Posts

Quality Engineers Require Accurate Force Measurement Solutions

In engineering and manufacturing, when introducing a product onto the market the requirements and regulations can be immense. Each industry has strict guidelines to ensure safety, durability, quality, and overall customer satisfaction. To meet these requirements, most product and component maker will have experienced quality engineers to help meet the necessary requirements in production.

Quality Engineers work in a variety of industries including automotive, transportation, infrastructure, aerospace and defense, industrial automation, medical and healthcare devices, and consumer product manufacturing. Their role is to monitor, test, and report on the quality. They are also instrumental in strategy, process development, and increasing output. Depending on the position, they are responsible for inspecting and testing raw materials, components, mechanical systems, hardware and software, as well as final products.

The Quality Engineer works with manufacturers, developers, project managers. Commonly, they are aligned with quality assurance and quality control teams to develop processes, test procedures and implement systems that ensure manufactured products and fabrication processes meet quality standards, safety regulations, and satisfy all stakeholders. They are the safeguard for companies that are creating, building and distributing products and materials.

Accuracy of testing and measurement data is fundamental to quality engineers. Critical to quality assurance and control processes, quality engineers rely heavily on all types of Interface high-accuracy load cells, weighing systems, and instrumentation for force measurement quality systems. Manufacturing quality engineers rely on products from Interface to test both products and equipment on a manufacturing line to ensure they perform reliably and meet certain safety standards.

Force measurement systems also make role of a quality engineer easier through the use of accurate data. This is because force measurement often enables automated, real-time monitoring of many processes used in the making of things. Interface precision load cells are used to monitor assembly line machine processes, test and monitor automation equipment like robotics, and weighcheck systems, and ruggedized equipment for quality control onsite and in remote locations.

Included below are a few examples of how force measurement systems are used in quality engineering.

Medical Device Interventional Guidewire Quality Inspection

A medical device manufacturer needs to do quality checks on threaded ends of their interventional guidewire devices. The threaded end of the guidewire contains an extremely small 000-120 thread that needs to be tested with go and no-go gauges in order to see if it will mate with other critical subassemblies. They requested a custom made turnkey test stand that is both inexpensive and flexible for varying lengths and models of guidewires.  Interface suggests a system where the customer can axially load and insert the guidewire through the MRT Miniature Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer, secure it, and use an automated stepper motor on a slide base to test the thread quality. When in use, the MRT measures the torque magnitudes of both no-go and go gauges which indicate quality of the threaded guidewire.

Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine Quality Monitoring

One aspect of quality in the consumer packaged goods space is ensuring equal distributions of individually wrapped snack bags such as chips or candy. When snack manufacturing brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process, Interface offered a solution. We suggested multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells, and installed them to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer is able to control the automated production from their command center. The customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged utilizing this machine.

Vehicle Crash Test Load Cell Wall Quality Inspection

A facility wanted to do crash tests on their vehicles for quality inspection. There are multiple tests such as structural testing of the vehicle, developmental tests, and regulatory and compliance tests and they needed to measure the force of the vehicle crash tests, on all axes. Interface’ suggested using multiple 3A400 3-Axis Force Load Cells, and attach it to the back of a cement crash wall. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Interface BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System, force result measurements will be recorded and displayed with the customer’s PC or laptop. The customer was able to measure the force of impact for all of their different vehicle crash testing demonstrations.

The applications of force measurements for quality engineers are large, and the necessity of obtaining this data is critical to creating, safe, reliable and high-quality products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Why Civil Engineers Prefer Interface Products

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

The Five Critical Factors of Load Cell Quality

Our Reputation is Defined by Our Industry-Leading Quality

Interface Solutions for Research and Development

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Interface’s force measurement solutions affect every industry and all types of products. Chances are that the everyday consumer has purchased and used something evaluated with or utilizing an embedded force sensor.

In fact, Interface has a long history in providing load cells and sensor technologies to test and measure consumer packaged goods (CPG) and products. They are commonplace in early-stage prototype testing, all through final distribution. Most often, our force measurement solutions help predict failure and identify design challenges before goods are available to consumers. It is hard to imagine any product that would not go through rigorous test and measurement protocols before it goes to market. The liabilities are too great and consumer safety is paramount.

It is also critical to use accurate, quality sensors to gather reliable user data related to any consumer product. Product makers use sensor data to assess product usability, capabilities, and durability. The more data, the greater the opportunity to adjust and ensure the product is a direct fit. Precision in this process through data will improve the product’s performance and influence adoption.

From testing home health care devices to ensuring household appliances are safe and durable, Interface’s sensor measurement technologies have a vital role in R&D, design, production and packaging. Load cells and other sensor products are used for all kinds of testing, from material to fatigue, in the creation and manufacturing of everyday goods. They are growing in popularity to make products smarter and designed for IoT use.

Consumer Product Applications for Interface Force Measurement Solutions

  • Smart home devices
  • IoT solutions
  • Production line testing
  • Usability research
  • Safety and compliance
  • Regulatory and performance monitoring
  • Manufacturing robotics
  • Warehouse equipment
  • Food packaging
  • Toys
  • Gaming and simulation equipment
  • Electronics hardware
  • Sports equipment
  • Furniture
  • Capping and bottling machines
  • Real-time user feedback

We even provide products to accurately measure and monitor hardware used in intermediate goods, assembly equipment, and distribution. Our force measurement solutions are ideal for consumer product stand-alone testing rigs, production equipment, as well as embedded in consumer products to increase operability and reliability for end users.

Interface load cells and instrumentation help product designers and fabricators drive usability, adoption, production efficiencies, and ensure safety to satisfy the needs of all types of consumers. Here are a few applications notes to demonstrate Interface solutions utilized in the consumer products industry. Additional applications for consumer packaged goods and consumer products are found here.

Commercial Food Processing

A consumer food product processing plant wants to measure in-motion the food weigh as it is processed down the line. They want to ensure production line efficiency and food quality for future consumers. The customer also wants real-time results of their food being weighed to keep standards high and ensure quality product. Multiple of Interface’s SPI High Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells can be installed in the customer’s in-motion check weigher at the specific points where the food is weighed on the belt to deliver precise weighing results. When connected to the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, real time results of the weight of the food being processed is available at all times. The 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller can read up to four scale channels. Read more here.

Computer Touchpad Force Testing

A laptop manufacturer wanted to test their mouse touchpads to ensure it is functioning properly for future consumers, thus measuring the right amount of sensitivity during the consumer’s use. They also needed a system that measures the force it takes for the mouse pad to activate a response on the laptop. Interface suggested using the SMTM Micro S-Type Load Cell, from the Interface Mini™ line. The SMTM was installed in the customer’s actuator test rig. The SMTM recorded the amount of force it takes to press on the trackpad and create a response on different areas of the trackpad. An actuator aided with tactile feedback by providing movements such as dragging or creating friction. The measurements were captured using the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator through an SD card, or another laptop directly. The SMTM Micro S-Type Load Cell was able to measure the forces applied to the mouse touchpad at various locations. Interface’s products successfully measured the forces needed to make the mouse touchpad create a response. Get more information here.

Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

To meet safety protocols in relation to the manufacturing of various furniture products, rigorous fatigue testing, shock testing, and proof testing before dispersion into the marketplace, and into the homes of consumers. Force testing on furniture products is critical in determining the posted max loads to protect manufacturers from liability due to damages that might result from the misuse of those products and overloading. Using Interface’s SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell along with Interface’s 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator provides a solution that measures the force being applied in fatigue cycle testing of a furniture product, in this case testing the rocking mechanism in an office chair. Unlike other similar load cells, the SSMF is fatigue rated making it highly suitable for fatigue testing. Using this solution, the furniture manufacturer was able to obtain accurate data about the rocking mechanism the office chair as it was fatigue cycled into failure. Post testing, adjustments to the design to improve the safety and life of the furniture, ensuring product quality, and protecting the manufacturer from future liability. Learn more here.

Printer Cartridge Seal

An ink manufacturer wanted to ensure there is a proper seal between their ink cartridge caps and the cartridge body, for it to work effectively in their printers and for consumers buying it for themselves. A bad seal can cause leaks, clogging, and overall deficient performance for their printers. Interface’s solution was to measure the pressure exerted on the cartridge cap by installing the 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell under the plate during the automatic production line process. Results were logged, graphed, and stored when the customer’s PC or laptop is connected to the BSC4D Multi-Channel PC Interface Module with supplied BlueDAQ software. Using this solution, the ink manufacturer was able to determine the exact amount of force it took to seal their ink cartridge caps onto the cartridge bodies to prevent any leaks or clogging. Learn more here.

Interface solutions for consumer products are abundant. For every machine, test system and even many products themselves, these products benefit from a force sensor to improve product performance, prove reliability and more.

Additional Resources

Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Applications for Consumer Products and Packaging

Load Cells for Consumer Product Applications

CPG Bike Handlebar Fatigue Testing

Interface Solutions in the World of Sports

CPG Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing

CPG Treadmill Force Measurement

CPG Golf Club Swing Accuracy

CPG Gaming Simulation Brake Pedal

Interface Entertainment and Amusement Industry Solutions

The special effects of a movie or the thrills you experience on a roller coaster take a lot of engineering work behind the scenes. Force measurement plays a major role in the design, development, testing, manufacturing, and maintenance of equipment used in creating entertainment and amusement features.

Interface load cells, torque transducers and instrumentation are used when quality, safety, and durability matters. You see our products used in a variety of entertainment and amusement industry solutions. This includes testing gaming simulation devices, monitoring outdoor stage equipment, designing interactive displays, operating lifting equipment, testing film drones and cameras, as well as for designing amusement rides and theme park robotics.

The part engineering plays and use of sensor technologies has grown significantly over the years in the entertainment and amusement industry. The expertise and products propel the machinery that delights audiences, while keeping purveyors, operators, and consumers safe.

Interface offers force measurement products for testing, monitoring, and embedding sensors into products by makers for various equipment used in theatre, film, video gaming, television, theme parks and entertainment venues, as well as creating spectacular multimedia attractions.

With the entertainment industry’s growth into many different submarkets, Interface’s deep range of load cells and other sensor products are used for quality testing and accurate data collection. Beyond our standard products, Interface’s experts often collaborate with specialty engineers to design customizable measurement solutions for unique applications in the entertainment industry. Interface offers highly accurate sensor systems to ensure safety and eliminate risks when building and maintaining equipment used by industry professionals.

In our industry solutions, we’ve outlined how Interface is taking part in the entertainment markets. Learn about the products and application examples that demonstrate how engineers in the entertainment industry take advantage of our robust force measurement catalog.

Entertainment Applications Using Interface Measurement Solutions

  • Display Equipment
  • Cranes and Lifts for Rigging
  • Animatronics
  • Amusement Park Rides
  • Stage Equipment and Design
  • Touch Screens and Monitors
  • Theme Park Robotics
  • Drones for Videography
  • Camera and Multimedia Equipment
  • Outdoor Festival Wind Monitoring
  • Stunt Devices
  • Operating Equipment and Machines
  • Set and Venue Designs
  • Equipment Safety Monitoring

Drone Videography

A videographer team wanted to ensure the propeller motors compensate for weight shifting or uneven weight distribution of the video camera being attached when they film landscapes and other aerial shots. Four Interface WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells were installed to the necessary propeller motors to compensate for an uneven weight load. The WMC’s measure the weight of the film camera attached and detect weight shifting or uneven weight distribution of the video camera. The four WMC load cells accurately measured the payload weight and maintained stability of the propeller motors to when the drone was in air with the attached film camera. This information was communicated to the drone’s on-board processor for monitoring and recording this information during flight. More information is available here.

Entertainment LED Screens

A customer constructing a huge venue wanted to weigh their extremely large LED display screens. They also wanted to measure the force of the structure that is supporting the screens, to ensure stability and structural integrity. Interface suggested their LW General Purpose Load Washer Load Cells being assembled within rods that are part of the support structure. The LED screen hangs off the structure, which connects to the rods. The compression forces applied to the rod will be measured by the LW’s installed in between. The load washers are paired with WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, where the force results are wirelessly transmitted to both the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters and the WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Stations with included Log100 software. Interface’s wireless load washer system successfully weighed the forces of the large LED screen for the customer’s new venue. Learn more.

Gaming Simulation Brake Pedal

A gaming company wanted to switch from the standard racing pedals to a load cell based pedal system for their racing simulation game. Compared to the standard racing simulation pedals, load cell pedals are more advanced and offer more accurate results. They also wanted a wireless system that will measure the strength of the pressure received by the pedals that will detect the perfect amount of braking power. Interface’s BPL Pedal Load Cell was installed onto the gaming brake pedal to measure the force applied when someone puts their foot on it. Forces were measured and recorded using the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, where data is transmitted to the WTS-BS-6 Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. Interface’s BPL Pedal Load Cell measured and recorded the pedal forces applied to their racing gaming brake pedals. In comparison to traditional simulation pedals that measure the distance of the pedals when pressed, Interface’s load cell pedal system provided a more realistic experience for gamers. Read more.

Interface enables incredible innovation across industries and the entertainment world is no different. We’re proud to help customers create incredible experiences and find new ways to captivate audiences. To learn more about our work in the entertainment industry here.

Entertainment-Brochure

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Gaming Hardware Benefits from Force Measurement Solutions

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Protecting Ultra HD Monitors

Robotic Arm Animated Application Note

 

Interface and Infrastructure Markets Form a Perfect Partnership

Infrastructure projects are growing, as investment continues to climb for projects related to rebuilding, renewing and innovating applications in this sector. These global investments come from public and private organizations as demands to address roads, bridges, water supplies, transportation, energy systems, and broadband requirements for the 21st century grow.

Experts who focus on infrastructure acknowledge these are means for civil existence and prosperity. Interface understands that our role in supporting the design, testing, manufacturing, constructing and maintenance required in infrastructure needs a top supplier of force measurement solutions.

Interface force measurement solutions have and are currently used around the world for infrastructure projects including bridges, generators, dams, waterways, transportation structures, construction projects, cranes and lifting apparatus, and heavy machinery.

Interface supplies durable and accurate sensor technologies used in testing equipment, technology, vehicles, tools and machines used in all types of infrastructure subsectors. We also find our products often designed into structures for regulatory and safety monitoring, whether that be to maintain tunnels or support wind generating farms.

Interface details force measurement products we commonly provide to those working and supporting the infrastructure sector in our Infrastructure Solutions Brochure. You can see some of these products in our Infrastructure Solutions video.

Interface load cells, load pins, instrumentation, multi-axis sensors, and torque transducers are top choices for those engaged in infrastructure projects and testing. Sensors are commonly used in measuring the related hardware used for industry products and structures. The types of infrastructure projects that Interface has supplied measurement solutions for includes transportation systems, communication structures, water and electrical facilities, and numerous inventions that are used to build, support, and maintain them, as outlined in Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface.

Our expert engineers can help design customizable force measurement solutions for all types of applications that require sensors for OEMs and to be used in the actual structure for continuous measuring and monitoring. We have engineered sensor products used for civil engineering designs and infrastructures used in structural monitoring, vibrational monitoring, load bearing testing, tunnels, bridges, and road construction. The range of projects are broad, so we are highlighting a few below that highlight our capabilities when accuracy, quality and reliability matter in design, testing, construction, and assessing current and limitations for safety requirements.

Hydraulic Jacking System Testing

An equipment manufacturer needed to test their hydraulic jacking system’s ability to lift heavy loads and objects, like a bridge during construction. They wanted to monitor the forces being applied to ensure the hydraulic jack is not only safe to use, but works well enough to avoid any potential structural issues. Interface’s 1200 Standard High Capacity Load Cell can be attached in between the hydraulic jack and a heavy load. The load cell measures the forces of the hydraulic jack as it lifts the load cell located in between the jack and the object. With the 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, & mV/V Indicator, the customer is also able to see the results in real-time. Read more here.

Aerial Lift Overload Control

A manufacturing company for aerial lifts wanted to test its self-propelled boom lift to ensure it can operate at heavy capacities when in use, and at different angles. They also wanted to prevent any accidents in case of a lifting overload, for the safety of any working individual who uses it. Interface’s solution was to attach the 3A160 3-Axis Force Load Cell to the bottom of the bucket of the boom lift. The multi-axis sensor provides high accuracy results, which were displayed using the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller in real time. The manufacturing company tested their aerial boom lifts and determined it was safely operable when maximum capacities has been reached in use. Read more here.

Truck Weighbridge Monitoring

A transportation company needed to record the weight or loads being carried by their vehicles. They would like a wireless weighing bridge that is able to transmit, log, and display the results in real time. Interface suggests installing multiple WTS 1200 LowProfile™ Load Cells under a weighbridge. When a truck drives over it, the load cells will transmit the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display can also display the weight inside for the driver to see in real time. The customer was able to measure, log, and graph the different loads their trucks carried wirelessly onto the weighbridge with success, providing for safe passage across transportation ways. Read more here.

Hydropower Turbine Generator Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor and detect any turbine generator faults in their hydroelectric power plant located on a river. Interface’s solution was to use the T2 Ultra Precision Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer and attach it to the turbine generator with Interface’s Shaft Style Torque Transducer Couplings. When water from the river pushes through the penstock to the outflow, it moves the turbine blades, creating electricity through the generator shaft. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged with the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator catching any unusual fluctuations and vibrations. Using this solution, the customer was able to monitor, graph, and log the torque measurement results of the turbine generator. Read more here.

Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring

A customer wanted to monitor seismic activity that occurs to a bridge by using force sensors and then continuously monitoring bridge forces before, during and after earthquakes occur. The customer also preferred a wireless solution so they would not need to run long cables on the bridge. Using Interface’s LP Load Pin custom made to fit their needs along Interface’s WTS Wireless Telemetry System for continuous force monitoring the designed solution was able to take place without long cables. The solution allowed the customer to monitor continuous loads, log information to the cloud and review information. Read more here.

Interface’s work with all facets of the infrastructure industry spans far and wide. Interface is a supplier of choice and key partner for providing reliable sensors and instrumentation solutions used in testing and monitoring of both the infrastructure and the equipment used to upgrade and refine it.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Infrastructure Industry Relies on Interface Force Measurement

Infrastructure Projects Rely on Interface

Interface Solutions Designed for Infrastructure Challenges

Monitoring the Seismic Force of a Suspension Bridge

 

 

 

Interface’s Steering Role in All Types of Transportation

Interface serves a wide variety of industries that design and manufacture movers of people and objects. The transportation sector consists of companies that assist in the movement people or goods, as well as supporting infrastructure. Whether it is automobiles or planes, trains or helicopters, spacecraft or water vessels, Interface provides solutions to help test and measure force, weight, torque, lift and more.

The safety, quality and reliability of the overall transportation industry are all important considerations in design, build and performance. Human safety being the most critical requirement of any transport vehicle or structure.

This means that stringent testing is necessary to confirm the design of every part and system on a vehicle. Force measurement sensors can used to test a wide variety of factors on every type of invention that moves or transports a person or thing. From the torque of an electrical vehicle engine to the weight distribution of an aircraft, these types of tests help to refine the designs of components, vessels, and vehicles, confirming safety and dependability.

All Interface product categories have a role in the testing of all these transportation entities.  Many of our sensor technologies are also ideal for performance monitoring and integration into product designs, whether it’s for ongoing measurement of weighing ship cargo with load pins, load shackles and tension links or using our torque transducers for engine testing on e-bikes, automobiles, trucks, buses, and other transport vehicles.  If it moves, it needs to be measured. Our force and torque solutions are ideal for every segment of this market sector.

Let’s take a quick tour of a few application examples that demonstrate the different products we provide that are helping get people and objects safely moving down the road, on the rails, in the air and even into space.

Wind Tunnel Testing

A major aerospace company was developing a new airplane and needed to test their scaled model for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel, by measuring loads created by lift and drag. Interface offered a Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell which was mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel and connected to the scaled model by a stalk. A Model BX8-AS was then connected to the sensor to collect data. The wind tunnel blew air over the scaled model creating lift and drag, which was measured and compared to the theoretical airplane models. Software in the PC converted raw data signals to actual force and torque values at the stalk. Using this solution, the company was able to analyze the collect data and made the necessary adjustments in their design to improve the aerodynamics of their theoretical airplane models. Read more.

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing

A garbage disposal company wanted to test the load capacity of their garbage truck bins so they know when it reached maximum capacity. Interface’s solution was to customize and install 4 SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells under the garbage box body, on either side. When trash continues to be piled inside the box body, it will push more force down onto the SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells. When maximum load capacity has been reached, the results can be reviewed and displayed when connected to the 482 Battery Powered Bidirectional Weight Indicator in real time. With this system, the customer was able to test the maximum load capacity of the garbage bin attached to the truck, so they know when to empty the truck’s garbage at the transfer station. Read more.

Engine Head Bolt Tightening

 

 

 

 

 

An industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an auto manufactur­ing plant. They needed to tighten all head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine. Several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque, angle, and ensure the head bolt was properly tight­ened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation. When the machine comes down and screws on the engine head bolts the torque and angle profile are sent to the customer’s machine controller. Based on the feedback received by the machine controller, the automation will pass the engine to the next step in the assembly line or fail and have the engine evaluated further. This allowed the customer to ensure the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant. Read more.

Bicycle Load Testing

A mountain bike manufacturing company wanted a system that measures their bike frames load capacities and vibrations on the frame. They also want to ensure the bike’s high quality and frame load durability during this final step of the product testing process. Interface suggested installing Model SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell, connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge, between the mountain bike’s seat and the bike frame. This will measure the vibrations and load forces applied onto the bike frame. When a heavy load is added to the seat, the SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell measures the vibrations and load forces applied to the bike to indicate any stress points through a number of cycles. The results will be captured by the WTS-AM-1E and transmitted to the customer’s PC using the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. This solution helped the mountain bike manufacturing company gather highly accurate data to determine that their bikes met performance standards through this final testing cycle. Read more.

These are just a brief example of the work we do in transportation. Interface systems have been involved in projects with boats, races cars, construction vehicles and even rocket ships. Manufacturers turn to Interface because of our track record for accuracy and the transportation industry relies on this data to keep its customers safe.

For additional insights and ideas related to transportation solutions, here are a few more posts to read.

Interface Plays a Role in Testing Bicycles

Evolving Urban Mobility Sector for Test and Measurement

Interface’s Crucial Role in Vehicle and Urban Mobility Markets

Measurement Technologies for Boats, Yachts and Watercraft

Interface and The Race to Space

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

To review more application notes pertaining to transportation or to talk to an application engineer about your next project, contact us or call us at 480-948-5555.

Measurement Technologies for Boats, Yachts and Watercraft

Interface has been a long-term supplier of force and torque measurement solutions for the maritime industry. This explains how our products play a big role in a wide variety of waterborne vessels, maintenance and safety equipment, and offshore products found at docks and in the open water. We have captured some of these specific use cases of how our sensor technologies and instrumentation are used in the building and maintenance of boats, yachts, and watercraft of all sizes.

Our load cells and sensors work well in vehicles that are used in water. For example, we offer technologies that can wirelessly transmit data underwater and in harsh weather conditions, making them perfect for a variety machines used in water. These specialized load cells operate in underwater submersions at different capacities, and reliably relay information to those at the surface level for accurate sensor readings. Interface load cells of various designs can regulate harsh maritime situations in use cases such as underwater tension lines, underwater oil drilling, as well as storm and tsunami monitoring. Read more about offshore and near shore solutions here.

The applications we are highlighting below provide real-world examples of force measurement products used in boat, yacht and watercraft related products. The uses of force measurement range from testing fishing wire to yacht rigging inspection. Here’s a closer look:

Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) for Yacht Rigging Inspection

For a customer who wants to have a complete yacht rigging inspection to make sure the mast, still lines, and all movable hoisting lines are functional, Interface offers our robust WTS products line. These various wireless sensor technologies and components are designed for use to meet the proper specifications for sailing, test the tension of the forestay, shroud, and backstay cables, and to test the tension of the movable lines when sailing.

With Interface’s WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle paired with the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters, the customer can switch and view between multiple shackles being tested. The WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station can also be attached to the customer’s computer to display real-time measurements from the shackles and log data. With this solution, the user is able to conduct both a running and standing rigging inspections of their ship or vessel, and determine if all lines were functional and met safety standards. Read the entire WTS solutions used on this yacht here.

Commercial Fishing Wire Rope Testing

When a commercial fishing owner wanted to measure the force tension of the wire fishing rope connected to the fishing cage or net when their vessel goes to catch and ensure the wire rope is strong enough and safe enough to hold the maximum capacity of fish caught in the cage or net, they can turn to Interface.

Using a WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell attached between the end of the cable, and the end that hooks onto the fishing net, the tension link will be able to measure the forces of the full net of fish, or a heavy load at maximum capacities. The data information can be transmitted to both the WTS-BS-1-HS Handheld Display for Single Transmitters, or to the customers computer laptop through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station. Utilizing this solution, the customer was able to determine if the fishing cable on their vessel was strong enough to hold the fish cage or net at maximum capacity when out catching.

Mooring Line Tension Testing

Due to changing environmental conditions, mooring cable lines undergo wear and tear. A customer wanted to ensure all mooring lines for ships and large commercial vessels are securely docked at the same loading tension, so that they do not risk the mooring lines to break or cause damage.

We provided a WTSTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link, which can be 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 PC computer/Laptop. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view multiple mooring cable line tensions. The customer was able to verify the tensions to multiple mooring cable lines. Thus, resulting in the security of their ship being safely docked.

If you’re interested in learning more about our maritime solutions, call 480-948-5555 to contact an application engineer about your project requirements.

Interface Crane Use Cases and Application Notes

Manufacturers and engineers of heavy equipment are rigorous about the design quality, performance and most importantly preserving safety. Having tools to test and monitor this type of equipment allows equipment producers and users to review performance at all stages, ultimately maintaining a safe working environment which is critical to any construction, transportation, or infrastructure project job site. That’s why Interface provides quality force measurement products for a host of industrial equipment machines to accurately measure force, load capacity, weight, tension and more.

Interface has been a long-time supplier of force and torque sensors along with instrumentation products for projects involving all types of cranes and lifting machines. We are frequently asked to provide crane force measurement solutions for applications used in hoisting, lifting, moving, and transporting heavy objects. These use cases range across all types of environments, from constructing high rises in metropolitan centers around the world to maritime industry users loading docks and lifting watercraft.

To outline how force measurement is used to monitor cranes, we developed series of application notes explaining the components Interface provided to allow our customer to measure safety, reliability, and efficiency of their equipment.

Crane Capacity Verification

The first application note outlines a project in which the customer wanted to verify that their crane was strong enough to safely lift a heavy load at its rated maximum load capacity. It was determined that because of the size of the crane, a wireless solution was needed to avoid long wires and burdensome installation. Interface provided a Model WTSTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell to measure the load’s maximum capacity. WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules were also used to trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight/force has been reached. To review the data the customer could transmit to a PC or laptop with a WTS-BS-4 USB base station. The data can also be reviewed through a WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display. With this solution, the customer was able to verify if the crane is safe and functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL), or safe working load (SWL) capacity.

Read the full Crane Capacity Verification Application Note here.

Crane Block Safety Check

The next example features a crane application in which the customer wanted to detect whether a crane block could lift a heavy load securely to keep working conditions safe for personnel. The customer specifically wanted the solution to include an alarm feature that notified them if lifting capacity was exceeded in real-time. Using a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin in place of a load bearing pin in the crane block, they could measure the force being applied by the heavy load. Data will be transmitted and displayed through both the WTS-BS-4 USB Base Station. It can also be paired with the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld for real-time safety monitoring. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module triggers an alarm when maximum capacity has been reached. The customer was able to verify if the crane was operating safely and was always functional enough to lift it’s working load limit (WLL) or safe working load (SWL) capacity. The added alarm feature is critical for notifying users when the crane reaches unsafe limits during operations.

Read the entire Crane Block Safety Check Application note here.

Crane Force Regulation 

In the final application note, a customer wanted to regulate the maximum number of heavy loads being lifted, so that production time was both safe for workers and efficient. The goal was to complete lifting duties faster and with little or no expense. A wireless solution was also preferred, so that there would be no long cable interference during production. Interface supplied a WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin, which can be custom made to be used for any and all types of cranes. It is also great for lifting both short and long distances. The load pin was paired with the WTS Wireless Telemetry System, where force could be measured and logged. The customer was able to monitor the continuous force from the crane, and gather information on loads being lifted for continuous safety and production reporting requirements.

Read the complete Crane Force Regulation Application Note here.

You can read more about heavy equipment testing and use cases in our post, Force Measurement Solutions for the Construction Industry.

Load Pins 101

A load pin is a type of load cell that can replace bolts, clevis, sheave, and equalizer pins, as well as other load-bearing components to measure tensile and compression forces. Load pins are internally gauged with a bored center containing strain gauges, allowing them to convert force into an electrical signal for engineers to accurately collect data.

Most applications for load pins in the past have been for overhead equipment like cranes and lifts. Load pins have expanded in popularity and are now often used to test and measure force, load, and limitations in a much larger variety of applications. This includes uses not only for cranes and lifting devices, but also construction equipment, industrial machines, nautical craft and equipment, aerospace, and civil engineering applications. A primary system approach with structural applications is for safety and to prevent excesses in loading and lifting.

New model types with wireless and Bluetooth technology are also resulting in more use cases for these specialized force measurement solutions. This applies to both test and measurement as well as for installed OEM components within a larger structure or apparatus.

Top Load Pin Benefits

  • Easy to install new or retrofit
  • Robust construction
  • Replaces existing load bearing pins without any system modifications
  • Engineered to order designs available
  • Can be supplied with integral connector
  • Custom sizes and higher capacities available

Load pins come in many standard shapes and sizes, as well customization options to meet a specific design or use requirement. Interface provides these measuring devices, which often replace a bolt or pin, for safety and application monitoring. Some of our load pins are exclusively designed to meet the needs of applications in hazardous environments like the oil and gas industry, or marine industry where they’ll be submerged in water during testing and for continuous use.

The Interface Load Pins are machined from high tensile stainless steel and are suitable for exposed situations including seawater. We offer standard load pins with ratings between 1.1K lbf to 3.3M lbf (500kgs to 1500 MT). We also offer custom manufactured load pins suit applications from 100 kgs to 1500+ MT.

LP Stainless-Steel Load Pin – Great for lifting applications for both short and long distances. This product can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model LP Load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN).

WTSLP Wireless Stainless-Steel Load Pin This advanced load can transmit wirelessly up to 600 (1,969 feet) meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station.  The capacities range goes all the way up to 3,000,000 lbf (13.3 kN). The wireless option utilizes low power consumption for long battery life. It is configured and calibrated via PC using a base station and telemetry toolkit and compatible with Interface WTS Wireless products. The load pin is robust and uses a lightweight housing. It is environmentally sealed to IP67.

Load Pin Application

One of the largest scale applications of load pins we provided were used to measure force on a large bridge infrastructure project in the western U.S. The goal was to continuously monitor the standard force created by regular traffic, as well as the seismic force before, during, and after earthquakes. The monitoring sensors needed to be integrated into a dampener that would be attached to the structural tower.

The solution allows the company to monitor force from emitted data to cross-reference the standard traffic force with the seismic force to understand its effect on the bridge. Its purpose is to help with predictive maintenance and influence future bridge designs to better compensate for the forces of an earthquake or other natural disasters, which are common in this part of the world.

READ THE SEISMIC BRIDGE MONITORING APPLICATION NOTE HERE

READ THE INFRASTRUCTURE CASE STUDY HERE

The project required a custom product that could handle the inimitable and considerable force of a bridge under every scenario of distress. Engineers developed a custom load pin to handle the force of movement in the bridge in the event of an earthquake. This load pin was much larger than our standard version and is rated at 900,000 lbf. The large load pins were designed to be integrated into the dampener with wireless data acquisition modules connected to the load pins to allow for remote access to the data. With the integration of Interface’s custom load pins and data acquisition module, the customer was always able to continuously collect data for real-time evaluation. The sturdy construction of our load pins and 900,000 lbf rating allowed for readings during all degrees of seismic activity.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins and there many applications, please contact our application specialists today.

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.