A Promising Future in Measurement and Analysis Using Multi-Axis Sensors

By combining the measurements from multiple axes, multi-axis sensors provide a better assessment of an object’s motion or orientation in three-dimensional space. Measuring the changes in resistance or output voltage from the sensing elements along multiple axes, multi-axis load cells can accurately determine the forces acting on them. The combination of the signals from different axes provides a comprehensive understanding of the force distribution, enabling engineers to analyze and optimize designs, evaluate structural integrity, and ensure safe and efficient operation in various applications.

Multi-axis load cells have significant advantages and provide valuable benefits in testing labs. The top reason to use multi-axis sensors is to get more measurement data. The data provided when using a 2, 3 or 6-Axis load cell is used in various applications, including robotics, space projects, virtual reality, motion tracking, navigation systems, and innovative consumer products.

Engineers and product designers prefer multi-axis load cells for several reasons. Multi-axis load cells enable engineers and designers to capture forces along multiple directions simultaneously. This capability is particularly beneficial when dealing with complex and multidirectional forces, which are common in real-world applications. By obtaining a complete understanding of how forces act on a structure or product, engineers can design more robust and optimized solutions.

The Promises of Multi-Axis Sensors

  • Comprehensive force measurement and better data analysis: Multi-axis load cells enable precise measurement of forces in multiple directions simultaneously. Multi-axis load cells provide richer and more comprehensive data for analysis. The data is valuable for evaluating structural integrity, load distribution, and performance characteristics of a design.
  • Compact size with robust capabilities: Smaller sensors with digital outputs are easier and less expensive to permanently install into their machines. Size impacts the install, testing and monitoring. Multi-axis sensors are best embedded into products for a real-world application that needs the data, while reducing the number of single load cells and overall size of a product.
  • Increased accuracy and reliability: Multi-axis sensors track performance and reliability better than traditional sensors with more measurements in more directions, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of test results. They provide a more complete understanding of how forces are distributed and interact within a structure, helping researchers and engineers make informed decisions based on reliable data.
  • Wide range of applications: Multi-axis sensors are needed to keep up with modern technologies and application requirements. Multi-axis load cells are used in various testing scenarios, including materials testing, structural testing, product development, and quality control. They are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, civil engineering, and more. As technology advances and testing requirements become more sophisticated, the demand for multi-axis load cells is likely to grow.
  • Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: A single multi-axis load cell can replace multiple sensors. This consolidation simplifies the testing setup, reduces complexity, and lowers costs. Multi-axis sensors maximize return on investment for testing devices.
  • Enhanced testing capabilities: Multi-axis load cells enable more advanced testing procedures. Digitized sensor information allows for remote monitoring increased analytics, easy access and data collection. This expands the range of tests that can be performed and provides more comprehensive data for analysis and evaluation.
  • Saving space in testing: Using a single multi-axis load cell saves physical space in the testing. This is particularly important in situations where space limited or when performing tests in confined environments. By reducing the footprint of the load cell setup, engineers and designers can optimize the use of their workspace.
  • Simplifying set-up: Using a single multi-axis load cell simplifies the testing setup compared to using multiple single-axis load cells. It reduces the number of sensors, cables, and connections required, leading to a streamlined testing process. This simplicity improves efficiency, saves time, and reduces the chances of errors associated with multiple sensors and connections.

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Models

2-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 2-Axis Load Cells measure any two forces or torques simultaneously, have minimal crosstalk, are standard off-the-shelf and are high accuracy sensors.

3-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 3-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes: X, Y, and Z – tension and compression. Options include:

6-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 6-Axis Load Cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. In the end, they provide more data, accuracy, are very stiff and cost-effective for a wide range of testing options.

Interface continues to add to our product line of advanced multi-axis sensors. Read New Interface Multi-Axis Load Cells to see our latest model additions.

