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Interface Sensor Mounting and Force Plates

Test and measurement systems are defined by the sensor, instrumentation, and mounting hardware. Mounting considerations are crucial when designing your system. Utilizing best practices in mounting is also extremely important, especially if you are utilizing multi-axis sensors. Deflections in the system can introduce errors and apparent crosstalk into the sensor measurement.

Mounting plates are used to secure sensors during use. The plates should emulate how the sensor was calibrated, so if it was calibrated on stiff plates these characteristics should be duplicated when using the sensor. Plates should be stiff in design, as a flimsy plate secured on corners can introduce errors, such as off-axis loading, due to bending.

Interface mounting plates are made from the best grade alloy and stainless-steel, machined to the tightest specifications, and are designed exclusively to maintain the performance of the sensor in your application.

Interface Mounting Plates Features and Benefits

  • Designed to work with Interface products
  • Made with the highest quality components and processes
  • Created to maintain the specification of the sensors
  • Distributes the load over the foundation of the supporting structure
  • Provides a prepared surface for the load cell
  • Eliminates the requirement for expansion assemblies in most installations
  • Available in standard and custom options

Mounting instructions are specific to each sensor model. Interface offers complete product datasheets and drawings to locate the features for mounting. We also publish mounting instructions for our torque transducer models, as highlighted in our recent Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Solutions webinar. The instructions we offer include model, material, capacity, mounting holes, threads and dowel pins and pilot specifications, for both live and dead-end use.

Plates must deflect uniformly to minimize local deformation at the mating surfaces. You may need to use a double plate mounting arrangement, also known as a sandwich mount. In this case, they need to be suitably thick. They must be flat and smooth and the same material as the sensor for thermal matching.

Interface offers top plates and bottom plates for load cells. Mounting Plates for Low Profile™ Load Cells are used in the installation of a compression load cell under a weigh bridge, tank, or other structure normally requires that mounting plates be used. The bottom plate is designed to mate with the load cell and is fabricated of mild steel. It distributes the load over the foundation or supporting structure and provides a prepared surface for the load cell.

The top plate distributes the load to the weighing structure and provides a hard surface for the load button. The top plate will move on the button due to thermal expansion, load shifting, wind loading, and other side loads. The high side load capacity of the Interface load cell eliminates the requirement for expansion assemblies in most installations. Mounting plates are suitable for compression loads only; they will not properly support a universal load cell used in tension.

Interface has recently introduced force plates. Interface Force Plates are a system of multiple multi-axis sensors mounted between two plates. They are ideal for larger capacities than single 6-Axis sensors and can react high moments. Results dependent on characteristics of the plates and other system components and for load introduction and bigger sensors, you should consider in-situ calibration.  Force plates are used for applications such as robotic arms. When secured at the base of the arm, the four sensors are providing feedback during use.

You can learn more about force plates and mounting plates for multi-axis sensors in our latest webinar. Learn more by watching the multi-axis webinar here.

Interface offers mounting plates in our accessories product line. For custom applications, such as our force plates or multi-axis mounting plates and systems, contact our Application Engineers today.

Additional Resources

3A Mounting Instructions

 

Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Market Research

Recently, Interface commissioned an independent research report on multi-axis sensors demand and use cases. This is a product line that Interface has made significant investments in as more customers require increased load cell functionality and additional source data from their force sensors. The research results confirm that the current demand is in fact expanding worldwide, and the overall users and market size is expected to grow by double digits over the next six years.

Included below is a brief overview of the state of the multi-axis, as well as an explanation of their overall purpose and why the growth of this type of test and measurement device continues to increase in popularity. We will also continue to break out the results of this research paper, so tune into the InterfaceIQ blog for more multi-axis research content. To learn more about these advanced sensors, view our ForceLeaders webinar Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors.

Multi-Axis Sensors Market Overview: The rise of IoT and Industry 4.0 had enabled automation. Machines continue to get smarter and can make split-second decisions using real-time data. Force measurement plays a key role in this transformation. Load cells that are tracking performance and reliability have more insights than ever before. They will continue to grow in their accuracy and capabilities. Load cell and sensor technologies are being used to identify precisely when and where something went wrong on a production line. Load cells will be growing in playing a key role in making production lines more efficient, less reliant on human resources and less costly.

