and monitoring harvested timber helps with resource monitoring and contributes to the overall sustainability of the forestry industry. Interface suggested creating a truck weighing scale to weigh logging trucks before and after loading timber. Multiple SSLP Stainless Steel LowProfile Universal Load Cells with WTS-BS-1E Wireless Transmitter Modules were installed under the weighing bridge. The load cells transmitted the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with the provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display could also display the weight inside for the driver to see in real-time. Results were viewed on the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System used in the logging truck weighbridge was highly accurate and efficient, creating better resource management and conservation. Read more here.

TIP: Check out the Wonderful World of Wireless webinar for additional tips and products that work in remote forestry environments.

Monitoring systems are another important application in forestry that utilizes Interface products to monitor the health and stability of trees. By implementing Interface sensors to measure the force exerted on tree trunks due to wind or other environmental factors, forest managers can assess the risk of tree fall and make informed decisions about tree removal to prevent accidents and property damage.

Forestry Applications Using Interface Measurement Solutions

Forest Management: This involves planning and implementing strategies to maintain and enhance the health and productivity of forests. It includes reforestation, forest inventory, pest control, and wildfire management.

Timber Harvesting: Timber harvesting is cutting and removing trees from forests for various purposes, including producing lumber, pulpwood, and other wood products. Sustainable harvesting practices are essential to ensure the long-term health of forests.

Wood Processing: Once harvested, trees are processed into wood products such as lumber, plywood, particleboard, and wood pulp. These products are used in construction, furniture manufacturing, and paper production.

Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs): Besides wood, forests provide a wide range of non-timber forest products, including fruits, nuts, mushrooms, medicinal plants, and wildlife. These products are often harvested sustainably for food, medicine, and other purposes.

Bioenergy: Forest biomass, such as wood chips and sawdust, can be a renewable energy source for biofuels and biomass power generation.

Forestry_InfographicPoster

Interface load cells, instrumentation, load pins and shackles, and our wireless telemetry systems are utilized and implemented across various forestry applications, contributing to sustainable practices. If you want to learn more about Interface’s Natural Resources Industry solutions, please contact our application engineers for assistance.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Natural Resources Brochure

Digging Into Interface Mining Industry Solutions

Heavy Truck Test and Measurement Solutions

Interface Measurement Solutions for the Natural Resources Industry

Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar

Lifting

Crane Block Safety Animated Application Note

Weighing Solutions 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

 

Digging Into Interface Mining Industry Solutions

Sensors are integral to ensuring the safety of mines, including underground, open surface, placer, dredging, highwall, mountaintop, and in-situ. However, one of the most valuable uses for Interface sensor technologies is assuring that equipment is adequately tested, controlled, and monitored to ensure safe operations.

The mining industry is wrought with hazards and extreme environments that can put a job site at risk and, more critically, endanger miners’ lives. Mining equipment and tools manufacturers turn to Interface for various transducers designed for use in unique and hazardous environments. These measurement instruments are essential in meeting the rising safety requirements of the mining industry and significantly improve the quality and reliability of mining equipment.

Interface force and torque measurement products help to efficiently and safely extract and process metals, gemstones, limestone, chalk, coal, oil shale, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay.

Interface products are essential for designing, testing, and utilizing mining equipment, machines, components, and systems. Our load cells, instrumentation, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, load shackles, and tension links are used in tools and equipment for the mining industry.

The data gathered from Interface measurement solutions ultimately helps monitor the mine’s structural supports, optimize digging and lifting processes, reduce wear and tear on equipment, and prevent overloading, which can lead to costly downtime and maintenance. This data is typically gathered throughout one of two stages of the product cycle: during thorough product testing or while monitoring the product in real-time. The mining industry heavily utilizes both use cases.

For example, Interface load cells are used for conveyor systems, which rely on force measurement to monitor the tension and load on conveyor belts. Load cells can also be installed on mining shovels, draglines, and excavators to measure the load on the buckets or booms.

Excavator Test and Measurement Applications

Load cells and torque transducers are used to test the performance of excavators. This includes testing the excavator’s digging force, lifting capacity, and swing torque. An Interface load cell can accurately measure the force exerted by the excavator’s bucket as it digs into the ground. The measurement data provides information to determine if the excavator has sufficient digging force to complete the task. Our torque transducers are helpful in accurately measuring the swing torque of the excavator to assess that there is adequate torque to swing the boom and bucket safely and efficiently.