The future of multi-axis is evolving in versatility for various system level health monitoring for products and components. Data is valuable now and in the future. These sensors enable test engineers to collect more data now for future analysis. For example, an automotive electronics manufacturer could limit recall to only parts that match extremely specific build criteria based on the detailed sensor data that is captured and stored during product evaluations and testing.

The outlook for multi-axis load cells is promising. Their ability to provide comprehensive force measurement, improve efficiency, and enhance testing capabilities makes them a valuable tool for researchers, engineers, and quality assurance professionals. With ongoing advancements in sensor technology and increasing demand for precise and reliable testing, multi-axis load cells are expected to play a crucial role in the future of testing labs.


Using Multi-Axis Sensors To Bring Robotics To Life

Mounting Tips For Multi-Axis Sensors

BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System For Multi-Axis Sensors With Lab Enclosure

Enhancing Friction Testing With Multi-Axis Sensors

Recap Of Inventive Multi-Axis And Instrumentation Webinar

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors Virtual Event Recap

Better Data and Performance with Interface Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-Axis Sensor Applications

Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Production on Earth and Beyond

Vertical farming is a method of producing crops in vertically stacked layers, typically in indoor environments such as warehouses or greenhouses. This innovative agricultural approach offers a number of advantages over traditional farming methods, including higher crop yields per unit of land, more efficient use of resources such as water and energy, and the ability to grow crops in urban areas where space is limited. While vertical farming is currently being explored to increase food production on Earth, it also has applications in space R&D and for food sustainability projects.

In space, where resources such as water, energy, and land are limited, vertical farming can offer a viable solution for producing food. By using vertical stacking of crops, indoor environments, and controlled conditions, vertical farming can potentially overcome challenges such as gravity, atmospheric conditions, and limited space. This could enable sustainable food production for future space missions, space settlements, and colonization efforts.

As the global population continues to grow, and urbanization increases, vertical farming is a promising approach for addressing food scarcity and production challenges on Earth. With most the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, the need for localized food production close to urban centers becomes more critical. Vertical farming can provide fresh produce year-round, reduce the need for transportation, minimize the use of pesticides, and optimize resource utilization, making it a sustainable and efficient method for urban food production.

Interface sensor technologies and instrumentation are being utilized to expand the capabilities and possibilities in agriculture on Earth and in space. In our new case study, Vertical Farming on Earth and in Space, we explore products and solutions for challenges related to farming on earth and beyond. These solutions utilize load cells, multi-axis sensors, wireless instrumentation and devices for irrigation and growth monitoring systems, robotics, and farming equipment. The case study highlights innovation from a collaboration of industries including agriculture, space, and automation.


Vertical Farming Robotic Monitoring

In vertical farming applications, automated mechanics pick up and move the products, thus using less human involvement and contamination. To keep an eye on these automated systems, a wireless force measurement system monitors the robotics that pick up and move the produce to their next destination of the packaging process. Interface suggests installing SPI Low Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells, along with WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules in the center of the platforms of the robotic lifting system that move around the produce. The WTS-AM-1E’s wirelessly transmit the data collected from the SPI’s to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Displays for multiple transmitters, and the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to a computer. Read more here.

Vertical farming has the potential to revolutionize food production in space and on Earth, addressing the challenges of feeding a growing global population, particularly in urban areas. The intersection of various industries and the use of innovative technologies, including interface force measurement solutions, can play a crucial role in advancing vertical farming as a sustainable solution for future food production in space and on our home planet.

The collaboration between education, space, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors, including the use of interface force measurement solutions, can accelerate the development and deployment of vertical farming technologies for space and Earth. These solutions can provide data on factors such as plant growth, resource usage, and environmental conditions, which can be used to optimize the design and operation of vertical farming systems for maximum sustainability and productivity. Read the case study here.


Inventive Agriculture Monitoring and Weighing Solutions

Aerospace Brochure

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment

Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life

Vertical Farming on Earth and in Space

Collaborative Robots Using Interface Sensors

Industrial evolutions continue to find new and innovative ways to use technologies, from AI to advanced robotics. What is not changing over time is the unique ability for humans to solve challenges and create new solutions. Pairing human ingenuity with machines to increase efficiencies and productivity is what we see today with the fast growing use of collaborative robots.