There has been increased need for multi-axis sensors that measure and collect data points on up to six axes. Multi-axis sensors were invented because of the increased requirements for data, both in testing and during actual product use. And this is not slowing down anytime soon. Over the next decade, load cells will continue to keep up with the demand to handle more measurement data points. More sensors will need to be packed into a single device to collect more data with less equipment.

Five Key Take-Aways from Interface’s Multi-Axis Market Research:

  1. There is a growing requirement for high-performance sensor fusion of multi-axis sensor systems to enable the newly emerging technologies and highly demanding applications.
  2. Advancements in technology enabling effective components at a lighter and smaller size, such as the swift rise of unmanned vehicles in both the defense and civil applications and the increasing applications based on motion sensing, are the factors driving the multi-axis sensor use cases for testing and to embed into products.
  3. Digitizing force sensors is another trend changing our product innovators and manufacturer’s designs of machines and equipment through advanced measurement data. Many have strongly invested in more advanced digital electronics to efficiently harvest and store more data. Revolutions in industries and technologies is the dominant trend in force measurement, not to mention the entire manufacturing and engineering industry. Harnessing big data enables product users to remotely monitor assets and increase use of analytics.
  4. With network-connected force measurement through sensors and instrumentation, OEMs have greater control over testing and product development. Equipment using multi-axis sensors to track performance and reliability provide valuable data on how equipment is performing and predict when machines need maintenance.
  5. Global machine makers and equipment builders want smaller force sensors they can permanently install in the products. Smaller, wireless sensors are easier and less expensive to install. As more industrial networks are created to share higher-quality data, more and more sensors will be added to these machines.

What: Multi-axis sensors allow the user to measure forces and torques, which occur in more than one spatial direction, as with measurements in x- and y-direction. This allows manufacturers to obtain more data on a wider variety of axes, allowing them to make better design decisions and ultimately improve the product quality. A crucial focus is force measurement in manufacturing, where force transducers are frequently used to determine the force for weight measurement or in the process of production.

Why? Data-driven test and measurement is at the forefront of product development, especially in highly regulated markets like aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial. One of the most significant applications for multi-axis sensors is seen in manufacturing facilities who want to integrate more autonomy and robotic processes. The goal is to streamline logistics procedures and reduce human errors and workplace accidents. The report also found that there is a great deal interest for last-mile delivery robots, either on the ground, on the sea or drones in the air.

Interface’s Role: Interface multi-axis load cells are ideal for industrial and scientific applications. They are used by engineers and testing labs in various industries and market segments including aerospace, robotics, automotive, advanced manufacturing, for medical devices and research. Our products designed to provide the most comprehensive force and torque data points on advanced machinery. With our industry-leading reliability and accuracy, these multi-axis sensors can provide the data our customers need to ensure performance and safety in their product design.

In fact, their unique capabilities are helping the medical industry optimize prosthetic designs and usability standards with multi-axis sensor testing. The automotive industry is using Interface’s multi-axis products in wind tunnels, and the military is using them to test the center of gravity in aerospace applications.

Here are a few applications use cases that show how multi-axis is advancing products in multiple industries:

Wind Tunnel

Seat Testing Machine

Friction Testing

Industrial Robotic Arm

Ball and Socket Prosthetic

Prosthetic Foot Performance

Syringe Plunger Force Measurement

Research was conducted independently by Search4Research.

Faces of Interface Featuring Jeff Boyd


Interface Regional Sales Director Jeffrey Boyd has a long history in the force measurement industry and is an incredible addition to the Interface sales team. You see, force measurement runs in Jeff’s blood!

Jeff originally got into the industry because he watched and listened to his dad talk about his experience at another force measurement manufacturer, Sensor Development. In fact, his dad actually helped start the company when he joined the owner shortly after the company was founded. You could say that Jeff was somewhat groomed for success in this field.

To prepare for his destined career, Jeff spent a few years at Oakland University. After that, he quickly joined up with his dad at Sensor Development. Jeff started in the calibration department, learning the ins and outs of strain gages, load cells, torque sensors and everything in between. After a few years, he was leading both the calibration services and customer service department. Jeff was in charge of ensuring customer satisfaction when products came in for repair, service or calibration.

After several years getting hands on with the products and developing critical expertise in the various sensors the company sold, Jeff decided it was time to transition into a sales role. He originally began as a sales engineer helping to develop customer quotes and working directly with the engineering department on custom applications. His success in sales lead him to become a regional sales manager in 2014.

