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Interface 1200 Precision LowProfile Load Cell Series Product Highlight

As a premier force measurement solutions manufacturer of more than 53 years, Interface has developed a giant catalog of more than 30,000 products that are standard, engineered-to-order and completely custom. We’ve seen nearly every challenge and complexity presented by our customer’s application requirements.

Load cells are what we know, inside and out. By design, testing, manufacturing, and calibrating, Interface is the trusted leader in quality load cells. This allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of the marketplace and develop products that meet the unique needs of a wide variety of industries.

From our earliest days, one product that has become truly an industry standard in load cells by popularity and by far the top pick for use in test labs and by product testing engineers is the 1200 Precision LowProfile® Load Cell.

When we originally released our first of its kind LowProfile Load Cell, Interface became an instant market leader in precision load cells.  In fact, our 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile Load Cell, designed for eccentric load compensated tension and compression force measurement, remains our most frequently purchased product every year. This pancake-style load cell is world-renowned for durability, accuracy, and performance.

The 1200 Model Series features and benefits include:

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Performance to .04%
  • High output – to 4 mV/V
  • 0008%/°F (.0015%/°C) temperature effect on output
  • Low deflection
  • Shunt calibration
  • Barometric compensation

In addition, it’s popularity amongst customers is due to the product’s versatility and customizability. There are multiple models available including the 1240, 1244, 1252, 1260, 1280, and 1290. In addition, the series is compatible with a host of base options, connectors, bridge options and overload protection. And like with all Interface products, our custom solutions team can work directly with you to meet your specific needs.

The 1200 series is used across a variety of industries for test and measurement applications. Included below are a few examples of the product in action expressed as application notes. Industries covered in these examples include aerospace, agriculture, and waste management.

AIRCRAFT LIFTING EQUIPMENT

An aerospace company wanted to check if the valves on their aircraft lifting equipment were working safely and properly. Interface’s recommended installing a 1200 Standard High Capacity Load Cell in between the aircraft testing rig and the lifting jack. The load cell can measure the load’s force safety valve when the lifting equipment opens. Results are then sent to the 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator, where the customer can see it displayed in real-time. Using this solution, the customer was able to determine that the aircraft lifting equipment was working properly. Since they are ensured of its safe functionality, it can now be used on real aircrafts that need to be lifted. Read more here.

SILO GRAIN DISPENSING

A customer wants to measure and record the grain being put in and out of their grain dispensing container, as it dispenses content into a carrier truck for transportation. The customer also preferred a wireless solution. Interface suggested installing a WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Wireless Load Cells at the legs of the grain dispensing container. The 1200 can measure the distribution correlation of the grain as it inputted and outputted from the container. Results are transmitted and displayed using the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Display for multiple transmitters and logged and graphed using the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station. Using this solution, the customer was able to log and graph the measurement results of the grain content that the silo dispenses into the grain dispensing container, and also when the grain is dispensed into the carrier truck.  Get more details here.

WASTE MANAGEMENT CONTAINER WEIGHING

A waste management company wanted to measure the capacity of their waste containers to know when it is time to dispose the waste. Interface provided Model WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Wireless Load Cells to be installed at the bottom of each waste container leg to measure the sum weight of the container. The real time weight data is then transmitted to the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station with the supplied Log100 software. Using this solution, the customer was able to determine when their waste container was at full capacity to dispose of the waste, or to transfer it in a timely manner.

To learn more about load cell basics and watch our recorded webinar, go here.

Force Measurement Solutions for Bolt and Screw Fastening

Among the many applications of force measurement devices, one that appears to be a simple application can have a big impact on worker safety, productivity, waste reduction, assembly and product performance. In this new animated application note highlight, we take a look at the tools used for bolt fastening measurement.

Bolts and screws are used to secure different pieces or components together for nearly every product imaginable, especially when it comes to large machinery and even automobiles. The success of these products and the manufacturing of these components requires a strict level of detail that goes into the tightness of a bolt. It’s not like your typical “do it yourself” furniture where you just tighten a screw or bolt until you can’t anymore. The precision needed for certain objects to be tightened to the exact measurement is mandatory.

Interface provides measurement solutions for all types of industrial automation and toolset testing used in thousands of applications that ultimately are utilized in the building of products. In the example below, we provided devices that are used to determine the exact bolt force and tightness necessary. The goal of measuring the tightness is to avoid under or overtightening. As you can imagine, under tightening can cause components to come apart. However, over tightness can also cause significant damage to the pieces being bolted together.

Bolt Fastening Application

To show the process of measuring bolt tightness, check out this latest use case video demonstration.

For this bolt fastening application, the customer used an Interface Model LWCF Load Washer along with an Interface Model INF-USB3 Single Channel PC Interface Module to monitor force being applied during bolt tightening. The data transferred from the bolt clamping force load cell load washer with a thru-hole, to the instrumentation is displayed, logged and graphed directly onto a computer for analysis and performance testing.

This is a basic example of the test and measurement process, however, Interface also contributed to a number of real-world projects and created applications notes to provide an illustration. One of our favorites is when an industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an automotive manufactur­ing plant.

The product engineers and testing team needed to tighten all of the head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine.

To measure this force, several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque and angle and ensure the head bolt was properly tight­ened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation.

Using this solution, the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant.

Here are additional solutions that showcase how Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and custom solutions are used for various tools and manufacturing processes across various industries.

Aircraft Screwdriver Fastening Control

Fastening Work Bench

Bolt Fastening Force and Torque

Interface Solutions for Robotics and Industrial Automation

Contact us to learn more how we can help you ensure the right fastening and machine control for your next projects.

 

 

 

Understanding One-Cell Force Measurement Systems

When it comes to load cells and force measurement systems used to test and validate product designs, the options for different configurations is nearly endless. In fact, Interface has tens of thousands of force measurement products in standard, modified and custom-made configurations.

In our recent post, Considerations for Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Load Cells, we detailed materials used in load cell construction. These considerations are important based on the project specifications for accuracy, quality and reliability in test and measurement.

Similarly, understanding the system configuration is another critically important factor to setting up the correct test for receiving accurate data.  A simple system configuration used for less-complex testing is known as one-cell or single load cell system.  They are popular for performance and durability testing.

How do one-cell systems work and what are the benefits and trade-offs?

One-cell systems are developed by using a tension cell and mounting it through a rod end bearing and clevises. If the cell is properly oriented with the dead end going to the support, the only other major consideration for this system is the elimination or reduction of possible parallel load paths. This type of simple system is attractive to some testing engineers and product designers because it is cost effective and can provide very accurate measurements when using Interface precision load cells.  It is important that the load meets the criteria for the test system.

In this figure, it shows a high-impact one-cell system platform. This one-cell system can withstand the high impact of rough treatment from certain applications such as large drums, LPG tanks and more.

The downside to using a one-cell system is that the center of gravity of the load must be placed directly on the mark for the system to work properly. However, this can be accounted for by positioning the fences as shown in the high-impact one-cell platform diagram, so that the center of gravity is located properly when the application you are measuring is shoved up against fences.

The actual load at the center of gravity for your application will be factored by the lever arm (as shown below):

The one-cell system works simply because the location of the center of gravity is under control. If the force on the primary axis of the load cell bears the same relation to the location of the center of gravity and the load under all conditions, the scaling will be correct. Whether using a one-cell or two-cell system, the system must be designed to retain its integrity.

This has been a brief overview of a one-cell system, which is detailed in Interface’s Load Cell Field Guide.

To learn more about these systems and to determine if your application test can utilize the simplicity and cost savings of a one-cell or two-cell system, contact our systems experts and application engineers.

Finding the Center of Gravity

Even after more than a half-century in the force measurement industry, Interface continues to find new  and innovative use cases for our precision products.

Recently, we were approached by a customer who needed help finding the center of gravity in order to optimize weight distribution and balance for a product in development. Our outstanding team here at Interface put our heads together to develop a unique testing method to help discover this critical data point.

One of the most rewarding experiences in managing our custom solutions is learning about a new customer challenge and developing a novel solution to address it.” Ken Bishop, Director of Sales and Customer Solutions, Interface, Inc.

For this specific use case, the customer had a cylindrical tank filled with material for which they needed to find the center of gravity. Because we were able to calculate the distance of the tank, we were able to understand the weight distribution and create a test to find the center.

The center of gravity of an object is calculated when the weight of the given object is concentrated into the center of the object. This is determined by measuring the weight seen by each of the four legs.  If the weight is distributed evenly, the material is in the center location.  This center location can also be referred to as the origin.

Utilizing a Model 1280 Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, which is highly customizable instrumentation for any application, we were able to write a program to achieve our goal. We then placed two Model 1211 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cells on each end of the rack where the tank resided, using four load cells in total. Because we knew the distance of the object and had load cells to measure the weight at both ends, we were easily able to calculate and identify the origin point on the tank. In this case, the center of gravity.

Ken noted that during his tenured career at Interface, this was the first time he and the team had been tasked with finding the center of gravity in relationship to the distance for an object. As Interface’s team thought about how to develop the custom solution, they also considered additional applications in which this information could be beneficial.

The result of this successful test and measurement application, Interface considers the center of gravity analysis as a beneficial test to optimize flight performance of an airplane. This is important when there is that instant that a plane is not flying at max capacity. There may be open seats all around you, but in order to keep weight distribution in balance, the attendants may need to limit which seats are occupied during a flight. If planes were equipped with this type of sensor technology to calculate center of gravity, they could more evenly distribute weight and ensure optimal performance.  This same type of application can apply to any vehicle that moves on land, air or water with people or cargo.