A cobot, short for collaborative robot, is a type of robot designed to work alongside humans in a shared workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots, which are typically separated from human workers, cobots are designed to be safe and easy to use working side-by-side people. This interactivity is often referenced as part of moving from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0.

Cobots are typically equipped with sensors technologies that allow them to detect the presence of humans and react accordingly. This can include slowing down, stopping, or changing direction to avoid collisions or other safety hazards. Cobots are often used in tasks that are repetitive, dangerous, or require a high level of precision, such as assembly, packaging, or inspection.

One of the main advantages of cobots is their flexibility and ease of use. They can be quickly reprogrammed or taught new tasks, making them a cost-effective solution for many distinct types of manufacturing and assembly operations. Additionally, because they can collaborate with human workers, they can help to improve efficiency and productivity while also reducing the risk of injury or accidents.

In our new case study, Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors, we explore how are force measurement sensors used for cobots.

Force measurement sensors are often used in collaborative robotics to provide feedback on the force being applied during a task. This information can be used to ensure that the cobot is performing the task correctly and to detect any issues or errors that may occur. There are several types of force measurement sensors that can be used in cobots.

  • Strain gage sensors: Interface uses proprietary strain gages in our load cells. Use of this type of sensor helps to measure the deformation of a material in response to applied forces. They are commonly used in cobots to measure forces applied to a gripper or end effector.
  • Miniature load cells and load cell load buttons: Interface load cells of all sizes are used for both testing during design as well as embedded into the actual cobot for continuous monitoring. These types of sensors measure the force applied to a structure, such as a robotic arm or a part being manipulated by a gripper. Load cells can be used to ensure that the cobot is applying the correct amount of force to the part being worked on. Our smallest load cells are often used in the production and design of cobots.
  • Torque transducers: Interface transducers are utilized to measure the movement of robots, in rotation and for pivotal activity. These are critical in tasks on production lines, as well in unique industry cobots, such as entertainment.
  • Tactile sensors: These sensors measure the pressure or force applied to a surface. They are commonly used in cobots for tasks that require a high level of sensitivity, such as grasping and manipulating fragile objects.

Advancements in Technology Leads to Multi-Axis Sensors and Cobots

As use of cobots grows, so do the demands for using more data to define precision measured responses and actions. Multi-axis sensors can provide several benefits for cobots, as they allow for more accurate and precise sensing of the robot’s position, orientation, and movement. Here are some ways that cobots can benefit from multi-axis sensors:

  • Improved accuracy: Multi-axis sensors can provide more accurate readings of a cobot’s position and orientation, allowing it to perform tasks with greater precision and accuracy. This can be particularly important for tasks that require precision accuracy, such as assembly or inspection.
  • Enhanced safety: Multi-axis sensors can help to improve the safety of cobots by detecting when the robot is approaching an object or a person and slowing down or stopping to prevent collisions. This can be particularly important when cobots are working near human workers.
  • Greater flexibility: Multi-axis sensors can allow cobots to perform a wider range of tasks, as they can adapt to changes in the environment or the task at hand. For example, a cobot with multi-axis sensors can adjust its position and orientation to grip an object from a variety of angles, or to perform a task in a confined space.
  • Faster response time: Multi-axis sensors can provide real-time feedback on the cobot’s movement, allowing it to adjust more quickly and with greater accuracy. This can help to improve the speed and efficiency of the cobot’s performance.

Cobots are being used in a wide range of industries, as they offer benefits such as improved efficiency, precision, and safety. Some of the industries that are currently using cobots include:

  • Automotive: Cobots are being used in the automotive industry for tasks such as assembly, material handling, and inspection.
  • Electronics: Cobots are being used in the electronics industry for tasks such as assembly, testing, and inspection.
  • Food and beverage: Cobots are being used in the food and beverage industry for tasks such as packaging, sorting, and palletizing.
  • Medical: Cobots are being used in the medical industry for tasks such as assembly, inspection, and material handling.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Cobots are being used in the pharmaceutical industry for tasks such as packaging, inspection, and dispensing.
  • Aerospace: Cobots are being used in the aerospace industry for tasks such as drilling, riveting, and assembly.
  • Plastics and rubber: Cobots are being used in the plastics and rubber industry for tasks such as injection molding, material handling, and inspection.

By using force measurement sensors, cobots can perform tasks with greater accuracy and precision, reducing the risk of errors and improving overall efficiency. They can also help to prevent damage to parts or products being worked on and ensure that safety standards are being met.  Read the full case study below.

Advancement in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors Case Study


Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Force measurement is integral to advanced manufacturing systems, especially when it comes to how this technology is used in production lines. Force sensors are utilized in both testing and monitoring of a wide variety of machines to ensure accuracy and repeatability throughout the production line. These sensors are also used by production line engineers in the design and development of systems used to ensure accuracy in measurements of force, weight, compression, and torque as products and components move throughout the line, including distribution.

Watch how Interface provided an industrial automation solution for small pallets used in the distribution of manufactured products. In the video, we highlight a request for a pallet weighing solution to use in their warehouse to monitor their products and goods 24/7. They need to use sensor technologies to verify if any products are missing based on the weight, and able to determine pricing for their goods based on the weight.

Interface works with a large range of manufacturers and equipment makers to improve quality and productivity by supplying high-performance measurement solutions. From using miniature load cells to apply the exact force needed to press a brand identity onto fragile consumable, to using multi-axis sensors for verifying performance data when making intricately machined parts, Interface products are commonplace in manufacturing and production.

In fact, Interface offers manufacturing and production standard off-the-shelf, engineered to order and complete OEM solutions including load cells, instrumentation and weighing devices. Our products provide the quality and durability necessary within industrial environments. In addition, we can customize the majority of our products to fit unique and evolving needs as sensor technologies like robotics and advanced manufacturing devices are integrated into production lines.

Load cells are frequently used in monitoring equipment. Interface can custom design force sensors to be installed directly into product for monitoring certain forces in real-time, including for use in industrial automation robotics. This is particularly popular in manufacturing because you can monitor equipment to understand when it may be out of alignment and needs to come down for repair, rather than risking a disruption in production. This is particularly important in automated production lines because it gives engineers and extra set of eyes on machines and improves efficiency overall by reducing downtime.

One of the unique use cases for load cells used for monitoring is in weighing materials held on pillow blocks bearings. Pillow block bearings, or similarly constructed bearing, are used to carry rolled materials or conveyor belt. Interface’s new PBLC1 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell can be placed underneath the bearing to measure the weight of whatever material is being held up. These types of bearing are often found in machines with similar type of bearing are used on conveyor belts moving products down a production line.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

A customer has a feed roller system and needs to monitor the forces of both ends of the rollers, in order to maintain a constant straight feed. They would also prefer a wireless system. Interface came to the rescue with our Pillow Block Load Cells and WTS Wireless Telemetry Systems. Interface suggests installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the forces being applied. The forces are measured when connected to WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data is then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, where data can be displayed, graphed, and logged on the customer’s computer.

Production Line Conveyor Belt Adhesion Test

A customer wants to test the adhesion strength in between the many layers and textiles of a conveyor belt. They want to conduct a separation test from the rubber of the conveyor belt from the other layers. They would also like a wireless solution. Interface’s SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell is installed in the customer’s tensile test load frame, where it measures the forces applied as the test is conducted and the layers are pulled and separated. When connected to the WTS-AM-1F Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, the data is wirelessly transmitted to WTS-BS-5 Wireless Analog Output Receiver Module with nV output. The WTS-BS-5 can then connect to the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator to display, graph, and log the data with supplied BlueDAQ software.

