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Faces of Interface Featuring Melissa Enriquez

There are three staples of an Interface product: accuracy, reliability, and quality. In today’s Faces of Interface, we talked Melissa Enriquez, Quality Engineer, who is one of the engineers responsible for ensuring the third, and arguably most important staple of our products meets Interface standards. We had a wonderful time learning Melissa’s story and hope you enjoy it too!

Melissa’s journey to the engineering world was not as typical as some of our other team members. In fact, she had not really pictured herself in this type of career at all. When she applied for her first job in Michigan, there was two open positions. One was in accounting and the other in quality. She was hired for the role in quality, and the rest is history.

The opportunity to be part of a quality team really opened doors for Melissa. She received on the job training as an SPC coordinator and enjoyed the role. This also eventually led to her getting her certification in SPC, ASQ and more. She also attended community college in Michigan and got her associates degree in Applied Sciences, followed by two bachelor’s degrees a few years later. She has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, and a biomechanical engineering degree from Wayne State University.

After taking on the responsibilities of quality engineering, Melissa began to climb the ranks. She worked across multiple industries including automotive, aerospace, military and defense, and others. One of her more prominent roles was with Burtek, where her work with the company’s partners Raytheon and Lockheed Martin won awards for excellence in quality. In addition, her name can still be found across military equipment around the world due to being listed as a Quality Test Director on those products.

Her last stop before joining Interface was at Cobasys, an energy storage solution company helping to push battery technology forward in the electric vehicle market. In this role, Melissa helped to implement multiple quality standards, a supplier management program, and much more.

In September 2021, Melissa came to work for Interface. She has served as a quality supervisor and quality engineer. She joined Interface because she wanted to get back to being direct with the products and fix problems directly. Her role involves ensuring every product that leaves our doors is up to the high Interface standards. This includes supervising quality inspectors, performing root cause analysis and corrective action, problem solving, updating documents to make requirements clear and engaging in finding ways to advance our product quality processes. What she enjoys most about Interface is the people, the ability to make a difference in the company, and the quality products and services we provide to our customers.

When she is not upholding the Interface standard, Melissa can be found enjoying her two hobbies – sports and music. As a UofM alumni, she is a big supporter of all Michigan Wolverine sports. As far as music goes, she spent a lot of her younger years playing instruments, including drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, and trumpet. Today, she indulges that passion by listening to a wide variety of music and attending concerts.

Melissa is a big part of why Interface remains successful with a reputable brand known for exceptional quality. Our commitment to quality only goes as far as our people’s commitment to meet and exceed these standards. Melissa is a huge proponent of ensuring that everything that passes her desk is of the quality our customers have come to expect and demand from the leader in force measurement.

To learn more about Interface’s outstanding teams and individuals, check into our blog every month for a new Faces of Interface story.

Top Interface Products in 2021

What Interface products were test and measurement professionals favorites this year? The 2021 product that took the number one spot of most interest was our blue load cell. The reliable and trusted Interface LowProfile Load Cells have been a staple in the T&M industry for more than fifty years. The top choice of Interface customers in 2021 is the 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile, in both high and low capacities.

The category of products Interface offers has increased significantly as we drive toward helping our customers with complete force and torque solutions. The count of Interface products, in all their configurations and capacities, is well over 30,000. This does not include engineered-to-order or custom solutions, specialties that Interface offers to meet the exact requirements of our customers.

We expanded our line of offerings dramatically in 2021 with wireless solutions, instrumentation, miniature load cells, along with new digital products like the BX6 and expanding our BX8 to match the expanding interest in our growing multi-axis sensors line of 3 and 6-Axis Load Cells. Our new 2021 Catalog provides you a glimpse of what you have available from Interface.

Even with the all-time favorite Interface load cells remaining as the #1 product category in 2021, winning by a large margin with the most interest, there are many product families taking a run for a top position, including instrumentation, minis load cells, and multi-axis sensors.

TOP 10 PRODUCT CATEGORIES FROM INTERFACE IN 2021

  1. Load Cells
  2. Torque Transducers
  3. Instrumentation
  4. Multi-Axis Sensors
  5. Mini Load Cells
  6. Digital Instrumentation
  7. Accessories
  8. Calibration Systems
  9. Load Pins
  10. Wireless Telemetry Systems

You can read our latest review of the WTS system and why it is growing in popularity.

TOP 10 INTERFACE PRODUCTS IN 2021

Diving into the numbers, here are the top 10 product models that gained the most interest this year:

  1. 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell
  2. 1000 Fatigue-Rated LowProfile® Load Cell
  3. SSM or SSM2 Sealed S-Type Mini Load Cell
  4. 3-Axis Force Multi-Axis Load Cell
  5. SGA AC/DC POWERED SIGNAL CONDITIONER
  6. WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell
  7. SMS-Type Load Cell
  8. 1100 Ultra Precision LowProfile® Load Cell
  9. 6-Axis Standard Capacity Load Cells
  10. 1600 Gold Standard® Calibration LowProfile® Load Cell

In the runner-up category, the products that made the second half of our top 20 list include the LBM Load Button Load Cell, 9840 Multi-Channel Indicator, Calibration Systems, Torque Transducer Models T2 and T4, Model 1500Low-Capacity Load Cell, SML Low Height Mini, 9320 Portable Indicator, 2400 Standard Stainless Steel Load Cell and our famous MB Miniature Beam Load Cell.  With such a large catalog, it’s quite a distinction to get to the top 20.

We are excited to learn what products will get your attention in the new year. Of course, we appreciate your interest!

If you have questions about any of our product categories or specific models, you can always contact our application engineers, representatives and distributors around the globe. We are here to make your 2022 a great success!

Interface Releases New ConvexBT White Paper

To meet the demand for the ever-evolving technological landscape, Interface is constantly gathers input from our customers across all industries and global network of test and measurement professionals to understand trends and sensor requirements for today and into the future. These valuable insights drive our new product introduction strategy and evaluations into how we can best solve your challenges.

In this new white paper, Ted Larson, VP Product & Project Management, and James Richardson, Mechanical Engineering Manager, highlight our recent introduction of a revolutionary load button load cell. We have captured the journey of our design story, along with detailing the innovative features, capacities, and benefits of our new ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell. Access the entire paper.

ConvexBT was introduced due to the growing trend of electronics miniaturization going on throughout nearly every hardware industry in the world. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are packing more capabilities into smaller and smaller packages, and as product size shrinks testing sensors and equipment must downsize to match. ConvexBT is engineered to fit in tight spaces to test compression force with ultimate precision. It’s well-suited for industries like medical and industrial, where product miniaturization is prevalent throughout.

You can see some of the other recent ConvexBT highlights and use cases here:

[White Paper] ConvexBT The Most Innovative Load Button Load Cell

Advancing Load Button Load Cell Capabilities with ConvexBT 

Robotic Arm Application Note

Sensor Tips Magazine Highlight of ConvexBT

ConvexBT also includes some incredibly novel design choices that helps with rejection of misaligned loads, as well as temperature compensation. This makes it not only the most accurate load button load cell on the market, but also the most flexible. To learn more about ConvexBT and the unique design, capacity ranges, technical specification and more, download the white paper here.

Interface Customer Survey for Spring 2020

Even during our “new normal” of operating during a pandemic, we know it’s important to reach out to our customer’s to let them know we want to hear from them. As we take extra precautions to operate as an essential service during these times, we want to gauge how we are doing in the eyes of those that are depending on us. It’s how we learn. It’s how we thrive. It’s how we ensure that we can provide the best experience with the products we build along with the support we provide through our force measurement experts.

In the Spring of 2020, we conducted our semi-annual Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Survey.  We reached out to thousands of customers to ask, “How likely is it that you would recommend Interface to a friend or colleague?”.  We are very honored by the results we received and thank all the participants.

Interface, Inc.’s Spring 2020 NPS rating is +54 

What does this mean?  It tells us that our customers appreciate the work of our valued team members. Our customers were also direct and insightful with valuable feedback in areas where we can continue to improve in order to exceed expectations. According to the creator of the NPS, an average American company has a +10 to +12 NPS.  Any organization about +50 is considering high-performing.

As we focus on the quality, accuracy and reliability of the products we manufacture, it’s very informative to learn firsthand from our customers on how we are performing in this area as an organization. We wanted to know specifically how our customers view the quality of Interface force measurement solutions. We asked customer “How do you rate Interface product quality?“.  In the responses, 89% of the respondents said we provide superior or above average products. Quality is a hallmark of our work. We appreciate the confidence!

“I visited Interface Inc., for the first time 1978 when I talked to Dick Carris and since then we have been impressed of Interface Inc. products. We get all information we need from you and technical help when we need it.” Interface Customer Response, Spring 2020 NPS Survey

We also asked in our survey if our customers would be buying products from Interface again and an overwhelming 93% said yes. We didn’t have anyone say no, and only 7% of respondents were unsure.  Thank you for your continued patronage and loyalty to Interface.

We gathered important feedback from our customers. It’s important to listen and respond with actions. We know communication and service is vital to our success. We learned that convenience, knowledge of products and willingness to help were areas where you think we are doing excellent or better than average. We recognize that we can always improve. Thank you for sharing ideas and recommendations on how we can continue to do more to ensure your experience with Interface always exceeds expectations.

We also love some of our customers who shared some heartwarming comments about their experiences with Interface. As a 52 year-old company, these mean the world to us!

“I have been using your load cells since 2001. Keep making them as you have.” Interface Customer Response, Spring 2020 NPS Survey

Interface is committed to continue being the leader in force measurement solutions. Learning from our customers what’s expected from a leader helps us. Thank you to all those that shared their feedback and insights. We appreciate you!  If you weren’t able to participate in the survey and would like to share your feedback, click here.

Applications for Consumer Products and Packaging

When we think about force measurement and its relation to product development, we often consider the aerospace, automotive or industrial industry. However, many of Interface’s customers use load cells and torque transducers to test and develop machinery used for consumer products and in the packaging industry.

In order to meet this demand, customers need force measurement tools that are both accurate and provide the necessary data points to automate and regulate consumer packaging machinery. This consumer packaging case study takes a look at the wide variety of applications of force measurement tools used to create consistency and quality among the products consumer buy and use daily.

BACKGROUND

If you have ever wondered how a pill or piece of candy gets a little logo stamped on it without crushing it or how every bag of chips is nearly filled to the same capacity, chances are a load cell or torque transducer was involved. Interface works with hundreds of customers who manufacture a wide variety of machines used in the consumer packaging industry. These machines serve numerous functions including logo stamping, bag weighing, bottle capping, sealing, and precision cutting.

According to Grandview Research, the use of automation, as well as robotics throughout the packaging lines, has seen tremendous growth in recent years. The aim is to improve productivity, reduce the operating costs and prevent waste, thus improving the overall efficiency of the packaging systems. “Big Data” has also gained popularity with operation managers that collect machine data to regulate the performance of the machinery, undertake preventive maintenance and maximize the up-time.

CHALLENGE

The challenge our customers run into when building these machines is they require a high level of precision to get consistent and repeatable results. If the machines are incorrectly calibrated, it can lead to excessive waste. For instance, if a bottle of soda isn’t capped correctly, it can leak, or if the machine which embosses toilet paper and napkins is too forceful, the paper will be ripped to shreds. Currently, most packaging machines are relying on physical hard stops, clutches, monitoring motor current and laborious tasks to monitor and apply the necessary force and torque. To ensure proper performance and to reduce waste, the most accurate and reliable force measurement tools are required.

SOLUTION

Interface works with hundreds of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who develop machines for the consumer packaging industry. Depending on the function of the machine, we manufacture a wide variety of force measurement products to help reduce waste, ensure repeatable results and provide accurate data to help consumer packaging customers automate their processes.

All of our products come with various data communication systems, including analog or digital and Bluetooth®, wireless or Ethernet. This provides customers with flexibility in their data collection methods and the ability to connect systems through the Internet of Things (IoT) functionality. For machines using a precision twisting motion, such as capping machines, we offer nearly 50 types of reaction torque transducers and rotary torque transducers for customers. All of our torque transducers are precision-machined and use our proprietary torque sensors for the most accurate data possible.

For precision weighing or stamping, such as the candy stamping application, we manufacture more than 60 different types of load cells and Interface Mini Load Cells. These load cells have capacities as low as 1 lbf (500 gf) for extreme precision. In our customer’s application highlighting candy stamping, a test apparatus was outfitted with the Interface Model WMC Mini Load Cell and a 9330 Data Logging Indicator to measure the compression force required to imprint the candy without crushing it and collect data to finely tune the process.

For applications using robotics, Interface offers multi-axis sensors to test force and torque measurements simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes.

RESULTS

Accuracy in packaging is a game-changer for cost-savings, production efficiency, time-to-market, and product safety. Whether you are measuring, weighing or securing, Interface load cells, mini load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation can assure you the quality and accuracy you need to protect your brand and customer satisfaction.

Interface is one of the leading force measurement manufacturers for the consumer packaging industries. We work directly with OEM’s and engineering consultants to implement systems and products which help to reduce waste, automate the packaging process and provide accurate, repeatable results. For more information on how Interface can help solve your test and measurement challenges, please contact us to connect with our specialized Application Engineers, click here to locate a local Representative or International Distributor.

READ COMPLETE CASE STUDY HERE

Interface Case Study For Consumer Packaging

Present and Future Interface Calibration Product Family

Calibration of force measurement tools is integral to accuracy and success in product design and development. As a follow-up to our feature on our expert calibration services, here is a quick introduction to some of our current and future calibration products.

The calibration product family includes five calibration systems that are designed for various needs and force measurement parameters. These systems include:

  • 55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration System and 2K lbf Automated Calibration System
  • 2K lbf Load Cell Verification System
  • Next Gen High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board (HRSBSC)
  • 4 Channel 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator

55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration System and 2K lbf Automated Calibration System

The 55K lbf and 110K lbf Automated Calibration Systems are Interface’s most popular systems because two capacities represent the two most popular capacities requested by customers.

“These systems allow customers to speed up their calibration process because rather than outsourcing calibration, it can all be done in-house.”  Ted Larson, VP of Product Development

The systems are unique in the industry because unlike competitor products, they feature a fully automated system that can measure both tension and compression in a single setup. These systems are designed to satisfy the calibration needs of the test and instrumentation, automotive, aerospace and metrology industries.

The 2K lbf Automated Calibration System, which is on track for release in Q2 of 2019, will offer the same level of accuracy, consistency and excellence as the 55K lbf and110K lbf Systems, but is designed for low-end capacity load cells. This system will serve as a bench top unit and integrate with the same software as the 55K lbf and 110K lbf Systems. It is being designed to serve the medical and automation industries.

The 2K lbf, 55K lbf and 110K lbf Systems will be able to be integrated to work as a dual range system for customers who need to calibrate a wide range of load cells.  Both systems utilize our industry-leading gold and platinum standard load cells, which provide the highest accuracy in the industry.

2K lbf Load Cell Verification System

The 2K lbf Load Cell Verification System is another calibration product that is on track for a Q2 2019 release. This system is being designed as a direct response to OEMs who deal with large volumes of load cells and need a quick, low-cost way of verifying load cells used in equipment. Currently, customers who suspect a calibration issue are often forced to remove load cells from equipment and be sent in to be repaired, recalibrated or to receive a new load cell. This process and the resulting downtime costs money due to lack of production, and there is often no issue present with the load cells.

The 2k lbf Load Cell Verification System can identify a calibration or performance issue, allowing the customer to accurately determine if the load cells need to be replaced or need a tune-up, significantly reducing unnecessary downtime.

Next-Gen High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board (HRSBSC)

The High-Resolution Signal Conditioning Board, which Interface pioneered more than three decades ago, will be receiving an innovation update to improve performance and capabilities. The HRSBSC is designed for use with Interface Gold Standard Calibration Systems and can be provided in a single or dual channel solution. This product’s primary industries include test and instrumentation and metrology. The development of Interface’s Next-Gen HRSBSC is slated for Q4 of 2019.

4 Channel 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator 

Interface recently introduced a new version of the 4 Channel Model T which features a more modern display with additional channels available. It’s now easier to use and has the same high stability and industry-leading performance as the older version of the 9840. Although the quality is the same, the updated version can be integrated with Interface’s Gold Standard® system and frames, as well as with Windows 10.

The 4 Channel Model T 9840-400-1-T Intelligent Indicator allows single loads with three measurements to directly compare outputs to Interface’s Gold Standard load cell, and all measurements can be captured through Interface’s Gold Standard software. This allows users to compare multiple load cells and gather data on whether the load cells are accurate or uncalibrated. The 4 Channel Model T solution also has the option for high-level input channels.

Stay tuned for updates on current and upcoming additions to our family of innovative calibration products.

Contributor: Ted Larson, VP of Product Development and Marketing, Interface