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Interface Powers Smart Transportation Solutions

Smart transportation refers to integrating advanced technologies and intelligent systems in the transportation sector, including infrastructure and vehicles, improving efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

The transportation industry is getting smarter with advancements in autonomous driving and electric vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, electric airborne vehicles, high-speed trains and light rails, and transportation ways. Behind these innovations are critical test and monitoring solutions that help engineers ensure absolute safety and quality during development and in use for real-time monitoring.

Interface transducers measure force, torque, or weight for testing and integration into smart transportation systems. Our load cells, torque transducers, scales, load pins, tension links, and multi-axis sensors provide vital measurement data for design, development, testing, and performance monitoring in various smart transportation applications.

A few examples of smart transportation inventions and use cases that utilize Interface advanced sensor technologies include:

  • Smart Cargo Monitoring: Load cells are installed in trucks, trailers, or shipping containers to monitor the weight and distribution of cargo. These load cells provide real-time data on the load’s weight, ensuring compliance with weight limits and preventing overloading, which can lead to safety hazards and increased fuel consumption.
  • Structural Testing of Vehicles: During physical testing, load cells and torque transducers measure forces and loads applied to vehicle structures. This includes crash tests, structural integrity evaluations, and load capacity assessments. The data obtained helps engineers analyze vehicles’ structural performance and safety characteristics, enabling improvements in design and manufacturing processes for smart transport.
  • Infrastructure Load Data Acquisition: Load cells can be employed in roads, bridges, and other transport infrastructure as part of the load data acquisition systems. These systems measure the dynamic forces and loads experienced by vehicles. By attaching load cells to strategic points on the vehicle, such as suspension components or the chassis, engineers can capture data related to acceleration, braking, cornering forces, and road-induced vibrations. This information aids in vehicle development, durability testing, and optimization of suspension and chassis designs. They also help design durable civil engineering projects and infrastructure.
  • Intelligent Weighing Systems: Load cells can be incorporated into weighing systems at weigh stations or toll booths. By measuring the weight of vehicles passing through, these systems can accurately determine toll fees, enforce weight restrictions, and gather data for traffic management and planning purposes.
  • Smart Suspension Systems: Load cells are integrated into suspension systems of vehicles, such as trucks and buses, to monitor load distribution and adjust suspension settings accordingly. This helps optimize vehicle performance, enhance stability, and improve ride comfort.
  • Load Sensing Axles: Load cells can be installed in axles to measure the weight of individuals or sets of wheels. This information is crucial for load balancing, tire pressure monitoring, and detecting potential axle overload situations.

Since the beginning of “Smart Mobility,” Interface has supplied force-sensing solutions for electric or self-driving vehicles. Specifically in automotive, Interface has developed and supplied precision force and torque test and measurement systems that meet all components’ demands for superior testing requirements. The automotive market is subjected to extremely strict regulations. Therefore, testing and measurement are critical for safety, reliability, durability, and overall smart vehicle performance.

In the context of smart rail transport and railways, force measurement is crucial in testing and evaluating rail vehicles, including locomotives, passenger trains, and freight wagons. Load cells and force sensors are utilized in numerous ways. Load cells are used in braking systems to measure the forces exerted during braking maneuvers. This allows design engineers to assess the effectiveness of automated braking systems and ensure compliance with safety standards. The same types of sensors can be used to measure the vertical, lateral, and longitudinal forces acting on the bogies (wheelsets) of rail vehicles enabling smart operating conditional adjustments.

Smart Transportation Sensors for Stopping Train Derailment

Force measurement systems can measure the contact forces between the wheels and the track. This enables the assessment of wheel-rail interaction, including wheel-rail forces, lateral forces, and rolling resistance. Such data helps optimize track design, wheel profile selection, and maintenance practices to ensure safe and efficient railway operations. Our Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell is a great solution for monitoring trains on a track in motion. When our PBLC1 is installed on a track, and the train runs across it, the sensor can provide a signal to a station elsewhere in the world. If any force indicators suggest that there could be a problem with the weight the train is holding or the train itself, the sensor can also trigger an automatic shutdown of the train. These sensors could prevent major damage from train derailments and other train-related incidents by detecting errors before they inflict damage. This is a critically important application as innovators begin to release high-speed trains for cross-country travel.

Smart Trucking Weighing Solution

In this use case, a smart transportation trucking company truck company needs to record the weight or loads being carried precisely. They would like a wireless weighbridge to transmit, log, and display the results in real-time. Interface suggests installing multiple WTS 1200 LowProfile™ Load Cells under a weighing bridge. When a truck drives over it, the load cells will transmit the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with the provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display can also display the weight inside of the driver monitor at all times.

Smart Vehicle Crash Walls

Improving vehicle safety is smart. Interface suggests using multiple 3A400 3-Axis Force Load Cells for this use case and attaching them to the back of a cement crash wall. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Interface BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System, force result measurements will be recorded and displayed on a computer. The sensors measure the force of impact for all their different vehicle crash testing demonstrations, providing high-accuracy data to make the vehicles safer.

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing

As electric vehicles push advancements in efficiency gains, structural battery packaging is at the forefront for optimization in smart transportation. This drives the need to validate structural battery pack design in terms of life expectancy against design targets and crash test compliance and survivability.  Interface’s solution to this challenge included the 1100 Ultra-Precision LowProfile Load Cells in line with hydraulic or electromechanical actuators in the customer’s test stand. Also utilized were 6A 6-Axis Load Cells to capture reactive forces transmitting through pack structure. Multi-axis measurement brought greater system-level insight and improved product success. The structural tests validated the battery pack’s strong structural design using this solution.

Interface solutions for smart transportation are growing alongside the pace of innovation as we work with industry demands to provide solutions for what comes next.

Read more in our case study Interface’s Crucial Role in Vehicle and Urban Mobility Markets

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Making Products Smarter with Interface OEM Solutions

Testing Labs Choose Interface High Accuracy Products

Modernizing Infrastructure with Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface’s Steering Role in All Types of Transportation

Interface Weighing Solutions and Complete Systems

EV Battery Testing Solutions Utilize Interface Mini Load Cells

Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring Solution App Note

IoT Drone Parcel Delivery

Testing for Commercial Drones and Parcel Delivery

 

Modernizing Infrastructure with Interface Sensor Technologies

Modernizing infrastructure is a major priority for governments and companies around the world, and significant investments are being made to support this effort. Force measurement solutions are a critical component of modern infrastructure, helping to ensure safety, optimize performance, and improve efficiency. Interface load cells, torque transducers, load pins, tension links and other wireless solutions are used in projects all over the world that are modernizing our global infrastructure in a variety of ways.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that global infrastructure investment could reach $79 trillion by 2030, with China accounting for the largest share of that investment. These estimates are based on a range of factors, including population growth, urbanization, and the need for infrastructure upgrades and maintenance.

There is also a heavy emphasis in utilizing sensor technologies for “smart” infrastructure. This includes building smart cities, smart buildings, smart grids, smart highways and intelligent transportation systems.  Read more about how infrastructure related companies, suppliers and civil engineers use our sensors in Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface,

Intelligent Transportation Solutions for In-Motion Train Track Monitoring

Pillow block load cells are valuable in building and enhancing infrastructure. When our PBLC1 is installed on a track, and the train runs across it, the sensor can provide a signal to a station elsewhere in the world. If any force indicators suggest that there could be a problem with the weight the train is holding or the train itself, the sensor can also trigger an automatic shutdown of the train.

Trains are not new; however, how we can use sensor technologies to keep passengers and cargo is growing in demands. These sensors could prevent major damage from train derailments and other train related incidents by detecting errors before the inflict damage. This type of sensor is a great solution for monitoring trains on a track, in-motion.

How are Interface sensor technologies in modernization projects?

Structural testing: Force measurement solutions are used to test the strength and durability of structures such as bridges, buildings, and dams. Sensors can be attached to the structure and used to measure the forces acting on it, such as wind, vibration, or seismic activity. This information can then be used to identify areas that may be weak or prone to failure, allowing for necessary repairs or upgrades. Read more in our Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring Solution App Note.

Monitoring machinery: Force measurement solutions can also be used to monitor the performance of machinery and equipment. Sensors can be installed to measure the forces generated by the machinery, such as torque or pressure, and this data can be used to identify potential problems before they cause equipment failure or downtime. This is exemplified in our Crane Capacity Verification App Note.

Material testing: Force measurement solutions are also used to test the strength and durability of materials such as metals, plastics, and composites used in modernizing infrastructure. Sensors can be used to measure the forces required to break or deform the material, providing valuable data for material selection and design. Read Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers.

Geotechnical engineering: Force measurement solutions can be used to monitor the forces acting on soil and rock formations, which is important for the design and construction of structures such as tunnels, mines, and retaining walls. Sensors can be installed to measure factors such as pressure, stress, and strain, which can be used to ensure the safety and stability of these structures.

As sensor technologies continue to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative projects in the future.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface And Infrastructure Markets Form A Perfect Partnership

Uses Cases for Load Pins

Innovative Load Pin Applications

Monitoring The Seismic Force Of A Suspension Bridge

Infrastructure-Brochure-1

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.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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

Interface New Product Releases Winter 2023

Interface continues to grow our total force measurement solutions. The following showcases new sensors and instrumentation products now available in our general catalog. You can also now find a new Summary Product Catalog, highlighting best-selling products online for download and quick reference.

If you have questions about these new additions or any other Interface products, please contact us. If you would like to order any of the new products, go to Request for Quote.

NEW INTERFACE PRODUCT RELEASES 

PILLOW BLOCK LOAD BEARING LOAD CELLS

The Interface PBLC1, PBLC2 and PBLC3 Pillow Block Load Cells series by design measures the force of a pillow block bearing. The force measurement is performed for this load cell between two supports. Learn more about this type of use case in our Feed Roller System Application Note.

Primary Pillow Block Load Cell features and benefits:

  • Capacities from 5 to 30 kN (1.1K to 6.7K lbf)
  • Compatible with INA pillow block bearings
  • IP65 moisture protection
  • Rugged electro-galvanized surface
  • Commonly used for measurement of axle weight in test stands for trains and vehicles

INF1 CANOPEN WEIGHT SINGLE SENSOR WEIGHT TRANSMITTER AND INDICATOR

Interface’s new INF1-CANopen Single Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator has a six-digit red LED display (8 mm height), space saving compact design, four buttons for the system calibration, and a six indicator led.

Primary INF1-CANopen features and benefits:

  • Baud rate: 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 125, 250, 500, 800, 1000
  • Equipped with RS485 serial port
  • Three relay logic outputs controlled by setpoint values or via protocols
  • Two optoisolated PNP logic inputs: status reading via serial communication protocols
  • One load cell dedicated input
  • Back panel mounting on DIN rail
  • Six-digit red LED semi-alphanumeric display (8 mm height), seven segment
  • Four buttons for system calibration
  • Extractable screw terminal boards

INF4-CANOPEN TWO, THREE, AND FOUR SENSOR WEIGHT TRANSMITTER AND INDICATOR

The Interface INF4-CANopen Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator has a six-digit red LED display (8 mm height), space saving compact design, four buttons for the system calibration, and a six indicator LED.

Primary INF4-CANopen features and benefits:

  • Baud rate: 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 125, 250, 500, 800, 1000
  • Equipped with RS485 serial port
  • Three relay logic outputs controlled by setpoint values or via protocols
  • Two optoisolated PNP logic inputs: status reading via serial communication protocols
  • Four load cell dedicated input
  • Back panel mounting on DIN rail or front panel (except PROFIBUS DP version) with fixing kit
  • Six-digit red LED semi-alphanumeric display (8 mm height), seven segment
  • Four buttons for system calibration
  • Extractable screw terminal boards

The INF Weight Transmitter and Indicator Instrumentation solutions come in multiple communication protocols for single and multiple sensors. Be sure to visit our Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide for help in choosing the right instrumentation production for your exact requirements.

ITCA TENSION AND COMPRESSION LOAD CELL

Interface’s new ITCA series load cell is ideal for measuring both tensile and compressive forces. The standard metric threads at each end of the load cell are designed to accept standard spherical seating rod-end bearings. There is great flexibility in the ITCA design, allowing us to offer custom sizes to meet specific application requirements, or different end thread sizes and combinations. There are versions available with male threads at each end, or male threads at one end and female at the other. We also offer the ITCA series with imperial thread sizes.

Primary ITCA features and benefits:

  • Ranges from 1 to 150 metric tons (MT) (2.2K to 330.6K lbf)
  • Stainless steel construction
  • IP66 environmental protection with IP67 and submersible options available
  • Tension and compression
  • Typical applications are structural testing, jack load and cable tension monitoring, material test machine feedback and press load monitoring

ENCLOSURES

Interface has introduced a series of enclosures to protect your transducers and instrumentation investments. These enclosures are designed for single and multiple instrumentation products, along with combined instrumentation and transducers. Enclosures are available as standard products. We also offer customization and mobile device configurations. Contact our Application Engineers to determine which type of enclosure best fits your products and application requirements. Download Interface Enclosures Overview.

Primary Enclosure options and features:

  • Special Purpose Wireless Enclosure NEMA 4
  • Single Instrument Enclosure NEMA 4
  • Dual Instrument Enclosure NEMA 4
  • Single Channel Benchtop Enclosure
  • Dual Channel Benchtop Enclosure
  • Single Channel Internal Mount Enclosure NEMA 4
  • Dual Channel Internal Mount Enclosure NEMA 4
  • Stainless Steel Enclosures for Indicators and Controllers NEMA Type 4X, Type 12 and IP66
  • Special Purpose Portable Systems
  • Rack Mounts

9825-AI GENERAL PURPOSE ANALOG INPUT INDICATOR

Interface’s 9825-AI is a General Purpose Analog Input Indicator Instrument works with mV/V sensors. It has an easy to navigate menu structure and fast speed, up to 1kHz. This product has analog output, peak valley monitoring, USB connection, and two relay setpoints plus alarms. It has an IP54 rating. Another option of this model is the 9825 General Purpose Indicator,

Primary 9825-AI features and benefits:

  • Digital input for print, reset, or tare
  • Excitation sense and bipolar
  • ±999,999
  • Nonlinearity < ±0.01%
  • Analog output 0-5V, 0-10V, 4-20mA, 0-24mA
  • Calibration by live load or mV/V entry
  • High speed of 1200 readings per second
  • Digital filters

9325 PORTABLE SENSOR DISPLAY

The new Interface 9325 Portable Sensor Digital Display Instrumentation is handheld, battery and USB powered, plus is TEDS ready. It a allows simple display of load cells, torque transducers, and other mV/V output transducers with sensitivity up to +/-1 V/V. Up to six calibration ranges are available allowing for different loading modes, both tension and compression, or different sensors. There are also up to six display modes available, which determine what is visible on the LCD display and what actions are available from the set of three soft keys. Please inquire about our new 9325-NU Portable Sensor Display product as well, which offers easy to use menu structure for setup and for performing live calibration of instrument.

Primary 9325 features and benefits:

  • Superior linearity performance specifications
  • Measurement rates up to 2400 samples per second
  • High internal resolution (up to 500,000 counts)
  • IP64 environmentally protected enclosure
  • USB port providing configuration, calibration, save and restore, live logging
  • Multiple display modes
  • logging and graphing, software is included
  • Supports TEDS template 33, 40 and 41
  • Live calibration and multi-point calibration
  • Standard audio alarm

ADDITIONAL PRODUCT RESOURCES

Interface Catalog

Interface Product Line Brochures

Interface Summary Catalog

Interface Products Overview

Interface Applications

Interface Solutions by Industry

Interface Support Resources