Industrial Automation Robotic Arm for Production

A manufacturer of a robot arm needs to measure force and torque when the arm picks up and places objects. The manufacturer needs a wireless system to accomplish this in order to log the measurement results. Interface supplied Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell with Model BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition/Amplifier.

Interface force sensors can be used in a number of ways within the manufacturing industry across a variety of applications for the test and monitoring of machines and production lines.


Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

Industrial Automation Brochure

Weighing Solutions Brochure

Smart Pallet Solution

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life

The advent of robotics brought with it the expansion of machine capabilities across many industries. The range of robotics today spans industrial, entertainment, autonomous, medical, educational, defense and consumer robots.

As with all invention and innovation, the demands for more data and precision testing have grown dramatically in recent years. Due to the nature of robotic movement, and the engineering that must be done to make this movement work, testing sensor technologies are advancing to improve robotics capabilities and to make them more accurate.

In the force measurement world, one of the best sensor devices that lends itself perfectly to robotics are multi-axis sensors. Interface’s multi-axis sensors are designed to provide the most comprehensive data points for advanced testing. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, Interface’s multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety requirements are met in their robotic designs.

Multi-axis sensors can provide several benefits for use in robotics, as they allow for accurately measuring the robot’s position, orientation, and movement. Here are some ways that robots can benefit from multi-axis sensors:

  • Improved accuracy: Multi-axis sensors provide more accurate readings of a robot’s position and orientation, allowing it to perform tasks with greater precision and accuracy. This can be particularly important for tasks that require precision accuracy, such as assembly or inspection.
  • Enhanced safety: Multi-axis sensors help to improve the safety of robots by detecting when the robot is approaching an object or a person and slowing down or stopping to prevent collisions. This can be particularly important when robots are working near human workers.
  • Greater flexibility: Multi-axis sensors allow robots to perform a wider range of tasks, as they can adapt to changes in the environment or the task at hand. For example, a robot with multi-axis sensors can adjust its position and orientation to grip an object from a variety of angles, or to perform a task in a confined space.
  • Faster response time: Multi-axis sensors can provide real-time feedback on the robot’s movement, allowing it to adjust more quickly and with greater accuracy. This can help to improve the speed and efficiency of the robot’s performance.

Multi-Axis Robotic Arm Using Force Plate

In this application note, we highlight a customer that needs to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occur at the robotic arm’s base; therefore, they need a force measurement system at the base of the robotic arm. Interface suggests using our force plate option to install at the base of the robotic arm. The solutions includes 3-Axis Force Load Cells are installed between two force plates, then installed at the bottom of the arm. This creates one large 6-Axis Force Plate. The sensors force data is recorded and displayed through the two BX8 Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Data Acquisition Systems onto the customer’s computer. Read more about this application here.

Sensors must be able to provide the robust data requirements needed in designing and using robotics. Testing for industrial robots, which are used in manufacturing and assembly processes to automate tasks that are repetitive, dangerous or require precision, need exact measurements to clear the path to use. This data from sensors is used in design and production to evaluate reliability and quality of craftmanship. These types of robots are used in a variety of industries such as automotive, electronics, and aerospace.

Safety is primary for service and medical robots, as they are designed to interact with humans and perform tasks in healthcare, cleaning and surgical procedures, diagnosis, and rehabilitation.

Precision and accuracy are what defines the testing requirements for military robots. Whether these robots are used in military applications, such as bomb disposal, reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions or to operate in dangerous environments where it is not safe for humans to work, they must be thoroughly tested for high accuracy in operation.

While educational and entertainment robotics involve human interaction, so sensor technologies must match the use cases for teaching students about robotics, programming, and technology. They are often designed to be easy to use and intuitive, allowing students to experiment and learn through direct experience. Robots designed for entertainment purposes, such as robotic toys or theme park attractions are interactive. Robust sensor data makes the robots more engaging and may incorporate features like voice recognition or facial recognition to provide an authentic experience.

Lastly, autonomous robots undergo vast amounts of design tests using force and torque sensors due to the requirements of operating independently, without human intervention. They are often used in applications such as space exploration, agriculture, or transportation.

Interface offers a wide variety of multi-axis sensor options including 2-axis, 3-axis, 6-axis, and axial torsion load cell sensors. The benefits of using multi-axis sensors aligns to the advancements in robotics, as the expectations to do more means more data is needed to thoroughly test and measure every capability and interaction with accuracy.


BX8 & 6-Axis

Multi-Axis Sensor Applications

Mounting Tips for Multi-Axis Sensors

Recap of Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar

Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors An Interface Hosted Forum

Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-Axis Sensors 101


Interface Force Measurement 101 Series Introduction

In our ongoing commitment to provide valuable resources through self-help guides and online reference materials, we are introducing our 101 Series.

This new online resource is an easy-to-use guide for load cell basics and force measurement topics. The series is a collection of content in various formats that detail subjects related to test and measurement.

Interface prioritizes helping our customers understand the inner workings of our expanding line of sensors, accessories, and instrumentation by creating guides, technical manuals, and solution applications for force measurement.

The Interface 101 Series will introduce you to relevant subjects about our products and how we can help you get the most accurate and reliable force data in the industry by using our solutions.

Our new 101 Series guide is an effortless way to navigate through high-level test and measurement topics. Each section of the new 101 Series includes a featured 101 IQ blog on a single subject, as well as quick links to videos, case studies, white papers, application notes, product information, technical specifications and more related to that subject.

The goal in creating the 101 Series is to provide a basic understanding on how our products are used for various test and measurement applications across all industries. The references are an effective way to learn about the broad depth of Interface products like our precision load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, calibration systems and instrumentation. We also provide relevant test and measurement content related to types of force measurement testing, components, systems, and materials used in engineering highly accurate measurement technologies.

There are thousands of references found throughout our site, like our design files for product engineers and digital instrumentation set-up videos for lab techs. It is our pledge to develop material that support our 35,000 products, as well as provide educational content like the 101 Series and our ForceLeaders Webinars you can watch on-demand.

Included below are the current 101 IQ Blogs you will find featured on the 101 Series online guide. We will add additional references to this 101 Series, as we post new subjects. Go to Force Measurement 101 Series to bookmark this reference.

101 Series IQ Blogs

You can find additional reference materials related to our products and services including manuals, product catalogs, technical references, and events.  Go to our online support to find helpful educational and advanced resources like our technical glossary, engineering tips and installation guides.

If you are mostly interested in why you should choose Interface, here is a good reference to start.

If you are not able to find the information you need or you have a specific question about our products or services, be sure to contact us to help.

Mounting Tips for Multi-Axis Sensors

Understanding best practices for mounting is critical to collecting accurate data, especially when it comes to multi-axis load cell solutions. As more testing engineers choose multi-axis sensors for the benefits of additional data, it is important to note that  improper mounting can cause multiple axis to be unaligned and skew the data across the various axis you are measuring.

In follow-up to our webinar, Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar, here are some valuable reminders on how to properly mount both 3-Axis and 6-Axis load cells to gather the most accurate and reliable data for any test and measurement application.

The first thing to understand is there are certain mounting considerations that are important across every type of multi-axis sensors. These considerations begin with understanding the relationship between the sensor and mounting hardware. The sensor is made up of the electronic internals of a load cell, while the mounting hardware is comprised of plating that needs to align with the test system.

The next thing to understand is that deflections in the system introduce errors and apparent crosstalk. To avoid deflections, plates and fixtures used in mounting must be stiff enough to avoid deflections. The best way to understand this is to try and emulate how stiff the plating was when the sensor was calibrated, this will help you understand how stiff you need the plate to be in the testing application.

Finally, every single multi-axis sensor model also comes with unique mounting instructions, so be sure to consult the written instructions if you have questions. When it comes to mounting instructions for our products, Interface publishes all mounting instructions online.

Mounting instructions provide information on the class of hardware for mounting, as well as important data such as the torque on the dowel pins, for cases that include dowel pins.

For 3-axis mounting, we provide assembly instructions for each type of load cell available. For example, the assembly instructions pictured on the far left shows a 3-Axis sensor with four threaded mounting holes on the top surface and two dowels that should be used to avoid the plate slipping. The dowel pins are crucial to aligning the axis. The instructions also show mating services which are identified with arrows or hash marks.

The 6-axis mounting hardware is a bit different in that there are more holes in the mounting plates and fixtures for dowel pins, which stop the mounting plate from deforming or bending because this can cause inaccuracies in data. Additional mounting locations are necessary to securing the plates and fixtures.

Considerations for 6-axis mounting include the potential need to use a double-plate mounting arrangement, the plates must be suitably thick, the plates must have the same material as sensor for thermal matching, and flat and smooth mounting plate surfaces are preferred. The example here shows some of the features mentioned above.

We hope this simple guide will provide you with the information you need to get the most out of your multi-axis sensors. If you are ever unsure about any details within the mounting process for multi-axis sensors, feel free to contact Interface for support or questions about any multi-axis products.


Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors; An Interface Hosted Forum

Interface Sensor Mounting and Force Plates

Mounting Plates


Enhancing Friction Testing with Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-axis sensors premier benefit is the ability to collect multiple data points to provide a more complete picture during product design and testing phases. The ability to measure on multiple axes at one time not only offers more accurate data, but it also speeds up the test process. Essentially it requires fewer variables, like using multiple load cells. One force testing application that benefits greatly from multi-axis sensors is friction force testing.

For purposes of definition, friction is the resistance a surface or object encounters when moving over another.

The coefficient of friction (fr) is a number that is the ratio of the resistive force of friction (Fr) divided by the normal or perpendicular force (N) pushing the objects together.

The force exerted by a surface as an object moves or attempts to move across it is what is called friction force.  Though it is not always the case, the friction force often opposes the motion of an object. A friction test will look to measure the resistance preventing the objects from moving without interference or restriction against each other. For purposes of measurement, sliding and static friction are the two most common.

Traditionally, the friction testing process for trying to measure multiple axes was completed using two or more single axis load cells that would measure force on each axis separately. Unfortunately, this process required the user to have multiple load cells of the same design on hand for such testing. Most importantly, this methods results could include parasitic losses to accuracy.

By introducing a multi-axis load cell like the 3-axis sensor, the user can get a more complete picture with less time and lower costs. The benefits of using a 3-axis sensor include the ability to eliminate parasitic losses and move the measurement closer to the specimen. Also, 3-axis sensors allow for simultaneous measurements of the x, y and z axis without additional load cells.

In our recent webinar Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Solutions, Keith Skidmore details a friction testing example and the benefits of using multi-axis sensors. He explains, in a friction test where you want to apply a weight to a specimen and then drag that specimen across a surface, that drag force could be measured with the single axis load cell. This works great assuming the weight is constant that you are pulling. The assumption in your testing accuracy is that the specimen doesn’t move during the test, so to prevent it from tipping over you probably have guides or an applied object. The issue is this type of application or guide might create parasitic loads and create a non-repeatability system.

How do you constrain the system without affecting the measurement in this type of friction testing? One way to do it would be using a three-axis sensor right above the specimen. Now you can use guides and it doesn’t matter because the sensor is sensing right at the test specimen. You can pull on it, the data channel shows the change in weight as you slide providing your fixed weight. Then you’ve got your friction force which tends to want to move side to side.

Users can also consider a 6-axis load cell for friction testing. 6-axis load cells provide even more data on all six axes, and also allows the user to adjust out of any off-axis components. Users that are interested in knowing the rotational component of the friction testing machine may also want to consider 6-axis. Using a 6-axis would allow you to measure tendencies in rotation or other effects from fixturing.  More data, better analysis and ability to control your testing specimens.

Recently, Interface introduced an application note detailing the use of a 3-axis load cell to measure and test a friction force machine. Check it out below:

Friction Testing

A testing laboratory was looking to replace two single axis load cells used in their friction testing machine with one sensor that could measure force on the x, y, and z axis simultaneously. Interface suggest installing a 3A60 3-Axis load cell their existing machine with an Interface BSC4D-USB Multi-Channel PC Interface hooked directly to a PC laptop to monitor and log the data in real time. Using this solution, The testing laboratory was able to simplify their sensor set-up and improve their data collection, creating more value for their end customer.  You can read the entire application note on friction testing here.


New Interface Multi-Axis Load Cells

One of the common trends in test and measurement is the growing demands for better, more complete sources of data to provide relevant, accurate and viable information to make smart decisions. A significant step towards empowering our customers with more data capabilities is in the ever expanding 2-axis, 3-axis, 6-axis, and axial torsion multi-axis load cell product lines. These requests frequently come with requirements for reduced physical sizes, in dimensions, while keeping the same level of capacity and capabilities. All in the end goal of securing more measurement data.

The benefit of multi-axis is that they are designed to measure a multitude of forces and moments simultaneously with a single load cell sensor. These sensors provide multiple bridges that precisely measure the applied force from one direction with minimal crosstalk from the other axes. We can measure forces simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes, with the 6-axis load cells also measuring torque around those axes. Benefits are compounded when these sensors are paired with our data acquisition and amplifier systems that make graphing, logging and displaying data easy enough for any experience level.

As the demand for these products grow across industries, Interface continues to develop new configurations and total system solutions for new and unique applications. We are continuously adding to this line of products In fact, we recently added a few new series of multi-axis sensors aimed at covering a wider spectrum of product tests and custom measurement applications just this month. Included below is a list of the new products we’ve introduced in July, which provide more options to select a multi-axis solution right for your unique needs.


3A40 3-Axis Load Cell

The Model 3A40 has three independent axes in a small package size. Capacities available are 2N, 10N, 20N, and 50N. The product is made from aluminum alloy so it is very light weight.  The 3A Series 3-Axis Load Cell is ideally suited to many industrial and scientific applications, such as aerospace, robotics, automotive and medical research. The load cell is provided in various capacity ranges and sizes with each of the three axes providing the same capacity.

3AR Series Round 3-Axis Load Cells

The 3AR 3-Axis Load Cell Series features a round construction, compact size and low crosstalk. The load cell is provided in various capacity ranges and sizes with each of the three axes providing the same capacity. We are happy to work with our customers design needs, providing a custom design if warranted for varying capacities (between X, Y, and Z), higher temperature capability, or OEM and private labeling if needed.

6A Series 6-Axis High-Capacity Load Cells

Interface’s 6A Series 6-Axis Load Cell measures forces simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. 12 full bridges provide mV/V output on 12 independent channels. A 72-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. Interface’s BX8 Amplifiers, which includes BlueDAQ software, greatly simplifies the data acquisition process. The new Models 6A225 and 6A300 are available.

Interface multi-axis load cells are ideally suited to many industrial and scientific applications, such as aerospace, robotics, automotive and medical research such as orthopedics and biomechanical use cases. In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic design via multi-axis testing. The energy industry is using Interface’s multi-axis products in wind tunnels, and the military is using them to test the center of gravity in aerospace and defense systems applications.

Multi-axis is the future of force measurement. More axes of data gives the users a better idea of the whole testing picture, which leads to better, higher quality products. We’re proud to be leading the multi-axis load cell trend and will continue to serve our customers with new products, and custom solutions designed for every need.


Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors Virtual Event Recap

Better Data and Performance with Interface Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-Axis Sensor Applications

To learn more about our multi-axis product lines, check out the product page on our website at You can also call one of our application engineers to determine which product is right for your needs at 480-948-5555.

Here is the complete Multi-Axis Solutions brochure

Multi Axis Brochure

Contributor: Keith Skidmore, Custom Solutions Engineer & Sales Director