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Industry 5.0 and the Role of Force Measurement

The next industrial revolution is coined Industry 5.0. The fifth wave of significant advancement comes on the heels of Industry 4.0, which focused on efficiency and productivity enhancements. The next revolution in our midst is heavily dependent on data, sensors, and enablement tools used for industrial automation. Of course, that means sensor solutions from Interface are perfectly aligned in facilitating the next advancements.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other smart-enabled technologies are at the heart of Industry 5.0. To further automate and optimize production processes, there is a strong emphasis on human-centricity, sustainability, and resilience. Interface is working with industry leaders, integrators, and innovators to provide advanced sensor technologies that will support the adoption of Industry 5.0 products, with all the benefits of optimization and reliability.

One of the challenges in the design and implementation of Industry 5.0 solutions is interconnectivity. To maximize the connectivity between humans and machines, the equipment needs to be tested and monitored utilizing different sensors for adoption, efficiency and dependability. The use of robotics, AI, and other smart technologies are leading to sustainability in industrial and manufacturing facilities. This requires measurement data that is accurate and easily retained for continuous improvements. Learn more in our case study: Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors.

Wireless Enabled Force Measurement

The use of wireless and Bluetooth technologies is common for facilitating the connection between sensors and data analysis used in defining how these technologies are used in manufacturing and industrial environments. Using wireless load cells with wireless digital instrumentation, data is used for real-time adjustments and performance monitoring. This is particularly important in managing environmental worker safety working in collaboration with advanced machines and robots. Check out our WTS and BTS solutions for more options.

For robotics in particular, free range of motions is particularly important. This is standard in future use, especially as manufacturers grow in dependency in advanced robotics use cases across the manufacturing continuum. To test advanced robotics and accurate movement for different axes, multi-axis sensors are a smart choice due to their capabilities in simultaneously measuring 2, 3, and 6 axes at a time. These sensors are paired with data acquisition systems like our BX8 Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors to fully utilize the depth of measurement data for better decisions.

We also help to enable automation across the production line. Our products test the quality, durability and accuracy in performance of machines and other equipment used for various functions across the line. This includes cases of using miniature load cells in equipment that rely on exact force to press a design on a fragile consumable, to verifying accuracy of intricately machined parts using multi-axis sensors for production lines. We have provided sensors for industrial automation solutions to thousands of customers using standard and custom application-specific sensors.

Industry 5.0 Applications Using Interface Solutions

Included below are a few Industry 5.0 applications in which Interface solutions have been used to test or monitor equipment.

Cobot Safety Programming

Collaborative robots, what are termed as cobots, are an Industry 5.0 advancement used in many manufacturing operations. With product testing and design enhancements based on sensor data, protective cages or fences are no longer needed for safety purposes. However, safety testing is required to ensure humans and robots can work alongside each other. For this application, Interface suggests using four 3A40 3-Axis Load Cells (creating one 6-Axis Force Plate) installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. In addition to installing the multi-axis force plate under the cobot, we also suggest using two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells in the pinchers of the cobot. If a human were to knock into the cobot, or have a limb stuck in the pincher, the cobot would sense the amount of force measured from the load cells and be programmed to stop immediately. Our BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors with Lab Enclosure is used to gather measurements and report back in real-time for monitoring.

 

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm for Worker Safety

A customer wanted to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occurred 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 are 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 computer. Interface’s 6-Axis Force Plate was able to successfully measure the reaction forces of the customer’s robotic arm while in action next to collaborating workers.

Commercial Food Processing for Efficiency

A food processing plant wanted accurate results of their in-motion check weigher when food is weighted and processed down the belt. They wanted to ensure production line efficiency and food quality. The customer also wanted real-time results of their food being weighed, and a load cell that could endure the food industry’s grubby environment. Multiple of Interface’s SPI High Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells were 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 delivered precise weighing results. When connected to the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, it gave the customer real time results of the weight of the food being processed. Using this solution, the customer got precise weighing results in real-time of the food being processed on their in-motion check weigher. They were also able to view all the load cells in use simultaneously with Interface’s instrumentation.

Robotics_InfographicPoster

There are many projected benefits of the next industrial revolution, Industry 5.0. Staying at the forefront in providing useable and sustainable sensor solutions is a key focus of Interface. We look forward to supporting those that are driving the changes and adoptions for numerous benefits, primarily those targeting:

  • Increased productivity by automating tasks and optimizing production processes.
  • Improved quality of products by using advanced technologies to monitor and control production processes.
  • New products and services by using advanced technologies to create more personalized and customized products that work in collaboration, like cobots.
  • Utilizing collaborative machines and tools to reduce reliance of humans for repetitive and dangerous tasks.

Each of these  benefits can be accelerated in design, testing, and implementation with the use of high-accuracy force measurement solutions. Industry 5.0 is upon us and Interface has the expertise and experience to help in adoption and utiliziation. To learn more about our work in automation, robotics and more, go to Industrial Automation

Advancement in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors Case Study

Types of Robots Using Interface Sensors

Robots are increasingly being used in a wide range of applications, from manufacturing and healthcare to entertainment and defense. As robots become more sophisticated, the need for accurate and reliable force measurement becomes even more critical.

Interface load cells and torque transducers are commonly used in the design and testing of new robots. Our sensor technologies are used to measure and monitor forces and loads experienced by various robot components. Load cells are used to measure the forces exerted by robotic arms and grippers, while torque transducers are used to measure the torque generated by motors. Multi-axis load cells are growing in use with robotic engineers throughout the R&D phases for more measurement data to make smarter decisions in design and use of the robot.

The use of Interface load cells and torque transducers in robotics offers several benefits. First, they can help to improve safety by detecting excessive forces or overloads. Second, they can help to optimize performance by providing feedback about the forces being applied by the robot. Third, they can enable more sophisticated control of robotic systems by providing real-time data about the forces and torques being generated. Our miniature load cells are commonly used by robotic OEMs to provide control and feedback during use.

Types of Robotics Using Sensor Technologies

Autonomous robots are engineered to operate independently without human intervention. They are often used in applications such as space exploration, agriculture, and transportation. Cobots work in collaboration with humans, enhancing skills, providing safety, or replacing tedious tasks to increase productivity. Read more in our Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors case study. The following highlights robot types that utilize Interface measurement solutions.

Industrial Robots: These robots are used in manufacturing and assembly processes to automate tasks that are repetitive, dangerous or require precision. They are used in a variety of industries such as automotive and aerospace. Robotic arms are frequently used in industrial automation. Check out our Industrial Robotic Arm App Note.

Medical Robots: These robots are used in healthcare applications, such as surgical procedures, diagnosis, and rehabilitation. They are often designed to be highly precise and can perform tasks that are difficult for human surgeons to perform. Learn more: Robotic Surgery Force Feedback

Military and Defense Robots: These highly skilled robots are used in military applications, such as bomb disposal, reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions. They are often designed to operate in dangerous environments where it is not safe for humans.

Educational Robots: These robots are used to teach students about robotics, programming, and technology. They are often designed to be easy to use and intuitive, allowing students to experiment and learn through hands-on experience.

Entertainment Robots: These robots including animatronic robots are designed for amusement purposes, such as robotic toys or theme park attractions. They interactive and engaging, incorporating features like voice and facial recognition. Read about this type of use case here: Animatronics

Consumer Product and Service Robots: These robots are designed to interact with humans and perform tasks such as assisting in healthcare, cleaning, or entertainment.

Why Interface Supplies Robotic Manufacturers with Load Cells

Measurement solutions, including load cells, play a vital role in the design, testing, and operation of robots by providing valuable information about forces, loads, and weights. They contribute to enhancing safety, optimizing performance, and enabling more sophisticated control of robotic systems.

Load cells are used to measure the forces exerted by robotic arms and grippers. By integrating load cells at key points in the robot’s structure, engineers can monitor the forces and torques experienced during operation. This helps in optimizing the robot’s performance, ensuring it operates within safe limits, and improving its control algorithms.

To determine the weight of the robot itself or the payload it carries, sensors are vital. The measurement data is crucial for stability analysis, power calculations, and designing the mechanical structure of the robot to ensure it can handle the intended loads. This is extremely important when utilizing robots in industrial applications for lifting and weighing.

Utilizing robots in production lines requires integrated sensors into robots to protect everyone and the equipment. Integrating load cells into robotic safety systems helps to detect excessive forces or overloads. If a load cell detects a force beyond the specified limit, it can trigger emergency shutdown procedures to prevent damage to the robot or injury to nearby humans.

Calibrating robotic systems in the design phase by using transducers ensures accurate measurement of forces and torques is very important. They are used during testing to validate the performance of the robot under different operating conditions and loads. This data helps engineers fine-tune the control algorithms, improve the robot’s efficiency, and identify potential weaknesses or areas for improvement.

A quality force measurement solution is ideal for real-time feedback about the forces being applied by the robot. This feedback can be used in closed-loop control systems to regulate and adjust the robot’s movements, gripping force, or interaction with the environment. Load cell data can also be integrated into the robot’s control system to ensure accurate and precise force control.

Robotics_InfographicPoster

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Sensors Used for Development and Testing of Surgical Robotics

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm

Automation and Robotics Demands Absolute Precision

Robotic Arm Animated Application Note

Industrial Robotic Arm App Note

 

Advancing Lithium-Ion Battery Test and Measurement

One of the key driving forces behind electric vehicle innovation is advancements in lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology. Exploring more efficient and powerful lithium-ion batteries increases electric vehicle adoptions and propels robust Li-ion battery developments into other industries that include industrial automation, robotics, consumer products, machinery and renewable energy.

Today, lithium-ion batteries generally last two to three years. A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is an advanced battery technology, also referred to as a secondary cell, that uses lithium ions as the primary component of the electrochemistry design.

To achieve the goal of improved and longer-lasting batteries, a wide variety of testing is needed to confirm performance, capacity, safety and fatigue. Force measurement testing is used in many facets of lithium-ion battery testing. Force testing is done on the battery itself and is used for various stages within the R&D and manufacturing processes.

The lithium-ion battery market is also expanding rapidly. According to Markets and Markets research, this market is projected to reach $135B in 2031, up from an estimated $48.6B in 2023. Interface is poised to support the growth by supplying our industry leading force products to battery and electric vehicle manufacturers around the world.

Li-ion Battery Test & Measurement 

There are several different ways force sensors are being used in the design, manufacturing, and testing of lithium-ion batteries. There is an even wider variety of measurement and high-accuracy sensors being used by engineers in this field. Interface has a product suited for the following test and measurement use cases.

Performance Testing: Load cells are used to measure the mechanical properties and performance of lithium-ion batteries. This is achieved by applying controlled loads to the batteries and monitoring the corresponding responses, such as force, strain, or displacement. Using this data, researchers can evaluate the battery’s structural integrity, durability, and mechanical behavior under different conditions.

Capacity Testing: Load cells can also be employed to assess the capacity and energy density of lithium-ion batteries. By subjecting the batteries to various load profiles and measuring the corresponding electrical outputs, load cells enable the characterization of a battery’s energy storage capabilities and performance over time. This is critically important as electric vehicles manufacturers push to get more range out of their vehicles.

Safety Testing: Lithium-ion batteries are prone to thermal runaway and other safety hazards. By integrating temperature sensors, pressure sensors, and load cells, it becomes possible to monitor and analyze critical parameters during battery operation. Load cells can detect abnormal mechanical forces or stresses that may indicate an impending failure, allowing for preventive measures or shutdown protocols to be implemented.

Environmental Testing: Load cells and other sensor technologies can be utilized to simulate real-world conditions and environmental factors that batteries may encounter during their lifespan. This includes subjecting batteries to vibration testing, temperature cycling, humidity exposure, or even simulating acceleration forces. By monitoring the battery’s response under these conditions, manufacturers and researchers can assess the battery’s performance and reliability in various environments.

Manufacturing Quality Control: Load cells can be used in battery manufacturing processes to ensure consistent quality and performance. By measuring and analyzing the forces and stresses experienced during assembly, welding, or compression processes, load cells can help identify manufacturing defects, inconsistencies, or deviations from design specifications.

Interface has detailed several examples of these types of testing in the following electric vehicle battery application notes:

Electric Vehicle Battery Load Testing Feature and Application

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing

Electric Vehicle Battery Monitoring

Interface Products Used in Li-ion Battery Tests

Several types of load cells can be used in lithium-ion battery tests, depending on the specific requirements and parameters being measured. Here are a few commonly used load cell types in battery testing:

  • Compression Load Cells are often employed to measure the compressive forces applied to lithium-ion batteries during performance or safety testing. Compression load cells are designed to accurately sense and quantify the forces experienced when batteries are subjected to compression, stacking, or other types of mechanical loading.
  • Tension Load Cells are utilized when measuring the tensile forces applied to batteries. They are particularly useful in applications where the batteries are subjected to tension or pulling forces, such as in certain structural integrity tests or when evaluating the behavior of battery modules or packs under different loading conditions. Tension load cells provide high accuracy measurement.
  • Shear Beam Load Cells are suitable for measuring shear forces, which occur when two forces are applied in opposite directions parallel to each other but not in the same line. In lithium-ion battery testing, shear and bending beam load cells can be used to assess the mechanical behavior of battery components, such as adhesive bonds or interfaces, where shear forces may be a critical parameter.
  • Multi-Axis Load Cells are designed to measure forces in multiple directions simultaneously. These multi-axis sensors are beneficial when evaluating complex loading scenarios or when assessing the behavior of batteries under multidirectional forces. They provide a comprehensive understanding of the mechanical response of the battery in different directions.
  • Customized Load Cells are engineered to the unique requirements of various testing options and use cases for lithium-ion battery testing and performance monitoring. These load cells can be tailored to fit the battery’s form factor, provide high accuracy, or measure specific force parameters critical to the testing objectives. Interface can work directly with our customers to understand the use case and design a product suited for your specific needs. Go here to inquire about Interface Custom Solutions.

Interface is also supplying force measurement products used in research and for mining operations that supply the materials used in lithium-ion batteries. To learn more about Interface’s products and offerings used in the advances of Li-ion batteries and electric vehicle design, test and manufacturing, visit our automotive solutions.

Additional Resources

Feature Article Highlights Interface Solutions for EV Battery Testing

EV Battery Testing Solutions Utilize Interface Mini Load Cells

Interface Powers Smart Transportation Solutions

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Evolving Urban Mobility Sector for Test and Measurement

 

A Promising Future in Measurement and Analysis Using Multi-Axis Sensors

By combining the measurements from multiple axes, multi-axis sensors provide a better assessment of an object’s motion or orientation in three-dimensional space. Measuring the changes in resistance or output voltage from the sensing elements along multiple axes, multi-axis load cells can accurately determine the forces acting on them. The combination of the signals from different axes provides a comprehensive understanding of the force distribution, enabling engineers to analyze and optimize designs, evaluate structural integrity, and ensure safe and efficient operation in various applications.

Multi-axis load cells have significant advantages and provide valuable benefits in testing labs. The top reason to use multi-axis sensors is to get more measurement data. The data provided when using a 2, 3 or 6-Axis load cell is used in various applications, including robotics, space projects, virtual reality, motion tracking, navigation systems, and innovative consumer products.

Engineers and product designers prefer multi-axis load cells for several reasons. Multi-axis load cells enable engineers and designers to capture forces along multiple directions simultaneously. This capability is particularly beneficial when dealing with complex and multidirectional forces, which are common in real-world applications. By obtaining a complete understanding of how forces act on a structure or product, engineers can design more robust and optimized solutions.

The Promises of Multi-Axis Sensors

  • Comprehensive force measurement and better data analysis: Multi-axis load cells enable precise measurement of forces in multiple directions simultaneously. Multi-axis load cells provide richer and more comprehensive data for analysis. The data is valuable for evaluating structural integrity, load distribution, and performance characteristics of a design.
  • Compact size with robust capabilities: Smaller sensors with digital outputs are easier and less expensive to permanently install into their machines. Size impacts the install, testing and monitoring. Multi-axis sensors are best embedded into products for a real-world application that needs the data, while reducing the number of single load cells and overall size of a product.
  • Increased accuracy and reliability: Multi-axis sensors track performance and reliability better than traditional sensors with more measurements in more directions, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of test results. They provide a more complete understanding of how forces are distributed and interact within a structure, helping researchers and engineers make informed decisions based on reliable data.
  • Wide range of applications: Multi-axis sensors are needed to keep up with modern technologies and application requirements. Multi-axis load cells are used in various testing scenarios, including materials testing, structural testing, product development, and quality control. They are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, civil engineering, and more. As technology advances and testing requirements become more sophisticated, the demand for multi-axis load cells is likely to grow.
  • Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: A single multi-axis load cell can replace multiple sensors. This consolidation simplifies the testing setup, reduces complexity, and lowers costs. Multi-axis sensors maximize return on investment for testing devices.
  • Enhanced testing capabilities: Multi-axis load cells enable more advanced testing procedures. Digitized sensor information allows for remote monitoring increased analytics, easy access and data collection. This expands the range of tests that can be performed and provides more comprehensive data for analysis and evaluation.
  • Saving space in testing: Using a single multi-axis load cell saves physical space in the testing. This is particularly important in situations where space limited or when performing tests in confined environments. By reducing the footprint of the load cell setup, engineers and designers can optimize the use of their workspace.
  • Simplifying set-up: Using a single multi-axis load cell simplifies the testing setup compared to using multiple single-axis load cells. It reduces the number of sensors, cables, and connections required, leading to a streamlined testing process. This simplicity improves efficiency, saves time, and reduces the chances of errors associated with multiple sensors and connections.

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Models

2-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 2-Axis Load Cells measure any two forces or torques simultaneously, have minimal crosstalk, are standard off-the-shelf and are high accuracy sensors.

3-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 3-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes: X, Y, and Z – tension and compression. Options include:

6-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 6-Axis Load Cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. In the end, they provide more data, accuracy, are very stiff and cost-effective for a wide range of testing options.

Interface continues to add to our product line of advanced multi-axis sensors. Read New Interface Multi-Axis Load Cells to see our latest model additions.

The future of multi-axis is evolving in versatility for various system level health monitoring for products and components. Data is valuable now and in the future. These sensors enable test engineers to collect more data now for future analysis. For example, an automotive electronics manufacturer could limit recall to only parts that match extremely specific build criteria based on the detailed sensor data that is captured and stored during product evaluations and testing.

The outlook for multi-axis load cells is promising. Their ability to provide comprehensive force measurement, improve efficiency, and enhance testing capabilities makes them a valuable tool for researchers, engineers, and quality assurance professionals. With ongoing advancements in sensor technology and increasing demand for precise and reliable testing, multi-axis load cells are expected to play a crucial role in the future of testing labs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Using Multi-Axis Sensors To Bring Robotics To Life

Mounting Tips For Multi-Axis Sensors

BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System For Multi-Axis Sensors With Lab Enclosure

Enhancing Friction Testing With Multi-Axis Sensors

Recap Of Inventive Multi-Axis And Instrumentation Webinar

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors Virtual Event Recap

Better Data and Performance with Interface Multi-Axis Sensors

Multi-Axis Sensor Applications

Interface Space Economy Solutions

The space economy is rapidly emerging as a leading platform for cutting-edge research, technology, and global economics. With a focus on endeavors such as lunar mining and deep space exploration, Interface is at the forefront of sensor technology, which is driving growth in this dynamic sector, as noted in our new Space Economy Solutions Overview.

The space economy encompasses various sectors, including satellite communication, Earth observation, space tourism, launch services, space manufacturing, and space mining, among others. It involves both public and private entities, including government space agencies, commercial space companies, and research institutions. As sustainability and digital technologies continue to reshape the global economy, Interface precision force measurement solutions are used in scientific research and development (R&D) and deep space discoveries, as noted in Enabling A Look Way Beyond Yonder. As a result, we are poised to play an increasingly critical role in testing the boundaries and opportunities in the space economy.

Leaders in the space sector are using force measurement products in their to design, build, test, secure and launch rockets into outer space. Interface has been involved in many of these projects with some of the space largest organizations in the world,as noted in our NASA case study.  Interface sensor technologies are also used by innovators and education institutions around the world, like the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, that are exploring possibilities and testing inventions for our continued exploration and future inhabitation of other planets and galaxies.

Force Measurement Use Cases for Space Launches

There are numerous areas in which force measurement sensors are utilized on a space project. Everything from the motorized equipment at the launch site, to the rocket itself, can be tested using load cells, load pins, and more. Some of the areas in which Interface has been involved in providing solutions for includes structural testing on rockets, launch platforms and landing, commercial launch vehicles, space exploration equipment testing, and even in testing certain equipment used for space travel and food production.

  • Structural Testing: Structural tests are critical to the launch process because the craft’s core components, such as the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, wings, and fuselage, must withstand launch loads of up to nine million pounds of force (lbf). A few years ago, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) used Interface load cells to measure the core stage of the rocket. This particular core stage is one of the largest ever built at 27 feet in diameter and more than 200 feet tall.
  • Thrust Testing: A rocket that is fully fueled and ready for launch can weigh up to five million pounds. Therefore, the force necessary to lift the rocket out of the earth’s atmosphere is immense. There are several other factors working against the rocket which need to be compensated for when adjusting thrust force such as drag. Interface has supplied load cells to many aerospace customers to test force and other contributing factors for lifting a rocket into space. These load cells work by being installed underneath a test plate which the rocket engine will sit on. As the engine thrusts, the load cells will calculate the force output of the engine in real-time. This data is used to optimize the engine to determine how much thrust force is needed based on the spacecraft’s total weight and the calculated drag at liftoff.
  • Force Gravity Testing: Force measurement tools also serve many purposes outside of spacecraft testing in the aerospace industry. Interface was involved in a unique application of force measurement with a customer that wanted to develop a system to provide a full range of natural motion for a realistic simulation of reduced gravity environments. The system would be used to simulate weightlessness so astronauts’ crews could learn how to handle microgravity activities, including walking, running, and jumping. The system could also be used for surface operation studies, suit and vehicle development, robotic development, and mass handling studies.

