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Force Sensors Automate Safety Systems in Industrial Facilities

Automation has become a critical facet of the industrial sector as companies utilize robotics, cobots, IoT, and other sensing technologies to improve efficiency and output. However, production is not the only area of manufacturing benefiting from automation.

Worker safety and equipment monitoring are also getting a major boost from automation. Measurement sensors enable this new safety and alarm system automation wave.

Interface sensors have long been used to help automate monitoring systems in industrial machines found in manufacturing facilities. These sensors can help provide accurate data for continuous process controls of various machines on a production line or elsewhere. Deviations in that data identify issues where a machine may need to shut down or come down for maintenance abruptly. The automation functions enabled by sensors drive efficiency by notifying engineers before any disruption to production while also improving safety by avoiding malfunctions that could put workers at risk.

As the collaborative use of automation and technology has progressed, so have regulations around worker safety within industrial facilities. Robust safety systems, built with force and other sensor tech, are growing in use and application. The systems and sensor-enabled equipment are pervasive in manufacturing, whether part of cobots working on the production line or designing and testing equipment to move packages in a warehouse. Accurate measurement is quintessential to workplace safety and automation.

Included below is a list of some of the systems and machines that utilize Interface force sensors in both the testing and monitoring stages to improve workplace safety:

  • Lockout and Safety Alarms
  • Overload Protection for Heavy Equipment
  • Weighing and Scale Device Alarms
  • Industrial and Collaborative Robots (Cobots)
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
  • Assembly Line Equipment and Conveyor Belts
  • Crane and Lift Equipment Systems and Monitoring
  • Automated Palletizing Systems
  • Industrial Presses
  • Filling Machines
  • Testing and Inspection Equipment
  • Ergonomic Workstations and Tool Safety

The main benefits of using force sensing within these applications include the precision and accuracy of data, the ability to optimize processing using this data (especially over time), The ability to design automated safety measures based on collected data in real time, and the ability to optimize quality control in real-time. Here’s how:

Precision and Accuracy: Load cells and torque transducers provide highly accurate measurements of force and rotation, respectively. This allows for precise control of automated machinery, ensuring consistent product quality and reducing errors. Less rework and higher-quality products contribute to a safer work environment, as there’s less chance of operators needing to fix mistakes or handle malfunctioning equipment.

Process Optimization: Manufacturers can gain valuable insights into their machines’ operations by precisely measuring forces and torques. This data can be used to optimize processes, identify inefficiencies, and reduce waste. Optimized processes with smoother operation result in fewer chances of equipment malfunction and potential safety hazards.

Safety Measures: Interface sensor devices can be designed into automated machines, tools, and equipment to measure safety during use. For example, our transducers can detect overloads or excessive torque, which could lead to equipment failure and injure workers. These sensors help prevent accidents and create a safer work environment by triggering alarms or automatic shutdowns.

As noted, safety measures are required with collaborative robots in industrial facilities. Safety testing and equipment monitoring are needed to ensure humans and robots can work together. In this example, Interface suggests using four 3-axis Force Load Cells (creating one 6-axis Force Plate) installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. By installing a 6-axis force plate under the cobot and 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. This safety and automation solution protects the equipment and, most importantly, the worker.

Quality Control: Accurate measurement of forces and torques allows for real-time product quality monitoring. This enables manufacturers to identify and address any deviations from specifications early in production, reducing the risk of defective products reaching the customer. Fewer defective products mean less chance of needing rework or repairs later, keeping workers out of harm’s way.

Force sensor technology has played a key role in the evolution of modern industrial facilities as a tool to improve production while benefiting quality and powering workplace safety and health. It is one of the backbone solutions found in automation systems, and it offers highly accurate data to not only benefit real-time monitoring but also improve processes over time. Find additional manufacturing solutions and applications here.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Powering Up Precision Machine Building and Automation Webinar

Industrial Automation

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Automation and Robotics Demands Absolute Precision

Cobot Safety Programming

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Crane Block Safety Check App Note

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

 

Load Cells Elevate Gantry Crane Performance

Interface provides a variety of measurement solutions for gantry crane applications. Load cells aren’t just an upgrade but a game-changer for gantry crane operations.

A gantry crane is an overhead crane with a horizontal beam supported by two legs traveling along a fixed track or wheels. They are used for lifting and moving heavy objects in various industrial settings, such as warehouses, shipyards, container yards, and construction sites.

Key features of gantry cranes include:

  • Mobility: Unlike bridge cranes, fixed to a runway system, gantry cranes can move freely within their designated area. This makes them more versatile and suitable for outdoor applications.
  • Lifting capacity: Gantry cranes can be designed to lift a wide range of weights, from a few to hundreds of tons.
  • Portability: Some gantry cranes are portable and can be easily moved from one location to another.
  • Versatility: Gantry cranes can be equipped with various attachments, such as hooks, magnets, and buckets, to handle a wide range of materials.

Benefits of Using Force Measurement Solutions with Gantry Cranes

Load cells, load pins, tension links, wireless telemetry systems, and instrumentation devices from Interface are valuable to makers and users of gantry cranes.  These vital measurement solutions offer several safe and efficient operation benefits:

Overload Prevention

  • Safety: The biggest reason is preventing crane overload. Exceeding the crane’s capacity can lead to catastrophic consequences, including equipment damage, structural failure, injuries, and even fatalities. Force measurement devices, often in the form of load cells or tension links, directly measure the weight of the lifted object, ensuring it stays within safe limits.
  • Alerts and Alarm Settings: Many devices paired with specific instruments can trigger audible or visual alarms if the load approaches the limit, giving the operator time to adjust. Some advanced systems automatically shut down the lifting operation to prevent potential overload.

Improved Efficiency and Accuracy

  • Optimal load handling: Knowing the exact weight of the load allows operators to position it precisely and efficiently. This is crucial for tasks like loading and unloading containers or placing heavy machinery with minimal risk of damage.
  • Reduced energy consumption: By lifting only the necessary weight, you optimize energy usage by avoiding unnecessary strain on the crane’s motors and systems.

Maintenance and Inspection

  • Monitoring crane health: Force measurement data can be used to track crane performance over time and identify potential issues early on. This helps with preventive maintenance and ensures the crane stays in top working condition.
  • Compliance with regulations: Many workplaces have regulations requiring the monitoring of crane loads for safety reasons. Force measurement devices provide accurate data to demonstrate compliance.

Gantry Crane Applications

Tension monitoring in cable cranes: For cranes using cables instead of hydraulics, tension links measure cable tension, safeguarding against cable stress and potential breaks.

Center of gravity determination: In complex lifts with unevenly distributed weight, measuring forces at different points helps determine the load’s center of gravity, which is crucial for safe lifting and maneuvering.

Retrofitting existing cranes for safety: Crane-safe load monitoring systems are vital to crane safety. Load pins for accurate measurement are an excellent way to modernize gantry cranes. Replacing existing load-bearing pins in the crane header block to sense the load, detect the moment of lifting a load, and monitor the cranes’ maximum safe load limit.

Weighing within winch assembly: Load pins are used to measure the weight of aluminum and steel rolls. The custom load pin was designed to fit within the winch assembly, with an anti-rotation bracket to ensure correct positioning.  We also supplied a large digit wall-mounted display to enable them to see resulting loads easily.

Safety measurement system:  If the lifting load exceeds the safe lifting load, audible or visual alarms can be triggered, or if part of a control system, that action will automatically stop the lift. Additionally, having a real-time display of the lifted load allows crane operators to lift the maximum allowable amount, improving productivity by reducing the number of lifts required to complete a task.

To improve operational efficiency and safety, a measurement system is an excellent tool that can alert the crane operator to imminent excess lifting conditions that may cause harm to operators and equipment. Overall, force measurement devices are essential for the safe, efficient, and compliant operation of gantry cranes, making them a valuable investment for any lifting operation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Load Pins, Tension Links, & Shackles

Gantry Crane Weighing

A Great Force for Crane and Hoist Solutions

Interface Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar Recap

Seaside Ports are Optimizing Efficiency and Safety Using Interface Sensor Technologies

Jib Crane Tension Monitoring

Crane Safety Requires Precision Measurements Ship to Shore

Crane Block Safety Animated Application Note

 

Measuring the Potential of IoT Wearables Using Load Cell Technology

IoT wearables utilizing load cell technologies are smart devices worn on the body that leverage sensors capable of measuring force, weight, or torque. Integrating these sensors with internet connectivity offers a unique blend of real-time data collection and remote accessibility, opening doors for diverse applications.

Interface has been involved in the IoT market from its early stages, as detailed in Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities. Empowering inventors and innovators to utilize accurate measurements for connected products. Seamless integration with other IoT devices and platforms is essential for data analysis and broader application, one of the advantages of Interace’s line of wireless measurement solutions.

We make sensors specifically for IoT Solutions in healthcare and consumer products. With the growing requirements for connectivity, Interface load cells provide valuable data in real-time to product engineers and users of IoT wearables.

Internet of Things (IoT) connected wearables have permeated our society across various industries,  from sports and medical to fitness and fashion. The technology surrounding wearables has also become more complex in using sensors to provide better and more complete data. Among the sensor technologies used in both the testing and built into the product, force sensors play a large role.

Whether customers use Interface measurement products for prototype testing, usability studies, manufacturing equipment, or small-scale testing machines, we have solutions that improve the use and viability of IoT wearables.

