Posts

Conveyor Belts Use Load Cells to Keep Things Moving

Conveyor belts are incredibly versatile machines with numerous applications across industries, constantly moving materials from one point to another. During some of the busiest packaging and shipment times of the year, it is a good reminder of why measurement solutions keep things moving fast and efficiently.

Critical for automated manufacturing, conveyor belts rely on precise weight distribution, timing, and speed of the conveyor belt operation to keep production in sync.

Conveyors are used for sorting and merging systems, inspection systems, and automated loading and unloading using robotic arms or other equipment to handle materials efficiently. Their versatility and adaptability make them critical in modernizing industries, including construction, mining, manufacturing, logistics, maritime, and agriculture.

Boxes, cans, bottles, and other packages glide smoothly through packaging lines on conveyor belts, ensuring efficient sorting, labeling, and palletizing. These machines efficiently load and unload ships, trucks, and trains with bulk materials, minimizing manual labor and maximizing throughput. Conveyor belts are crucial in sorting and distributing packages in warehouses and postal facilities, speeding up delivery processes.

It is also important to recognize how specialized conveyor belts transport people in public spaces. Conveyor belts seamlessly whisk luggage from check-in counters to aircraft and vice versa, ensuring a smooth passenger experience.

Force measurement can be applied to testing and monitoring conveyor belts in several ways. One of the most common ways is by using load cells to measure the alignment of the belt. Load cells can detect subtle changes in belt behavior, such as uneven loading or misalignment, which can indicate internal damage like cracks or tears. Early identification of these issues allows for timely interventions, preventing further damage and costly repairs.

Testing the conveyor belt rotation or ability to hold weight is a requirement for equipment makers and engineers. Machine builders use Interface sensors in the design of conveyors. In addition to monitoring the system during peak usage, load cells are instrumental in testing the equipment’s quality and durability.

Load cells on the head and tail pulley shafts continuously monitor belt tension for preventative maintenance. This data helps identify deviations from optimal tension levels, leading to premature belt wear, pulley misalignment, and energy inefficiency.  You can prevent costly repairs and downtime by addressing these issues early on.

Conveyor systems often have multiple belts working in tandem. Load cells can monitor the load distribution across these belts, ensuring balanced operation and preventing the overloading of individual components.

Conveyor Belt Adhesion Test

A customer wanted to test the adhesion strength between a conveyor belt’s many layers and textiles. They wanted to conduct a separation test from the rubber of the conveyor belt from the other layers. They also wanted a wireless solution. Interface suggested a SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell to be installed in the customer’s tensile test load frame, where it measured the forces applied as the test was conducted and the layers were pulled and separated. When connected to the WTS-AM-1F Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, the data was wirelessly transmitted to WTS-BS-5 Wireless Analog Output Receiver. The WTS-BS-5 then connected to the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator to display, graph, and log the data with the supplied BlueDAQ software. With Interface’s force measurement system and solution, the customer successfully tested the strength of the adhesion applied to their conveyor belts through the layer separation test.

Force measurement sensors can be built into machines as a real-time monitoring system. This type of force application can let engineers know if there is a problem with the system that needs to be taken down for repairs by reviewing data and seeing discrepancies in the normal forces on the conveyor belt. This is particularly important in maintaining efficiency on production lines to ensure minimal downtown.

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt equipped with PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells and 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and ControllerFood And Beverage Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belts for the food and beverage industry must be maintained and properly aligned to transport products. A load cell is needed to prevent misalignment and to reduce the risk of damage or malfunction of the belt while in operation. Interface suggested installing PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells onto the conveyor belt. They are designed for easy maintenance. The PBLCs measured and monitored the force of the conveyor belt while preventing misalignment. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells successfully maintained the proper alignment of the conveyor belt for the food and beverages being transported while also monitoring the forces being implemented.

In automotive, electronics, and other production settings, conveyor belts move components and products along the assembly line, facilitating efficient workflow and ensuring precise positioning.

Conveyor belts easily handle diverse materials, from transporting heavy metal sheets in steel mills to delicate circuit boards in electronics factories. They are the go-to for transporting vast quantities of mined ores, coal, grains, and other bulk materials over long distances and uneven terrain.

