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Fitness Equipment Makers Require Extreme Accuracy

Interface’s specialty is building solutions for the testing and monitoring of parts and total systems that move and create force. One of the industries where this is critical is the fitness industry. Equipment and fitness machines, whether designed for in-home use or in professional athlete training facilities, needs to perform safely and accurately.

Utilizing Interface sensors and instrumentation, the performance of different fitness apparatus is measured in various testing protocols throughout the product’s lifecycle. Rigorous tests are performed during each phase: R&D, design, manufacturing, and after-market use. These tests look at performance data, as well as measure reliability, durability, fatigue, and safety of the equipment. Manufacturers of fitness devices also utilize feedback from sensors to monitor user experiences in real-time. This means they need accurate data for all types of user profiles, strength variability, weights, and experience levels.

The global fitness market also needs a testing solutions partner as the industry is looking at solid growth over the next few years. In fact, Allied Market Research predicts that the fitness market will reach $14.8 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 3.3% year-over-year during this assessment period.

Interface recently captured a series of use cases for how our test and measurement products are used in the fitness industry for testing and in OEM applications. You can read the entire case study here: Interface Measures Fitness Equipment with Extreme Accuracy.

Addressing Challenges in Making Fitness Equipment

In the development of fitness equipment, a lot goes into the manufacturing and engineering process to ensure equipment is safe and reliable for users. Taking a treadmill as an example, the wheels that move the running surfaces must withstand varying speeds and levels of force over extended periods of time. This requires torque and stress testing. Additionally, the sensors on the handrails that send out a pulse to measure the user’s heart rate needs to provide accurate data in health and wellness uses. Manufacturers are looking to install sensors into their equipment that measure various forces and provide fitness data to the user, or data that doctors can use to monitor patients while working out. These makers and product designers for fitness equipment need sensors that can be easily designed into the product or customized to fit into existing products to enable smart functionality and IoT capabilities.

Interface Fitness Equipment Test & Measurement Solutions

Interface provides a variety of measurement solutions used by manufacturers and testing engineers in the fitness equipment sector. This includes our load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and miniature load cells, along with the popular wireless products and instrumentation. Our products have been used across a wide variety of fitness applications, including elliptical, leg press, rowing machines, bicycles both mobile and stationary, and physical training and therapy equipment. Interface sensor technologies are preferred by product design engineers in this field because of the precision, accuracy, range of options, and quality.

The following application notes examples provide an overview of how Interface serves the fitness industry:

Designing Fitness Equipment and Machines

A fitness machine manufacturer wanted multiple load measurement systems for their different fitness machines such as the elliptical, leg press, rowing machine, and the cable machines used in gyms of all types. The goal of designing sensors into the equipment is to ensure the machines are functioning properly to prevent injuries. The sensors can also be used for trainers who want to conduct strength and endurance tests. Interface provided a combination of products including the WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load CellSSB Sealed Beam Load Cells, and AT103 Axial Torsion Force and Torque Transducers. Paired with Interface’s proper instrumentation, the forces can be measured, graphed, and displayed during the testing stage. Interface’s products all effectively measured forces needed for those working out or undergoing athletic training regiments. Not only did it ensure the designed machines were working properly, but it also helped those using them to track their endurance performance and consider future design enhancements based on consumer use. Read more about this use case.

 

 

Treadmill Rehabilitation

A medical device maker wanted a force measurement system for their experimental rehabilitation treadmill for patients that have pelvic mobility difficulties. For example, patients who have had strokes tend to have difficulty walking. Their goal was to measure the forces applied on the pelvis when the patient is walking on the treadmill and catch any pelvic deviations. The treadmill had a special harness with two actuators on either side of the patient when in use. Interface suggested installing two WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells to the actuators, which will measure the forces applied on the pelvis of the patient. Force results would be measured using the SI-USB4 4-Channel USB Interface Module, which could also be graphed and logged on the customer’s computer with supplied VS3 software. Using this solution, the medical company was able to catch different pelvic deviations in their experimental rehabilitation treadmill using Interface’s products. Learn more here.

Bike Power Pedals

A bike manufacturer wanted to evaluate the functionality of their power pedals. They needed a reliable system to measure how much force the cyclist pushes down onto the bike pedals, and they preferred a wireless system that can be paired with their computer to review data results. Interface suggested four Model SML Low Height S-Type Load Cells installed within the bike’s pedals. The four SMLs are paired with two WTS-AM-4 Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, which will transmit the force data from the cyclist to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station Dongle connected to the customer’s computer. The products Interface provided allowed the bike manufacturer to measure the pedal power applied by the cyclist. Read more here.

Interface load cells, torque transducers, and data acquisition systems are ideal for many fitness applications, especially those designed for IoT connectivity. Interface offers products that measure all types of force across the necessary fitness applications. Additionally, if we don’t have a product that works for your exact challenge, our custom solutions team will work alongside your design and test engineers to create the most effective and efficient solution based on the unique specifications.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Bike Frame Fatigue Testing Application Note

E-Bike Torque Measurement

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Golf Ball Tee

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Load cells and torque transducers of all types play a critical role in the test and measurement landscape and are used widely by engineers to qualify product design, ensure safety, prove reliability and durability. Force measurement solutions are being utilized more frequently in original product designs and components today due to the dependencies on force feedback during design, testing, prototyping and for monitoring force in the finished goods.

Interface has been a long-time partner of product design engineers. They utilize our force sensors throughout the design process.  Interface sensor technologies are preferred by product design engineers because of the precision, accuracy, range of options, and quality. Across industries, our load cells and torque transducers are being used as a feature in all types of equipment, industrial solutions and consumer products, large and small.

In search of a solution to a problem, design engineers use our products in every stage of the process.

Ask + Qualify: Often in consultation with our application engineers, they gather key sensor specifications, design features, capacity and capability requirements. This initial step is critical in ensuring the right type of sensor is selected and that it will fit into the test plan.

Planning + Design Files:  As the plan is created by the engineer, they will turn to Interface to gather the datasheet details, along with our design files. Interface has thousands of products and each has their own unique drawing. These are all available on our site by product. If you need help finding a design file, submit CAD requests here.

Prototyping:  Once the plan is committed to and prototyping is the next step, if any of the specifications require a custom or modified design, our engineers will team with the design and test engineer to ensure exact specs meet the final design requirements.

Test + Measurement:  This is where accuracy and quality matter most. The designs are tested and data is gathered to determine if the problem is actually solved.  Often our sensors are paired with instrumentation and other products that are utilized in the lab to validate all the use cases and design specs.  It also provides valuable insights into improvements and modifications, if needed.

Manufacture + Launch:  The final step that Interface can play a significant role is building sensors at scale that are used as embedded components. We work with many OEMs in building unique parts for their product designs.

Product Solution Types for Design Engineers

Interface force measurement products are the preferred solutions for design engineers because of our extensive catalog of products. We offer four product solution types for design engineers:  standard products available on our site, engineered to order products to match a specific use case test, custom solutions that are built to specifications and requirements of the engineer and OEM products that are designed in as a part of a product.  We’ve worked across thousands of applications as noted in our extensive applications catalog and have developed a product list of over 30,000 SKUs to get started in the design process.

Designing Brake Pedals for Gaming

Bluetooth-Brake-Pedal-App-NoteIn the gaming world, load cells are extremely popular for racing game pedals to simulate the actual real-world experience. These load cells capture the force of a human foot pressing down on the pedal more accurately in game, especially when you are using products like our Bluetooth Brake Pedal Load Cell.  This specialized load cell is also available in wireless.  Brake pedal design engineers will create a series of tests to ensure that the pedal is performing as intended, and also to ensure that all the use cases are validated with accurate measurement data.  This helps in the final design tests and initial prototyping, as well as full release. Further details on this consumer product application can be found in the Gaming Simulation Brake Pedal App Note. Read more about gaming solutions here.

