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Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Product Solution Types for Design Engineers

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

Designing Brake Pedals for Gaming

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

Designing Tractor Linkage Draft Controls

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

Designing Fitness Equipment and Machines

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

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

Additional Resources

OEM Solutions- Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

OEM Brochure

Making the Case for Custom Solutions

 

 S-Type Load Cells 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S-Type Load Cell Applications

Prosthetics Load and FatigueProsthetic Load and Fatigue Testing

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

Furniture FatigueFurniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

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

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