Mining Equipment Design and Testing

Load cells and torque transducers are valuable in the design of mining and excavation equipment. The precision of Interface’s LowProfile Load Cells accurately measures the forces acting on different parts of the equipment, such as the boom, bucket, and undercarriage. The measurement data during extensive testing can also help determine how to optimize the equipment. Our Mini Load Cells, like the SSMH Sealed Hazardous Environment Intrinsically Safe S-Type Load Cell, can be integrated into mining equipment and tools for continuous monitoring and safety alarms to protect from overloading. Torque transducers can measure the torque requirements of different equipment components, such as the rotary drive and swing drive. This information can be used to design more powerful and efficient components.

Monitoring the Safety and Regulation of Cranes

Mining operations worldwide rely on cranes, lifting equipment, and heavy-duty vehicles. This equipment requires rigorous testing of every component and continuous monitoring to safeguard the equipment and, more importantly, operators.

In this video application, the customer verified if the crane is safe and functional enough to lift its working load limit (WLL) or safe working load (SWL) capacity. Using the Interface Model WTSATL-JR Aluminum Compact Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, they can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules can also trigger an alarm that can be set when it reaches the maximum capacity of weight and force. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display or on a computer.

See how our measurement solutions are used for crane capacity verification.

Interface offers an intrinsically safe lineup of products designed for rugged and extreme conditions that are of great value in the mining industry. These specialized load cells and force measurement solutions are designed and manufactured so that the materials and electronic components are safe for use in hazardous gas and dust environments when installed per applicable installation instructions. These components play an integral role in the safety of those working in dangerous environments, particularly in natural resource industries like oil, gas, forestry, and mining.

To learn more about our products used in the mining and natural resource industries, contact Interface Application Engineers. They are ready to answer your questions and find the correct measurement solution for your requirements.

Interface Measurement Solutions for the Natural Resources Industry

Interface offers various sensor technologies for research, development, extracting, processing, and preserving natural resources. Our load cells and instrumentation are critical in measuring and monitoring forces, loads, and weight in different processes, equipment, tools, and technologies used in the natural resources industry. The data acquired from Interface load cells provides tremendous value in innovation, R&D, and optimization.

Our load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, wireless telemetry systems, and instrumentation assist scientists, engineers, and researchers to accurately measure resource utilization, environmental impacts, and efficiencies in resource management. Our measurement solutions are used in the early stages of machine and tool designs to onsite monitoring equipment used in extraction processes, lifting, moving, and transporting materials.

As detailed below, our load cells and torque transducers are essential for the natural resources industry. They help to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of natural resource extraction and processing.

Natural Resources Industry Use Cases for Interface Measurement Solutions

  • Resource Innovation: Sensor technologies are utilized in R&D, identifying innovative ways to improve natural resource extraction, processing efficiency, and safety.
  • Sample and Material Testing: Sensor devices measure and monitor the forces and loads on samples and materials during testing.  These tools are required to research and develop new natural resource extraction and processing technologies.
  • Mining and Quarrying Equipment Design and Testing: Load cells and torque transducers can measure and monitor forces, loads, and weight in mining and quarrying equipment, such as excavators, loaders, and crushers.
  • Logging and Forestry Machine Regulatory and Safety Monitoring: Load cells can monitor the forces and loads on logging and forestry machines, such as harvesters and forwarders.
  • Ground Stability Monitoring: Interface sensors can monitor ground stability in mines, quarries, and construction sites. This data can be used to identify and predict potential ground movements and to take steps to mitigate the risks.
  • Drilling Optimization: Interface specialized load cells often measure and monitor the forces and loads on drilling rigs. This data can optimize the drilling process by adjusting the weight on the bit and the penetration rate.
  • Material Handling: Load cells are valuable for weighing materials of all types.
  • Pipeline Integrity Operations: Force measurement solutions can be used to monitor the pipeline’s integrity by identifying and predicting potential pipeline failures and taking steps to mitigate the risks. They are also utilized for measuring the flow of oil and gas.
  • Soil Preparation and Agrarian Management Devices: Load cells and torque transducers can measure and monitor the forces and loads on soil preparation and agrarian management devices, such as tractors and harvesters.
  • Water Resource Management: Interface transducers can monitor river, stream, and canal water flow. This data can be used to manage water resources effectively and to predict flooding risks.
  • Timber Harvesting and Weighing Machinery: Interface measurement devices can measure and monitor the weight of harvested timber to ensure that wood is being harvested sustainably and to comply with regulations.
  • Dam Safety: Load cells, such as load pins, can be used to monitor the structural integrity of dams. The force measurement sensor is also used to monitor the stability of other structures related to resource management.
  • Mineral Processing Tools and Machines: Load cells and torque transducers can measure and monitor the forces and loads on mineral processing tools and machines, such as crushers, grinders, and conveyors. They are frequently used in designing vehicles and equipment, specifically in weight optimization.

Timber Weighing And Harvesting Solution

A timber company needs a weighing system for sustainable forest management. They need to measure the amount of timber harvested. Weighing and monitoring harvested timber helps with resource monitoring and contributes to the overall sustainability of the forestry industry. Interface suggests creating a truck weighing scale to weigh logging trucks before and after loading timber. Multiple SSLP Stainless Steel LowProfile Universal Load Cells with WTS-BS-1E Wireless Transmitter Modules are installed under the weighing bridge. The load cells will transmit the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with the provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display can also display the weight inside for the driver to see in real-time. Results can also be viewed on the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters.

Geothermal Well Drilling Optimization

Geothermal energy is the heat derived from the Earth’s interior, harnessed for various applications such as electricity generation and heating by utilizing the natural heat reservoirs found beneath the Earth’s surface. A customer had a conventional geothermal system and needed to drill a deep well into the Earth to tap into its natural heat reservoirs. Interface’s IPCD Pressure Compensated Downhole Load Cell is a highly accurate load cell explicitly developed for downhole tension and compression measurements in high temperature, high pressure well conditions, such as drilling to build or establish geothermal infrastructure. Precise tool string force measurements can be monitored through customer instrumentation. Using this sensor solution, the customer effectively managed forces on the tool string throughout the well-drilling process, preventing costly tool separation or damage.

NaturalResources_InfographicPoster

From enhancing water management to precisely weighing timber for transportation, force sensors significantly mitigate risks, reduce environmental effects, and create safe work environments. As the natural resources industry grows and evolves, integrating force sensors is central to balancing resource utilization with ecological conservation and safety.

Interface Solutions for Heavy Equipment

Interface has collaborated with heavy equipment design engineers and OEMs for many years by providing sensors to measure weight, torque, and force. Heavy equipment, also known as heavy machinery, is used to describe the heavy-duty machines that are vastly utilized in infrastructure, construction, transportation, maritime, forestry, agriculture, and mining industries.

Force measurement plays a crucial role in the design, testing, and use of heavy equipment and vehicles including excavators, bulldozers, loaders, cranes, lifts, mixers, pavers, and compactors. Many of the considerations in designing heavy machinery are mandated by force limitations and equipment performance testing. Reference our Cranes and Lifting case study for examples.

Top Five Heavy Equipment Use Cases for Force Measurement

  1. Performance Valuation: Force measurement is used to evaluate the performance of heavy equipment. It allows engineers and designers to assess the forces and loads experienced by different components, such as hydraulic systems, structural elements, and moving parts. Measuring forces with high accuracy ensures that the equipment is built to operate within safe and efficient limits.
  2. Safety Confidence: Heavy equipment operates in demanding and challenging environments where safety is fundamental. Force measurement solutions from Interface help to identify potential safety risks by monitoring the forces exerted on various components in both testing and actual real-time use. Load cells and other sensor technologies enable engineers to design equipment with appropriate safety factors, ensuring that it can withstand the expected forces without failure or compromising operator safety.
  3. Design Optimization: Force measurement assists engineers to enhance the design of heavy equipment. By accurately measuring forces and loads during operation, and will identify areas of high stress or potential weak points. This information is valuable in refining the design, selecting appropriate materials, and implementing structural modifications to improve durability, efficiency, and overall performance.
  4. Regulatory Standards and Compliance: Heavy equipment is subject to strict industry standards and regulations, globally, nationally, and locally that specify performance and safety requirements. Force measurement is used for measuring and monitoring compliance. By accurately measuring and documenting forces, engineers can demonstrate that the equipment meets the specified criteria, aiding in regulatory approvals and certifications.
  5. Troubleshooting and Maintenance: Periodically measuring forces to monitor the condition of critical components and identify any abnormal or excessive forces is useful for identifying issues or wear. This information is critical for preventive maintenance, identifying the root causes of problems, and extending the equipment’s lifespan.

In the construction industry, heavy equipment is extensively used for retail, commercial and civic construction projects. Interface supplies load cells, tension links, load shackles, load pins and other measurement solutions for testing and monitoring.

Excavators are equipped with a hydraulic arm and a bucket, allowing them to dig, excavate, and move enormous amounts of earth, debris, or materials. Sensors are used in design, performance monitoring and maintenance of this type of machinery.

Loaders are powerful machines used for loading materials onto trucks, stockpiling, and general material handling. Overloading is the most common failure. Testing loads for these machines used in construction sites, quarries, and mining operations ensures safety and compliance.

Bulldozers need to be evaluated for earthmoving and grading projects. Rigorous force measurement evaluations help to validate power and maneuverability.

Cranes extensively utilize sensors, including load pins and tension links. During crane lifting capacity tests, force sensors are used to verify if a design for the crane can handle the loads it is required to lift and carry while in movement. This can be done with a variety of different force sensors. Interface tension link sensors are a smart choice as it can be used inbetween the crane hook and the load to provide a more accurate reading on the force. This example of force testing is critical to not only moving the required load, but also in verifying that the crane is safe to operate around workers below. If the crane lift capacity cannot be verified, individuals below the crane are at risk of massive loads dropping from great heights.

Lifts depend on sensors. In the shipping and transportation industry, heavy equipment must have carrying capacities verified or the machines and vehicles may break down or lose control due to excessive loading. In addition, operators need to be cognizant of their load limits and current use in cases. This verification is done using load cells in the testing of the vehicle, but load cells are also used at truck stops with weigh stations. Interface load cells can provide fully accurate data at extremely high weight. In addition, the engines on these trucks need to be able to move the vehicle while under large loads. For this challenge, torque transducers can be used to evaluate and refine an engine’s capability to move vehicles at required loads.

Interface sensors are used in the test and monitoring of maritime heavy equipment, both onshore and near-shore. Cranes and forklifts used in moving cargo plus maritime equipment used for securing lines often use sensor technologies. We also supply measurement devices used for heavy equipment that is submersible. This includes engine testing, mooring and fishing lines, boat hoists and more. Interface offers a complete lineup of sealed sensors that excel while submerged, allowing maritime users to test equipment in real time.

Included below, we have outlined a few heavy machinery testing examples in which Interface products were used:

Gantry Crane Weighing

Gantry cranes are used for several mobile and lifting applications within industrial or construction environments. A weighing system is needed to see if the gantry crane can manage lifting heavy containers or loads, preventing crane failure or accidents. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins can be installed into the corners of the lifting mechanism of the gantry crane, where heavy loaded containers are lifted and moved. The force results are then wireless transmitted to both the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters, or directly to the customer’s PC with the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Using this solution, a customer can monitor the loads lifted from their gantry crane with Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System and determine whether their gantry crane was able to manage lifting heavy loads.

Overall, force measurement provides valuable insights into the performance, safety, and reliability of heavy equipment, enabling designers, manufacturers, and operators to make informed decisions and ensure efficient and safe operation.

We have a wide range of solutions for the design and testing challenges of heavy equipment used for lifting, weighing, and measuring force and torque. Contact us for any help you need with heavy equipment solutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface

Lifting Solutions

Weighing Solutions Brochure

Heavy Truck Test and Measurement Solutions

Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry

Bridge Construction Wind Monitoring

Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment

Why Machine and Equipment Manufacturers Choose Interface

LIFTING: Lifting Heavy Objects

LIFTING: Crane Block Safety Check

LIFTING: Crane Force Regulation

Interface Solutions for Industrial Markets

The industrial market is vast. The industry classification covers everything from manufacturing and assembly to mining and agriculture. The highly regulated environments involved in industrial applications often require advanced equipment and technologies for product design and development, as well as after market performance management. Force and torque products are critical sensor components used in industrial applications.

Interface has been a partner to industrial customers for more than 50 years. We engineer, build, and supply force and torque sensors and acquisition devices designed to provide industrial engineers and manufacturers with high quality data that monitors and confirms the design and in-action processes of their equipment. Applications for industrial markets involve everything from heavy machinery to weighing solutions. The accuracy of these devices is critical to high-quality outcomes, low-costs and most importantly, worker safety.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS 

An example of an industrial process that requires an accurate force sensor is a crane application used in lifting heaving objects. Interface engaged with a customer who needed to measure the lifting capabilities of a crane using an Interface load shackle. The purpose of the shackle was to ensure the crane wasn’t lifting more than it could handle, putting worker safety at risk and potentially damaging the machine.

Interface model WTSSHK-B Wireless Load Shackle was connected to a crane load string to measure forces. A model WTS-BS-1-HA Battery Powered Handheld Display was used to wirelessly receive load information and display results. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully measure lifting and reading weight wirelessly on a handheld display while the crane was in action.

Another great example of the industrial industry’s use of force applications can be seen in manufacturing automation. One of the growing trends in marketing automation is the use of robotics to replace repetitive human tasks. Robotic arms are often found on assembly lines and they carry out a single task over and over. If the robotic arm isn’t properly calibrated, it can ruin an entire production line and lead to significant losses. To qualify the accuracy, many OEM’s use load cells and torque transducers to continuously measure the intricate movements of a robotic arm.

One Interface customer used a robotic arm to close packaging on a production line. If the arm wasn’t accurate, it could apply to much force and crush the packaging or not close the packaging as intended, leading to losses in shipping.

Interface supplied a 6-Axis Load Cell with a model BX8 Data Acquisition and Amplifier System. The Interface Multi-Axis 6-Axis Load Cell was able to measure all forces and torques on every axis and the BX8 8-Channel Data Acquisition System was able to log, display, and graph these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system.

READ MORE HERE: FORCE MEASUREMENT IS REDUCING WASTE AND AUTOMATING THE CONSUMER PACKAGING INDUSTRY

Another consideration for specialized industrial applications is in harsh environments. There are hundreds of thousands of engineers and manufacturers that spend their days working in these environments. Whether its operating inside of facilities with large machines and intricate moving parts, working hundreds of feet in the air repairing a bridge, or deep within a mine shaft, these professionals put themselves in danger every day by the nature of their work. As engineers and manufacturers, many of us are also tasked to solve for safety challenges and keep these professionals protected in any environment.

One of the ways we contribute to industrial safety is with the development of our Interface Ex Rated Load Cells, also known as Interface Intrinsically Safe Products. These specialized load cells and force measurement solutions are designed and manufactured so that the materials and electronic components are safe for use in hazardous gas and dust environments when installed per applicable installation instructions. These components are designed for those applications found in dangerous environments in particular industries like oil and gas, mining, aerospace, automotive and more.

The applications for industrial vary widely because the industry is diverse. Interfaces designs and manufacturers force and torque products for hundreds of different industrial use cases and applications every year. Our team of engineers can even create custom solutions for new and innovative industrial requirements. Included below are examples of some of the products typically used by our industrial customers.

  • 2400 Load Cell Series – The 2400 is a stainless-steel load cell designed for applications requiring a hermetic seal for use in general industrial applications.
  • 3200 Load Cell Series – The 3200 precision stainless steel load cell series has all the features of the Interface Model 1200 LowProfile® (one of Interface’s most popular products) and in addition it is stainless steel and hermetically sealed for harsh applications.
  • SSMH Load Cell Series – Model SSMH S-type load cell provides a suitable force measurement sensor for applications in coal mining and transfer and other heavy industries where explosive dusts and environment conditions are potentially explosion-hazard rated. SSMH capacities available that provide intrinsically safe certification.
  • Stainless Steel Load Buttons – Interface’s load button load 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.
  • 5400 Series Reaction Torque Transducer Series – Model 5400 series features a rugged flange-style designed with thru-holes, low deflection, high torsional stiffness and the ability to withstand large overhung moments.
  • Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) – High accuracy, high quality measurement is interfaced with simple yet powerful configuration and monitoring software. The WTS gives sensor manufacturers and integrators the complete flexibility to build their own sensor modules around it. The system easily replaces wired systems, reducing installation and maintenance costs.

These are just a few examples of Interface applications notes and products designed for industrial applications. For more information on Interface solutions design for the Industrial industry, contact our experienced application engineers.

 

Hazardous Environment Solutions from Interface

There are hundreds of thousands of engineers and manufacturers that spend their days working in hazardous environments. Whether its operating inside of facilities with large machines with intricate moving parts, working hundreds of feet in the air repairing a bridge, or deep within a mine shaft, these professionals put themselves in danger every day by the nature of their work. As engineers and manufacturers, many of us are also tasked to solve for safety challenges and keep these professionals protected in any environment.

At Interface, one of the ways we contribute to industrial safety is with the development of our Interface Ex Rated Load Cells, also known as Interface Intrinsically Safe Products. These specialized load cells and force measurement solutions are designed and manufactured so that the materials and electronic components are safe for use in hazardous gas and dust environments when installed per applicable installation instructions. These components play an integral role in the safety of the men and women working in dangerous environments in particular industries like oil and gas, mining, aerospace, automotive and more.

These hazardous environments are categorized by the amount of explosive risk that is present in the environment. These levels include:

  • Zone Zero – explosive presence is always there
  • Zone One – explosive presence is close and is sometimes there
  • Zone Two – explosive presence is nearby, but is rarely present other than in some type of leak or other catastrophes

In order for force measurement products to operate safely in these environments, companies must design the devices in accordance with a regulatory body. These products must also be inspected for approval and then it is marked with the certification code that displays the zone and temperatures it’s safe to operate in. In addition, the manufacturing process needs to be highly controlled. Manufacturers must keep documentation for each product, which includes how the product was made and where it went. And they are required to keep that documentation for 10 years in case of a product recall.

There are a number of different regulatory bodies focused on product safety throughout the world, and each has different specifications for explosiveness that need to be met based on the area in which the product is sold. Locations in which Interface can sell its Ex Rated products include countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Brazil in South America.

The regulatory bodies that develop the specifications and approve products include:

  • International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive Atmospheres (IECEx) is given after a manufacturer proves compliance through a quality assessment report (QAR).
  • ATmospheres EXplosible or ATEX is a European Union(EU) examination certification. In order to receive ATEX certification, the manufacturer must obtain a quality assurance notification (QAN) to sell products in certain EU areas.

Interface develops a host of Ex Rated force measurement products that are certified by both IECEx and ATEX. These products have been used in a wide variety of applications within the energy and automotive industries. Included below are a few examples of the products we sell and the applications using our Ex products

ATEX 3400 Series Load Cells

The 3400 series of load cells are rated for Zone 1 and include the 3416 and 3430 Coil Tubing Intrinsically Safe Load Cells, the 3420 Coil Tubing Intrinsically Safe Load Cell and the 3410 Intrinsically Safe LowProfile® Load Cell. These products are hermetically sealed and have been used in the oil and gas industry to measure the force of coil tubing as it goes down an oil well. The 3400 Series is used in the space industry to help develop hydrogen-powered vehicles because of the threat of explosion with hydrogen power. The 3400 Series Load Cells have also been used in a distillery for a custom whiskey-making application.

ATEX, IECEx, ETL, Inmetro 1923 Series

The 1923 Series Load Cell is used in the oil and gas industry. These load cells include designs rated for both Zone 0 and Zone 2 applications. This load cell measures the force in which the pump jack is operating to avoid allowing the pump to go too fast and interrupt the capillary flow of oil. We also recently developed and released the 1923 Wireless Series load cell. Our 1923 Wireless Series innovation provides the same accurate, real-time data readings with little to no fuss over wires, which can create more hazards for the user.

ATEX SSMH Sealed Hazardous Environment Intrinsically Safe S-Type Load Cell

Our Zone 1 rated SSMH S-Type Load Cell is our only load cell that is certified for dust, so it is most often used in mining operations. This product is a tension and compression load cell that is environmentally sealed at an IP65 rating. It also has a high-temperature rating of up to 290° F for dust environments.

ATEX IECEx Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle

The Interface range of ATEX IECEx load shackles is designed for lifting and weighing in rugged or harsh environments, and also meet the requirements for operation in Zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas. The shackle pins are forged from high tensile stainless steel and are machined to an exacting specification. This range of load shackles is proof loaded to 150% of the normal rated load and is available in a range from 3.25 to 400 MT (7.17K to 882K lbf). The product is internally gaged and the whole instrumented area is sealed to IP67 to protect it in service.

When operating in explosive environments, our customers need to know that their products are safe and reliable. Here at Interface, we stand by the quality of our work and the safety of our Ex Rated products. For more information on Interface’s Intrinsically Safe and Ex Rated products, please visit /product-category/intrinsically-safe/.

Contributor:  Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface