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Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a world-class manufacturer is when we’re able to work with customers on a custom solution that meets their unique and mission-critical needs. Custom solutions can be anything that’s needed from a customized sensor component to a complete custom system. One custom solution that is gaining popularity for its mobility, ease of use and wide variety of application options is what we call, testing systems in a box.

We have developed these unique all-in-one testing systems that combine force measurement sensors, transmitters and data display devices all together in a transportable case. The benefit for customers is that every aspect of this type of mobile test and measurement system is enclosed in the box and can be brought to remote testing locations along with a testing rig and computer. The wide variety of configurations also allow Interface to develop a test system for virtually any mobile requirement. Think of it as on-the-go testing that is flexible and adaptable to the test environment.

MOBILE TESTING CASE

When our customer wanted to perform force tests on a helicopter, we developed a mobile force measurement system that was put together in a ruggedized case to match the environmental conditions of the testing locations. The custom system included Model 9890 Indicators alongside SSM Fatigue Rated Load Cells. The case also featured rechargeable batteries for continuation of testing in remote locations. With this solution, the customer was able to easily perform their force tests while remaining independent of any confined lab or testing facility. They had a testing system that was completely versatile to the mobility requirements of test engineers.

AIRPLANE JACK POINT TESTING 

Interface developed a unique test system for an airplane jack testing solution. Once again, we put together a full system in mobile cases that included our precision LowProfile Load Cells, nearly 20 wireless transmitters, and a graphical display with visual alarms to read the output at each jack point. This allowed the customer to measure the forces at all jack points on a plane from front to tail and both wings. The testing system was created to be portable and provide constant feedback through the hardware and instrumentation via wireless signals.

MULTI-AXIS SPRING TEST SYSTEM

The final custom solution we are highlighting in this post is smaller in design, but just as impactful for the customer. This system included a 3-Axis Load Cell in a compact box with three indicator panels. The system was used to simultaneously measure both force and moment on a spring and provide the data on the indicator screen. The system was compact, easy to use and simply needed to be connected to the test rig to accurately collect data from the spring.

Mobile test systems provide a massive benefit to engineers and product manufacturers who want to be able to collect accurate and reliable data on the go and not be constrained by wires and large heavy solutions. Test systems enclosed within a box are a great solution for many of these remote challenges, as they protect the equipment and also provide a functional “on-the-go” testing system, anywhere.

As more demands for testing within the actual environment become core to the engineering and design of small and large apparatus, these types of unique solutions from Interface can be customized to capacity and test specifications based on the customer’s needs.

Our experienced engineers and application experts are able to look at specific objectives and present the best components to get the best results. From force and torque measurement sensors to digital instrumentation, wireless and supported by batteries, we can build the custom components to be enclosed in a case that is an all-in-one testing system or design the solution to put into an existing configuration. Taking advantage of our expertise, we work together with our customers to develop the right solution that fits their exact requirements.

Be sure to watch, “Making the Case for Custom Solutions” to get more insights on customization considerations and options when you partner with Interface Custom Solutions.

To learn more about Interface’s custom solutions and explore options and possibilities in building your testing system, go here to contact us to get started.

READ MORE CUSTOM SOLUTION POSTS

What is New in Custom Solutions

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

Looking Forward to the New Year

2020 has been a challenging year for most. Despite the disruption every person and industry has faced this past year, Interface continues to keep our eyes on the future. What can we do to meet our customer’s needs today and tomorrow?

One of the ways that Interface has accomplished this intense focal point is by setting our sights on the increasing number of requests for specific drawings and engineered to order force, torque, and specialized product lines. These requests provide us unique visibility in evolving product development concepts and the overall T&M landscape for the customers we serve.

Through Interface’s continued investments in R&D, analyzing the marketplace, and anticipating customer needs, we’ve identified key trends that we believe will have a significant positive impact in meeting our customer’s current requirements and preparing for future demands.

The first trend we see today is our customer’s increased focus on miniaturization. Innovation using sensor technologies continues to shrink in dimensions yet require the same or greater level of precision performance. We see this in all types of devices and hand-held technologies, industrial automation, robotics, as well as in automotive and consumer product inventions.

The trend towards miniaturization in the medical device industry has been happening for quite some time; however, the capabilities and precision requirements continue to become more stringent and demanding of higher levels of performance. For example, with trends in at-home care remote monitoring has caused medical device manufacturers to develop mobility for devices. They’re also taking diagnostic machines and turning them into a handheld version so doctors can administer medical tests quickly and efficiently at the point of care, rather than sending patients out of home for administering or tracking.

To address product development challenges related to devices that becoming more compact, Interface is engineering and manufacturing precision components that excel in confined space. We’ve already begun to address this in 2020 with the release of our ultra-precision ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cells.

ConvexBT is a first of its kind load button load cell, providing better temperature resistance and more enhanced eccentric load rejection than other competitive products. For many years, 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. Read more about the product release here.

The next key trend we are prepared to address in 2021 and beyond is test and measurement systems that address complex and multi-dimensional testing requirements. Historically, load cells and torque transducers have addressed force, torque, and weight in a variety of single product groups. And these devices would be added to a test series with a host of other sensors or get multiple outputs through a variety of tests. More and more customers want measurement devices that include additional outputs from the sensors to account for things like acceleration, temperature, humidity, and more.

We see this in growing requests for adding accelerometers in our load cells and torque transducers. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines and tires. By adding an accelerometer, the device can be used to measure both torque and acceleration. This addresses our customer’s desire to simplify their test process and it provides more data in a single test to expand use cases and applications.  As this desire for more data and fewer testing devices grows, Interface is continuing the expansion of engineered to order and customized load cells to allow for dual measurements in a single component.

This trend is closely related to the need for a complete system. Systems are often completely customized to a single project or program that provides the measurement device, instrumentation, cabling, and housing. These systems can also be mobilized with wireless components for field applications.  The group of custom solutions engineers have created multiple versions of these systems used in energy, aerospace, and T&M labs.

Despite the challenges of the last year, Interface is hyper-focused on innovation and the ability to address the evolving needs of our customers. If you want to measure it, then Interface is here to help you create the right solution to get exactly what is required for your invention, product improvement or test. How can we help you win in 2021?

Force Measurement Solutions for Mobility Markets

One of the tenets in addressing urban mobility is innovation.  As populations grow around the world, addressing how people get from here to there is part of a challenge and opportunity.  Investments are growing in this sector, as experts and designers look to how to increase efficiency and performance in vehicle markets.

Interface has long been a supplier of test and measurement solutions to industries that play a critical role in mobility, from vehicle manufacturers to infrastructure planners and builders. In our latest case study, we look at some of the innovative ways our solutions are being used to advance technologies and capabilities in transportation.

If something moves, it likely needs force and torque testing for reliability, safety and performance. With the evolving trends in urban mobility, Interface is working with makers and builders of all types of transportation solutions for unmanned vehicles like drones and autonomous vehicles, as well as alternatively fueled and electric vehicles.

READ OUR NEW CASE STUDY: INTERFACE’S CRUCIAL ROLE IN VEHICLE AND URBAN MOBILITY MARKETS

Interface customers utilize our standard and custom products in the vehicle and mobility markets to:

  1. Test the force and torque of components for validation or for design improvements
  2. Integration of sensor technology into a component or product for functional real-time performance data

These products include Interface load cells, mini load cells and subminiature load button load cells, rotary and reaction torque transducers, instrumentation, and accessories. For the growing trends for digital requirements in testing and OEM solutions, our wireless and Bluetooth solutions are commonly used in these markets.  Interface is also frequently engaged on specific customer requests for engineer-to-order products and customized solutions.

Here are four use case scenarios of Interface solutions used in the vehicle and mobility markets:

Brake Pedal Testing

Interface’s Brake Pedal Load Cell BPL-300-C was installed on a brake pedal and then connected to a BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, which collects and transmits data to our BTS Toolkit Mobile App. This solution allowed the customer to record and review data from a mobile device while out on a test track. READ MORE HERE.

Drone Delivery Systems

Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Miniature Load Cells to measure the payload weight and  for the detection of in-motion shifting and uneven distribution of the package weight. As the load cells detect this data, it provides a signal to the propeller to increase RPMs on the propellers and adjust balance and weight distribution inflight. WATCH HERE.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Testing

Compression testing performed on EV batteries is critical for performance and safety. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging housing the batteries does not compensate for this swelling in the design, failure is likely. Interface can supply a WMC miniature load cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries. Read more about the future of EV markets and testing here.

Engine Performance Testing

Force and torque sensors are used with a dynamometer, which isolates the engine’s power output to help quantify its overall performance.  In this application, a  precision SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is attached to a torque arm to “feels” the torque from an engine loading system. The fatigue rating on the load cell allows it to accurately measure performance for extended cycles. A signal conditioner is used to connect out from the load cell to a computer to ensure clear transmission of data to accurately measure torque being produced by the engine. Engineers analyze power transfer through the data output to tune the engine performance. Check out this engine dynamometer application note here.

Contact our experts to learn more about these types of testing applications, use cases and products used in urban mobility projects.