IoT Wearable Applications Using Interface Products 

  • Gaming hand-held devices
  • Wearable simulation garments and headgear
  • Gear used in professional sports, including helmets and pads
  • Haptic feedback devices
  • Smart shoe gait analysis
  • Exoskeleton design and prototyping
  • Sports equipment feedback
  • Smartwatch manufacturing
  • VR headset manufacturing
  • Treadmill force testing
  • Prosthetics development and performance monitoring

Load cells are becoming increasingly popular in designing, prototyping, testing, and using wearable IoT products. They offer a highly accurate and reliable way to measure force, pressure, and weight. Our measurement devices are being designed into wearables such as smart clothing and augmented reality equipment, including headsets and fitness equipment for precision measurement during use.

Use Cases for Load Cells in IoT Wearables

Fitness and Training: These wearables track metrics like muscle activation, balance, and gait analysis, helping athletes optimize their performance and prevent injuries. Examples include smart insoles monitoring foot pressure or resistance bands measuring workout intensity.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy: These devices monitor patient progress during therapy by measuring the force exerted on limbs or joints, enabling personalized treatment plans and objective data collection.

Smart Clothing and Shoes: Clothing embedded with load cells can track posture, gait, and activity levels, while smart shoes monitor pressure distribution for customized footwear.

Occupational Safety: In industries like construction or manufacturing, wearables measure pressure on specific body parts to ensure proper posture and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

The key features necessary to building force sensors for the IoT wearable market are accuracy, reliability, versatility, and sensor size. Load cells must be highly accurate and measure force to a high degree of precision. Force sensors using strain gage technology are well-suited for wearable devices, as they are durable and can withstand repeated use. Load cells are available in various sizes and capacities, with customizable options to embed them into wearables. Manufacturers are building small, lightweight, wearable IoT products, so force sensors must be suitable to take on small and precise forces.

IoT wearables incorporating load cell technology hold immense potential for various domains, from enhancing athletic performance and healthcare monitoring to revolutionizing human-computer interaction. As this technology evolves, we can expect even more innovative applications to emerge that contribute to daily health, well-being, and productivity.

Learn more about Interface’s IoT Solutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar

Wireless Telemetry Systems 101

IoT Golf Club Swing Accuracy App Note

IoT Solutions

 

 

 

 

Seaside Ports are Optimizing Efficiency and Safety Using Interface Sensor Technologies

Among the various maritime sectors, Interface supplies measurement solutions to infrastructure and equipment makers for ports and waterway terminals that heavily rely on quality measurement solutions.

Ports are critical to our global economy. An estimated 2,500+ ports exist worldwide, with thousands more harbor entries and waterway commerce centers. Interface offers an extensive line of products commonly used in port and terminal applications of all types to modernize equipment and improve operations.

Interface’s sensors and instrumentation are used to test and confirm product designs and measure real-time functions of equipment used onshore, nearshore, and offshore. Our force measurement products are frequently used for modernizing and maintaining port-related machines, moving equipment, and lifts. This includes our submersible measurement solutions.

Our products are perfect for precise load measurement during lifting operations, cargo handling, cargo weight monitoring, mooring line monitoring, and general port equipment maintenance.

The most common use case for Interface products for container stacking and handling. Load cells are integrated into gantry and reach stacker crane systems that lift and move shipping containers. These devices measure the weight of each container, ensuring safe handling and preventing overloading.

Load cells play a vital role in mooring and anchoring systems. They measure the tension on mooring lines and anchor chains, ensuring they can withstand the forces exerted by wind, waves, and currents. This helps prevent ships from breaking free and protects the vessel and the surrounding infrastructure.

Cargo moving and weighing equipment at ports heavily rely on sensor technologies. Conveyor belts transporting bulk goods utilize load cells to measure the product’s weight accurately.

Many port and terminal crane systems incorporate load cells with built-in safety features to prevent overloading and potential accidents. These devices monitor the applied weight and automatically shut down or limit crane operation if the safe limit is exceeded.

The vehicles entering and leaving port terminals with cargo often pass over weighbridges equipped with load cells. These devices accurately measure the vehicle’s weight, ensuring compliance with weight regulations and preventing damage to infrastructure from overloaded vehicles. Scales using load cells ensure high-accuracy measurement.

Our load cell technologies ensure the safe and efficient operation of various port equipment by measuring the weight, tension, and compression forces exerted on different components, allowing operators to make informed decisions and prevent accidents.

Maritime Port and Terminal Applications Using Interface Products

  • Container Weighing
  • Ship-to-Shore Crane Load Monitoring
  • Ship Stability Testing
  • Quick Release Hooks (QRH)
  • Mooring Line Tension Monitoring
  • Dockside and Terminal Equipment
  • Container Handling Machines
  • Ship Loader Booms and Unloaders
  • Gantry Crane Safety Monitoring
  • Straddle Carriers
  • Conveyor Belt Design, Test and Measurement
  • Reach Stacker Automation

Due to the environment, safety requirements, and regulations for maintaining core operations of ports, quality sensor devices must withstand unpredictable conditions, including complete submersible use cases. Interface plays a vital role as a supplier of measurement solutions designed for maritime use. Our rugged weighing and force measurement products are designed for durable operation in areas that utilize waterways to transport goods from port to port.

We offer submersible products that meet harsh and extreme environmental requirements and are rugged in design. These products include our stainless steel load cells, load pins, load shackles, tension links, and several instrumentation devices.

Quick Release Hook (QRH) system

Mooring Lines Quick Release Hooks

A customer wants to test the strength of the cable line used in the hoist of their vessel. Customers need test their Quick Release Hook (QRH) system when their vessels are docked. They want to ensure the mooring lines are secured and the quick-release hooks can be easily and safely released. Interface’s WTSLP Stainless Steel Load Pin can be installed into the quick release hook, where forces from the mooring lines can be measured and displayed when paired with the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Module alarm can also be triggered for the customer when maximum safety workload capacities are reached or overloaded. Learn more here.

reach stacker lifting a heavy container

Port Reach Stacker Safety

A reach stacker is a vehicle used in shipping ports and container terminals to lift, move, and stack heavy containers. A force monitoring system is needed to ensure the safety of surrounding personnel and to determine if the reach stacker can lift heavy loads. Interface’s WTSLP Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pins can be installed into the corners of the lifting mechanism of the reach stacker, where heavy-loaded containers are lifted and moved. The force results are then transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display for Single Transmitters or directly to the customer’s PC with the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Read more.

Crane Capacity Verification

A customer wanted a system to detect if their crane block could lift heavy loads securely to keep working conditions and personnel safe at docks and other maritime transportation applications. If lifting capacities were exceeded, the customer wanted a system to alarm them in real time. Interface’s Model WTSATL-JR Aluminum Compact Wireless Tension Link Load Cell was used to measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules also triggered an alarm when the maximum capacity of weight/force was reached. The data was transmitted and could be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display or on the customer’s PC. Using this solution, the customer verified if the crane is safe and functional enough to lift its working load limit (WLL) or safe working load (SWL) capacity.

Boat Hoist

A customer needed a boat hoist system to lift boats out of water for maintenance. They wanted a wireless solution to monitor the forces being applied through the hoist system. Interface suggested using multiple WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackles at the pick-up points of the hoist mechanism. Data results of the individual loading points and total weight were transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial USB Base Station when connected to a PC or laptop with supplied Log100 software. Interface’s wireless system and solution successfully measured the boat’s weight and ensured it would be safely lifted out of the water.

Integrated seamlessly into various port machinery and equipment, Interface measurement devices provide highly accurate, real-time data to save costs, improve productivity, and keep workers and cargo safe during port operations.

Maritime Approved Solutions

What is Proof Testing and Why Does it Matter?

Proof testing determines that the failure of critical components and parts could result in costly damage to equipment and even injury in severe cases. Our measurement products are designed to be used in proof testing applications.

In proof testing applications, testing and measuring an object’s performance under extremely intense conditions, often above the specified operational use, is critical. This allows testing engineers to ensure the object can handle its rated load and go above and beyond to understand maximum performance and failure.

Interface load cells and data acquisition systems are frequently used for proof testing, which determines the strength and integrity of a test subject by applying a controlled, measured load to it. It is commonly used for general test and measurement applications for stress, fatigue, and materials testing. It is frequently used by industries such as construction, natural resources, infrastructure, heavy machinery, and manufacturing to verify the strong point and durability of objects and structures.

Top Three Reasons Why Proof Testing Matters

#1 Safety: Proof testing qualifies and quantifies the safety of equipment and structures that sustain substantial loads. Identifying weaknesses or defects is preventative, as failure can result in catastrophe. Proof testing for safety is standard for applications that include lifting equipment, rigging gear, structural supports, and components in aircraft or spacecraft.

#2 Quality: Proof testing is common during quality control to verify that equipment or materials meet the required specifications. Whether it is the equipment used in manufacturing equipment or the materials used to construct a building, proof testing is essential in defining and measuring adherence to quality standards.

#3 Reliability: Proof testing provides accurate data on the performance and trustworthiness of the tested objects. By understanding how it reacts under stress, product engineers and testing labs can validate the lifespan of a specific component or product. It is also used to define preventative maintenance requirements. It impacts production lines, product versioning, inspections, and, ultimately, the customer’s user experience.

Proof tests provide vital safety and performance measurements for equipment or structures with significant loads. It helps to prevent accidents, improve reliability, and ensure the quality and integrity of the tested item. Consult Interface Application Engineers to determine the best measurement devices for proof testing.

Proof Testing Using Load Cells

Step One: Load Cell and Set-Up

The starting point is selecting the proper measurement tool, in this case, a load cell. Consider the object’s size, expected load range, and accuracy requirements. Choose a load cell with a capacity slightly exceeding the maximum anticipated load during use.

TIP! Use Interface’s Load Cell Selection Guide

Mount the load cell and object in a stable, controlled environment. Ensure proper alignment and distribution of force on the load cell. Connect the load cell to the data acquisition system with a dedicated readout unit, computer software, or data logger, depending on your needs.

Step Two: Pre-Test and Zeroing

Most test engineers will run a pre-test at low load. This is done by applying a small force and monitoring the readings to ensure everything functions correctly and there are no extraneous signals. Zeroing the load cell to set the baseline measurement without any applied force is important. READ: Why Is Load Cell Zero Balance Important to Accuracy?

Step Three: The Test

When you start the proof test application and data recording, most technicians will increase the load gradually. As defined in a test plan, follow a preset loading schedule, typically in increments, until reaching the desired test load. This could be a static load held for a specific time or a cyclic load simulating real-world conditions. Next, using your load cell measurement instrumentation, monitor the load cell readings, object behavior, and any potential visual deformations throughout the test.

Step Four: Analysis

The proof testing provides data that can be used to analyze the load-displacement curve, identifying any deviations from expected behavior, excessive deflections, or potential failure points. Based on the data, determine if the object met the strength and performance requirements or exhibited any unacceptable flaws. This is why a high-performance, accurate load cell matters in proof testing. It determines the quality of your analysis. As with any testing, it is valuable to maintain records of the test procedure, data, and conclusions for future reference or further analysis. This step is crucial for regulatory and product liability requirements.

The specific requirements and procedures for proof testing will vary depending on the product, equipment, structure, industry standards, and regulations.

Proof Testing Example

The most straightforward solution, where it is necessary to measure the load in a tension cable subject to safety considerations, is to enclose the load cell in a compression cage, which converts tension into compression. The compression cell is trapped between the two plates. Thus, the load cell’s only overload failure mode is in compression, allowing a motion of 0.001″ to 0.010″ before the load cell becomes solid. Even if the load cell is destroyed, the compression cage cannot drop the load unless it fails. Therefore, the cage can be proof-tested with a dummy load cell or an overload-protected cell, and the risk of injury to personnel is avoided.

TIP! This example is detailed in our Interface Load Cell Field Guide. Get your copy here.

The nature of proof testing applications requires a diverse line of performance measurement tools. Interface products extend from overload capabilities for our precision LowProfile load cells to complete DAQ systems. These options provide perfect testing solutions when necessary to push the limits on a product, component, or part.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Enhancing Structural Testing with Multi-Axis Load Cells

Fatigue Testing with Interface Load Cells

Load Cells Built for Stress Testing

Benefits of Proof Loading Verification

Manufacturing: Furniture Fatigue Cycle Testing

Data AQ Pack Guide

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Force Measurement Solutions Support Innovation in Manufacturing

The manufacturing world is enormous, covering multiple industries and applications for force measurement. The manufacturing sector comprises factories and plants that use machines and equipment to build parts and final goods.

With an estimated 21 million manufacturing companies worldwide, the industry is also becoming more advanced and regulated, with technologies such as AI and automation influencing manufacturing processes to drive efficiency and safety.

There are various types of manufacturing, from repetitive, continuous, batch, job shop, and discrete.  All employ tools, machines, and equipment used through multiple processes. Manufacturers use Interface load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation to improve products and processes, meet performance requirements, automate machines, protect workers, and test designs. Force measurement supports innovation in manufacturing.

With advancements and process improvements, testing and measuring are primary to every manufacturing stage. It begins with product planning through machine building. Moving to assembly and monitoring production lines, sensors are at work through final distribution. Manufacturing engineers use Interface devices to test assembly line equipment, design and operate robotics, improve machinery, and operate tools like presses.

Manufacturing equipment and processes that utilize Interface load cells and torque transducers:

  • Conveyor Belts
  • Robotics and Cobots
  • Torque Wrenches
  • Tension Testing Machines
  • Weighing Systems and Scales
  • Heavy Machinery
  • Transportation and Moving Equipment
  • Mixers
  • Packaging Equipment
  • Sorting and Picking Devices
  • Material and Stress Testing Labs
  • Fatigue and Compression Testing Equip

How Manufacturers Use Interface Products

  • Research and Development: The measurement data from transducers provides a valuable roadmap to improving the design of products and processes.
  • Testing: Every product undergoes rigorous testing before hitting the line. Interface force measurement devices are essential for this manufacturing phase to validate the use, lifecycle, and materials.
  • Machine and Tool Building:  Machine builders use Interface sensor technologies to weigh raw materials, components, and finished products to ensure they meet the required specifications. Force measurement devices are important in measuring applied force by equipment and processes that help control product quality and prevent accidents. Machine builders frequently use load cells to monitor loads over time to detect and prevent potential machine problems. Read more about why Machine Builders Choose Interface.
  • Quality Assurance: Interface products are used to measure the weight of manufactured products to ensure that they meet specifications. This is important for consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other products where precise weight measurement is critical for safety and effectiveness.
  • Automation: Force measurement products are valuable in automation. As robotics, cobots, tools, and machinery are designed to automate tasks and processes in manufacturing, load cells like our multi-axis sensors provide valuable analysis data through all phases of automation.
  • Retrofitting Existing Equipment with Sensors: Manufacturers require modern tools and equipment to meet growing demands. Interface products are used to retrofit machines and update tools with sensor-based technologies, such as replacing machine pins with load pins that measure loading and lifting in real-time.
  • Safety and Regulation: Sensors prevent accidents by detecting dangerous conditions in the manufacturing industry. Using measurement systems for alarms, alerts, and monitoring of equipment and tools is critical in manufacturing plants.
  • Process Control: Manufacturing operations monitor the force or weight of materials in a facility to control the process and ensure that products are made to the correct specifications.
  • Productivity and Equipment Maintenance: Using Interface products to monitor the condition of equipment and detect potential problems before they cause downtime helps to prevent costly breakdowns and production delays.

Our depth of force measurement expertise and experience enable us to innovate, engineer, and produce the world’s most accurate, reliable, and quality sensor technology for manufacturers worldwide.  This can be seen through some specific application examples in which Interface solutions have been involved. We have included a few of these examples below.

robotic grinder containing 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition SystemRobotic Grinding and Polishing During Production

Robotic grinding and polishing are commonly used in manufacturing. Robots or cobots are programmed to grind and polish on varied materials and surfaces. A force measurement system must be implemented to monitor and control the force exerted on the grinding workpiece. Interface’s Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell can be installed between the flange and the grinding tool. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition, the customer can receive force and torque measurements when connected to their control system using BlueDAQ software. The 6A40-6 Axis Load Cell measures all forces and torques (Fx, Fʏ, Fz, Mx, Mʏ, Mz), and our BXB-HD44 Data Acquisition logs, displays and graphs these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system. Manufacturing: Robotic Grinding and Polishing application.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

A customer has a feed roller system that monitors the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. They preferred a wireless system. Interface suggested installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The forces were measured when connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data was 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 was displayed, graphed, and logged on the customer’s PC or laptop. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells installed at the bottom roller were able to measure and monitor the forces to maintain the straight feed by the rollers. Manufacturing: Feed Roller System app note.

Press Load Monitoring for Material Testing

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

Interface began designing and manufacturing load cells and other force measurement equipment in 1968. These precision load cells are commonly found in factories worldwide in testing equipment, scales, machines, and production line devices. Load cells help bring life to older machines with accurate measurements while in use, ultimately improving maintenance and worker safety in manufacturing.

Our force measurement products are versatile and valuable tools for manufacturers. Our sensor solutions improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and the equipment and tools used to make them.

Manufacturing Solutions Brochure

 

Examining Machine Builder Applications

Interface solutions test and measure the performance of all types of machines, from heavy-duty extraction equipment to tiny digits on robotic arms. Machine builders turn to Interface for the most precise and high-quality sensors for accurate data and device durability.

Responsibilities of machine builders generally include defining machine requirements and use cases, creating technical specifications and drawings, selecting materials and components, building and testing machines, and installing and maintaining machines.

The specific responsibilities of a machine builder vary depending on the size and complexity of the machines they build and the use case of the machine. Depending on the industry and application, machine builders provide systems and machinery to meet specific production and operational requirements. These machines can be used for tooling, assembly, press operations, automated guides, and even cobots.

Machine Builder Applications Using Interface Products

  • Industrial Automation Systems: This includes machines and systems used in manufacturing processes, such as robotic assembly lines, conveyor systems, and automated packaging machines. See: Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine App Note and Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions
  • Specialized Production Machinery: Machine builders design and build machinery for specific manufacturing processes, such as injection molding machines, CNC machines, or metal stamping presses. These machines form, stamp, and crush materials.
  • Facilities Equipment: Machines like forklifts, cranes, and conveyor systems fall under this category. They are designed to move and handle materials efficiently within a facility. Read: Cranes and Lifting
  • Universal Testing Machines (UTMs): These valuable machines test the mechanical properties of materials like metals, plastics, and composites.
  • Weighing Systems: Used in various production processes like batching, mixing, and filling, weighing systems and scales are commonplace in most manufacturing facilities. Learn more: Load Cells for Smarter and More Efficient Weighing

As the machine building space becomes more precise with the evolution of automation and focus on efficiency across industrial facilities, force measurement becomes more critical to machine builders.

Interface products are used broadly for a variety of machines. Force measurement products, including our load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation, aid machine builders by measuring force, weight, tension, compression, and torque.

Machine builders use Interface sensor technologies in applications that weigh raw materials, test component designs, and build finished products to ensure they meet the required specifications. Force measurement devices are essential in measuring the machines or the processes force to control product quality and prevent accidents. Machine builders frequently use load cells to monitor loads over time to detect and prevent potential machine problems.

Automation is one of the most critical requirements driving the need for force measurement and precise Interface solutions. Automated processes require consistency and accuracy in every piece of the process to enable efficiency gains.

Benefits of Interface force measurement devices include:

  • Improved safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced waste and operating costs
  • Quality improvement
  • Reduced downtime

Machine Builder Application Notes

Robotic Sanding and Grinder Machine

robotic grinder containing 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System

Robotic grinding and polishing are commonly used in manufacturing for industrial applications. Machine builders design robots or cobots to grind and polish on different materials and surfaces. A force measurement system can monitor and control the force exerted on the grinding product. Interface’s Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell can be installed between the flange and the grinding tool. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition, the customer can receive force and torque measurements when connected to their control system using BlueDAQ software. The customer connects the BX8’s analog outputs to their control system. This enables the customer to monitor, log, display, and graph these measurements. The results are sent to the customer’s control system via analog or digital output.

Press Machine Load Monitoring

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

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

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

Machine builders turn to Interface for solutions that support Industry 4.0 innovations, enabling more efficiency and machine advancements. These professionals rely on Interface for the accuracy and quality of our solutions, the depth of our product offerings, and our experienced team that can help our customers select the right solution for their next application or develop custom applications to fit unique needs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery

Interface Load Cells for Press Machines

Seat Testing Machine

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Sanding Machine Force Monitoring

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Robotic Solutions

Collaborative Robots Using Interface Sensors

Fastening Work Bench

 

Force Measurement Solutions for the Forestry Industry

The natural resources industry spans multiple subsectors, including minerals and mining, aquacultures, environmental services, water management, agribusiness, energy, and forestry.

Within the forestry sector, sensor technologies aid in optimizing operations, ensuring safety, and enhancing efficiency. Sensors are used in forestry heavy equipment, forest and timber management tools, logging machines, wood product manufacturing, pulp and paper manufacturing, and the recycling of forest products.

Interface force measurement solutions have a role across the continuum of forestry, from providing universal load cells to accurately measure the performance of tools and machinery during operations to supplying torque transducers for testing vehicles and equipment used in managing and securing resources.

Interface products are ideal for forest management, harvesting, and processing use cases, whether designing heavy-duty machinery using load cells to prevent overloading or protecting operators with sensor-based alarm systems and monitoring tools.

Interface devices are used in tree harvesting equipment to measure the force required to cut down trees accurately, ensuring minimal waste and maximizing resource utilization. With heavy machinery, such as log skidders and loaders, force sensors can precisely measure the weight of logs and timber transported. This data aids in preventing overloading, which can damage the equipment and negatively impact the environment. Interface sensors, including our load pins and load shackles, are also used in crane and winch systems to measure weight and load in lifting and lowering logs with the appropriate force.

Timber Weighing and Harvesting

A timber company needed a weighing system for sustainable forest management and to measure the amount of timber harvested. Weighing and monitoring harvested timber helps with resource monitoring and contributes to the overall sustainability of the forestry industry. Interface suggested creating a truck weighing scale to weigh logging trucks before and after loading timber. Multiple SSLP Stainless Steel LowProfile Universal Load Cells with WTS-BS-1E Wireless Transmitter Modules were installed under the weighing bridge. The load cells transmitted the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with the provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display could also display the weight inside for the driver to see in real-time. Results were viewed on the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System used in the logging truck weighbridge was highly accurate and efficient, creating better resource management and conservation. Read more here.

TIP: Check out the Wonderful World of Wireless webinar for additional tips and products that work in remote forestry environments.

Monitoring systems are another important application in forestry that utilizes Interface products to monitor the health and stability of trees. By implementing Interface sensors to measure the force exerted on tree trunks due to wind or other environmental factors, forest managers can assess the risk of tree fall and make informed decisions about tree removal to prevent accidents and property damage.

Forestry Applications Using Interface Measurement Solutions

Forest Management: This involves planning and implementing strategies to maintain and enhance the health and productivity of forests. It includes reforestation, forest inventory, pest control, and wildfire management.

Timber Harvesting: Timber harvesting is cutting and removing trees from forests for various purposes, including producing lumber, pulpwood, and other wood products. Sustainable harvesting practices are essential to ensure the long-term health of forests.

Wood Processing: Once harvested, trees are processed into wood products such as lumber, plywood, particleboard, and wood pulp. These products are used in construction, furniture manufacturing, and paper production.

Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs): Besides wood, forests provide a wide range of non-timber forest products, including fruits, nuts, mushrooms, medicinal plants, and wildlife. These products are often harvested sustainably for food, medicine, and other purposes.

Bioenergy: Forest biomass, such as wood chips and sawdust, can be a renewable energy source for biofuels and biomass power generation.

Forestry_InfographicPoster

Interface load cells, instrumentation, load pins and shackles, and our wireless telemetry systems are utilized and implemented across various forestry applications, contributing to sustainable practices. If you want to learn more about Interface’s Natural Resources Industry solutions, please contact our application engineers for assistance.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Natural Resources Brochure

Digging Into Interface Mining Industry Solutions

Heavy Truck Test and Measurement Solutions

Interface Measurement Solutions for the Natural Resources Industry

Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar

Lifting

Crane Block Safety Animated Application Note

Weighing Solutions Guide

 

Interface Load Cells for Press Machines

Press machines are designed to measure and apply force for various reasons. Hydraulic presses can be used to shape materials or crush objects. Stamping presses make a visible impression or stamp onto materials, such as a pharmaceutical tablet or logo on a food product. Even sandwich presses follow many of the characteristics of more industrial presses.

Press machines are used across automotive, aerospace, construction, consumer goods, medical, agriculture, mining, and other industries.  The presses produce consistent, cost-effective quality parts, tools, and products. No matter what kind of press machine, it must undergo rigorous testing during the machine-building process. During operation, there must be continuous monitoring of the press force used in each application.

NEW! Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Interface load cells are critical to designing, testing, and using accurate and reliable press machinery. Interface load cells come in various shapes, dimensions, and capacities, allowing press machine builders and engineers to find the best solution for their specific machinery use case. Whether selecting a miniature load button load cell for a small press test or our WMC Load Cell to integrate into the machine, Interface has a range of products for press machine applications.

Benefits of using load cells in press machines:

  • Enhance Operator Safety
  • Prevention of Overloading
  • Improve Consistency
  • Avoid Damage to Equipment
  • Reduce Waste and Scrap
  • Increase Quality and Consistency of Work Product
  • Improve Process Control
  • Extend the Life of the Machine’s Operation
  • Increase Productivity

In a press machine test, the load cell is typically placed between the ram of the press and the die, where it can measure the force being applied to the object. The load cell is usually connected to a readout or display showing the operator the force applied to the part or material. This readout may be a simple analog or digital display, depending on the specific press and load cell being used in the machine. Review our Instrumentation Selection Guide to find the best option for your press.

There are numerous options for the types of load cells used for press machine applications. Hydraulic presses are some of the most common presses that use load cells. These machines are often built to form metal parts, such as gears, shafts, and bearings. The construction industry uses presses to assemble and test concrete structures. These presses are designed to crush and process minerals and ore in mining.

Mechanical presses are typically used for high-precision applications, such as metal stamping and forming. Miniature load cells are used in more precise applications that require smaller measurements. These use cases are often reserved for the medical or consumer goods industry, where the goal is to provide a stamping force for medicine or candy to label the product without crushing or damaging it. A precision Interface load cell ensures that the force applied to the material is consistent and accurate.

Another type of press using a sensor is known as a screw press which forms and compacts materials such as plastic and rubber. These press machines are found in chemical, food, and waste processing facilities.

Depending on the measurement capacity needed in the machine’s application, two popular Interface options are the Rod End Load Cells and Mini WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Load Cells. A rod end load cell is typically installed at the end of the piston or ram, where it can measure the tension or compression force being applied during the pressing operation.  These load cells provide accurate and reliable force measurement in various presses.

Press Forming and Load Monitoring

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

Tablet Forming Machine Optimization

A pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces the tablet forming machine applied to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, form, force, and the motor’s cycle speed. The goal was to improve the productivity and efficiency of the tablet-forming process while reducing losses (i.e., cracked tablets or voids) by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criteria for given inputs. An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell (10K lbf Capacity) was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data. After analyzing the data, the tablet producer could quantify adjustment levels by monitoring which forces produced optimal results for a given cycle speed, die set, and raw material. The enhancement of the data feedback significantly improves productivity and efficiency.

Candy Stamp Force Testing

Manufacturers of hard-shell candies often stamp text or logos on the candy shells. Stamping too hard breaks the candy shell and stamping too light results in an uneven or incomplete imprint. Using a test apparatus with an Interface Model WMC Mini Load Cell attached to hydraulic actuators was discovered to be an accurate way to measure the compression force required. Engineers determined the specific force needed to properly apply the imprint without breaking the candy shell using this solution.

Using Interface load cells on a press machine is a valuable investment that can help to improve the quality of the products being produced, extend the life of the press machine, and reduce the risk of accidents.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Press Forming and Load Monitoring

Press Load Monitoring App Note

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery