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Interface Congratulates Four New Certified Six Sigma Greenbelts

In the engineering and manufacturing world, quality and efficiency are key factors to long-term success. Interface is committed to maintaining the highest standards in our work and products through our training, leadership development and certification initiatives. One of the programs we use to drive continuous improvements and efficiencies is by certifying team members as Lean Six Sigma Greenbelts.

The IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt™ (ICGB™) is a professional who is well versed in the core advanced elements of Lean Six Sigma Methodology. They lead improvement projects and serve as team members working with their peers on complex improvement projects. These individuals possess a thorough understanding of all aspects of the Lean Six Sigma Method including competence in subject matters contained within the phases of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC).

We are pleased to announce four newly certified Interface Greenbelts: Ashlesa Mohapatra, Tim Matteson, Jesse Deffenbaugh, and Justin Smith.

Providing this training at Interface is our Director of Quality, Rocky Lee, recently featured in our Faces of Interface series. Rocky is also a certified Greenbelt who is well on his way to being Blackbelt certified, an honor he should achieve this year.

“Greenbelt training serves as the perfect vehicle to provide necessary data collection and analytical skills necessary to complete meaningful studies. It also provides a standardized skillset for future studies.” Rocky Lee, Director of Quality, Interface

We asked the four new Greenbelts about their experience in achieving this valuable new certification. Here are their responses:

“I was interested in joining the certification program because I knew it would equip me with the tools needed to solve problems on the floor in an organized and effective manner. My Greenbelt Certification has helped me improve processes by eliminating defects, while also streamlining production and eliminating waste time, money, and resources. As for the process, it was simple and engaging. We had quizzes at the end of every module, a final exam, and a project. Rocky Lee did a fantastic job in simplifying the concepts by giving us practical examples of problems we face at Interface daily.” Ashlesa Mohapatra, Production Engineer, Interface

“I was interested in getting this certification so I could improve myself by learning new data analysis skills and techniques to help improve efficiency of our processes and to reduce the number of defects and waste in production. The techniques I learned are already helping me in analyzing the impact to performance when changing the gage clamps used for gaging low capacity SSMs. I’ve also learned better ways of analyzing historical creep data and then comparing sample data to the greater trends. I think there is opportunity for improvement when it comes to efficiency and defect reduction, and I think having more employees speaking the same Six Sigma language and using the same methodologies will help in effectively diagnosing issues and then implementing the changes needed.” Jesse Deffenbaugh, Production Engineer, Interface

“I was interested in the Six Sigma course because it adds to my skills as an engineer and compliments my intended career path. I think this course helps to frame issues in terms of quality, the degree of quality that is expected by our internal and external customers, and the cost associated with not meeting those expectations. Rocky was an excellent teacher. I think that having people at Interface with this multi-disciplinary training will help to maintain the overall quality of products as well as the process of making those quality products.” Justin Smith, Engineer, Interface

“I took on this program to further my education and to provide more value to the company. A certification in lean six sigma Greenbelt training will benefit the company and myself, as I will be able to immediately apply this certification in my daily activities. Overall, I believe this process will help with data analysis, building a lean culture, and to be more effective and efficient.” Tim Matteson, Mini OEM Product Quality and Improvement Engineer, Interface

Rocky shared his insights on the significance of the Greenbelt training and how it impacts our work at Interface.

Why is this certification important to Interface?

First, we had a strong interest from our team members. The actual initiative started through requests made to Mark Weathers, VP of Advanced Manufacturing and OEM Products, about the possibility of getting Six Sigma Greenbelt trained and certified at Interface. Mark asked Rocky to lead this effort. The interest was strong enough that Rocky and Mark thought it was a good idea to start it right away.  The decision to move forward with the training coincided with multiple studies that had been started by our engineers.

What does it mean to have a Six Sigma Greenbelt training certification in one’s job?

The DMAIC process provides the framework for attacking problems. The technical knowledge is in the measure and analyze phases of Six Sigma methodology. A great deal of training time is spent in these areas in preparing someone for certification. The impact of this can be seen when a person is leading projects and participating in solving challenges. The framework is valuable for those that apply this technique in their work.

How does this initiative and certification help Interface improve our quality and reduce cost of quality?

Certified Greenbelts approach problems using proven problem-solving tools. This includes using studies and analyses, that when performed by certified leaders is a systematic way to obtain results, have more meaning. This important training drives to actions to identify quantifiable measures that are used to focus on qualitative improvements and results.

How were people chosen to participate?

After the first few people showed interest, Rocky asked other engineers in the Quality and Engineering departments. Ten people signed up and they were divided into two groups. This was to make the classes more interactive during the weekly training and review sessions. The people chosen for the first group already had high-profile projects underway and it would benefit them immediately on their projects.

How long does it take to complete certification?

The course has 34 sections and we were able to complete the course in less than eight weeks.

What is Interface’s plan for additional Six Sigma certifications?

Our plan is to add another Greenbelt class this year. Also, less intensive training classes will be available to employees to increase skills in basic problem-solving, analysis, and statistics. We also plan to have another Blackbelt Certified trainer next year, in addition to Rocky Lee. This will enable Interface to provide continual company-wide basic training that explains the concepts and benefits of Six Sigma. The standard knowledge gained from Six Sigma will help everyone to work smarter and not just harder.

Interface is dedicated to superior quality. From our products to our manufacturing and planning processes, everything we do is with the utmost care and respect to ensure we can exceed our customer’s expectations. Six Sigma training and Greenbelt certifications are important investments into our team members and our customers. We are proud and honored for Rocky’s leadership in this important initiative.

We appreciate our newly certified team members for sharing their experiences and the value of this certification program. Congratulations to our new Interface Greenbelts!

Faces of Interface Featuring Rocky Lee

In today’s Faces of Interface, we’re introducing Rocky Lee, a recent addition to the Interface team. Rocky joined Interface in September 2021 as our director of quality. His role is ensuring that every product that leaves our doors meets the incredibly high precedent for accuracy and reliability that Interface is well known for around the world. We had a great time talking to Rocky and hope you enjoy his story.

As a kid growing up Rocky always displayed an interest in STEM. It led him to pursue a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He enjoyed learning about how things work and how things are made, so it felt like the perfect education for his interests.

Shortly after graduating, he got his first role in the engineering and manufacturing world. Rocky joined Raytheon as a mechanical engineer. His role at Raytheon was traveling around to airports to outfit them with a new communications system that Raytheon had developed. He would go in and ensure that the airport’s infrastructure could handle the power and technology requirements of the new radar system.

After Raytheon, he started as a product engineer for Toyota. His role involved him being stationed at a supplier that converted Toyotas into convertibles. He also worked on various other convertible lines, including Toyota Paseo, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and the Mitsubishi Spyder hardtop convertible. These experiences really kicked off a few of his passions in life – quality and convertibles. In fact, Rocky has owned three convertibles including a Toyota Celica convertible, Mercedes SLK, and a BMW 4-Series Hardtop Convertible.

Rocky then took a short break from the engineering and manufacturing world. He owned an ultra-high-end wedding gown design and manufacturing company for several years. He really enjoyed owning the company because it pushed him into new roles like sales and marketing, expanding his capabilities and expertise. After moving on from this business, he would then move to a quality management role for Suncast, which made consumers goods for the home and garden market. This would be his last role before joining Interface.

In 2021, Rocky and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery. They had always envisioned themselves retiring to Arizona, but they decided to get started on warmer weather early! Rocky joined Interface shortly before moving and he chose us because he had deep desire to get back into the engineering and manufacturing world.

Rocky is learning quickly in his new role. His first major project is expanding the quality inspection process to ensure quality is instilled from start to finish and throughout development. He says he is enjoying his time at Interface due to the high-level of Interface’s engineering talent. He feels that the expertise here will help him learn quickly and become engrossed in the force measurement world. He’s also excited by the wide range of industries and applications that Interface is involved in by supplying precision force measurement solutions to companies globally.

When he’s not working hard to meet customer expectations for Interface product quality, Rocky, his wife, and their two children are taking advantage of Arizona and all it has to offer. This includes hiking, sightseeing, white water rafting and more. He is also really enjoying the golf out here. He and his wife love to play together and they’re planning to spend a good deal of their free time checking out Arizona’s award-winning golf scene in the years to come.

Rocky is a wonderful addition to the team and we’re proud he chose Interface. To get to know more of Interface’s outstanding team, tune into the blog each month for a new addition to our Faces of Interface Series.

Read more about the importance of quality in our industry here: Quality is Top Reason Customers Choose Interface

 

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

In medical technology design, engineering and manufacturing, accuracy is everything. Not only are standards and regulations for product quality extremely high in the medical industry, the safety and wellbeing of patients and users depends on it.

Interface continues to provide the medical device and healthcare industry with the most accurate and reliable force measurement products used for R&D, testing, and embedding sensors for continuous measurement.

In our Medical and Healthcare Solutions Overview, Interface dives deeper into our capabilities and product line that is used throughout the lifecycle of development and supply of medical device and healthcare components. For decades, Interface has been a supplier of precision measurement solutions those that are used in the design, engineering, testing and manufacturing of products used in the industry. Here is a quick recap spotlighting why Interface is a preferred industry partner.

Interface Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface provides load cells and sensors of all capacities and sizes to use in the development of medical devices, healthcare tools, and technologies that improve the ability to diagnose, mitigate risks, treat illness, support wellness and advance science.

First and foremost, to qualify as a provider of products in the industry the proper certifications for quality are a necessity. Interface is celebrated for meeting and exceeding the quality needs for our customer’s projects in medical and healthcare. Our products are built and tested in accordance with A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540- 1-1994. This accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system.

The next qualification is experience. In the medical industry, they need to know that their suppliers understand their rigid requirements and use cases for their products. Our engineers and product teams have been providing proven sensor technologies used for a wide variety of medical devices, like prosthetics and surgical implements. These products require extremely accurate measurement before they are approved for use. Interface knows what it takes to meet these requirements.

The industry requires a range of capabilities and sizes of measurement devices like our various miniature and shear beam load cell solutions with 10x overload protection. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately measure performance. These solutions are used to control product use, for fatigue testing, test surgical equipment durability, measure implants and monitor equipment. Other Interface medical device and healthcare solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing to use in complex designs requiring multiple measurement outputs.

Prosthetics Performance

Interface supplies products to test how a prosthetics perform during different positions and stances. The products used in a prosthetic foot design test including the Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell, which was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot and the Model 3A120, which was connected to a portable data acquisition system. When standard precision solutions need a custom designed sensor, Interface’s solutions team and engineers work directly with medical device manufacturers to deliver specialized products, systems and software that meet the evolving needs and innovation requirements. Included below is an application note that outlines the prosthetic testing process using Interface force solutions.

In this example, a customer wanted to know how a prosthetic foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. This challenge required a force solution and Interface supplied 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell which were installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The Model 3A120 was then connected to a portable data acquisition system. With this solution, the customer was able to log data was for the X, Y, and Z axis, review the results and identify premature foot flat and dead spots during foot’s use. Using this data, they’re now able to make improvements to the design. Read more about this prosthetic load and fatigue testing application here.

Stent And Catheter Testing

Stent CatheterFor this specific use case, large testing rigs that contain approximately a dozen Interface load cells are used to test stents and heart valves that are surgically implanted into patients. The rigs subject the stents and heart valves to thousands of stress tests over months to determine their material properties. Stents stay in a patient’s body for the rest of their life, so accuracy and durability are extremely important. This application makes use of Interface’s Miniature Beam Load Cell product line, which is overload protected. This product line is extremely reliable and has never had a reported fatigue failure. Included below is another application example.

In this application note, the customer needed to apply known forces to stent and catheters to ensure they pass all necessary strength and flexibility testing. Interface’s solution was to use a MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell that is placed behind the guide wire for the stent or catheter. The motor will spin the linear drive and push the load cell and guide the wire through the testing maze. MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell is connected to the DIG-USB PC Interface Module. All forces are measured and stored on PC. Using this system, the Customer was able to perform required testing and log to PC, followed by being able to review results and take actions as needed. You can read more about this application use case for a stent testing system here.

A growing demand for our products utilized in OEM medical applications. Interface works with manufacturers across the world who design and build life-saving medical devices, implants, and tools, as detailed in the post Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications. Customers turn to Interface because of our proven track record for producing, at volume, the most accurate, reliable and efficient force measurement products and accessories for collecting critical data.

Interface has been involved in the engineering of unique sensor products for use in medical devices and equipment, from MedTech devices to some of the machinery used to manufacture medical products. Increasing success happens when you engage early.  Our experts are ready to assist with your medical device and healthcare test and measurement product needs.

Additional Medical and Health Care Industry Resources

OEM: Medical Bag Weighing

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

Examining Interface Aerospace Industry Solutions

Among the many industries Interface serves, the aerospace industry is one of the fastest growing users of our precision force measurement solutions. This is because ultra-accurate force, weight and torque measurements and data are critical to testing, performance and safety for airplanes, helicopters, and rockets.

Aerospace engineers and manufacturers of commercial, industrial, and military aerospace vehicles and associated components must measure multitudes of factors such as fatigue, structure durability, materials, weight distribution, drag, effects of inclement weather, velocity changes, thrust, and center of gravity to name a few.

Interface is synonymous with high performance sensors used for all types of test and measurement applications. For more than five decades, aerospace innovators and industrial giants have relied upon Interface to provide precision products and services they can trust.  Our test and measurement solutions are designed for use in the aerospace industry to withstand extreme conditions, whether they are for testing wings on commercial airplanes or used to measure the force of an intergalactic vessel launch.

Interface showcases products and use cases in our new aerospace solutions brochure detailing many the products and custom solutions we provide to the industry. We provide an overview of our accurate and reliable lineup of force measurement products, as well as highlighting various application examples to outline different ways we have long served the makers, builders, testers and engineers across the diverse aerospace industry.

To work in the aerospace industry, you have to meet the highest quality industry requirements in manufacturing and calibration. We take our commitment towards quality assurance very seriously and guarantee our products meet or exceed the quality clauses outlined by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO). We test and calibrate all products we build in a certificated lab based in Arizona that holds A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540-1- 1994 accreditations. The strict adherence to these standards demonstrates our technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system. Every Interface manufactured sensor goes through rigorous testing and calibration before it’s released to our customers.

The sensors, instrumentation, and accessories we supply to aerospace equipment manufacturers and testing labs range from mini to jumbo load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and various wireless, digital and analog instrumentation devices. Interface sensors have been used regularly in the engineering and testing of military aircraft, missiles, space, commercial airliners, and for general aviation components as demonstrated in this aerospace and defense industry case study.

One aerospace use case of our force sensors is for structural testing. Interface LowProfile™ Load Cells are utilized for structural static and fatigue testing. Our moment and temperature compensated load cells use proprietary alloy strain gages for extreme accuracy and reliability. Using eight proprietary strain gages per sensor, our 4mV/V output well exceeds the performance. These load cells are offered in single, dual, and triple bridge configurations for different data acquisition and control requirements in aerospace vehicle production.

The range of aircraft and space vehicles that use Interface solutions include all types from unpowered gliders to commercial and military aircraft, as well as rockets, missiles, drones, launch vehicles, and spacecraft. These vehicles go through extensive and rigorous test and measurement programs and processes requiring the reliability and accuracy of Interface made products. Here are a few types of aerospace applications using Interface measurement solution:

Aircraft Wing Fatigue

Before any of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 twin-engine supersonic fighter jets can be put into operation, the wings of the aircraft must undergo fatigue testing in a controlled environment to ensure that they are capable of withstanding the forces that will be encountered during real-world flight throughout the lifetime of the aircraft. Highly accurate measurements must be recorded in order to make sure that a near-exact replication of in-flight conditions are being achieved. During fatigue tests, Interface’s 1248 Standard Precision Flange LowProfile Load Cells are installed in line with the hydraulic cylinders, which apply back-and-forth loading forces to the aircraft. This is carried out over the course of 18 months to simulate in-flight stresses and strains on the wings. Load cells are connected to indicators, which record output. Capable of withstanding more than 100 million (1×108) fully reversible load cycles, Interface’s LowProfile Fatigue-Rated Load Cells have performed flawlessly in F/A-18 wing testing with zero recorded failures in the many years that testing facilities around the world have been using them.