Designing Tractor Linkage Draft Controls

Farmers need to measure the forces applied on their tractor’s draft control, between the tractor and any linked-on attachments. Measuring the force helps the farmer sense any strains on the hitch of the tractor and will be needed in order to apply any specific settings to the draft control when the tractor encounters rough terrain. As this problem was being solved, the maker shared their requirements with Interface application experts. During the qualification process with the design engineer, Interface suggested the WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which is a wireless load pin that can be installed directly in the hitch and replace the normal shear pin of the tractor. Force results are then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station, where they can view the results of the testing via a connected computer. We also provided the WTS toolkit to provide the testing software. The engineer was able to view test results on the WTSBS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters in real-time. Using this solution, the design engineer was able to determine the specific draft control settings to assemble with the tractors. They also were able to design in features to make real-time adjustments during the tractor’s use.

Designing Fitness Equipment and Machines

A fitness machine manufacturer wanted multiple load measurement systems for their different fitness machines such as the elliptical, leg press, rowing machine, and the cable machines. The goal of designing sensors into the equipment is to ensure the machines are functioning properly to prevent injuries. The sensors can also be used for trainers who want to conduct strength and endurance tests. Interface provided a combination of products including the WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell, SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells, and AT103 Axial Torsion Force and Torque Transducers. Paired with Interface’s proper instrumentation, the forces can be measured, graphed, and displayed during the testing stage. Interface’s products all effectively measured forces needed for those working out or undergoing athletic training. Not only did it ensure the designed machines were working properly, but it also helped those using them to track their endurance performance and consider future design enhancements based on consumer use.

These are just a few examples on the industrial and consumer side of how sensors can add critical capabilities to products across the board. Our sensors help to validate, measure, test, prototype and launch new products that are safe, reliable and durable. We’d also like design engineers to understand the wide range of monitoring and real-time sensing capabilities available through Interface. To get started, ask. We are here to help in the product design process.

Additional Resources

OEM Solutions- Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

OEM Brochure

Making the Case for Custom Solutions

 

Embedding Sensors in Products Webinar Recap

Interface recently hosted a live virtual event, Embedding Sensors in Products, where Brian Peters and Randy White detail the processes, products and uses cases for using Interface load cells, load pins, and torque transducers as a stand-alone sensor solution or a component within a product.

Interface has been providing custom engineered and manufactured solutions for more than 50 years to equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and product engineers to meet unique specifications and requirements.

Interface sensor technologies are frequently being used medical devices, machines and equipment, industrial automation robotics, material extraction and pumps, weighing and monitoring devices, vehicle production and components and more. Building any custom OEM solution to exact specifications is a team sport.  Working together with Interface engineers, we partner with the customer through ever stage: Design, Test, Build and Supply.

The typical uses cases for Interface OEM Solutions include:

  • Products requiring sensor technology components
  • Instrumenting components
  • Utilizing sensors to measure force, weight, or torque
  • Managing test and measurement processes and protocols
  • Precision performance requirements and testing 

The entire recorded Embedding Sensors Event is available to online to watch at your convenience.

The best tip for success is to engage early with Interface. Our experts have the experience and know-how of product capabilities, applications, configurations, and a history of what works and potential risks. When getting started, details matter. Our OEM Applications Engineers will work with you to ensure we have answer to important questions, including: 

  • What are you measuring?
  • Why are you measuring?
  • What signal or connectivity is needed?
  • Measurement range and potential loading conditions
  • Envelope and mechanical integration
  • Environment
  • Calibration – relative vs absolute measurement
  • What are you trying to solve #1?

Be sure to watch the new ForceLeaders event to gain insights into the process, tips for success, industry use cases and the range of products available for embedding sensors into products. There are many products Interface has available that are great options for engineered-to-order and customization. These Interface products include low and high capacity load cells, compression load cells, miniature load cells and load buttons, load pins, s-type and beam load cells, sealed load cells, torque transducers, digital communication devices, multi-axis sensors and more. Several product options are discussed in detail during this informative presentation

You can watch the presentation below, where our experts discuss the following topics:

  • Interface OEM Solutions
  • How to Get Started
  • Dialing in on Specifications and Requirements
  • Process: Design, Test, Build and Supply
  • Common Sensors Used for OEM
  • Trends in OEM 
  • Applications + Uses Cases
  • FAQs

If you have questions about how to get started or need further information about our OEM Solutions, go here. Our experts are ready to help with your exact requirements.  Additional information is also available in our white paper, New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor.

Embedding Sensors in Products

Interface recently hosted a conversation about embedding sensors into products and components. Our OEM solutions experts Randy White and Brian Peters discussed the process of engaging Interface to help with design, engineering, building and testing using our specialty load cells and torque transducers. We build to your specifications. Learn how to get started in this detailed event about OEM market solutions.

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

In medical technology design, engineering and manufacturing, accuracy is everything. Not only are standards and regulations for product quality extremely high in the medical industry, the safety and wellbeing of patients and users depends on it.

Interface continues to provide the medical device and healthcare industry with the most accurate and reliable force measurement products used for R&D, testing, and embedding sensors for continuous measurement.

In our Medical and Healthcare Solutions Overview, Interface dives deeper into our capabilities and product line that is used throughout the lifecycle of development and supply of medical device and healthcare components. For decades, Interface has been a supplier of precision measurement solutions those that are used in the design, engineering, testing and manufacturing of products used in the industry. Here is a quick recap spotlighting why Interface is a preferred industry partner.

Interface Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface provides load cells and sensors of all capacities and sizes to use in the development of medical devices, healthcare tools, and technologies that improve the ability to diagnose, mitigate risks, treat illness, support wellness and advance science.

First and foremost, to qualify as a provider of products in the industry the proper certifications for quality are a necessity. Interface is celebrated for meeting and exceeding the quality needs for our customer’s projects in medical and healthcare. Our products are built and tested in accordance with A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540- 1-1994. This accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system.

The next qualification is experience. In the medical industry, they need to know that their suppliers understand their rigid requirements and use cases for their products. Our engineers and product teams have been providing proven sensor technologies used for a wide variety of medical devices, like prosthetics and surgical implements. These products require extremely accurate measurement before they are approved for use. Interface knows what it takes to meet these requirements.

The industry requires a range of capabilities and sizes of measurement devices like our various miniature and shear beam load cell solutions with 10x overload protection. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately measure performance. These solutions are used to control product use, for fatigue testing, test surgical equipment durability, measure implants and monitor equipment. Other Interface medical device and healthcare solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing to use in complex designs requiring multiple measurement outputs.

Prosthetics Performance

Interface supplies products to test how a prosthetics perform during different positions and stances. The products used in a prosthetic foot design test including the Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell, which was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot and the Model 3A120, which was connected to a portable data acquisition system. When standard precision solutions need a custom designed sensor, Interface’s solutions team and engineers work directly with medical device manufacturers to deliver specialized products, systems and software that meet the evolving needs and innovation requirements. Included below is an application note that outlines the prosthetic testing process using Interface force solutions.

In this example, a customer wanted to know how a prosthetic foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. This challenge required a force solution and Interface supplied 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell which were installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The Model 3A120 was then connected to a portable data acquisition system. With this solution, the customer was able to log data was for the X, Y, and Z axis, review the results and identify premature foot flat and dead spots during foot’s use. Using this data, they’re now able to make improvements to the design. Read more about this prosthetic load and fatigue testing application here.

Stent And Catheter Testing

Stent CatheterFor this specific use case, large testing rigs that contain approximately a dozen Interface load cells are used to test stents and heart valves that are surgically implanted into patients. The rigs subject the stents and heart valves to thousands of stress tests over months to determine their material properties. Stents stay in a patient’s body for the rest of their life, so accuracy and durability are extremely important. This application makes use of Interface’s Miniature Beam Load Cell product line, which is overload protected. This product line is extremely reliable and has never had a reported fatigue failure. Included below is another application example.

In this application note, the customer needed to apply known forces to stent and catheters to ensure they pass all necessary strength and flexibility testing. Interface’s solution was to use a MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell that is placed behind the guide wire for the stent or catheter. The motor will spin the linear drive and push the load cell and guide the wire through the testing maze. MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell is connected to the DIG-USB PC Interface Module. All forces are measured and stored on PC. Using this system, the Customer was able to perform required testing and log to PC, followed by being able to review results and take actions as needed. You can read more about this application use case for a stent testing system here.

A growing demand for our products utilized in OEM medical applications. Interface works with manufacturers across the world who design and build life-saving medical devices, implants, and tools, as detailed in the post Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications. Customers turn to Interface because of our proven track record for producing, at volume, the most accurate, reliable and efficient force measurement products and accessories for collecting critical data.

Interface has been involved in the engineering of unique sensor products for use in medical devices and equipment, from MedTech devices to some of the machinery used to manufacture medical products. Increasing success happens when you engage early.  Our experts are ready to assist with your medical device and healthcare test and measurement product needs.

Additional Medical and Health Care Industry Resources

OEM: Medical Bag Weighing

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

2022 Test and Measurement Industry Trends

Interface continues to experience significant growth in demand and fulfillment of our precision measurement products and services. Despite the ongoing challenges in supply and overall health and economic concerns, our focus has remained steadfast to serve customers with innovative solutions, facilitated requests for specialized engineering and production requests and expeditiously working to meet the delivery schedules aligned to our customers’ requirements.

As the overall T&M industry grew, so did the demand for engineers and manufacturers across all industries to have proven solutions from their test and measurement equipment, expanded capabilities from sensor technologies, as well as explore new ways of optimizing products with real-time, accurate measurement.

As we look ahead to 2022, we are also investing in new and existing trends and exploring how they will shape the overall market next year and beyond. To help prepare our customers, here are our predictions for the new year, along with what is hot and trending in force measurement. The following provides some insights from our experts on how Interface is prepared to address these trends, while continuing to serve our customers at the highest level of satisfaction. Here is Interface’s viewpoint on market trends and predictions for 2022 and beyond.

Big Data Continues to Rule Product Design and Test

Over the last few years, we’ve shared our view on the Industry 4.0 revolution and how Interface customers are demanding more data from their T&M tools to give exactness in accuracy and all-encompassing performance data at the earliest phases of product design. Not only will this continue, but it will expand rapidly. In the force measurement world, Interface has responded by serving our customers with new innovations in multi-axis sensors that provide more force data on more axis. Interface offers a wide variety of multi-axis sensors including 2, 3 and 6-axis sensors. We certainly anticipate a continued growth in demand for multi-axis sensors as our product line expands to meet the requirements.

In addition, Interface is seeing more requests from manufacturers and product designers to embed sensors and measurement capabilities within their products. To enable continuous improvements and advancements in smart manufacturing and product designs, sensors are being used to provide real-time feedback on machines, components, equipment, and consumer products. These sensors are often designed in or embedded into the OEM product to predict the health in each type of use case, as well as notify users when a repair or adjustment is needed for safety, user satisfaction, and controlled maintenance. In the manufacturing applications, this capability significantly reduces facility downtime. To meet this demand, Interface is investing in more automation capabilities within our own manufacturing facilities to produce high volume sensor solutions for OEM customers. This market is growing rapidly, and Interface is working hard to meet the needs of our customers that need our products in volume.

New Advancements in Strain Gages

Another trend that Interface is actively investing in is new strain gage technologies and manufacturing techniques to better serve the high-production and OEM markets. Interface uses proprietary strain gages for all products we manufacture. When OEMs are making high-volume product orders and need sensors that fit their exact needs without breaking their budget, Interface is ready to meet the demand. One of the ways that force sensor manufacturers can meet OEM cost needs is through innovation in strain gages, the heart of any measurement device. Interface deploys a team of resources to design and build custom strain gages when a unique solution is part of the design requirements. Interface has expanded our specialization and expertise in mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, and metallurgy to meet this specific trend and need. We are currently undergoing critical R&D to find new ways to develop these components and working directly with customers to meet their data requirements. Check out this post on strain gages.

Growing Demand for Wireless Solutions

Another trend that is continuing to gain momentum is the growing need for wireless measurement solutions. Wireless systems are helping manufacturers simplify the integration process and create a cleaner safer test environment with far less wiring. Wireless communication is also playing a major role in advanced manufacturing and smart products. By connecting systems wirelessly, users can monitor testing and in OEM applications, review the health of a system, from a central point. This includes for components used in the field, underwater or via remote locations for assembly and test.

These wireless systems also help improve accuracy significantly. Wireless technology has gotten to the point where we can receive more accurate readings when converting from an analog to a digital signal. This is especially important in highly complex and regulated industries like aerospace, energy, or medical. Wireless solutions will continue to grow, and Interface continues to develop new wireless total system solutions for our various product lines.

Faster, More Efficient Calibration Services

One of the most critical facets of working in manufacturing and technology is meeting the demands of our clients in an extremely timely manner. Innovation, advancements and testing demands slows down for no one, and our customers are no exception. This also requires regular maintenance and servicing of our devices. Interface recommends annual calibration services to ensure your force and torque measurement products are performing as designed. We understand they need our products and services fast. As part of our commitment to customers, Interface provides high quality calibration services that are key to long lasting and accurate force sensors. This service has grown rapidly alongside the force measurement industry and we’re receiving more re-calibration orders than ever before. To meet this demand, Interface is investing heavily in both people and technology to further expedite this process and meet our promise of expeditious turnaround times for calibration services. Read more about calibration here.

Complete Systems

Sometimes out-of-the-box meets the exact requirements, sometimes it’s in the box.  Interface continues to expand our product mix to include advanced instrumentation, accessories, sensors and unique housing for full systems due to growing demands. Our team of solution engineers partner with our customers to identify the specifications and understand the application to build completely custom solutions, from single sensors to complete systems. These systems can be used within lab testing environments or as remote testing solutions.  Learn more about the capabilities of our custom solutions team here.

These are just a few of the many trends occurring in test and measurement into 2022 and beyond. Technology is progressing at a rapid pace. Our customers need more data, that’s abundant and accurate. Our sensors are seeing new application and use cases, ranging from testing unmanned space vehicles to smart agriculture components.

Rest assured, Interface is deeply invested in addressing these trends and serving our customers in the new year and beyond with critical innovation. It’s what we’ve been doing since 1968. We see an abundance of opportunities and possibilities in working with our customers to get the best products for their projects, programs, and OEM products. Whether they need our standard, engineered-to-order, and custom solutions, we are here to serve and ready for 2022. How can we help you?

Additional Resources

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

Additional Interface Calibration Grade Solutions

 

 S-Type Load Cells 101

There are many different types of devices used in test and measurement from load cells to torque transducers and tension links to multi-axis sensors. In addition, there are sub-categories in each of these product types that are based on various specifications, capabilities, capacities, and application requirements.

Discussing load cells specifically, there are different models and configurations depending on the use case, the amount of force measurement or weighing requirements for a particular load, dimensions, and even test environment considerations. No matter what our customers need, we have standard and custom load cells up to the task. In our 101 series, we are highlighting the innovative miniature load cell sub-category of Interface S-Type Load Cells.

What Is an S-Type Load Cell and What Is It Used For?

S-type load cells, sometimes called s-beam, gets its nomenclature from the “S” looking model of the load cell. It is shaped this way because it is designed to measure well-controlled tension and compression forces. There are preferred by engineers and testing labs for the precision, size, material, and ability to fit in limited spaces. They are often used for weighing, in test machines as well as product designs for ongoing performance measurement by OEMs.

An s-type load cell will often be used within a system designed to stress test products in a controlled environment for fatigue and product testing to measure the way the product stands up to force over long periods of time. The benefit of Interface S-Type Load Cells is that they are very cost-effective, highly accurate, easy to mount, and offer flexibility because it can be used universally for tension and compression testing. They are also smaller than typical load cells, providing major benefits when there are limitations in space or for smaller test product dimensions.

Interface has a wide range of specialized miniature s-type load cells including sealed, micro-size, fatigue-rated, high-temperature ratings, low height, overload protected and intrinsically safe to meet all types of testing protocols and plans. You can see all the s-type models here.

An s-type load cell is generally used with eyebolts or rod-ends when used in tension and this can cause binding or the associated hardware to unthread. These uniquely designed load cells should not be used when weighing an object that can sway or rotate. Additionally, an s-type load cell is not recommended when the load cell will be used for both tension and compression, where accuracy in compression is critical. In this case we’d recommend a shear type of load cell.

S-Type Load Cell Applications

Prosthetics Load and FatigueProsthetic Load and Fatigue Testing

Prosthetic limbs must be tested for extreme loading that can occur during falls, accidents, and sports movements. Fatigue testing of prosthetic components determines the expected lifespan of the components under normal usage. Interface suggested a static load test apparatus using SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell attached to hydraulic actuators to apply and measure loads. The fatigue testing machine uses SSMF Fatigue Rated S-type Load Cell to apply and measure cyclic loads. During the fatigue test, the actuator repeatedly applies and removes the force to simulate activity such as walking. Tilt tables may also be used to apply forces at various angles to simulate the heel-to-toe movement of walking or running. Using this solution, engineers can determine whether prosthetic materials and designs will withstand the rigors of daily use and occasional high load situations. Read more here.

Furniture FatigueFurniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

To meet safety protocols in relation to the manufacturing of various furniture products, fatigue testing, shock testing, and proof testing must be rigorously performed before diffusion into the marketplace. Force testing simulations on furniture products are critical in determining the posted max loads to protect manufacturers from liability due to damages that might result from the misuse of those products and overloading. Using an Interface Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell along with Interface Model 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator provides a solution that measures the force being applied in fatigue cycle testing of a furniture product, in this case testing the rocking mechanism in an office chair. Unlike other similar load cells, the Model SSMF is fatigue rated making it highly suitable for fatigue testing. No fatigue failure of any fatigue-rated Interface load cell, used within its ratings, has ever been reported. The furniture manufacturer was able to obtain accurate data about the rocking mechanism the office chair as it was fatigue cycled into failure. Adjustments were made to the design to improve the safety and life of the furniture, ensuring product quality and protecting the manufacturer from future liability. Read more here.

Interface S-Type Load Cells are highly effective, accurate and flexible products used for a wide variety of applications needing compression and tension force testing. To learn more about Interface’s S-Type Load Cells, you can also visit here or call us today to speak to an application engineer who can help you select the right product for your next project at 480-948-5555.

New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

The most common uses of force measurement in OEM (original equipment manufacturer) applications are when a force sensor is designed into a product that will be produced at mid to high volumes and provides real-time force feedback on certain product functions in use. Utilizing sensors as a feature enables data acquisition over time to monitor forces and understand how those forces effect product efficiency, safety, quality or all of these performance metrics. This ultimately is used to design a better product, in the current state and for future enhancements or to know when a product is performing best or risks breaking down.

Did you know that there is another application of force sensors in OEM applications that is playing a large role in the factory of the future? This is when we turn an active component into a sensor and use that data to create automated actions. This solution is used when there is a desire to take a moving component within a system and make it smarter, ultimately allowing it to make data-based decisions on its own.

For example, the manufacturing industry is using force sensors on machines within a production line that are responsible for picking components up for visual inspection. The sensor is integrated into the grabbing component and can tell the machine the exact force to use when picking up the component as not to damage it. This is a critical capability when dealing with expensive and delicate components that can break under too much force. In the past, a force measurement sensor would have been used only to test this functionality. When the sensor is designed directly into the machine, the user can both test beforehand and monitor and automate processes in real-time.

The need for this type of capability is growing rapidly amongst manufacturers across a wide variety of industry including aerospace and defense, industrial, medical, automotive, industrial automation, assembly and more. To further outline the potential for these types of solutions, Interface developed a new white paper that details  how sensor solutions for OEMs work with specific examples of the benefit of turning an active component into a sensor.

Included below is a brief intro to the recently released white paper. Get your copy by clicking on the link here. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning more about Interface solutions for OEM applications go here, or call us to speak to our OEM application experts at 480-948-5555. Ready to get started, let us know how we can help here.

WHITE PAPER EXCERPT

OEM SOLUTIONS: TURNING AN ACTIVE COMPONENT INTO A SENSOR

The age of industrial automation and big data is upon us. Manufacturers that fall behind in equipping their facilities and products with innovation that allows for automated processes, remote monitoring and better efficiency through technology, will quickly fall behind. This is due to the fact that automation helps to significantly improve process quality because it eliminates human error. It also creates long-term cost savings by speeding up several processes, or by helping to monitor products in use and in real-time to optimize performance and stability over time through better data collection.

Get your copy of the white paper to read more.

Special note, contributors to the white paper are Interface and sensor engineering experts, Brian Peters and Rob Fuge.

Additional Resources for OEM

Interface is a Critical Solutions Provider for OEMs

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

 

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Recently, Interface commissioned an independent research report on multi-axis sensors demand and use cases. This is a product line that Interface has made significant investments in as more customers require increased load cell functionality and additional source data from their force sensors. The research results confirm that the current demand is in fact expanding worldwide, and the overall users and market size is expected to grow by double digits over the next six years.

Included below is a brief overview of the state of the multi-axis, as well as an explanation of their overall purpose and why the growth of this type of test and measurement device continues to increase in popularity. We will also continue to break out the results of this research paper, so tune into the InterfaceIQ blog for more multi-axis research content. To learn more about these advanced sensors, view our ForceLeaders webinar Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors.

Multi-Axis Sensors Market Overview: The rise of IoT and Industry 4.0 had enabled automation. Machines continue to get smarter and can make split-second decisions using real-time data. Force measurement plays a key role in this transformation. Load cells that are tracking performance and reliability have more insights than ever before. They will continue to grow in their accuracy and capabilities. Load cell and sensor technologies are being used to identify precisely when and where something went wrong on a production line. Load cells will be growing in playing a key role in making production lines more efficient, less reliant on human resources and less costly.

There has been increased need for multi-axis sensors that measure and collect data points on up to six axes. Multi-axis sensors were invented because of the increased requirements for data, both in testing and during actual product use. And this is not slowing down anytime soon. Over the next decade, load cells will continue to keep up with the demand to handle more measurement data points. More sensors will need to be packed into a single device to collect more data with less equipment.

Five Key Take-Aways from Interface’s Multi-Axis Market Research:

  1. There is a growing requirement for high-performance sensor fusion of multi-axis sensor systems to enable the newly emerging technologies and highly demanding applications.
  2. Advancements in technology enabling effective components at a lighter and smaller size, such as the swift rise of unmanned vehicles in both the defense and civil applications and the increasing applications based on motion sensing, are the factors driving the multi-axis sensor use cases for testing and to embed into products.
  3. Digitizing force sensors is another trend changing our product innovators and manufacturer’s designs of machines and equipment through advanced measurement data. Many have strongly invested in more advanced digital electronics to efficiently harvest and store more data. Revolutions in industries and technologies is the dominant trend in force measurement, not to mention the entire manufacturing and engineering industry. Harnessing big data enables product users to remotely monitor assets and increase use of analytics.
  4. With network-connected force measurement through sensors and instrumentation, OEMs have greater control over testing and product development. Equipment using multi-axis sensors to track performance and reliability provide valuable data on how equipment is performing and predict when machines need maintenance.
  5. Global machine makers and equipment builders want smaller force sensors they can permanently install in the products. Smaller, wireless sensors are easier and less expensive to install. As more industrial networks are created to share higher-quality data, more and more sensors will be added to these machines.

What: Multi-axis sensors allow the user to measure forces and torques, which occur in more than one spatial direction, as with measurements in x- and y-direction. This allows manufacturers to obtain more data on a wider variety of axes, allowing them to make better design decisions and ultimately improve the product quality. A crucial focus is force measurement in manufacturing, where force transducers are frequently used to determine the force for weight measurement or in the process of production.

Why? Data-driven test and measurement is at the forefront of product development, especially in highly regulated markets like aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial. One of the most significant applications for multi-axis sensors is seen in manufacturing facilities who want to integrate more autonomy and robotic processes. The goal is to streamline logistics procedures and reduce human errors and workplace accidents. The report also found that there is a great deal interest for last-mile delivery robots, either on the ground, on the sea or drones in the air.

Interface’s Role: Interface multi-axis load cells are ideal for industrial and scientific applications. They are used by engineers and testing labs in various industries and market segments including aerospace, robotics, automotive, advanced manufacturing, for medical devices and research. Our products designed to provide the most comprehensive force and torque data points on advanced machinery. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, these multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety in their product design.

In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic designs and usability standards with multi-axis sensor testing. The automotive 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 applications.

Here are a few applications use cases that show how multi-axis is advancing products in multiple industries:

Wind Tunnel

Seat Testing Machine

Friction Testing

Industrial Robotic Arm

Ball and Socket Prosthetic

Prosthetic Foot Performance

Syringe Plunger Force Measurement

Research was conducted independently by Search4Research.