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Robotics in Play with New Animated Application Using ConvexBT

Numerous factors are driving the industry 4.0 revolution. From big data to IoT technology, industrial facilities and manufacturing plants are looking at new ways to automate their process and create a more efficient and cost-effective environment. One of the most important technology advancements in this mix is robotics.

Robotic equipment is a common industry 4.0 innovation used to create an autonomous or semi-autonomous machine capable of carrying out a variety of repetitive tasks that used to take up the time of skilled labor. Some of the tasks or processes that robotics enhance include stock management and logistics, manufacturing automation, janitorial duties and, there are even robotic applications called co-bots that assist human workers when ultra-high precision is needed.

To facilitate the demand for robotics, a variety of sensor and measurement components are necessary to ensure the highest quality and reliability of these application. Many tasks carried out by robotic applications are ultra-precise and require more accuracy than what a human hand or eye can handle.

Sensor technologies embedded in the actual robotics instrument must also be used to constantly calibrate or monitor the robotics. If robotics is used on an automated manufacturing line, any issues with the robotics can disrupt and compromise the entire process. Therefore, robotics manufacturers utilize Interface solutions when they need quality sensors that can monitor the precision of the robotics and ensure that their accuracy and reliability is maintained.

Interface develops high-quality test and measurement solutions designed for hardware testing of all kind. For robotics, our products are frequently used as a component within an OEM device. We understand the premium accuracy and reliability necessary to help develop robotics solutions and have provided both off-the-shelf and custom force measurement solutions designed to meet a variety of applications. We recently created an animated application note on an industrial automation robotic arm using our new light weight, light touch load button load cell, the ConvexBT.

The ConvexBT is designed for testing and also for full integration into the robotic element to measure the force pressure during use.  ConvexBT is available in multiple capacities, including our latest release of the 500lb and 1Klb models.

NEW! Interface Robotic Arm Application Note

A customer came to Interface with a robotic arm product that would be used to lift and move delicate objects, such as a glass bottle, in an automated environment. The goal in using Interface was to find a force measurement product that could ensure the robotic arm did not damage the products it was moving by applying too much force. The main component that Interface products would be applied to is the robotic arms’ clamp. The objective was monitoring the grabbing pressure of the clamp and ensure that the device would stop applying pressure when the necessary force was used to pick up the object without doing damage.

Using its new line of Load Button Load Cells, ConvexBT, and a DMA2 DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, Interface provided a solution that would produce an electric signal on the clamping process that tells a controller to have the device stop applying pressure. Two ConvexBT products were connected underneath the rubber pads on both sides of the robotic arm clamping device. When the clamps made contact and applied pressure, the DMA2 Signal Conditioner converted the signal from the ConvexBT from MV/V to volts to a PLC controller. This signal tells the controller when to have the robotic arm stop applying clamping force.

Ultimately, the two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells were able to accurately measure the amount of pressure applied to the object the robotic arm was lifting and moving without causing any harm or damage to the object.

This is just one of many examples of force measurement products being used in the robotics and automation industry. As the demand for robotics grows and a wider variety of applications are introduced, Interface will continue to engineer the best solutions to help customers reach the age of Industry 4.0.

To learn more about Interface solutions for the robotics and automation industry, please visit /solutions/. You can also check out our case study on the for industrial automation and robotics use here.

Faces of Interface Featuring Mark Bliss

For our newest edition of Faces of Interface, we had the opportunity to talk with Mark Bliss, senior application engineer, with our manufacturer’s representative, Minnesota Measurement Engineering.

Minnesota Measurement Engineering (MNME) works across a wide variety of industries throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, and Iowa. They help engineers specify sensing, testing, and measuring products that best fit their needs and the needs of their application. In addition, MNME builds and integrates custom test and measurement systems for customers. We are thrilled to have them as a partner and are proud to feature Mark Bliss and the team at MNME.

Mark is proud to be a career learner, especially as it pertains to science and engineering. Mark’s mother was a librarian, and his father was involved in science. His upbringing led both himself and his brother to pursue a career in engineering.

Mark attended the University of Minnesota, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. During his time in school, he also engaged in several high-profile internships with Thermo King Corporation, Ecolab, Inc., and Honeywell. This experience helped him get hired at Boeing shortly after college.

Mark spent a year and two months with Boeing as a mechanical design engineer before he and his wife decided they wanted to return to Minnesota. With the move, Mark joined MTS Systems Corporation where he served as a mechanical engineer and program leader within the Systems Product Development R&D Group.

Mark also started his own engineering consulting services company 2RM, LLC. Mark’s passion for engineering pushed him to moonlight as a consultant for everything from OEMs to startups. Some of the work he conducted included custom machine design, structural finite element analysis and optimization, reverse engineering, prototyping, component and material sourcing, in addition to boosting his skill set in sales, accounting, marketing and customer service.

In 2015, Mark was looking for a new challenge and saw an opportunity to take on a sales role at MNME while still applying his passion for engineering through the custom systems side of the business.

As a Senior Application Engineer at MNME, Mark is responsible for assisting customers with force, torque, pressure, acceleration, position, flow, vibration, data acquisition, and custom solutions for R&D, industrial, and OEM applications. His role includes supporting customer product information and quoting requests, visiting customers to understand and identify needs, following up on leads and principal contact reports, identifying sales opportunities and maintaining relationships with customers of all sizes.

Mark mentions that the best part about his position with MNME is the fact that he gets to see and work with new technology every day. Some days he might be working with a medical device manufacturer and the next day he is selling solutions for an autonomous vehicle. The diversity of his customers keeps him on his toes and ensures he’s always learning something new.

He also loves the fact that he gets to continue getting hands on with technology. One of the unique capabilities of MNME is the fact that they act as both a manufacturer’s rep, as well as a solutions provider. Many of Mark’s customers leverage him to develop custom systems or help integrate systems in their test and measurement process.

So where does Interface fit into all this? Going back again to MTS Systems, Mark would often interact with Interface. He developed a fondness for our force measurement products and systems because of their accuracy, durability and reliability. When he moved to MNME, he continued that relationship on the sales side and now acts as one of our top reps!

He, his wife and their two girls are also highly active. The family enjoys downhill skiing, boating, fishing and camping, as well as traveling the world. When we spoke to Mark, he discussed a many skiing trips he had taken in Austria, Germany, and Canada. Finally, if he wasn’t already involved in enough, he also enjoys investing in stocks and bonds. The man certainly keeps himself busy!

We are proud to have Mark at MNME representing Interface products and services. Working alongside Josh Sebasky, both provide Interface customer’s a great depth of experience and knowledge whether it is finding the right load cells or torque transducers for a test project or customizing a verification load frame solution for test and measurement programs.

To locate a representative or distributor in your area, please visit here.