Rescue Helicopter Hoist Test

When a customer wanted to test the strength of the cable line used in the hoist of their helicopter during rescue missions and situations, see if both the cable and the hoist can withstand a heavy load safely, and for long periods of time while the helicopter is in flight, they turned to Interface. We supplied a WTSSHK-D Wireless Crosby™ Load Shackle, which is attached to each mooring cable in use. Results are sent to the customers through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station when connected to the customer’s supplied computer. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view mooring cable line tension. Using this solution, the customer was able to add a heavy load to the end of the helicopter hoist, to ensure it is strong and safe enough to carry both rescue personnel and objects while being in midair.

The aerospace industry is responsible for some of the greatest inventions and innovation in our global history. The engineering and manufacturing of a single rocket engine design, using handwritten calculations and with less computing power than a modern smartphone, took us to the moon. The aerospace industry is an assembly of researchers, design houses, test labs and manufacturing companies that engineer and build vehicles to travel within and beyond Earth’s atmosphere using Interface products. Whether you need a million-pound jumbo load cell, custom load pin, or wireless instrumentation, we understand aerospace requirements and our engineers are on stand-by to assist. Get your copy of our new Aerospace Solutions Brochure here.

Additional Resources

Solutions Provider for Aerospace & Defense

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions

Interface Displays Force Measurement Aerospace Applications at Space Tech Expo

Aerospace and Defense Industry Solutions

Interface Recognized as Contributor to Human Flight Success

Quality is Top Reason Customers Choose Interface

In our latest customer feedback survey, we asked those that rely on Interface why they buy from us. The overwhelming top response was product quality. One of the trademarks of Interface is ensuring that our products meet not only the demand of what is needed in the market for measurement sensors, but that the precision, accuracy, and quality of everything we build is market leading. Best in class.

Our customers drive Interface innovation. We are continuously looking at trends, special requirements and future outlooks to determine what solutions can meet today’s requirements and those in the future. It was noted in the survey that customers depend on Interface for this expertise and experience. That is why it is central in our business strategy and key for Interface’s success to ask, listen and learn from those that rely on our force measurement solutions in their businesses.

A hallmark to our semi-annual survey is the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question that is designed to measure loyalty. We asked again in this latest Spring 2021 survey, “How likely is it that you would recommend Interface to a friend or colleague?” Respondents are then asked to rate their response by selecting 0-10 with 10 being extremely likely and 0 not at all likely. The percentage of those that select 9 or 10 are considered promoters of the Interface brand. Anyone that scores 6 or below is considered by NPS standards to be a detractor. The percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors are gives you an NPS score.

We are very excited to announce that Interface’s current Net Promoter Score is +73.

The founders of NPS note that outstanding companies in their class average between a +30 to +50. We are honored by the recognition coming directly from our customers.

“This is a great result! We appreciate the recognition of our team member’s hard work to generate such customer satisfaction and loyalty. Global brands recognized around the world and who are famous NPS power users rarely report scores as high as Interface. We are honored to have such loyal customers, as seen in an outstanding +73 NPS. Remarkably, this came during a period where the customers’ most recent experience likely was influenced by the pandemic strain.” Greg Adams, CEO

We learned from our customers when we asked, “What are the most important reasons why you choose to buy from Interface?”, that product quality matters most, followed next by calibration and repair services, accuracy specifications, experience working with Interface and brand reputation. We also looked at trends in future product demands and the ability to buy online through our QS48 online shopping service.

Our customers were very forthcoming in their preferences for technical support, with phone and email taking top positions. This was followed by using our technical library, video demonstrations and numerous product and technical manuals.

We also gained great insights from our customers when we asked, “How can we improve your overall experience working with Interface?”  All feedback matters to us. It’s what we gain through this transparent and open process that we know where we can look to improve. In fact, we are determined to look at every opportunity presented in the survey to make operational improvements that benefit our customers in all areas from design to shipments.

“Our team performance demonstrates the winning position we are all committed to at Interface. Customer experience is central to what we do and it’s our focus to continuously exceed expectations. As great as this score is today, the better news is that we have the opportunity to improve further and define our future as the market leader by delivering the best for our customers.” Greg Adams, CEO

Our last question in the survey, we asked, “How satisfied are you with Interface and your customer experience?” and we learned that 98% of our customers are satisfied and 83% are very or exceedingly satisfied. We appreciate all those that provided their candid responses in our Spring Customer Satisfaction and NPS Survey. Our work continues to make sure what we do goes above and beyond and delivers on our promise to exceed expectations.

 

Faces of Interface Featuring Tim Matteson

The Faces of Interface is an important series for the Interface IQ Blog because it highlights the talented people that keep Interface going strong. In this new ForceLeaders feature we interviewed Tim Matteson, product quality and improvement engineer for our Mini OEM product line, to learn a little bit more about his history and what he’s working on these days.

Interface’s Tim Matteson grew up in the small town of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (and yes, there are many cheese jokes here) between Green Bay and Milwaukee. He was fond of the electrical and mechanical world, having grown up with a father who owned an electronics business and often doing work for him. This interest drove Tim towards mechanical fields and hobbies.

Immediately after school, Tim went to work for a printing company called Action Printing in Wisconsin. His job was to keep the large, fast, and loud presses in working order. Through this work he learned he had a proficiency for troubleshooting and problem-solving. Tim worked his way through the ranks at Action Printing, eventually becoming the assistant plant manager where he managed a crew and ensured production remained efficient.

Eventually, and after a trip to warm and sunny Arizona, Tim and his wife decided it was time for a change of scenery. Tim moved to Arizona shortly after the vacation and started working at another commercial printing company, Signature Offset. He spent 10-years there as the operations manager, and while he enjoyed his time with the company, the decline of the printing industry had Tim looking for a new opportunity.

Tim joined Interface in August 2010 as our second shift manager, which entailed keep an eye on production throughout our facility. After a few years, he moved to become the department supervisor of one of our most popular product lines, Interface Mini Load Cells. He then moved up again, becoming a business unit manager. In this role, he oversaw production for three different product lines, including our popular minis. And now today, Tim runs the Mini OEM product line as the product quality and improvement engineer.

In this role, Tim oversees the production of one of Interface’s fastest-growing business units in OEMs. His job is to ensure that production is running as efficiently as possible and that every product that leaves the floor has the same premium quality that Interface is known for in the industry. Tim says that the thing he enjoys most about working at Interface is the fact that he gets to put his problem-solving and troubleshooting skills to work every day. He’s also dealing with a lot of detailed drawings of Interface products, which brings back fond memories of his drafting days.

In his free time, Tim likes to spend his time outdoors exploring Arizona. One of he and his wife’s favorites spots to hike is the Superstition Mountains. The couple has also hiked the Grand Canyon 10 times now, often camping out at our state’s Wonder of the World. He says that he and his wife probably spend so much time outdoors nowadays because they’ve escaped the winter weather and can enjoy time outside nearly all year long.

Tune in each month as we feature another Interface employee or partner. To view the entire series, visit our ForceLeaders page here.

UPDATE:  Tim has received his Greenbelt Certification, you can read more about his great accomplishment here.

Interface Force Measurement Solutions Featured in Quality Magazine

Choosing a force measurement device and getting the most out of it is a tricky process, even for the most seasoned engineers. So, when Quality Magazine asked our Chief Engineer and VP of Quality, Ken Vining, to share his knowledge of force measurement, he decided to put together a guide on what to look for in force measurement equipment and how to use and maintain your equipment properly.

In his Quality Magazine article titled, “Selecting and Using a Force Measurement Device: Everything you need to know,” Vining explains the contributing factors to force measurement device quality and accuracy, as well as a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the best possible accuracy and longevity out of your device.

Included below is a brief introduction from article:

Force measurement devices like load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices are used across industries to design and test hardware. They’re a key factor in the product development process because the force, torque and weight data they collect helps to ensure products are accurately constructed, work as intended, are safe for use, and can withstand the test of time. In highly regulated and complex industries like medical and defense, this data becomes even more important because any miscalculation in the design of a product can put lives at risk.

The first thing to understand is every project requiring a load cell or torque transducer has different variables affecting accuracy and quality. And for every situation in product development and testing, there is a load cell to fit your precise need. Therefore, the most important step in ensuring accurate and high-quality data is speaking to a force measurement expert about the details of a project.

There are five key factors you need to know related to data accuracy, and three factors related to force measurement device quality. I’ll explain why each factor can contribute to inaccuracies and what to look for when selecting a device based on material selection, build quality, and environmental factors… READ MORE

Additional Ken Vining feature

For additional information on selecting and using your force measurement device, please contact our solutions experts.

Interface Outlook for 2021

Interface CEO Greg Adams shares his outlook for the coming year.

Never in our collective lives have we faced so much uncertainty and turmoil! The year 2020 will make history, that much is certain. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and a year of political strife for the ages, I think we’re all ready to turn the chapter on the start of this decade.

Despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, I’m still very optimistic about our future, and for Interface. My optimism is fueled by the amazing people we have here at Interface.

As a family, we’ve gotten through this together and are only growing stronger. I couldn’t be prouder of our people for their resilience and hard work in the past year. We have continued to provide the same excellent service our customers appreciate. In fact, our Net Promoter Score® remained above 60 again in our latest 2020 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Additionally, product quality is higher than ever and we even had a few major product launches this year, including ConvexBT, our most advanced load button load cell ever, and the G Series, a new international Mini Load Cell product line. And most importantly, we’ve done all of this by ensuring that the health and safety of everyone is our number one priority.

Our ability to remain successful in the past year is a product of how diversified our end markets remain. We continue to serve a wide variety of critical technology-focused industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, medical, industrial, T&M and more. We have benefited from global diversification as well, stepping up our focus on market leaders around the world. It’s also a testament to our engineers who continue to be future focused on innovation. We’ve developed new and groundbreaking ways to serve customers, and we’ve identified trends to keep us at the bleeding edge in our industry and continuously moving forward.

The last point I’ll make on the year 2020 before looking ahead is that we’ve also taken some of the downtime to improve our internal processes and dedicate time to skills training for our team. Not only have we improved our product lines and capabilities, but we’ve also ensured that our skillsets remain strong going into the next year.

And as we finally make the turn to 2021, I’ve spent some time looking ahead to what I believe the next year will hold for our industry and for Interface:

A heightened focus on pre-sale and post-sales service is one thing that we’ve heard from customers in the last year through our semi-annual surveys. We’re upgrading our sales process to ensure our engineering teams are more involved in assisting the customer select and configure the products and systems that are right for their application. Enhancing our after-sales service will include capturing and distributing instructions, guides, and other technical services into a more accessible and easier to find outlets like our robust website.

Another trend we’re seeing requested from our customers is a desire for force measurement providers to migrate from components to systems. World-class components will always be important, but our experience working with customers to provide total system solutions that meet their specific needs is critical. In addition, the demand for higher performance and more customization options continues. One of the biggest improvements Interface has made in the past year is updating our production lines to include more automation capabilities. This allows us to provide high-performance, customized products at high volume while still being able to offer competitive costs. This change is helping us expand our sales with the OEM customers.

Finally, a big trend we’ve been following is miniaturization and the desire to pack more sensor technology into a single load cell or torque transducer. We’ve already begun to address this in some of our products by designing accelerometers into load cells. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines. By adding an accelerometer, we can measure both rotation and acceleration through a single device.

As this desire for more data and less convoluted test systems grows, Interface will continue to find ways to customize our load cells and add more sensor types like temperature and humidity. We’ll also do this by using electronic miniaturization manufacturing methods to improve capability without increasing the overall size of the package.

In conclusion, I’m extremely pleased with the level of talent, the strength of the brand and the depth of our commitment to customer satisfaction. We’ve overcome the challenges presented to us this year and remain stronger than ever. Our renewed focus on the future will also help us identify opportunities for innovation to serve customers in more unique and beneficial ways.

I hope that everyone in our community, from our partners to our customers and employees, has a wonderful holiday season and comes back in the new year refreshed. We’re not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, but there is light ahead and we are speeding to be the Interface you can always rely on.

Faces of Interface Featuring James Richardson

Born in Arizona but growing up in the rural area of Cotton City, New Mexico, James Richardson was only exposed to the opportunity of a career in engineering after moving back to Arizona. After graduating as his high school class Salutatorian in 1995, he started college in Eastern Arizona.

He later moved to Mesa in 1999 where he took a job working for his uncle at Dewitt Equipment fixing restaurant and cooking equipment like ovens, fryers and microwaves, and along with refrigeration equipment including air conditioning units, freezers, and ice machines. It was also during this time he learned to braze, solder and TIG weld.

At Dewitt, his on the job training for fixing equipment built up his foundation for engineering. The spark that really kicked it off came on a sweltering Arizona summer day when James was repairing an A/C unit on a restaurant’s loose gravel rooftop. The temperature was so high that the gravel began to sink, melting the soles of his shoes. At this point, James realized he enjoyed working with his hands and on advanced equipment; however, it was time to finish his formal education in engineering and pursue a job that included more time inside where there was ample air conditioning.

By this time James had already completed an Associate Degree at Maricopa Community College and he was about 18 months from completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree at Arizona State University. Completing this degree, he later earned a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ohio University. Towards the end of his bachelor’s degree, he got an internship at Honeywell Aerospace. His first job after earning his degree was with Enertron Inc., a leading provider of thermal management solutions for the aerospace, military, medical, telecommunications, and IC fab equipment industries. In this role, he designed heat sinks for circuit boards used for lasers, lighting and computers.

After three years with Enertron, he moved to Cleveland Electric Laboratories where he served as an applications engineer working on turbine engine instrumentation. This is where James got his first hands on experience with force measurement equipment. His job was to design instrumentation for strain, temperature, and pressure measurements. At one point he even designed a load pin for a customer.

In his role, he was also introduced to Interface. The company he was working for owned several Interface products and he became familiar with their high-quality and premium accuracy. Then in 2015, a headhunter called him out of the blue to offer him a chance to work for Interface. James was excited about the prospect of working for a company that put quality first. In fact, the thing that hooked him about Interface was the declared focus of “Quality is Our Driving Force,” and the fact that each of the four interviewers reiterated the importance of this statement in their interview.

James joined Interface as a production engineer. He remained in this role for about four years before being promoted to Senior Engineer, and then to his current role as Mechanical Engineering Manager where he leads a team of five other engineers. In this leadership position, James is responsible for overseeing development efforts for some of Interface’s most important product lines including the specialized 1923 and 1925 wireless custom solutions and our downhole products for the energy markets. James was instrumental in the latest new product release, the new ConvexBT Load Button Load Cell.

In addition to this critical role, James also loves to learn about the many ways that Interface products directly affect him and people close to him. This includes how measuring systems ensure the proper weight of food in nutritional planning and packaging, measurement of things like blood donations, and safety test systems for airplanes. The work done at Interface is incredibly important to everyday life and many people don’t even realize it.

In his free time, James can be found spending time with his wife of 21 years and their four children, two sons and two daughters. The family enjoys the outdoors together, partaking in activities like bike rides and hikes. He also brings some of his passion for engineering home. He’s intrigued by the possibilities of 3D printing and owns a printer himself. He’s designed and printed things like bowties, wallets, wall-mounts for various gadgets, and even toys for the kids. In case you missed it, the photo of James is his own 3-D printed bowtie. It was a big hit at the Interface holiday party.

Another interesting fact about James is that throughout his career he’s tried to connect with co-workers from different countries by learning their language. Throughout his life he’s learned a little bit of Polish and German, and is fluent in Spanish, which he learned while spending two years as a missionary in South America.

We asked James to describe his thoughts on his career in engineering in another language. He responded, “Un dicho o una frase que a mí me gusta pensar, cuando algo no sale buenisimo, es: “Siempre hay una manera mejor.” This translates to a saying or phrase that I like to think of when something doesn’t turn out great, “There is always a better way.”

To learn more about the ConvexBT, check out the datasheet here:

ConvexBT