From 2014 to 2017, Jeff served as regional sales manager for Sensor Development until it was bought out by HITEC Sensors and was renamed to HITEC Sensors Development. Jeff remained with HITEC for another four years before it was time for exploring new opportunities.

Due to his experience in the industry, Jeff was familiar with the Interface brand and our product’s reputation for quality and accuracy. Right about the time Jeff’s time with HITEC was coming to end, Interface had an opening for a Regional Sales Position due to Keith Skidmore‘s promotion to our specialized Custom Solutions team.

Jeff joined Interface in the Spring of 2021 and is a perfect fit, technically and professionally. Not only because of Jeff’s years of experience, also because he continues to live in Michigan and will be covering Interface’s Central U.S. region working with our manufacturer’s representative firm, Stress Analysis Services. He’ll be working with our sales reps, including John Guy, and our customers to ensure they get exactly what they require from Interface. He knows the area and knows the needs of the industry well.

As for why Jeff chose Interface, he says it’s because of the people. Throughout the interview process and during these first few weeks, Jeff mentioned how supportive and friendly his teammates and the leaders of the company are working to ensure his success. He also sees the trajectory that Interface is currently on and knows that he will have an opportunity to grow and thrive alongside Interface.

When he’s not helping customers find the perfect product or customer solution for their test and measurement needs, Jeff is spending time with his wife and his five grown sons and granddaughter. Living through the cold Michigan winters make vacationing to the warmth a must. Jeff and his wife frequently travel to Las Vegas and Arizona or any other warm state to escape. Though, they also like to spend some of their time cheering on their favorite football teams. Notably, the household is a bit divided when it’s game time. Jeff is also an avid golfer and spends a lot of his down time on the course.

We’re so glad to have Jeff on our team as our new ForceLeaders member and we can’t wait to see what we’ll achieve together in interest of our valued Interface customers.

Interface Continues Expansion in International Markets

Interface is well-known across the U.S. for being the leading provider of premium force measurement products. We are heralded for our products’ and systems’ accuracy and reliability from coast to coast, and tens of thousands of manufacturers, test labs and more use our equipment every day to verify designs and test hardware.

However, did you know that Interface also has a strong presence in international markets including Europe, China, India and more? Interface has a long history of serving customers around the world. Our global outreach is supported by a very formidable network of distributors who work in-market to help customers with their force measurement needs.

In a continued effort to meet the global demands for precision sensor solutions, we have expanded our reach to customers across all continents to deliver the Interface products. In fact, despite the challenges of the past year, we had our best year in China in Interface’s 52-year history. Additionally, we’ve had substantial growth each month, and at the start of 2021 in global sales in APAC, LATAM and EMEA. We are at parity with our domestic sales in fulfilling demand.

Our growth in these markets is due to a concerted effort to speak directly with customers across these regions and find out more about their specific needs. Prior to the pandemic, we were attending more shows than ever and visiting customer sites internationally more frequently. Now, as like most of the world, we are conducting business around the clock via online meetings and with a hyper-focus on listening, learning and feedback mechanisms.

One of the direct results of these efforts was the creation of our Global Standard® Force Measurement (G Series) offering. Due to the increased requests for its high-precision, high-accuracy and high-reliability force measurement sensors designed and manufactured in the International System of Units (SI), commonly known as the metric system, Interface launched the new International G Series product lineup in August 2020.

The G Series debuted with Interface’s most popular Mini™ load cells, enabling international customers to purchase these Global Standard Force Measurement products through the company’s large network of more than 37 distributors outside of the United States. You can locate a distributor in your area here. These products are the first Interface manufactured products near market. The facility’s proximity to core markets in Asia shortens the time and cost for customers to receive quality Interface products.

The G Series products available today include:

GLBM Series Load Button Load Cells – The GLBM Series Load Button Load Cells are strain gauge-based transducers with temperature compensation and excellent overall performance. This type provides a range of capacities up to 200kN with better than ±0.5% (full scale) non-linearity.

GSMTM Series Mini™ S-Beam Load Cell – The GSMTM Series Miniature S-Type Load Cells are a bi-directional aluminum strain gauge-based transducer with high performance and built-in temperature compensation. This design provides better than ±0.1% (full scale) non-linearity and includes overload protection in both tension and compression directions.

GWMC Series Mini™ Threaded In-Line Load Cells (10kN – 50kN) -The GWMC Series Miniature Threaded In-Line Load Cells are strain gauge-based transducers with temperature compensation and excellent overall performance. This type measures tensile and compressive loads up to 50kN with better than ±0.5% non-linearity.

GWMC Series Mini™ Threaded In-Line Load Cells (200N – 5000N) – The GWMC Series Miniature Threaded In-Line Load Cells are strain gauge-based transducers with temperature compensation and excellent overall performance. This type measures tensile and compressive loads up to 5000N with better than ±0.25% non-linearity.

In addition to the G Series product line, we are also evaluating new low-cost solutions that continue to meet Interface’s signature accuracy and reliability for our international markets. What we are hearing from our global customers about new solution requirements that range from middle ground low-cost, low-reliability force measurement products to Interface’s more premium jumbo or specialty product options.

To learn more about Interface and its solutions for international customers, please visit us at www.interfaceforce.com. Additionally, you can find the G Series solutions here: www.interfaceforce.com/global/.

Contributor:  Lloyd Fisher, VP International Sales

Robotics in Play with New Animated Application Using ConvexBT

Numerous factors are driving the industry 4.0 revolution. From big data to IoT technology, industrial facilities and manufacturing plants are looking at new ways to automate their process and create a more efficient and cost-effective environment. One of the most important technology advancements in this mix is robotics.

Robotic equipment is a common industry 4.0 innovation used to create an autonomous or semi-autonomous machine capable of carrying out a variety of repetitive tasks that used to take up the time of skilled labor. Some of the tasks or processes that robotics enhance include stock management and logistics, manufacturing automation, janitorial duties and, there are even robotic applications called co-bots that assist human workers when ultra-high precision is needed.

To facilitate the demand for robotics, a variety of sensor and measurement components are necessary to ensure the highest quality and reliability of these application. Many tasks carried out by robotic applications are ultra-precise and require more accuracy than what a human hand or eye can handle.

Sensor technologies embedded in the actual robotics instrument must also be used to constantly calibrate or monitor the robotics. If robotics is used on an automated manufacturing line, any issues with the robotics can disrupt and compromise the entire process. Therefore, robotics manufacturers utilize Interface solutions when they need quality sensors that can monitor the precision of the robotics and ensure that their accuracy and reliability is maintained.

Interface develops high-quality test and measurement solutions designed for hardware testing of all kind. For robotics, our products are frequently used as a component within an OEM device. We understand the premium accuracy and reliability necessary to help develop robotics solutions and have provided both off-the-shelf and custom force measurement solutions designed to meet a variety of applications. We recently created an animated application note on an industrial automation robotic arm using our new light weight, light touch load button load cell, the ConvexBT.

The ConvexBT is designed for testing and also for full integration into the robotic element to measure the force pressure during use.  ConvexBT is available in multiple capacities, including our latest release of the 500lb and 1Klb models.

NEW! Interface Robotic Arm Application Note

A customer came to Interface with a robotic arm product that would be used to lift and move delicate objects, such as a glass bottle, in an automated environment. The goal in using Interface was to find a force measurement product that could ensure the robotic arm did not damage the products it was moving by applying too much force. The main component that Interface products would be applied to is the robotic arms’ clamp. The objective was monitoring the grabbing pressure of the clamp and ensure that the device would stop applying pressure when the necessary force was used to pick up the object without doing damage.

Using its new line of Load Button Load Cells, ConvexBT, and a DMA2 DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, Interface provided a solution that would produce an electric signal on the clamping process that tells a controller to have the device stop applying pressure. Two ConvexBT products were connected underneath the rubber pads on both sides of the robotic arm clamping device. When the clamps made contact and applied pressure, the DMA2 Signal Conditioner converted the signal from the ConvexBT from MV/V to volts to a PLC controller. This signal tells the controller when to have the robotic arm stop applying clamping force.

Ultimately, the two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells were able to accurately measure the amount of pressure applied to the object the robotic arm was lifting and moving without causing any harm or damage to the object.

This is just one of many examples of force measurement products being used in the robotics and automation industry. As the demand for robotics grows and a wider variety of applications are introduced, Interface will continue to engineer the best solutions to help customers reach the age of Industry 4.0.

To learn more about Interface solutions for the robotics and automation industry, please visit /solutions/. You can also check out our case study on the for industrial automation and robotics use here.

Looking Forward to the New Year

2020 has been a challenging year for most. Despite the disruption every person and industry has faced this past year, Interface continues to keep our eyes on the future. What can we do to meet our customer’s needs today and tomorrow?

One of the ways that Interface has accomplished this intense focal point is by setting our sights on the increasing number of requests for specific drawings and engineered to order force, torque, and specialized product lines. These requests provide us unique visibility in evolving product development concepts and the overall T&M landscape for the customers we serve.

Through Interface’s continued investments in R&D, analyzing the marketplace, and anticipating customer needs, we’ve identified key trends that we believe will have a significant positive impact in meeting our customer’s current requirements and preparing for future demands.

The first trend we see today is our customer’s increased focus on miniaturization. Innovation using sensor technologies continues to shrink in dimensions yet require the same or greater level of precision performance. We see this in all types of devices and hand-held technologies, industrial automation, robotics, as well as in automotive and consumer product inventions.

The trend towards miniaturization in the medical device industry has been happening for quite some time; however, the capabilities and precision requirements continue to become more stringent and demanding of higher levels of performance. For example, with trends in at-home care remote monitoring has caused medical device manufacturers to develop mobility for devices. They’re also taking diagnostic machines and turning them into a handheld version so doctors can administer medical tests quickly and efficiently at the point of care, rather than sending patients out of home for administering or tracking.

To address product development challenges related to devices that becoming more compact, Interface is engineering and manufacturing precision components that excel in confined space. We’ve already begun to address this in 2020 with the release of our ultra-precision ConvexBT™ Load Button Load Cells.

ConvexBT is a first of its kind load button load cell, providing better temperature resistance and more enhanced eccentric load rejection than other competitive products. For many years, miniature load cells categorized as load buttons have been sensitive to off-axis, eccentric or misaligned loads. This means if the load is not exactly perpendicular to the surface it is resting on, the data could become skewed or inaccurate. Interface designed the ConvexBT load button load cell to confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell providing superior performance in comparison to similar products on the market. Read more about the product release here.

The next key trend we are prepared to address in 2021 and beyond is test and measurement systems that address complex and multi-dimensional testing requirements. Historically, load cells and torque transducers have addressed force, torque, and weight in a variety of single product groups. And these devices would be added to a test series with a host of other sensors or get multiple outputs through a variety of tests. More and more customers want measurement devices that include additional outputs from the sensors to account for things like acceleration, temperature, humidity, and more.

We see this in growing requests for adding accelerometers in our load cells and torque transducers. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines and tires. By adding an accelerometer, the device can be used to measure both torque and acceleration. This addresses our customer’s desire to simplify their test process and it provides more data in a single test to expand use cases and applications.  As this desire for more data and fewer testing devices grows, Interface is continuing the expansion of engineered to order and customized load cells to allow for dual measurements in a single component.

This trend is closely related to the need for a complete system. Systems are often completely customized to a single project or program that provides the measurement device, instrumentation, cabling, and housing. These systems can also be mobilized with wireless components for field applications.  The group of custom solutions engineers have created multiple versions of these systems used in energy, aerospace, and T&M labs.

Despite the challenges of the last year, Interface is hyper-focused on innovation and the ability to address the evolving needs of our customers. If you want to measure it, then Interface is here to help you create the right solution to get exactly what is required for your invention, product improvement or test. How can we help you win in 2021?

The Anatomy of a Load Cell

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes the things we use everyday work? At Interface, our engineers think about what makes up an Interface load cell on the production floor and in our design lab every day.

Whether we are manufacturing a new load cell or speaking to a customer about how it can help solve their test and measurement challenges, we are always thinking about what a load cell can do and how to perfect the process of building one that exceeds all customer expectations in performance, reliability and accuracy.

One thing that people ask us about all the time is, what does it look like inside the pioneering Interface blue load cell? In the photo below, you have a cross-section of a basic load cell identifying each of the components and how it all comes together to provide industries around the globe world-class force measurement solutions.

The first component to understand is the strain gage. This mechanism is embedded in the gage cavity and is a sensor that varies its resistance as it is stretched or compressed. When tension or compression is applied, the strain gage converts force, pressure, and weight into a change that can then be measured in the electrical resistance. You can read more in our recent strain gage 101 blog. Here at Interface, we manufacture our own strain gages in-house to ensure premium quality and accuracy.

The main features of a strain gage are illustrated in the following image:

  1. Grid Lines – strain sensitive pattern
  2. End Loops – provide creep compensation
  3. Solder Pads – used to solder interconnecting wire to the gage
  4. Fiducials – assist with the gage alignment
  5. Backing – insulates and supports foil and bonds the strain gage to the flexure

There are also multiple gage configurations depending on the type of load cell. These include:

  • Linear – measures the strain under bending (used in mini beam load cells)
  • Shear – measures strain under shear force (used in low-profile load cells)
  • Poisson – measures strain under normal stress (used in the Interface 2100 Series Column Load Cells)
  • Chevron – measures strain under torsion (used in the Interface 5400 Series Flange Load Cells)

The next component to understand is the load bearing component of the load cell. It is made up of the hub, diaphragm, outer ring, inner ring and base. This component deflects under load to allow the strain gages to send a signal through the connector to the data acquisition device. Customization can include changing the metal materials used to meet environmental or strength concerns and designing the beam height and thickness to meet certain size and stress considerations.

The mounting ring and connector are also incredibly important to the proper use of a load cell and accurate data collection. The mounting ring is the area in which the load cell is mounted to the test rig to measure force and collect data. It is important to pay attention to mounting instructions because an improperly mounted load cell can cause inaccurate results, as well as damage to the load cell. There are also mounting adapters available to fit a wide variety of test rigs.

The connector is the component that allows the load cell to connect to a data acquisition device. The connector is attached via a wire to the data acquisition device and force data is sent through this device to the user through ethernet or Bluetooth® depending on the load cell and data acquisition device configuration. Interface also sells a wide variety of data acquisition devices.

Load cells have many configurations and capacities. In fact, we have made tens of thousands of them over the years to meet standard, modified and engineered to order specifications. The load cell diagram above represents a popular low profile “pancake” load cell.  There are many other styles including miniature load cells, bending and dual bending beams, column-style, S-beam and load button load cells. However, even as the shapes and uses change, the anatomy remains relatively similar, with these main components acting as the workhorse of the load cell and providing accurate force data to the user.

For more information on Interface and our wide range of load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices check out our product categories on our site or download our product literature here.

Testing for Commercial Drones and Parcel Delivery

Drone parcel delivery, and the use of drones in general, has expanded rapidly throughout the world. A technology that was once relegated to science fiction and imagination is becoming a real-world asset and making a huge impact on many commercial use applications in military and defense, consumer goods, logistics and inventory management, industrial automation, construction, security, agriculture, healthcare, imaging and surveying, as well as shipping and fulfillment.

To give you an idea of the impact of drones, take a look at recent numbers published by the FAA on registered drones in the U.S.:

  • 1,710,159 Drones Registered
  • 495,909 Commercial Drones Registered
  • 1,210,751 Recreational Drones Registered
  • 195,346 Remote Pilots Certified

There is a significant role for test and measurement as well as embedded sensors in this growing industry, which is expected to reach of $6B in size in the next few years. Load cells play a huge part in the design and development of this specialized aircraft technology and ongoing monitoring while in flight. Drones are classified as unmanned aerial vehicles. Basically, an aircraft without a human pilot. Successful operation of a UAV is dependent on a system, including the vehicle, a ground-based controller, and communications components, all of which must pass rigorous performance testing standards and constant data feedback.

The knowledge and tools we apply to test and measure airplanes and spacecraft performance can be transferred at a smaller scale to drones. Drone OEMs need to collect data points on thrust and velocity in test, and they also need to collect real-time sensor data on drones in-use. In fact, a large variety of sensor types are used for drone applications, including: force sensors, gyroscopes, barometers, and accelerometers.

Most recreational drones have passed significant testing during the engineering and design phase to ensure safety for anyone on the ground. Early applications and adoption sparked immediate regulation and safety requirements. We are now seeing the fastest expansion of this technology into commercial use. The future of drone technology for wide-scale business use has several of the world’s largest companies engaged in expansive development and deployment in use of UAVs for package delivery, including Alphabet (Google), Amazon, UPS, CVS and Walmart.

Commercial applications require substantially more rigorous testing in all use cases, in particular for transportation of objects. Most developed countries have defined commercial use requirements and regulations, such as the FAA in the U.S. Not only is the safety of those on the ground important critical, so is protecting the value of the goods in transport.

In demonstrating how force measurement solutions are used with drone technology, Interface created animated application note showcasing how a force solution is necessary for real-time monitoring of drones used in the shipping and fulfillment markets. Testing beyond flight, there is a level of complexity present when you introduce the weight of a package to a drone.

DRONE TESTING USE CASE

Customer Challenge:

A customer approached Interface to deliver a force solution capable of weighing a “payload” and using that data in real-time to tell the propeller motors to compensate for weight shifting or uneven weight distribution. The purpose of the force solution was to help the drone lift the payload and fly normally to reach its destination.

Interface Force Measurement Solution:

To solve this challenge, Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells, which were used to measure the weight of the payload and detect weight shifting and distribution in flight. As shifting and uneven distribution occurred, the load cells send a signal to the necessary propeller motors to compensate.

How it Works:

The four miniature load cells are connected independently to each of the four landing gear legs. The load cells are then connected to the drone’s processor, which allows the load cell to communicate the weight of the payload and store the information. As the drone flies and weight shifts, the load cell can then relay the information to the processor in real-time so that the individual motors increase in RPM to balance the shifting weight.

Subscribe to Interface’s YouTube Channel to see our latest animated application notes. This new series of animated application notes give viewers a better sense of how force measurement products are applied to real-world challenges to collect and analyze data. So far, we have produced three animated application notes, which we have linked below:

 

Interface Engineered to Order Solutions

Load cells and torque transducers come in many different capacities, sizes and capabilities. They are used in nearly every industry that manufactures any type of hardware device or component. From testing minute forces on miniaturized medical devices, all the way up to measuring force in the construction of enormous suspension bridges or even rocket engines. The point is, there is no one size fits all in the force measurement world when performance matters.

What makes Interface uniquely the leader and is a true differentiator in the force measurement industry is our ability to provide engineered to order solutions to meet our customer’s exact application requirements.

Innovation across multitudes of industries has provided the opportunity to be more creative in utilizing Interface proprietary technology and engineering talent in the development of new force measurement devices. More and more we find ourselves leaning on our experts using our proprietary strain gages and product designs to develop solutions that meet the needs of our customer’s unique projects and end-products.

Through our work on modifications and custom solutions, we have expanded our product offerings to more than 37,000 uniquely designed products spanning across 52 years of development. Once initiating as a custom solution, many of these products have made their way into our catalog as standard products based on growing trends and larger demands.

There is also another form of customization, or more accurately termed modification, that we are seeing more and more as Interface grows our engagement with OEM customers. We call this “engineered to order” solutions. These solutions are different from full customization and critical in serving our diverse customers.

Designers and builders of high-volume products may have opted in the past for simplistic testing technology that lacks consistency, quality, accuracy and reliability. As product failures or customer satisfaction wanes based on performance, OEMs are driven to find force measurement solutions they can depend on for precise measurement and performance. This is also indicative of the times we are in utilizing advancements in production, technology and even robotics to produce products.

It is essential for product makers and engineers to find reliable solutions for accurately monitoring and testing product performance in real-time. In short, they need sensor capabilities that meet their product manufacturing volume, safety requirements and overall robust product performance standards. This is very typical in industrial markets where OEM customers want to monitor machines in the moment and more accurately predict fatigue or when a machine will need to be repaired, reducing overall downtime and saving money.

To best serve OEM customers and testing engineers with premium and affordable force measurement solutions, Interface offers engineered to order capabilities for the masses. Engineered to order means Interface can deliver force measurement solutions from our massive catalog that are modified to meet the features and specifications that our customers require, while still retaining the premium accuracy, quality and reliability Interface is known for across every industry we serve.

Interface Application Engineers work closely with our customers to determine the exact specs their product requires and deliver a manufacturing plan that meets their volume, accuracy and reliability needs through an engaged process. We plan, coordinate and team together to build the right product, for the right time and right price. Most importantly, we can modify most of our products in our entire catalog, giving flexibility within a precision line of solutions.

OEMs, product designers, and testing experts do not need to compromise performance. Interface’s engineered to order process combined with our automated production lines allows us to provide the same great quality force sensor our customers expect from an industry leader.

Interface excels when we partner with our customers in the earliest phases of development to ensure we provide the best solution, based on size, capacities and performance capabilities. By sharing design plans, we can collaborate with our customers to provide the best outcome. Ready to engage our experts?  Contact us here.