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Interface Forms Partnership with Manufacturers’ Representative Hill and Company

In a move that expands Interface’s ability and expertise in serving our customers across a wide range of industries in the Midwest, Interface today announced a new partnership with manufacturers’ representative Hill and Company.

Hill and Company brings more than 85 years of experience and expertise working with OEMs and other customers in the HVAC, computer, agriculture, defense, aircraft and electronic equipment industries to help solve technology-related challenges.

Based in Kansas City, Missouri with an expansive Midwest presence, the company will provide sales support for Interface, the leader in force measurement solutions, across Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Southern Illinois.

“Interface has long been known as a premium provider of the most accurate and reliable force measurement equipment in the industry,” said Ed Hill, president, Hill and Company. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to sell Interface products across the many industries we represent. Our history in the Midwest serving a wide variety of manufacturing operations, combined with our ability to bridge the gap between customer needs and products, will ensure our partnership with Interface remains long and mutually beneficial.”

Hill and Company was founded in 1933 by Nathan Hill. The product lines the company sells includes a wide range of electronic and software solutions, including electronic controls, circuit boards, thermostats, flash storage, motors, transformers, power supplies, relays, and wireless software. Its lineup will now include more than 36,000 force measurement products, services and custom solutions from Interface.

Hill and Company will focus its efforts for Interface on leveraging new and existing relationships with OEMs and other customers across the Midwest to offer force measurement solutions that meet their evolving needs for test and measurement, sensor technologies and components.

Hill and Company has built its reputation with long-standing in the region on consistency, reliability and a wealth of knowledge related to technology solutions to addresses their most complex challenges. Interface welcomes Hill and Company to our tightly-knit global sales network, and look forward to working with them and their customers to deliver value, experience and expertise in the form of highly reliable and accurate force measurement solutions.

To locate a representative or distributor of Interface products, click here.

 

Interface is a Critical Solutions Provider for OEMs

The hardware industry is rapidly making its way into taking advantage of the Industry 4.0 and Big Data eras. The idea that data insight can cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce downtime is spreading like wildfire throughout major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) across the world. These organizations are adding more and more sensors and other data collection devices to their products to receive deeper analytics on the health and efficiency of various in-action processes.

One of the most important tools in this mix of data tracking and collecting devices are force measurement sensors. Load cells and torque transducers are being added to products across industries to not only optimize individual product processes, but also to ensure that the product remains in proper working conditions.

As an example, the www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace is putting force sensors all over airplane components. Everything from landing gear to the wings may include a sensor. These force sensors can then be used to constantly collect data on the well-being of these components. If landing gear needs to be fixed or adjusted, you don’t want to find that out while your 30,000 feet in the year. You want data that helps you track performance and potential degradation over time so you can solve problems before it puts lives at risk.

To serve OEMs in automotive, aerospace, robotics, medical and consumer product industries, force measurement companies like Interface must be able to manufacture sensors in high volumes and at affordable price points. Load cells and torque transducers used in test and measurement can be reused over and over, so the demand for higher volumes is lower. However, when the sensor is integrated into the final product, force measurements manufacturers need to be able to deliver a high enough volume to meet the OEM’s demand for production of the specific product the sensor will be integrated into for continuous use.

Interface holds a unique position in the OEM marketplace for custom sensor technologies. Our decades of success has allowed us to make critical investments towards streamlining our own production and manufacturing of industry-leading components to serve OEM customers. Over the last few years, we’ve implemented better, more efficient processes and have added automation to improve consistency, repeatability and time to market. This also benefits our customers by lowering costs for large scale, continuous production to meet the growing demands and use cases in the OEM market.

A huge benefit is that Interface controls the design and development of our load cells and torque transducers. We build everything from the strain gauges to the product packaging. This allows us to rapidly iterate and customize our designs to meet the needs of a wide range of OEM customers. Our engineers work hand-in-hand with our OEM partners to design the exact requirements into our sensor technology.