Conveyor belts move waste and recyclables efficiently in processing facilities, ensuring efficient sorting and processing. Industrial automation robotics often supports this as part of advanced conveyor systems.

Automating Conveyor Production Lines

Collaborative robots, known as cobots, are used to working alongside humans next to conveyor belts on the production line. Extensive safety measures must be taken for the conveyor and the robot for optimal efficiency and operations. A multi-axis sensor is a tool for this use case. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell is installed at the head of the cobot. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell interfaces with the BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for data collection of force and torque measurements on the line. The customer connected the BX8’s analog outputs to their control system. As a result, the customer can log, display, and graph these measurements during the robot and belt operations. The results are sent to the customer’s control system via analog or digital output.

Interface products are commonplace in these types of applications. Force measurement is integral to advanced manufacturing systems like conveyor belts. Our sensors are utilized to ensure accuracy and repeatability throughout the production line.

We understand manufacturing test and measurement applications, and our custom OEM solutions are ideal for manufacturers who require direct installation to monitor weight, force, and torque into conveyor belt systems.  Contact our application experts to see how we can help you modernize your conveyor systems with advanced sensor technologies.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Manufacturing Solutions

Interface Solutions for Heavy Equipment

Heavy Machinery Solutions

Production Line Solutions

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Examining Machine Builder Applications

 

Interface Sensors Optimize Food Canning and Production

In the food packaging and production industry, consistency and quality are key. Due to this, many food production and packaging facilities are utilizing automation more than ever. The automation process includes monitoring actions and tasks using force measurement sensors. These sensors collect critical data to maximize food production and packaging efficiency.

Interface provides force measurement sensors and systems for equipment, devices, and machines that produce and package consumable products across various use cases. From harvesting and sorting to processing and packing, force measurements improve quality control, efficiency, and safety in food production and packaging. For example, production line engineers use sensors to detect and reject defective products, monitor equipment performance, and identify potential hazards.

The versatility of Interface sensor technologies provides the ability to innovate and solve challenges related to condition, consistency, and productivity for canning and food production. Whether using a small LBM Compression Load Button Load Cell within a production line machine or deploying multi-axis sensors during production to gather feedback in real-time, Interface has a diverse range of transducer and instrumentation options.

How Interface Products Improve Canning and Food Production

  • Monitoring the pressure applied to a mixer to ensure consistent product quality.
  • Regulating the force applied to a canning line to prevent cans from being damaged.
  • Detecting unknown items in food products.
  • Measuring the force in picking fruit or vegetables without damaging them.
  • Capping with precision to prevent crushing the bottles.
  • Sorting by the size, weight, and firmness of produce ensures it meets quality standards.
  • Controlling the force applied to food during cutting, slicing, grinding, and other processing steps.
  • Ensuring food is packaged correctly and safely, with the correct pressure and cushioning.
  • Weighing food products precisely to ensure accurate packaging.
  • Monitoring the force applied to a robotic arm to ensure safe and efficient handling of food products.

Using Interface load cells, food production and packaging companies can gather instant force measurements from their production line. For instance, when a canned goods company is filling its packaging with any food, a load cell can be used to measure the weight of the food in the can and automatically notify the filling machine when it is complete. This will tell the device to move on to the next can. All this can be done without any human intervention.

Alternatively, force sensors can be used to monitor the health of the production line. Force sensors are often installed in industrial machines to collect data on the operations of devices. This data can be analyzed and used to help predict when a machine might need maintenance or a conveyor belt can be outfitted with force sensors to help keep everything aligned. This contributes to greater food packaging and production quality and less downtime for the production line.

Interface force measurement solutions are used in all aspects of food production, including agriculture equipment, weighing scales, industrial automation robotics, and lifting machines used to transport consumer goods. Here are a few customer use cases.

Commercial Food Processing

A food processing plant wants accurate results of their in-motion check weighing equipment when food is weighted and processed down the belt. They want to ensure production line efficiency and food quality. The customer also wants real-time results of their food being weighed and a load cell that can endure the industry’s highly regulated environment. Multiple Interface scale load cells can be installed in the customer’s in-motion check weigher at the specific points where the food is weighed on the belt. The SPI High Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells deliver precise weighing results. When connected to the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, it will give the customer real-time results of food weight, which can read up to four scale channels. Read more: WEIGHING: Commercial Food Processing.

Fruit Weighing and Packaging

A customer owns and operates a fruit packaging plant. They want to weigh the bins full of fruit loaded onto conveyor belts that transfer the fruit to other steps of the distribution process to read the hands of the consumer in grocery stores. Interface suggests installing SPI Low Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells and WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules in the center of the platforms the fruit bins are loaded on. The WTS-AM-1E wirelessly transmits the data collected from the SPI to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters and the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s computer. Read more: Fruit Weighing App Note.

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt equipped with PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells and 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belts for the food and beverage industry must be maintained and adequately aligned to transport the products. A load cell is necessary to prevent misalignment and to reduce the risk of damage or malfunction of the belt while in operation. PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells can be installed onto the conveyor belt. They are designed for easy maintenance and will measure and monitor the force of the conveyor belt while preventing misalignment. Using the PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells, Interface’s customer successfully maintained the proper alignment of the conveyor belt for the food and beverages being transported while also monitoring the forces being implemented. Read more: Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine

A snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks automatically dispersed into the bags during packaging. In this case, they want to weigh their potato chips being packaged. The company also wanted to ensure the potato chips were at the exact weight needed to meet regulatory standards to be distributed to consumers in the public. Interface’s solution was to use multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells and install them to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG-isolated, where the customer could control the automated production from their command center. Using this solution, the customer could determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged.

As many industries turn to automation to improve productivity and quality while reducing waste, force sensors will play an increasingly critical role in providing accurate and immediate data to optimize equipment and machines. In the food service industry, we are already seeing a significant impact on the quality of production processes using force measurement.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Force Measurement for Efficiency in Food Processing and Packaging

Load Cells for Smarter and More Efficient Weighing

Watch how sensors are used in industrial robotics for packaging.

Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Production on Earth and Beyond

Interface Helps to Move Agriculture Innovation Forward

Chicken Weighing

 

 

 

Detailing Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells

A pillow block bearing is usually used to create a rolling system. This bearing type is often used for industrial rolls for textiles, paper, and materials. It is also used on conveyor belts in manufacturing facilities. Other common use cases in various industries include transportation, medical device design, and aerospace.

Interface offers specialized load cells that measure and monitor weight and other forces on pillow block bearings, aptly known as Interface Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells. The force measurement is performed for this load cell between two supports.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cell Spans Multiple Industries

Pillow block bearing load cells are important in all industries where accurate load measurement is required during production and use of small and large rollers. Some examples include:

  • Steel industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in roller mills to measure the force required to crush or shape steel.
  • Textile industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in textile machines such as looms and knitting machines to measure the tension on the yarn.
  • Packaging industry: Pillow block load cells can be used in packaging machines to measure the force required to cut or seal packaging materials.

Pillow block load cells are valuable in building and enhancing infrastructure. Our PBLC1 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.

These weights are important to measure or monitor as they can tell you if you run out of material on a roll or if a production line conveyor belt is holding too much weight. An example of the feed roller system using our wireless options is below.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

Feed roller systems are common in production and manufacturing. In this example, a feed roller system needs to monitor the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. This reduces waste and ensures quality in the product use. They would also prefer a wireless system. Interface suggests installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The measurement output is sent to the instrumentation device, our 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 a computer. Learn more about this type of use case in our Feed Roller System Application Note.

In addition to this use case, here are a few other ways Pillow Block Load Cells are used to measure weight and force:

  • Material handling: Pillow block load cells are commonly used in conveyor systems to measure the weight of transported materials.
  • Automotive industry: Pillow block load cells are used in assembly line applications to measure the weight of assembled parts and components.
  • Heavy machinery: Pillow block load cells are used in cranes, bulldozers, and other heavy machinery to measure loads and monitor the equipment’s performance.
  • Manufacturing: Pillow block load cells are used in material testing machines to measure the force required to break or deform materials.
  • Aerospace: Pillow block load cells are used in aerospace applications to measure the weight and balance of aircraft and spacecraft.
  • Medical industry: Pillow block load cells are used in medical equipment such as patient lifts and hospital beds to measure patients’ weight.
  • Food industry: Pillow block load cells are used in food processing and packaging equipment to measure the weight of ingredients and finished products.

Pillow Block Bearing Load Cells Product Overview

This type of force sensor is suitable for measuring forces under pillow block bearings for diameter Ø 20mm (Ø 0.79 in) and for measuring axle weight in test stands for trains and vehicles. Our system is compatible with INA Pillow Block Bearings and is installed underneath the bearing to measure force. There are three model versions, with the options for additional multi-axis measurements for engineers to order products.

PBLC1 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC2 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

PBLC3 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell

Features and benefits of our Pillow Block Load Cell include:

  • 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

In addition, our Pillow Block Load Cell is also available in multi-axis versions, allowing more force data from your test application. This helps measure forces such as the center of gravity, tension across a load-bearing beam, and more. These multi-axis versions come in two and three-axis models. If you want accurate measurements for your pillow block-bearing use cases, contact our specialized application engineers.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Interface New Product Releases Winter 2023

Infrastructure Industry Relies on Interface Force Measurement

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Industrial Automation

 

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

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

The global consumer products market is a multi-billion dollar industry that thrives on innovation and new product development. There are numerous opportunities to utilize sensor-based technologies to test for safe use and monitor product performance.

Interface is a source of quality precision force sensor technologies used throughout the product lifecycle from concept and R&D, through engineering and testing, to manufacturing and eventually consumption. We supply force measurement solutions for use in equipment, machines, tools, and integration into actual products like our miniature load cells to measure performance and use. We even provide products to accurately measure and monitor hardware used in consumer product distribution. Interface load cells and instrumentation help consumer product designers and fabricators drive usability, adoption, production efficiencies, and ensure safety to satisfy the needs of all types of consumers.

In our latest case study, Interface Delivers for Consumer Products, we highlight specific use cases and products that are used by the consumer products industry. Interface offers multitudes of products, from sensors used to measure weight on the production line of a consumer good to regulating how the consumer can use the product by using embedded load cells into the actual product.

Here are a few examples of how our force sensors are used in the consumer products industry:

  • Keyboards and buttons: Force sensors can be used to measure the force applied to keys on a keyboard or buttons on electronic devices, such as smartphones or game controllers, to ensure that they have a consistent and satisfying feel for the user.
  • Package testing: Force sensors can be used to measure the force applied to packaged consumer goods, such as food and beverage containers, during transportation and handling to ensure that they are not damaged and that their contents are protected.
  • Automotive testing: Force sensors can be used to measure the forces applied to various components of a vehicle during crash testing, such as doors and seat belts, to ensure that they meet safety standards and provide adequate protection for the occupants.
  • Sports equipment: Force sensors can be used to measure the force applied to sports equipment, such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, and baseball bats, to ensure that they meet performance and safety standards.
  • Wearable devices: Force sensors can be used to measure the force applied to wearable devices, such as fitness trackers, to ensure that they are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.

Our specialty is building force measurement solutions for the testing and monitoring of parts and total systems, which is vital to manufacturers and designers of consumer packaged goods. Accurate measurement is necessary in design, prototyping and producing final consumer products across all industries for performance and safety. These solutions are ideal for consumer product stand-alone testing rigs, production equipment, as well as embedding into products to increase operability and reliability for end users.

Additional consumer products applications utilizing Interface quality measurement solutions include:

These are just a few examples of how force sensors are used in the consumer products industry to measure the force applied to a variety of products. The use of force sensors is essential for ensuring that consumer products meet safety and performance standards, and for providing consumers with a high-quality user experience.

To better illustrate and address our solutions designed for consumer products across sectors, we have developed a case study outlining the consumer product testing challenges and technology we offer for these customers.
Interface Delivers for Consumer Products Case Study

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Due to the influence of IoT, AI and big data, the role of production line engineer has become far more critical as manufacturers demand peak efficiency. These engineers need to stay current in automation technologies used to design, build, and monitor a production line for the benefits of decreasing speed to market, lowering costs, and improving outputs at the highest quality standards.

Among the many software and hardware solutions these individuals must also understand connected sensors are among the most important. Sensors are the nervous system of an automated production line, telling which machines must perform certain tasks, when, and how. They are a source for smart factories and smart manufacturing.

Sensors modernize manufacturing, assembly, and production lines by enabling real-time monitoring and control of the production process.

Measurement solutions provide accurate data on production parameters such as temperature, speed, pressure, force, and other relevant variables, which can then be used to optimize the production process, detect, and resolve problems in real-time, and prevent downtime. Additionally, sensors can be integrated into industrial IoT systems to provide valuable insights and analytics that can help manufacturers make data-driven decisions.

One of the sensor types that play a key role in these automated production lines are force sensors. Force sensors can be used by production line engineers across several different facets of an automated line. When designing a manufacturing line, there are quite a few factors that go into the full system. This includes process monitoring, quality control, predictive maintenance, energy management and inventory management. Force sensors play a role in each of these types of data points and processes.

For instance, a production line engineer can install sensors onto a machine that outputs a great deal of torque and monitor that torque to ensure the components creating that force are running smoothly, or if there are certain indicators that say it needs to be pulled off the line briefly for maintenance. When products on the line trigger certain force parameters such as weight, this can also tell the automated production line it is ready for the next stop in the process. Production line engineers design these lines around the sensing capabilities available and connected force sensing products have made a major difference in helping things become more efficient.

There is another automated process that also requires force sensors that is used as part of a manufacturing line, or as a standalone system – robotics. Production line engineers are doing a great deal of research and development into robotics to automate process that are repetitive, or far too delicate for human hands. Force sensors, in this use case, are used in both the testing of robotics to ensure accuracy or developed into the robotics to monitor certain functions over time.

Robotics can improve assembly and production processes, leading to higher efficiency, improved quality, and reduced costs. As technology continues to advance, the use of robotics by production line engineers in assembly and production is likely to become even more widespread.

Here at Interface, we have a great deal of experience in developing solutions for industrial automation and manufacturing lines. We have developed a few application notes to outline how production line engineers use our sensor solutions and force measurement products.

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm

A customer wanted to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occur at the robotic arm’s base; therefore, they needed a force measurement system at the base of the robotic arm. Interface suggested using their force plate option to install at the base of the robotic arm. Four 3-Axis Force Load Cells were installed between two force plates, then installed at the bottom of the arm. This creates one large 6-Axis Force Plate. The sensors force data is recorded and displayed through the two BX8 Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Data Acquisition Systems onto the customer’s PC or laptop. Interface’s 6-Axis Force Plate was able to successfully measure the reaction forces of the customer’s robotic arm. Read more here.

Press Load Monitoring

Press forming is a method to deform varied materials. For instance, materials such as steel can be bent, stretched, or formed into shapes. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces being applied by the press forming machine. This ensures quality control and traceability during the production process. For large press forming machines, Interface recommends installing the 1000 High-Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell. When the material is placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied is measured by the 1000 Series Load Cell. The force results captured is sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged on the customer’s PC with provided software. Interface’s force measurement products and instrumentation accurately monitored and logged the force results of the press force machine, ensuring zero-error production performance. Learn more about this application here.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine

A snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process. In this case, they wanted to weigh their potato chips being packaged. The company also wanted to ensure the potato chips are at the exact weight needed due to regulatory standards to be distributed out to consumers in the public. Interface’s solution was to use multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells, and install it to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer is able to control the automated production from their command center. Using this solution, the customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged. Read about the solution here.

Production line engineers turn to Interface due to our quality, accuracy, and reliability. Our products are used to test, monitor in real time, and created automated processes within a manufacturing line. As automation and robotics grow, you will continue to see new applications for sensors in this sector.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

IoT Industrial Robotic Arm App Note

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

Industrial-Automation-Brochure-1