EVENT ALERT! Interface will be showcasing how our load cells, load pins, load shackles, calibration equipement, and instrumentation are used by space technology companies around the world at Space Tech Expo, May 2-4 in Laguna Beach, California.  You’ll find us in Booth 6057 where we we will be highlighting solutions, as captured here:

Space Economy Applications

Space Dock Capture Ring Force Testing Solution

A space company wanted to test their spacecraft docking simulator. They wisedh to test the forces of the actuators used during the “lunge”, when the soft capture ring is lunged forward to latch onto a space vehicle that has been mounted. They also wanted to ensure they are working properly when engaged, and that it does not go past its overload force limit. Interface suggested using multiple WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Wireless Load Cells to be installed to the actuators of the capture ring. Both as wireless solutions, measurements could be recordeded through the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, which then can transmit to the WTS-BS-1 Handheld Display or the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station for the customer to record, log, and graph on their computer. Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System successfully measured the forces of the soft capture ring of the space docking port with overload protection.

Rover Landing Gear Solution

A space company wanted to measure the cushioning effect of their rover’s landing legs through a drop test. They want to test how much force the landing gear can absorb until issues are caused in the legs. Interface suggested using the INFRD Platform Scale, which has four shear beam load cells installed at the corners of the scale. A drop test was conducted at different heights, and the results were summed using a JB104SS Junction Box built in the scale. The results are measured and logged on the provided SD card. Results can be also be viewed and logged when the 9330 connects to a PC. The INFRD Platform Scale was able to capture the forces that was implemented onto the rover’s landing gear through these drop tests.

Like many space technology companies, a very well known space exploration leader is utilizing force measurement to stabilize their rocket prior to launch. A YouTube channel named CSI Starbase, examined a few images from a recent launch construction project and pointed out the presence of Interface stainless steel load pins on the site. In the video, CSI Starbase concluded that the load pins pictured must be used for the hold down arms used on the booster of the rocket. This is one of many Innovative Interface Load Pin Applications.

Interface understands the advancements we are making in the space economy require high accuracy force measurement solutions.  Interface offers a wide variety of solutions, both custom and off-the-shelf, for the ever expanding space economy, including sensors used for:

  • Structural Testing
  • Space and Flight Simulations
  • Launch Vehicles and Spacecraft Tests
  • Engine and Thrust Tests
  • Spacewalks
  • Robotics and Manipulators
  • Space Habitats and Agriculture
  • Planetary Exploration Vehicles
  • Space Mining
  • Space Vehicle Component Manufacturing
  • Deep Space Exploration
  • Space R&D
  • Spacecraft Landing Gear Tests
  • Rovers Vehicle Design and Testing
  • Microgravity Tests

To highlight more of our solutions and provide background on the various ways we serve space customers, check out our new space economy overview.

Space Economy Brochure

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Aerospace Brochure

Vertical Farming on Earth and in Space

Examining Interface Aerospace Industry Solutions

Interface and The Race to Space

Force Measurement for Space Travel

Launching into Orbit with Interface

Vertical Farming for Sustainable Food Production on Earth and Beyond

Vertical farming is a method of producing crops in vertically stacked layers, typically in indoor environments such as warehouses or greenhouses. This innovative agricultural approach offers a number of advantages over traditional farming methods, including higher crop yields per unit of land, more efficient use of resources such as water and energy, and the ability to grow crops in urban areas where space is limited. While vertical farming is currently being explored to increase food production on Earth, it also has applications in space R&D and for food sustainability projects.

In space, where resources such as water, energy, and land are limited, vertical farming can offer a viable solution for producing food. By using vertical stacking of crops, indoor environments, and controlled conditions, vertical farming can potentially overcome challenges such as gravity, atmospheric conditions, and limited space. This could enable sustainable food production for future space missions, space settlements, and colonization efforts.

As the global population continues to grow, and urbanization increases, vertical farming is a promising approach for addressing food scarcity and production challenges on Earth. With most the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, the need for localized food production close to urban centers becomes more critical. Vertical farming can provide fresh produce year-round, reduce the need for transportation, minimize the use of pesticides, and optimize resource utilization, making it a sustainable and efficient method for urban food production.

Interface sensor technologies and instrumentation are being utilized to expand the capabilities and possibilities in agriculture on Earth and in space. In our new case study, Vertical Farming on Earth and in Space, we explore products and solutions for challenges related to farming on earth and beyond. These solutions utilize load cells, multi-axis sensors, wireless instrumentation and devices for irrigation and growth monitoring systems, robotics, and farming equipment. The case study highlights innovation from a collaboration of industries including agriculture, space, and automation.

 

Vertical Farming Robotic Monitoring

In vertical farming applications, automated mechanics pick up and move the products, thus using less human involvement and contamination. To keep an eye on these automated systems, a wireless force measurement system monitors the robotics that pick up and move the produce to their next destination of the packaging process. Interface suggests installing SPI Low Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells, along with WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules in the center of the platforms of the robotic lifting system that move around the produce. The WTS-AM-1E’s wirelessly transmit the data collected from the SPI’s to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Displays for multiple transmitters, and the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to a computer. Read more here.

Vertical farming has the potential to revolutionize food production in space and on Earth, addressing the challenges of feeding a growing global population, particularly in urban areas. The intersection of various industries and the use of innovative technologies, including interface force measurement solutions, can play a crucial role in advancing vertical farming as a sustainable solution for future food production in space and on our home planet.

The collaboration between education, space, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors, including the use of interface force measurement solutions, can accelerate the development and deployment of vertical farming technologies for space and Earth. These solutions can provide data on factors such as plant growth, resource usage, and environmental conditions, which can be used to optimize the design and operation of vertical farming systems for maximum sustainability and productivity. Read the case study here.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Inventive Agriculture Monitoring and Weighing Solutions

Aerospace Brochure

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment

Using Multi-Axis Sensors to Bring Robotics to Life

Vertical Farming on Earth and in Space

Why Mechanical Engineers Choose Interface Solutions

Mechanical engineers play a crucial role in the design, development, and maintenance of mechanical systems that are integral to modern society and industries. They apply tenets of physics, materials science, and engineering to design, test and analyze, fabricate, and maintain mechanical systems in various industries, including automotive, aerospace, energy, robotics, and manufacturing.

Frequently, mechanical engineers use Interface force measurement devices to gather data, analyze performance, and ensure the safety and reliability of mechanical systems. Force measurement technologies help them to quantify the magnitude and direction of forces acting on objects or structures.

Mechanical engineers are active in the research and development of modern technologies and innovations, from small components to large industrial machines. This vital role is typically involved in the selection of materials, manufacturing processes, and quality control to ensure that mechanical systems are safe, dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Interface’s quality and accuracy of load cells make them a preferred engineering solution for various use cases. The range of products are used for multiple testing and design applications. The most common products selected by mechanical engineers include:

Engineers use sensors to determine the forces acting on different components or subsystems within a larger system, such as an engine, gearbox, or suspension system, during operation. This information can be used to verify that components are operating within their design limits, identify potential failure points, and optimize performance.

Force measurement devices are used by mechanical engineers in quality control processes to ensure that mechanical systems meet design specifications and performance requirements by performing tests during the manufacturing process, such as checking the tension in bolts, verifying the strength of welds, or measuring the force required for assembly or disassembly of components.

Mechanical engineers use impact force sensors to measure the forces experienced by a vehicle during crash testing, or fatigue testing machines to apply cyclic loads to components or structures to simulate real-world conditions. They participate in the design, development, and optimization of renewable energy systems such as solar power, wind power, hydropower, and geothermal power. Read Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy.

Mechanical engineers are at the forefront of advancements in robotics and automation, including designing and developing autonomous vehicles, drones, robotic manufacturing systems, and automated processes for industries such as automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. Advancements in materials science is a key role for many mechanical engineers. As well, these types of engineers play a crucial role in advancing the field of biomechanics and developing medical devices.

IoT and smart systems that integrate mechanical components with sensors, actuators, and control systems to create intelligent and connected systems are a result of the work of mechanical engineers. This includes developing smart buildings, smart appliances, smart transportation systems, and other IoT-enabled devices. Read Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities

Mechanical engineers use force measurement devices to perform tests and experiments to determine the forces experienced by mechanical systems. Load cells help them to quantify the loads on structural components, such as beams, columns, or joints, to understand their performance under different conditions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Electrical Engineers Choose Interface Sensor Technologies

Interface Celebrates Engineers

Interface Solutions for Production Line Engineers

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Use Cases for Load Pins

Performance Structural Loading App Note

Interface OEM Solutions Process

 

 

Collaborative Robots Using Interface Sensors

Industrial evolutions continue to find new and innovative ways to use technologies, from AI to advanced robotics. What is not changing over time is the unique ability for humans to solve challenges and create new solutions. Pairing human ingenuity with machines to increase efficiencies and productivity is what we see today with the fast growing use of collaborative robots.

A cobot, short for collaborative robot, is a type of robot designed to work alongside humans in a shared workspace. Unlike traditional industrial robots, which are typically separated from human workers, cobots are designed to be safe and easy to use working side-by-side people. This interactivity is often referenced as part of moving from Industry 4.0 to Industry 5.0.

Cobots are typically equipped with sensors technologies that allow them to detect the presence of humans and react accordingly. This can include slowing down, stopping, or changing direction to avoid collisions or other safety hazards. Cobots are often used in tasks that are repetitive, dangerous, or require a high level of precision, such as assembly, packaging, or inspection.

One of the main advantages of cobots is their flexibility and ease of use. They can be quickly reprogrammed or taught new tasks, making them a cost-effective solution for many distinct types of manufacturing and assembly operations. Additionally, because they can collaborate with human workers, they can help to improve efficiency and productivity while also reducing the risk of injury or accidents.

In our new case study, Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors, we explore how are force measurement sensors used for cobots.

Force measurement sensors are often used in collaborative robotics to provide feedback on the force being applied during a task. This information can be used to ensure that the cobot is performing the task correctly and to detect any issues or errors that may occur. There are several types of force measurement sensors that can be used in cobots.

  • Strain gage sensors: Interface uses proprietary strain gages in our load cells. Use of this type of sensor helps to measure the deformation of a material in response to applied forces. They are commonly used in cobots to measure forces applied to a gripper or end effector.
  • Miniature load cells and load cell load buttons: Interface load cells of all sizes are used for both testing during design as well as embedded into the actual cobot for continuous monitoring. These types of sensors measure the force applied to a structure, such as a robotic arm or a part being manipulated by a gripper. Load cells can be used to ensure that the cobot is applying the correct amount of force to the part being worked on. Our smallest load cells are often used in the production and design of cobots.
  • Torque transducers: Interface transducers are utilized to measure the movement of robots, in rotation and for pivotal activity. These are critical in tasks on production lines, as well in unique industry cobots, such as entertainment.
  • Tactile sensors: These sensors measure the pressure or force applied to a surface. They are commonly used in cobots for tasks that require a high level of sensitivity, such as grasping and manipulating fragile objects.

Advancements in Technology Leads to Multi-Axis Sensors and Cobots

As use of cobots grows, so do the demands for using more data to define precision measured responses and actions. Multi-axis sensors can provide several benefits for cobots, as they allow for more accurate and precise sensing of the robot’s position, orientation, and movement. Here are some ways that cobots can benefit from multi-axis sensors:

  • Improved accuracy: Multi-axis sensors can provide more accurate readings of a cobot’s position and orientation, allowing it to perform tasks with greater precision and accuracy. This can be particularly important for tasks that require precision accuracy, such as assembly or inspection.
  • Enhanced safety: Multi-axis sensors can help to improve the safety of cobots by detecting when the robot is approaching an object or a person and slowing down or stopping to prevent collisions. This can be particularly important when cobots are working near human workers.
  • Greater flexibility: Multi-axis sensors can allow cobots to perform a wider range of tasks, as they can adapt to changes in the environment or the task at hand. For example, a cobot with multi-axis sensors can adjust its position and orientation to grip an object from a variety of angles, or to perform a task in a confined space.
  • Faster response time: Multi-axis sensors can provide real-time feedback on the cobot’s movement, allowing it to adjust more quickly and with greater accuracy. This can help to improve the speed and efficiency of the cobot’s performance.

Cobots are being used in a wide range of industries, as they offer benefits such as improved efficiency, precision, and safety. Some of the industries that are currently using cobots include:

  • Automotive: Cobots are being used in the automotive industry for tasks such as assembly, material handling, and inspection.
  • Electronics: Cobots are being used in the electronics industry for tasks such as assembly, testing, and inspection.
  • Food and beverage: Cobots are being used in the food and beverage industry for tasks such as packaging, sorting, and palletizing.
  • Medical: Cobots are being used in the medical industry for tasks such as assembly, inspection, and material handling.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Cobots are being used in the pharmaceutical industry for tasks such as packaging, inspection, and dispensing.
  • Aerospace: Cobots are being used in the aerospace industry for tasks such as drilling, riveting, and assembly.
  • Plastics and rubber: Cobots are being used in the plastics and rubber industry for tasks such as injection molding, material handling, and inspection.

By using force measurement sensors, cobots can perform tasks with greater accuracy and precision, reducing the risk of errors and improving overall efficiency. They can also help to prevent damage to parts or products being worked on and ensure that safety standards are being met.  Read the full case study below.

Advancement in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors Case Study

 

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