SEE THE APPLICATION NOTE FOR CENTER OF GRAVITY TESTING

In the growing demands for urban mobility, unmanned vehicles and drone technologies, this type of testing application can help with vehicles, aircraft, space vehicles, boats and more with performance and safety.

Force measurement has a limitless number of applications to improve performance, maximize efficiency and even work in real-time to provide smart decisions. At Interface, we are discovering new ways to redevelop our load cell, torque and multi-axis sensor products for customized solutions to meet the growing demands for innovation.

Interface works with a wide range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, metrology and industrial automation by teaming up to create unique use cases and applications that require our custom force measurement solutions. If you have a unique project that requires a custom solution, please visit the custom solutions page on our site at /custom-solutions/ or contact us at 480-948-5555.

Contributor:  Ken Bishop, Sales and Custom Solutions Director at Interface

Tank Weighing And Center Of Gravity App Note
Drone App Note

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

In the product manufacturing process, repeatability, process control, and inspection are some of the most important factors in creating high-performance products. At Interface, reliability and accuracy are the two most important features of our renowned force measurement products. For this reason, Interface continues to invest in the highest quality test and inspection technology to ensure each product that leaves the production floor is of the utmost Interface brand quality.

In this blog, we will be discussing our investment in top-of-the-line vision sensor technology and systems that help us to effectively reduce waste, improve efficiencies in manufacturing, and guarantee proper performance.

For many years, Interface has relied on our employees for their keen visual inspection of products that come off the production line. These trusted employees are looking at a number of things, including: are wires installed properly and are the serial and revision numbers correct. These respected and experienced Interface team members can inspect hundreds or thousands of products a day, with a heavy reliance on the human eye.

Interface load cells must meet stringent quality processing production standards, along with our calibration requirements before they are shipped to our customers. Interface will scrap any product that does not meet the exact precision standards for performance. In fact, if the product fails, we will not utilize the product at all. We will start our manufacturing process over to ensure the integrity and quality is met, as is expected with any Interface branded force measurement product.

In a recent experience of solving for a wiring issue that could cost thousands in waste, we sought out an innovative way to approach the challenge. To solve the visualization and human dependency concerns, we invested in a Keyence Vision Sensor IV2 Series. This camera system allows us to reduce human error by programming the camera to pick up misaligned wiring and notify the user.

It works with advanced sensor technology that can identify production issues and will provide the user with a green light if everything looks good, or a red light if there is an issue. The system is helping to significantly reduce both inspection time and production line errors. The vision technology system is currently implemented on our MBS mini load cell line, one of our highest volume production lines. Since implementing the system, we have not seen a failure that caused any type of loss.

We are now looking into how we could use the Keyence Vision Sensor technology in other areas of production. For instance, we are testing how the camera could be used to read serial and revision numbers that are laser marked onto our products. Every once in a while, if the laser is misaligned or the user hits an extra keystroke, the numbers could be off, and the customer will have an error in their records. With the innovative visualization system, the camera’s sensors could read the serial numbers and let the user know if there is an error quickly.

To learn more about how Interface is investing in innovation and technology to improve our processes and production methods, check out the IQ Blog at www.interfaceforce.com/blog/.  You can also learn more about Interface’s 2019 Arizona Manufacturer of the Year Award here.

Contribution from Nick Siegel, Design Engineer, Interface

Strain Gages 101

A strain gage is a sensor that varies its resistance as it’s stretched or compressed. When tension or compression is applied, the strain gage converts force, pressure, and weight into a change that can then be measured in the electrical resistance.

At the heart and soul of every load cell is a strain gage. This is the pinnacle technology that allows engineers to collect and analyze force data. In the industry, it is known as force measurement.

Strain gages are made through a photo-etch process using a flexible backing and a very thin foil. The way a strain gage works is when the backing and foil stretches or compresses, resistance goes up and down respectively. We know this as force. Think of stretching like a three-lane highway switching to two lanes, and vice versa for compression with two lanes going into three. As the load cell’s internal strain gage experiences force, it sends a signal with a precise measurement of the amount of force it’s experiencing.

There are many different types of strain gages for a variety of environments and force measurement needs. The major difference in strain gages is the base material used in the manufacturing process. Different materials are used when a load cell needs to perform optimally in a variety of temperatures, humidity levels, and elevations. Matching the correct strain gage and a load cell to the customer’s needs is critical to accuracy.

“Here at Interface, we pride ourselves on developing the most accurate force measurement tools, and it starts with our proprietary manufacturing of the strain gage.”  Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager

More than 52 years ago, when our founder Richard F. Caris started Interface, he purchased over a mile of foil, which is the base material used in strain gages. Caris understood the only way to ensure Interface customers received quality results from their force measurement products was to control every aspect of engineering design, product development, and production.

The key ingredient to our precision accuracy and reliability is the fact that we have vertically integrated the entire manufacturing process from design to production and have a deep understanding of the materials necessary to suit every client’s need for optimal results

Many load cell makers purchase their strain gages from a third party. This means there’s more variability in their manufacturing process and you often find the variances in their materials clash and diminish the accuracy, or they are not correctly suited for the customer’s project requirements.  Interface makes all their own strain gages.

We have learned everything there is to know about strain gage manufacturing and can guarantee the quality of our load cells in any environment based on this tenured expertise and having manufactured and calibrated hundreds of thousands (ok, millions) of force measurement devices. And here’s a fun fact, although we’ve manufactured hundreds of thousands of load cells and strain gages, we haven’t even used half of the original mile of foil we purchased in 1968. Good product managed well can go a long way!

For more information on Interface’s commitment to accuracy and reliability, we have written The Load Cell Field Guide, the definitive resource on load cells. It is available on Amazon. You can also download our latest technical white paper, Contributing Factors to Load Cell Accuracy, for free by clicking here.

Contributor:  Scott Dunne, Production Engineering Manager, Interface

Launching Into Orbit With Interface

Interface supplies force measurement solutions and services to help the world’s largest aerospace organizations in the design and test of space vehicles and ground equipment. We pride ourselves on the accuracy and reliability of our products, and it is our key differentiator in serving highly regulated markets with zero room for error.

Working with NASA is a pinnacle in providing advanced test and measurement solutions for use in vehicle designs used for space exploration. We have the privilege of engaging with this highly respected space agency and we wrote a case study on the experience. This blog provides an abbreviated version of the study.

Challenge

NASA’s latest efforts have been centered around human deep space exploration, opening new possibilities for scientific missions to places like the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.  Getting a rocket and its payload beyond earth’s orbit is no easy task. There’s nothing more important than structural integrity, and achieving it on a rocket is incredibly difficult. Faced with these challenges, NASA turned to Interface to aid in the development of its Space Launch System (SLS) to replace its Saturn 5 rocket.

Interface Solution

Due to the massive size of the rocket, Interface provided NASA with two different models of custom load cells that ranged to accurately measure the forces the SLS will experience during its use.  Interface also fulfilled NASA’s extremely high accuracy requirements for force measurements by using finite element analysis to revitalize its existing 2000 series load cell design.

Results

Multiple custom Interface load cells were attached to hydraulic cylinders at different points along the test stand to measure the load produced by each cylinder within 0.05 percent. With these custom high precision load cells, engineers were able to evaluate loads applied to different areas of the rocket structure, allowing them to accurately verify the structural performance under simulated launch conditions.

For more information on how Interface helps to solve aerospace challenges and provide advancement in test and measurement, go to www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace.

Read the full Interface NASA Case Study here: Interface Case Study for NASA Solutions

The Next Generation of Torque Measurement Devices is AxialTQ

This was a big year for Interface’s force measurement solutions at the Automotive Testing Expo held October 23-25, 2018 in Novi, Michigan, just west of Detroit. For it was at this world’s leading trade fair for automotive test, evaluation and quality engineering professionals, that we chose to proudly introduce our innovative AxialTQ™ Torque Measurement System.

As a company with more than 50 years of engineering expertise in force measurement, we were eager to share the details of AxialTQ with the world.  The response we’ve received from show attendees and current customers has been phenomenal. AxialTQ redefines the category of torque measurement systems in terms of function, accuracy and reliability, and it’s a must for anyone working to minimize uncertainty. AxialTQ is specifically designed for the expanding torque measurement needs in the automotive industry, as well as the aerospace and industrial sectors.

At the heart of AxialTQ’s innovation is the rotor and high-precision sensing element technology, which when combined with the electronics component, produces industry-leading accuracy. This product is also fully-customizable due to its ability to use simultaneous analog and digital outputs. It enables real-time control and high accuracy data collection giving the user the best of both worlds. The flexible capability of the stator and output module mounting offers an infinite number of configurations to meet any application need.

AxialTQ was developed in direct collaboration with end-users who shared their wish-lists for operational priorities, user interface, design, features, real-world field issues and more. The unique decision to implement an axial gap, as opposed to the industry standard radial gap, means there is minimized concern that the shaft, rotor, and stator will make contact, significantly reducing the possibility of damaging the system.

Interface’s AxialTQ is available in eight torque capacities and five DIN sizes. Additionally, there will be three accuracy classes, EX, LX and HX. The benefits of each class can be found here.

We believe AxialTQ is critical in helping to address the demand for a more accurate, reliable, customizable and easy-to-use force measurement device, and Interface is proud to be leading the way. To find out more about Interface and AxialTQ, you can connect with us by phone, email or live chat here. We’d love to hear from you.

By Jake Shaffer, senior product manager, Interface