This is critical to being a top solutions provider serving OEMs because force measurement products must fit the design and specifications of the OEM application, as well as potentially removing unnecessary features to fit a certain price point for volume production. OEM applications can also be exposed to more extreme conditions in industries like aerospace, automotive or medical, so the sensor might need a specific material or treatment to withstand certain environments.

One of the essential benefits we provide our customers in the U.S. is the fact that our products are manufactured in country, and our engineering, sales and support staff is also local. This enables easier communication with our customers, as well as faster shipping times. When a customer needs to adjust the specifications on a device or troubleshoot a challenge, they know that they’ll get the support they need during their own working hours.  We are extending this value globally as we continue to create solutions that meet our demands worldwide.

The demand for big data and automation is growing rapidly among OEMs. It is also one of the most competitive markets in the world. To serve our customers with unique engineered to order designs and solutions, we work every day to stay on top of manufacturing trends and find new ways to optimize production to meet their cost and volume needs.

To learn more about Interface and our custom solution capabilities for the OEM market, please visit us at www.interfaceforce.com.

Contributor:  Brian Peters, Interface Regional Sales Director for the US

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Among the most highly regulated industries in the world, automotive is up there with the likes of medical and defense. Every component and system needs to be thoroughly tested and deliberately analyzed to ensure that the final product is safe for the driver, other vehicles and pedestrians. Any mistakes or failures can cause catastrophic damage and put lives at risk.

There are hundreds of thousands of different tests that car parts and software go through before they are approved for the road. Among them is force measurement testing. Force and torque tests are integral to the structural and mechanical design and build of the car. Gathering data on the build quality and safety of materials and components found within cars, trucks and more is done through a wide variety of different force measurement testing.

Interface has been a partner to the automotive industry for more than 50 years, from the major OEMs to smaller parts manufacturers and test labs. We build force and torque sensors and acquisition devices designed to provide automotive engineers and manufacturers with high-quality data to monitor and confirm the design and in-action processes of a wide variety of vehicles.

Force testing applications for the automotive industry involve everything from structural, engine, brake, seat belt and suspension tests, all the way down to individual lug nut torque testing.

Recently, Interface has also been supplying solutions to those in the growing electrical vehicle (EV) market. EV cars and other motor vehicles present a wide variety of unique challenges for engine torque and battery technology testing.

As an example of some of the products we offer to the industry, we are highlighting Interface expertise in different automotive applications. This will include specific examples of work we’ve done for our customers recently or in the past.

BRAKE PEDAL TESTING

One of the largest areas of automotive test and measurement we are involved in is brake pedal testing. Our customers need to ensure that applying certain amounts of force to the brake will slow and stop the vehicle as intended.

In this application note, Interface supplied our customer with a BPL-300-C Brake Pedal Load Cell, which was installed on the brake pedal. As the user depressed the brake pedal, force data was transmitted by our BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Strain Bridge Transmitter Module to the BTS Toolkit Mobile App and displayed on a mobile device. This allowed our customer to view and graph the data in real-time.

Read the application note for Brake Pedal Testing here.

EV BATTERY TESTING

In the EV market, one of the most integral pieces of technology is the battery used to run every piece of hardware and software in the car. One of the critical tests that’s performed on EV batteries in compression testing. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging that houses the batteries is not intelligently designed to compensate for this swelling, you could have a major problem.

For this challenge, Interface can supply the popular WMC Miniature Load Cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries.

Read more about Interface’s role in the The Future of Automotive is Electric.

SUSPENSION TESTING

A personal favorite of the Interface team is a suspension test we performed on a race car. As you can imagine, race car components need to be finely tuned for optimal performance. The suspension is one of the most significant factors in the tuning process.

Using an Interface Model 1200 Standard Load Cell, we were able to measure simulated motions of a racetrack including bumps, banks and other track conditions. This allowed the customer to gather highly accurate (0.04%) measurements of loads applied to individual suspension points. This type of suspension testing technology can also be performed on a regular commercial automobile, but the race car example is much more fun!

