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Trending at Interface

As in years past, the Interface team looks at trends in what products caught the greatest interest of our customers, along with those that are top sellers throughout the year.

We’ve gathered our key findings based on searches and purchases by industry-leading engineers, product designers, testing labs, manufacturers and T&M pros using Interface solutions. Here is a summary of the trends over the past 12 months.

TRENDING PRODUCT CATEGORES IN 2020

#1 LOAD CELLS – There is no surprise that topping the 2020 list is what we are best known for, our precision load cells. When quality, accuracy, and reliability matter Interface Models 1000, 1100, 1500 and 1600 in various capacities ranked highest in interest. What’s the top seller? The 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell ranks number one, with the 1000 Fatigue Rated Load Cell in second place.

#2 TORQUE TRANSDUCERS – Torque is definitely trending, taking the number two spot. Hot picks are the MRT Miniature Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer, T8, T25 and our proprietary AxialTQ. Read Torque 101 here.

#3 INSTRUMENTATION – One of the most popular adds to any purchase is instrumentation like the DMA2, SGA, 9320 or 9840.

#4 MULTI-AXIS SENSORS – Watch Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors to learn more about why multi-axis is trending, including the popular 3AXX 3-Axis Force Load Cell.

#5 MINIATURE LOAD CELLS – Interface’s expertise for engineering force measurement applies to a wide range of capacities and sizes, including Interface Mini best sellers: SSM and SSM2 Sealed S-Type Load Cells, SM-S Type and SMT Miniature Load Cells followed closely by MB, MBP, WMC Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell and SMTM models.

#6 CALIBRATION SYSTEMS – These Interface systems are growing in popularity. Read why here.

#7 CALIBRATION SERVICES AND REPAIR ­­­– Our customers can depend on us for our services. Click here to request service today.

#8 DIGITAL INSTRUMENTATION – Interface has expanded our line of digital instrumentation based on growing demands. See what’s hot here, like our BX8.

#9 LOAD PINS, LOAD SHACKLES AND TENSION LINKS – A new entry to the trends list this year based on the high interest for these specialty products including the wireless options.

#10 LOAD BUTTON LOAD CELLS – Robotics, automation and testing in confined and compact spaces has raised greater interest in highly-accurate load button load cells, including our new ConvexBT and our popular LBM and LBS models.

Based on feedback and our analysis of trends, we know that getting exactly what you want is as important as the product category selection. Engineered to order, custom solutions and complete systems are rapidly growing in demand as Interface customers evaluate ways to embed sensor technologies into products or utilize advances sensor technologies, along with wireless and Bluetooth communication capabilities.

Take a look at why Interface Engineered to Order Solutions continue to be in high demand by helping our customers get exactly what they need.

Interface has played an important role in shaping the test and measurement industry and though we know our standard catalog is robust, we are always here to get the exact product for our customer’s exact requirements. How can we help you get what you want in 2021 and beyond?  Reach out and let’s start the conversation now.

Introduction to Interface Application Notes

Interface has a long history of sharing valuable resources to help our fellow colleagues and customers with various use cases for test and measurement applications. Whether it be with our in-depth technical library, the Interface Load Cell Field Guide, free access to design files for our breadth of products, or industry case studies highlighting how our customers use Interface products. Access to all of these resources is available on Interface’s website www.interfaceforce.com.

A frequently visited area of these online resources is our Interface Application Notes archive. These resourceful explainers are of interest to engineers, new product designers, metrology and engineering students, as well as T&M industry professionals.

Interface created a large collection of App Notes to showcase how Interface load cells, torque transducers, accessories and instrumentation are used by OEMs and for various test and measurement projects across all types of industries.

Each Interface App Note has the following details:

  • Name of the App Note with Primary Product
  • Industry
  • Summary of the Application Use Case Need or Challenge
  • Interface Solution
  • Results
  • Materials
  • How it Works
  • Visual Representation of the Application

Interface App Notes are great conversation starters. They help to showcase how various Interface products and systems are used across all types of industries including medical, automotive, energy, industrial automation, consumer products testing, and aerospace. Additionally, several application notes highlight specific test and measurement lab projects.

Interface Top 10 Application Notes

  1. Race Car Suspension Testing
  2. Aircraft Wing Testing
  3. Surgical Stapler Force Verification
  4. Drone Parcel Delivery
  5. Bluetooth Brake Pedal
  6. Medical Bag Weighing
  7. Seat Testing Machine
  8. Industrial Automation Friction Testing
  9. Vascular Clamp Testing  
  10. Bolt Fastening and Torque

We have many more for you to check out. Visit the entire library of Interface Application Notes here. We are adding new application notes on a regular basis, so check back frequently.

Be sure to check out the full line of Interface solutions here. If you have questions or would like to talk with our application engineering experts, drop us a note or give us a call.

Load Cells for Consumer Product Applications

Typically, when engineers talk about load cells and their multitude of uses, it is assumed the applications are large-scale industrial projects like airplanes, rockets, and automobiles. However, did you know Interface load cells are regularly used for research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and end-of-line testing for countless consumer products?

Force is one of the most critical pieces of measurement in product development. This is especially true for consumer products that we interact with every day. Load cells are the tools that ensure products feel, handle and react the way they should in a consumer’s hand.

Here are a few examples showcasing how load cells touch almost everything the consumer touches.

A perfect example of a consumer product where force measurement plays a critical role in human interaction is in the abundance of numerous touch screens. Load cells are used in the R&D process to measure the accuracy, pressure, and sensitivity of the touch screen consumer interacts with on a minute-by-minute basis. The little things we don’t think about when using a tablet or smartphone, such as the smooth feeling of scrolling through social media pages, is possible because of testing using a load cell.

Another common consumer application type of load cells being used to improve product feedback and interaction is with simulation programs. High-end flight simulators often use load cells to measure the force of haptic feedback on the joysticks or chair when interacting with a flight simulator. The feeling of drag or rough winds a pilot experiences in a simulation is measured and refined for accuracy using a load cell.

Load cells are also an integral part of the manufacturing process for consumer goods. If you’ve ever seen a piece of candy with a logo stamped on it, chances are high a load cell was involved in determining the level of force to apply an exact brand stamp. Load cells are used on the stamping machine to ensure the right amount of force is used to apply the logo without crushing the candy.

In the food and drug industries, load cells are used in manufacturing facilities and on a wide variety of packaging machines. They are used for ultrasonic welding, which is the sealing process for plastic, paper or fabric shopping bags, garbage bags, and diapers. Potato chip assembly lines use load cells to weigh the bags as they fill them with chips to know when to stop and move on to the next bag. And the same stamping process used for candy in applying labels is used on pills.

Companies also incorporate load cells in end-of-line product testing. Furniture often goes through rigorous testing to ensure reliability. The furniture has various loads applied to it to confirm it can hold heavier weights over time, the furniture can also be bent and flexed to check the quality of the materials.  To reduce waste and ensure product quality, many consumer bottles use a torque transducer for end-of-line testing to test the proper cap implementation.

Batteries are another consumer product that goes through R&D and end of line testing to measure the force needed to damage the casing.  This is used to eliminate poorly designed and assembled batteries, as the acid inside can do immense harm if a child or adult is able to accidentally crush one.

Force measurement is also something that plays a role directly in the products we use. For instance, scales we use to weigh ourselves, food, and more, have load cells in them. Racecar gaming brake pedals are another example. High-end racing simulators need their brake pedal to be very accurate at measuring the amount of force applied to it to react as a real car would. Load cells are implemented in the base to provide accurate force readouts to the simulator in real-time.

Most products we all interact with every day have had some force testing or are currently using a sensor to manage its use and reliability.  Other consumer products that use Interface load cells, in all capacities and models, include treadmills, skis, bicycles, coffee makers, gaming brake pedals, boats, golf balls, desk drawers, guitars and robotic vacuums. And that is just to name a few.

Load cells and other force measurement tools like torque transducers are an integral part of developing, testing, and manufacturing reliable and accurate consumer goods. Think about this the next time you are handling your smartphone or carrying in groceries from the store. None of it would be possible without the use of force measurement equipment.

Contributor:  Kim Williams, Business Development Manager at Interface

Interface Holiday Wish List

As we turn the corner on another great year at Interface, it comes with grace and gratitude to everyone that played part in our 2019 story. And with that, we wish everyone a very joyous holiday season.

To our customers, we appreciate your loyalty and trust. We know you rely on us to accomplish big things and ensure what you do is safe, reliable, durable and accurate. To our team members, our partners, our representatives, and distributors around the world, our success is your success. You are the faces of Interface and everything you do makes a difference.

Reflecting on the past year, we thought we would share what we know best. That’s what you like best!  We compiled a quick list of the top 10 products we sold this year to give you an idea of what’s hot and trending in force measurement.

Here are the items that were on the wish lists of engineers, testers, and lab technicians around the world by quantity of most frequently purchased.  By the way, this list excludes our calibration services and the unique solutions we design for our OEM customers.

BEST SELLING FORCE MEASUREMENT PRODUCTS OF 2019

  1. Mini Compression Load Button Load Cell – This top-selling Interface LBM load cell is available in capacities from 25 to 50K lbf, is environmentally-sealed and made of stainless steel.
  2. LW General Purpose Load Washer Load Cell – A big seller, the Interface Load Washer is available with a wide selection of OD, ID, heights and in various combinations. It is also made of stainless steel.
  3. SGA AC/DC Powered Signal Conditioner – Our SGA Signal Conditioner is a very popular instrumentation device that provides user-selectable analog output ±10V, ±5V, 0-10V, 0-5V, 0-20mA and 4-20mA as a single channel that powers up to four transducers.
  4. SM S-Type Load Cell – This high-demand S-Type Load Cell is for high-performance tension and compression testing. It utilizes proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages.
  5. 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell – The 1200 LowProfile Load Cell model series outsells all others. It is eccentric load compensated and has low deflection and shunt calibration. It can be used in tension and compression testing.
  6. T4 Standard Precision Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer – With more than 50 torque models available, this particular Interface T4 Torque Shaft Style Rotary Transducer has capacities from 0.1 Nm to 1K Nm (0.88 lbf-in to 8.85K lbf-in). It has contactless data transmission with digital electronics with on-shaft design.
  7. MB Mini Beam Load Cell – Our low capacity mini load cell has Interface temperature compensated strain gages with performance to 0.03%, low deflection and low height with 1-inch max.
  8. 1100 Ultra Precision LowProfile® Load Cell – The Interface model 1100, with a range of capacities, is selected among our best low profile load cells. It has very low nonlinearity, hysteresis, eccentric load sensitivity, and temperature sensitivity.
  9. 9320 Battery Powered Portable Load Cell Indicator – A very popular instrument, Interface’s 9320 Indicator is handheld and features two independently scalable ranges, peak and valley monitoring, display hold, mV/V calibration, and a power save feature. Typical battery life exceeds 40 hours of continuous use (450 hours in power-save mode), and is TEDS plug and play compliant.
  10. WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell – Our most popular wireless load cell, often purchased as part of the entire Wireless Telemetry System (WTS), is compact in size and has capacities from 300 to 100K lbf (1.5 to 450 kN), with performance to 0.0425% and a 2.4 GHZ transceiver.

With thousands of products, we certainly have a diverse and broad selection of products and force measurement solutions. We didn’t include all our custom and OEM solutions or calibration services in our best selling list.

As we head into 2020, we look forward to working together to supporting your latest projects and unique applications, as well as helping to achieve your goals in the new decade!  We appreciate you and thank you for your business!

Happy Holidays from your Interface Team!

 

Faces of Interface Featuring Chief Engineer Ken Vining

Throughout his career, Ken Vining has lived by the philosophy that if you don’t make mistakes, you will not learn. This approach has guided Ken to become the outstanding engineer and innovator he is today. It has also helped to shape his techniques as the head of the R&D team at Interface.

The number one thing I tell my team is that failure is the most important device we can use to learn and improve. I will never be upset if they spend money on an idea and it fails or doesn’t meet expectations. However, I will be unhappy with my team if they wish they had spent money to pursue an idea and didn’t because they were afraid to fail.” Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface

Ken Vining’s career in force measurement began in 1981 when he took a position as a draftsman at Beowulf Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama. After a short time with the company, Ken decided he wanted to pursue a career in engineering because he thought he had the natural talent to excel in the profession. He began taking night classes in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama.

Ken continued his career in force measurement while simultaneously expanding his education in mechanical engineering and the development and use of application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for force and pressure measurement products. His continuous pursuit of knowledge has allowed Ken to stay well-informed on current and future trends in mechanical engineering, electronics and force measurement.

In 2008, Ken joined Interface as a senior project engineer, a role he held for six years. He was later promoted to Director of Advanced Engineering where he developed and launched products for force, torque, and signal conditioning.

The technologies that Ken has been instrumental in producing leading-edge force measurement solutions including products made with bonded foil, semiconductor and sputtered thin film strain gages. Some of the most significant product launches that he has led or contributed to include Interface’s newest and biggest launch, the AxialTQ, and a product that is just about to launch, the 1923 wireless load cell.

Earlier this year, Ken was promoted to Chief Engineer at Interface. In this position, he oversees the R&D department and focuses on new product lines and capabilities that the company can explore. Ken’s relentless pursuit of education, personal growth and eye for innovation is what makes this role a natural fit.

Ken enjoys his new role at Interface because he knows that there are plenty of opportunities to fail, grow, and succeed in developing innovative products. The projects that get him most excited are those that give him the opportunity to blend basic load cell technology with high-end electronics – a process that Interface has a history at excelling in.

As for Ken’s free time activities, he’s an avid skier and bicyclist. He competes in a bicycle race or two per year, and his most recent ski trip brought him to the historic Telluride ski resort in Colorado.

To learn more about Interface’s innovative products, please visit www.interfaceforce.com.  If you would like to stay up with our latest products and new releases, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter InterfaceIQ. Click here to subscribe.