View the race car suspension testing application here.

MOTOR TESTING

In this motor test stand application, it was used in the quality control lab of a major automotive manufacturing customer that needed to test, record and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load.

Interface supplied a Model AxialTQ Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, which could measure and record these torque values. Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ, AxialTQ Output Module, and customer laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

You can read more about the AxialTQ in this post.  

The wide variety of applications for automotive force testing that Interface has been involved in is significant. We have many published application notes beyond those highlighted, including Seat Testing, Engine Head Bolt Tightening and one for an Engine Dynamometer (dyno for short) use case. The examples listed above just scratch the surface.

Interface is a preferred partner to the automotive industry.  To review some of the automotive application notes we have published, please check out our website at /solutions/automotive-vehicle/. You can also give us a call to learn more about the various solutions we offer for customers in the automotive industry at 480-948-5555.

Faces of Interface Featuring John Guy

John Guy, managing partner at Stress Analysis Services, is the second profile showcasing our outstanding network of manufacturer’s representatives. Interface values the relationships we have with our manufacturer’s reps, and we consider them a integral part of the Interface family.

John grew up in Whitehouse, Ohio, and was exposed to the engineering and DIY lifestyle at a young age. His father owned a sheet metal contracting business and his parents built their own house. Through this exposure, John discovered his aptitude for mechanics and electrical.

Beginning in his freshman year of high school John worked summers and weekends for an HVAC contractor, electrical contractor, and ultimately for a manufacturer of packaging machinery where he learned relay-ladder logic controls.   After graduating from high school in 1979, he enrolled at the University of Toledo in pursuit of a degree in electrical engineering and began working as an electrical designer for AVCA Corporation, an engineering firm. One of the big projects he was tasked with was designing a ladle control system which led to System & Specialty Controls (the control panel contractor) offering him a job in technical sales in 1981. It didn’t take long for John to recognize that technical sales was his true calling.

In June 1983, John joined Smith Instruments, a manufacturers’ rep for process instrumentation and transducers, as a sales engineer.  This position became his first foray into the world sensors, selling solutions to a wide variety of industries.  During this time John grew his technical knowledge and developed a deep understanding of the importance of serving customers.

In June of 1987, the founder of Stress Analysis Services (SAS), Bruce Davey, recruited John to join his company as a sales engineer covering Southern Michigan and NW Ohio.  In November of 1987, after a tour with GE and the semiconductor industry, Bruce’s son Mark joined SAS first as a sales engineer and soon thereafter as sales manager.

In 1995 Bruce retired and Mark purchased SAS.  By this time John had positioned himself as the top sales performer in the company, one that Mark wanted to keep on his team, so in 1998 he was promoted to managing partner and ultimately earned an equity position in SAS.

From its’ beginning in 1966, SAS has represented Vishay/VPG Micro-Measurements strain gages and strain gage-based transducer manufacturers including Lebow (where Richard Caris, the founder of Interface once worked). Interface and Stress Analysis Services had been acquainted for years, but in 2005 when Honeywell acquired Lebow it turned out to be the perfect time to partner.

Today, John, Mark, and the Stress Analysis Services team of 11 sales engineers that sell Interface force and torque products in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Western Pennsylvania, Upstate New York, Illinois, and Wisconsin. SAS serves a wide variety of both OEM and end-user test & measurement customers in the automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment, and medical markets.

What John appreciates most about Interface is their reputation for performance and quality. He mentioned that Interface built their reputation in the aerospace industry and weren’t very well-known in the other industries located in the Midwest when SAS started representing the line as part of their overall sensor, instrumentation and service offerings. Through the strong partnership between Interface and SAS working as a team in the region, Interface is now known as a top manufacturer of precision quality products and force measurement solutions available from Stress Analysis Services.

“Over the past 15 years Interface has worked with us to build their global brand across all industries.  That success has been built by developing close rep/customer relationships and a commitment to respond quickly to customers’ challenges with innovative products and sometimes custom solutions.” – John Guy

When John is not working with some of the largest automotive providers and OEM customers, he can be found spending time with his wife, two daughters and wonderful grandchildren.  John’s eldest daughter is special education teacher and is married with three children. His youngest daughter actually works for John at SAS as a sales engineer and is currently pregnant with her first – congratulations!

John and his wife Janet enjoy biking around Ohio and Michigan together usually logging about 140 miles per week on their Cannondale road racing tandem.  John is also an avid tennis player, play 3+ times per week and captaining a USTA team.

In our Faces of Interface interview, John ended our conversation with a quick note recognizing his outstanding team at Stress Analysis Services, saying he appreciates their hard work, dedication, and commitment to putting the customer first. We couldn’t agree more and certainly appreciate our extended family at SAS!

We are committed in working hand-in-hand with our representatives in helping Interface customers get the exact products that match their precise requirements. We truly couldn’t have gained the success and notoriety Interface has earned as a leader in force measurement solutions without our expert representatives around the world.

Tune in to our blog at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/ every month for another Faces of Interface profile. We love putting these together and hope that you enjoy learning about the outstanding people that keep us going strong!

 

 

 

 

Test Stand Applications for Force and Torque

In the world of test and measurement, test stands are essential equipment for manufacturers and testing engineers. The test stand provides a host of different testing products in a single “cabinet-like” structure. These systems have been used for a long time to gather data on various functions of products during the product test phase.

Test stands works like a mobile test lab, hosted by a frame and containing one or more force or torque sensor components, software, and data acquisition instrumentation and accessories. Force stands are typically motorized or manual.  Motorized test stands, also known as mechanical or electrical, have the advantages of controlling performance by applying modes such as speed, cycles, and time into the testing procedure. The more advanced testing stands are frequently used for repetitive high-performance testing requirements, validating accuracy and quality. Manual test stands are used for simple testing protocols and frequently used in education programs.

There are a wide variety of testing devices and sensor products that are used as part of the entire test process. As parts roll off the production line, the test stand will sit at the end of the line where the test engineer can immediately load the product into the test rig. Test stands help to streamline the test process by providing all available test functions in a single, mobile application.

Interface is a supplier of choice for precision components of various capacities and dimensions for test stand configurations requiring precision and accuracy in performance. Interface load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation equipment are commonly used in numerous product test applications by engineers, metrologists, testing professionals and product designers around the world.

Included below are a few examples of specific test applications and the Interface components used in the different style testing stands.

Linear Test Stand

In this example, an Interface customer wanted to add a crush test to their test stand to measure the force it took to deform a piece of material. Interface provided an Model 1210 Load Cell with an internal amplification of 0-10VDC output.

The load cell was installed into the load string of the customer’s load frame, and the scaled analog output from the load cell was connected to the customer’s test stand instrumentation. When the force levels reached the crushing point, the customer’s software was able to read the output of the amplified load cell and record the value.

See the application note for the Linear Test Stand here.

Motor Test Stand

In the quality control lab at a major automotive manufacturing company, a test engineer needed to test, record, and audit the torque produced by a new motor design under start load. Interface supplied the new AxialTQ® Rotary Torque Transducer that connected between the motor and the differential, on the drive shaft, that could measure and record these torque values.

Based on the data collected using the AxialTQ transducer, along with the AxialTQ Output Module, and a laptop, the test engineer was able to make recommendations to optimize the amount of torque created by the new motor design.

See the application note for the Motor Test Stand here.

Verification Test Stand

In this application, a customer needed a test stand application to verify that its load cell was in good, working order. Interface helped to create a solution that used a load cell to verify the customer’s load cell. The solution involved the customer’s supplied verification load frame and an Interface Model 1210 Precision LowProfile® Load Cell connected with a Model SI-USB 2-Channel PC Interface Module.

The customer was able to install their load cell and Model 1210 Precision LowProfile Load cell into the verification load frame. Applied forces were displayed and recorded by Model SI-USB PC Interface Module for review and record keeping on customer’s computer. This allows the customer to have a proven load cell verification test stand at their disposal to ensure its test load cell is always in working order.

See the application note for the Verification Test Stand here.

These are just a few examples of the different types of test stands that Interface can provide off-the-shelf or custom force measurement solution components. If your project involves a mechanical test stand and you are interested in learning more about adding force sensors, please contact our application engineers.

Faces of Interface Featuring Dan McAneny

Our Faces of Interface series provides readers with an inside look at all the brilliant and talented people that work for our 52 year-old company.  There is also a team of experts and experienced individuals that are part of our sales engineering network. These representatives and distributors are integral to the work we do, and they are considered part of the Interface family.

In this post, we are featuring Dan McAneny, co-founder and sales engineer at Tritek Solutions, one of Interface’s sales representatives covering the Pacific Northwest. Dan has been working with Interface for many years, so we have gotten to know him pretty well and are grateful to have him part of our team.

Dan began his career as a design engineer in New York after graduating with a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering from Lehigh University. He spent a few years in this design engineer role before quickly realizing that he had a passion for being out in the field and working directly with customers, rather than behind a desk.

His search for sales engineering positions took him out west to work for a rep company in Los Angeles, California, that sold electronic test equipment. This position helped Dan develop his proficiency in sales, as well as better understanding of the test solutions critical to the evolution of technology. When the LA company went out of business in 1988, Dan and his good friend and co-worker decided to start Tritek Solutions.

Tritek Solutions is a manufacturers’ representative with sales and administrative staff capable of providing a complete sales and support solution. The company focuses on test instruments, systems, specialized components and board-level products.

The company quickly ascended, growing into Northern California, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Pacific Northwest. And after 28 years in Southern California, Dan and his wife decided to take their talents to Seattle, Washington, where he could focus his work with Tritek in the Pacific Northwest.

Dan learned about the diverse and innovative technology ecosystem in this region and has developed a wide range of experience and expertise on how to serve customers in various industries such as aerospace and defense, medical, industrial, automotive and construction. In fact, this is the aspect of his job that he enjoys the most, working with customers in all of these different technology sectors in Seattle to learn about their challenges in bringing new innovation to market, and offering synergistic solutions available from the many manufacturers he represents.

“In a single day, I could be standing next to a 777X airplane for an hour, and then the next hour, I could be discussing a solution for developing delivery drones or ventilator production. The possibility of learning about and working with customers on hundreds of new technology is something I enjoy every day.”

When Dan began working with us many years ago, he noticed that our presence in the Pacific Northwest was mainly focused on large aerospace OEM’s and knew he could help us break into a larger variety of markets. Dan has been successful in proactively searching for and securing new opportunities for Interface force measurement products across new markets, innovators and advancing technology sectors.

“Working with Interface has been a pleasure. Their more than half-century in business has provided them with a deep understanding for efficiently working with reps like myself, and the quality of their products and engineering talent makes it easier because I know my OEM customers know and trust the Interface brand.”

When he is not making a killing helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) find test, engineering and manufacturing solutions for their product development process, Dan enjoys taking advantage of the beautiful outdoors in the Pacific Northwest. Dan’s wife of 30 years and two sons age 23 and 25 enjoy road and mountain biking, hiking and swimming together, as well as exploring the hidden gems the region has to offer.

Stay tuned to our blog for new Faces of Interface ForceLeaders profiles to learn more about our valued network and team members. You can subscribe to receive the blog weekly at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.

 

Interface Steps in to Support Medical Industry COVID-19 Innovations

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit everyone hard and many industries are rushing to adjust to this new world. One of the industries most impacted by the outbreak has been the medical sector. Hospitals are in a position of running dangerously low on supplies and equipment to treat the influx of patients coming through the doors for vital treatment.

Fortunately, global innovators, product designers and manufacturers in the medical sector and outside the industry have stepped up to provide solutions critical to the fight against COVID-19. Some of the largest original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the world, such as Honeywell Aerospace, 3M, and Ford, have reallocated significant resources within their facilities to help produce medical equipment and PPE like the much needed N95 Masks.

Medical OEMs are also ramping up production on certain technology aimed at preventing, testing, and treating the corona virus. One of the most significant pieces of medical technology needed in this pandemic are ventilators. Prior to the outbreak, analysts predicted a shortage of these devices, which are needed to treat the rising number of patients. OEMs around the world stepped up to mass-produce high-quality ventilators to meet this demand.

The production of ventilators did not just fall upon the shoulders of the OEMs. Thousands of design and test engineers in coordination with manufacturing service providers involved in the ventilator supply chain also leaned in to support the demand. Interface is proud to help participate as part of the supply chain, helping essential OEMs around the world with critical force and torque testing products.

One example related to ventilators came in April of this year when SISU reached out through our representative network to T&M Instruments in Texas.  Jace Curtis worked with Interface to urgently provide our T8 General Purpose Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducers. Jace, who represents the Interface product line, worked with a team of suppliers and testing experts to get the product design through testing quickly. This meant the transducer needed to be in-house within 24-hours. Working with Brian Peters, the product was expedited due to the sensitive nature of this requirement and delivered from our Scottsdale headquarters in the time requested.

Photo Credit DEWESoft: Testing Ventilator with Interface T8

SISU is currently designing and manufacturing the AUSTIN P51, a low-cost ventilator to aid hospitals and medical professionals in the current world-wide shortage, and they needed the torque transducers as quickly as possible to help test and verify the ventilator stepper motor.

The challenge with this project was that SISU was targeting the manufacturing of 100,000 ventilators on a very rigorous timeline and they did not have time to program a test to acquire and analyze this data. They needed to quickly set up a test correlating lung pressure to the torque of the stepper motor when the adjacent paddles squeeze the self-inflating bag. Air is then driven through a series of pressure regulators and a HEPA filter that can assist or support the human lungs when compromised.

DEWESoft USA, a company that develops and manufactures versatile and easy-to-use data acquisition systems, was charged with the development of this test system. They immediately got to work and were able to deliver a test platform capable of verifying the torque and air pressure within hours.

One of the key pieces of technology in the development of the test system was our torque transducers. The purpose of the torque transducers in the test platform was to analyze the stepper motor and gather data to ensure performance and accuracy. It was critical that the motor performed to specification, and our stainless steel, contactless T8 Torque Transducers were well-equipped to provide DEWESoft® with highly accurate, real-time data.

Additionally, not only was Interface able to overnight the T8 Torque Transducer to DEWESoft on a Saturday morning, but we were able to absorb some of the costs due to the nature of the product need and these unprecedented times. Jace Curtis was also onsite on Saturday to help assist with set-up and testing.

DEWESoft recently put together an application note and video showing the test platform in action. In these pieces, you can see how our torque transducer is used within the testing platform. Included below are links to DEWESoft’s video and application note:

Interface is proud to be an essential business in this time of crisis. It was our duty and honor to support T&M Instruments and DEWESoft in the development of this critical testing platform for life-saving ventilator technology manufactured by SISU.  It is our commitment to all our customers.  We are here to help.

Contributors:  Jace Curtis and Brian Peters

Load Button Load Cells 101

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

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

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

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

Interface Load Button Load Cells 

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

Load Button Load Cells Functionality and Proper Use

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

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

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

Interface Load Button Load Cells in the Real World 

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

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

Measuring Vascular Clamp Force

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

Optimizing Surgical Stapler Force

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

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

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

Hazardous Environment Solutions from Interface

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATEX 3400 Series Load Cells

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

ATEX, IECEx, ETL, Inmetro 1923 Series

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

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

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

ATEX IECEx Bow Type Crosby™ Cabled Load Shackle

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

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

Contributor:  Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface