Interface Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar explores using wireless sensors, instrumentation, and accessories to cut the cable. Our experts detail wireless load cells, wireless testing equipment, best practices, and tips. Learn about wireless telemetry systems, key considerations, and challenges. Interface engineers highlight industry applications and frequently asked questions in this new technical online seminar.
Interface ForceLeaders Summit 2024 in Arizona happens on Tuesday, January 16, Our force measurement solutions engineers and experts will share valuable tips and experience using load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and advanced instrumentation. Register to join the live conversation, ask your questions, and learn from industry professionals. The event takes place at ASU SkySong.
ForceLeaders Summit is heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Interface sensor workshop brings together experts in force measurement detailing applications, products, FAQs, and technical tips. We detail load cells, transducers, multi-axis sensors, data acquisition, wireless systems, instrumentation, and more. Registration required, limited seating. The event takes place in Brookfield, just outside of Milwaukee.
Industrial machinery plays a vital role in the global economy. It helps to improve productivity and efficiency, and it is essential to produce many of the goods we rely on daily.
Industrial machinery use cases range from equipment used in manufacturing and construction to transportation and robotics. Force measurement sensors and instrumentation play a critical role in ensuring industrial machinery’s safe and efficient operation.
Interface sensor technologies, including our load cells and multi-axis sensors, provide critical data for various machinery designs and functions. Interface analog and digital instrumentation products are available to amplify, condition, and display the signals from force measurement sensors.
The accuracy of force, torque, and weight measurements guide industrial machinery’s design and performance mechanisms.
What types of industrial machinery are using Interface measurement products today?
- Machine tools used for grinding, drills, and lathes
- Fabrication apparatus used for bending, shearing, and welding
- Assembly equipment for production environments that include conveyor belts, robotic arms, and picking devices
- Testing, quality control, and safety inspection equipment
- Heavy equipment operational controllers for forklifts, cranes, and hoisting gear
- Construction machinery such as loaders, bulldozers, and lifts
Industrial machinery is prevalent in manufacturing vehicles, aircraft, consumer goods, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Heavy-duty machinery is standard in energy production, mining, forestry, agriculture, and transportation.
The machines’ quality heavily depends on the accuracy of measurements used in the initial design, retrofitting, production, and practice. Interface products provide the products that enable machines to operate at peak performance safely and efficiently. Learn more in our new Interface Industrial Machinery Solutions, a part of Industrial Automation market offerings.
How Interface Measurement Solutions Used in Industrial Machinery
Machine Safety Monitoring
Interface products are used for monitoring the performance of machines and for management in sensing potential problems before they cause a failure. Interface measurement technologies are used in construction machinery to enable operators to gauge the force applied to materials, preventing overexertion and potential damage. Read Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring
Heavy Machinery and Lifting Equipment
In material handling equipment, force sensors help prevent accidents and injuries. Interface load cells, including load pins and shackles, monitor loads, weight, and distribution. Learn more about lifting solutions in our Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar.
Manufacturing and Production Machines
Manufacturers rely on Interface sensor solutions in industrial machines such as injection molding machines to monitor the force applied to the mold or how they are used in machines to ensure correct product packaging. The efficiency of machines is enhanced by correctly measuring the forces applied during different operations. Force sensors help ensure products are assembled correctly and within tolerance on production lines.
Industrial Automation Machines and Robotics
Interface sensors in industrial machines such as robots allow for more precise and delicate tasks that measure force at touch and throughout the entire operation. In machine tools, load cells assist in monitoring cutting forces and prevent damage to tools and workpieces. In robotic arms and automated assembly lines, force sensors provide precise force application during welding, riveting, and material handling.
Benefits of Using Interface Products in Industrial Machinery
- Improved safety: Load cells can help prevent accidents and injuries by monitoring the weight and distribution of loads and ensuring that machines operate correctly.
- Increased productivity: Force measurement sensors can help improve machines’ efficiency by optimizing the force applied during different operations. Force measurement sensors can help reduce machine downtime and enhance the quality of products with accurate data, helping to make intelligent decisions.
- Reduced waste and operating costs: Measurement devices can help to reduce costs by preventing machine failures and improving the quality of products.
Force measurement sensors and instrumentation are essential components of modern industrial machinery. They ensure the safe, efficient, and productive operation of these machines. Contact Interface application engineers to evaluate the best sensor technologies for your specific test and measurement pe failures and improving the quality of products.
Interface’s technical webinar Engineered Solutions for Lifting details measurement devices used in lifting equipment, machines, and vehicles to improve operations and safety. Interface load cells and instrumentation are used to operate cranes, hoist heavy objects, and measure forces in infrastructure projects. Interface experts answer how load cells are used in safety monitoring for lifting equipment. Learn about Interface sensor products suited for integration into existing equipment and test and measurement projects.
The next industrial revolution is coined Industry 5.0. The fifth wave of significant advancement comes on the heels of Industry 4.0, which focused on efficiency and productivity enhancements. The next revolution in our midst is heavily dependent on data, sensors, and enablement tools used for industrial automation. Of course, that means sensor solutions from Interface are perfectly aligned in facilitating the next advancements.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and other smart-enabled technologies are at the heart of Industry 5.0. To further automate and optimize production processes, there is a strong emphasis on human-centricity, sustainability, and resilience. Interface is working with industry leaders, integrators, and innovators to provide advanced sensor technologies that will support the adoption of Industry 5.0 products, with all the benefits of optimization and reliability.
One of the challenges in the design and implementation of Industry 5.0 solutions is interconnectivity. To maximize the connectivity between humans and machines, the equipment needs to be tested and monitored utilizing different sensors for adoption, efficiency and dependability. The use of robotics, AI, and other smart technologies are leading to sustainability in industrial and manufacturing facilities. This requires measurement data that is accurate and easily retained for continuous improvements. Learn more in our case study: Advancements in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors.
Wireless Enabled Force Measurement
The use of wireless and Bluetooth technologies is common for facilitating the connection between sensors and data analysis used in defining how these technologies are used in manufacturing and industrial environments. Using wireless load cells with wireless digital instrumentation, data is used for real-time adjustments and performance monitoring. This is particularly important in managing environmental worker safety working in collaboration with advanced machines and robots. Check out our WTS and BTS solutions for more options.
For robotics in particular, free range of motions is particularly important. This is standard in future use, especially as manufacturers grow in dependency in advanced robotics use cases across the manufacturing continuum. To test advanced robotics and accurate movement for different axes, multi-axis sensors are a smart choice due to their capabilities in simultaneously measuring 2, 3, and 6 axes at a time. These sensors are paired with data acquisition systems like our BX8 Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors to fully utilize the depth of measurement data for better decisions.
We also help to enable automation across the production line. Our products test the quality, durability and accuracy in performance of machines and other equipment used for various functions across the line. This includes cases of using miniature load cells in equipment that rely on exact force to press a design on a fragile consumable, to verifying accuracy of intricately machined parts using multi-axis sensors for production lines. We have provided sensors for industrial automation solutions to thousands of customers using standard and custom application-specific sensors.
Industry 5.0 Applications Using Interface Solutions
Included below are a few Industry 5.0 applications in which Interface solutions have been used to test or monitor equipment.
Cobot Safety Programming
Collaborative robots, what are termed as cobots, are an Industry 5.0 advancement used in many manufacturing operations. With product testing and design enhancements based on sensor data, protective cages or fences are no longer needed for safety purposes. However, safety testing is required to ensure humans and robots can work alongside each other. For this application, Interface suggests using four 3A40 3-Axis Load Cells (creating one 6-Axis Force Plate) installed between two metal plates at the base of the cobot. In addition to installing the multi-axis force plate under the cobot, we also suggest using two ConvexBT Load Button Load Cells in the pinchers of the cobot. If a human were to knock into the cobot, or have a limb stuck in the pincher, the cobot would sense the amount of force measured from the load cells and be programmed to stop immediately. Our BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors with Lab Enclosure is used to gather measurements and report back in real-time for monitoring.
6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm for Worker Safety
A customer wanted to measure the reaction forces of their robotic arm for safety purposes. The reaction loads occurred at the robotic arm’s base; therefore, they needed a force measurement system at the base of the robotic arm. Interface suggested using their force plate option to install at the base of the robotic arm. Four 3-Axis Force Load Cells are installed between two force plates, then installed at the bottom of the arm. This creates one large 6-Axis Force Plate. The sensors force data is recorded and displayed through the two BX8 Multi-Channel Bridge Amplifier and Data Acquisition Systems onto the customer’s computer. Interface’s 6-Axis Force Plate was able to successfully measure the reaction forces of the customer’s robotic arm while in action next to collaborating workers.
Commercial Food Processing for Efficiency
A food processing plant wanted accurate results of their in-motion check weigher when food is weighted and processed down the belt. They wanted to ensure production line efficiency and food quality. The customer also wanted real-time results of their food being weighed, and a load cell that could endure the food industry’s grubby environment. Multiple of Interface’s SPI High Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells were installed in the customer’s in-motion check weigher at the specific points where the food is weighed on the belt. The SPI High Capacity Platform Scale Load Cells delivered precise weighing results. When connected to the 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and Controller, it gave the customer real time results of the weight of the food being processed. Using this solution, the customer got precise weighing results in real-time of the food being processed on their in-motion check weigher. They were also able to view all the load cells in use simultaneously with Interface’s instrumentation.Robotics_InfographicPoster
There are many projected benefits of the next industrial revolution, Industry 5.0. Staying at the forefront in providing useable and sustainable sensor solutions is a key focus of Interface. We look forward to supporting those that are driving the changes and adoptions for numerous benefits, primarily those targeting:
- Increased productivity by automating tasks and optimizing production processes.
- Improved quality of products by using advanced technologies to monitor and control production processes.
- New products and services by using advanced technologies to create more personalized and customized products that work in collaboration, like cobots.
- Utilizing collaborative machines and tools to reduce reliance of humans for repetitive and dangerous tasks.
Each of these benefits can be accelerated in design, testing, and implementation with the use of high-accuracy force measurement solutions. Industry 5.0 is upon us and Interface has the expertise and experience to help in adoption and utiliziation. To learn more about our work in automation, robotics and more, go to Industrial AutomationAdvancement in Robotics and Cobots Using Interface Sensors Case Study
Interface continues to see a growing demand for using different communication protocols within our force measurement sensors and instrumentation devices. One of these protocols is IO-Link, which is a standardized communication protocol that enables bidirectional communication between the control system and the connected devices. It is frequently used in the field of industrial automation and IoT.
IO-Link is designed to connect and communicate between sensors, actuators, and other industrial devices with a higher-level control system. It runs over a standard three-wire connection, typically using unshielded industrial cables, and supports point-to-point communication.
Industrial automation and IoT are fundamentally reliant on digital transformation. Industry 4.0 requires the exchange and communication of information between sensor and instrumentation. IO-Link supports this requirement, helping to keep machines and facilities using sensors under control while improving their efficiency and productivity.
IO-Link can be used with load cells in industrial applications to enable enhanced monitoring, control, and diagnostics. Interface now offers customization of our most popular load cells with IO-Link capabilities.
Why Use IO-Link in Test & Measurement
- IO-Link is compatible with a wide range of sensors, actuators, and other devices. It provides a standardized interface, allowing easy integration and interchangeability of devices within an automation system.
- Real-time monitoring, control, and diagnostics is especially important in test and measurement. IO-Link enables this type of data exchange between devices and the control systems supporting the transmission of measurement data.
- IO-Link supports both analog and digital devices, making it versatile for a range of applications.
- With IO-Link, devices can be connected using a single cable, reducing the complexity and cost of wiring and simplifying installation and maintenance.
- Health and maintenance are important in testing. IO-Link supplies advanced diagnostic capabilities, allowing devices to report their status, health, and detailed diagnostic information. This is valuable for maintenance, troubleshooting, and reducing downtime.
Interface 1200 and 1201 Load Cell IO-Link Features and Benefits
The 1200 and 1201 Series IO-Link Load Cell Universal or Compression-Only are LowProfile load cells that are IO-Link compatible.
- Proprietary Interface temperature
- Compensated strain gages
- Eccentric load compensated
- Low deflection
- Shunt calibration
- Tension and compression
- Compact size
- 3-wire internal amp choice of 4-20 mA, ±5V, ±10V, 0-5V, 0-10V
- Options include Base (recommended), custom calibration, multiple bridge, special threads and dual diaphragm
- Accessories include mating connector, mating cable, instrumentation and loading hardware
For a complete datasheet of this product, go to the 1200 and 1201 with IO-Link product page.
IO-Link integration with load cells enhances the functionality and flexibility of weight measurement systems by enabling seamless communication, remote evaluations and diagnostic capabilities. It contributes to more efficient and reliable industrial processes where precise monitoring is necessary.
Weight and force monitoring: By connecting load cells to an IO-Link-enabled system, such as a PLC or a weighing controller, real-time weight data can be transmitted and monitored. The load cells measure the weight or force applied to them, and this information can be instantly communicated to the control system via IO-Link. The control system can then perform tasks such as weight-based control, process optimization, or triggering specific actions based on weight thresholds.
Remote parameterization and calibration: IO-Link allows load cells to be remotely parameterized and calibrated from the control system. Instead of manually adjusting the load cell settings at the device level, the control system can send the necessary configuration commands through the IO-Link interface. This feature simplifies the setup process, saves time, and reduces the risk of errors during calibration.
Performance evaluation and detection: IO-Link provides diagnostic capabilities for load cells, enabling the detection of potential issues or abnormalities. The load cells can send diagnostic information, such as temperature, supply voltage, or fault codes, to the control system through IO-Link. This data can be utilized for predictive maintenance, troubleshooting, or alarming in case of malfunctions.
IO-Link enhances the functionality, flexibility, and efficiency of industrial automation systems by enabling intelligent communication between devices and the control system.
Interface’s technical force measurement webinar Demystifying Specifications details descriptions, terms, values and parameters found in product datasheets for load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and specialty products. Learn from our experts what specifications need critical review, recommendations based on product categories, and the insider point of view on what is most important in terms of specifications for different use cases and tests.
By combining the measurements from multiple axes, multi-axis sensors provide a better assessment of an object’s motion or orientation in three-dimensional space. Measuring the changes in resistance or output voltage from the sensing elements along multiple axes, multi-axis load cells can accurately determine the forces acting on them. The combination of the signals from different axes provides a comprehensive understanding of the force distribution, enabling engineers to analyze and optimize designs, evaluate structural integrity, and ensure safe and efficient operation in various applications.
Multi-axis load cells have significant advantages and provide valuable benefits in testing labs. The top reason to use multi-axis sensors is to get more measurement data. The data provided when using a 2, 3 or 6-Axis load cell is used in various applications, including robotics, space projects, virtual reality, motion tracking, navigation systems, and innovative consumer products.
Engineers and product designers prefer multi-axis load cells for several reasons. Multi-axis load cells enable engineers and designers to capture forces along multiple directions simultaneously. This capability is particularly beneficial when dealing with complex and multidirectional forces, which are common in real-world applications. By obtaining a complete understanding of how forces act on a structure or product, engineers can design more robust and optimized solutions.
The Promises of Multi-Axis Sensors
- Comprehensive force measurement and better data analysis: Multi-axis load cells enable precise measurement of forces in multiple directions simultaneously. Multi-axis load cells provide richer and more comprehensive data for analysis. The data is valuable for evaluating structural integrity, load distribution, and performance characteristics of a design.
- Compact size with robust capabilities: Smaller sensors with digital outputs are easier and less expensive to permanently install into their machines. Size impacts the install, testing and monitoring. Multi-axis sensors are best embedded into products for a real-world application that needs the data, while reducing the number of single load cells and overall size of a product.
- Increased accuracy and reliability: Multi-axis sensors track performance and reliability better than traditional sensors with more measurements in more directions, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of test results. They provide a more complete understanding of how forces are distributed and interact within a structure, helping researchers and engineers make informed decisions based on reliable data.
- Wide range of applications: Multi-axis sensors are needed to keep up with modern technologies and application requirements. Multi-axis load cells are used in various testing scenarios, including materials testing, structural testing, product development, and quality control. They are used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, civil engineering, and more. As technology advances and testing requirements become more sophisticated, the demand for multi-axis load cells is likely to grow.
- Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: A single multi-axis load cell can replace multiple sensors. This consolidation simplifies the testing setup, reduces complexity, and lowers costs. Multi-axis sensors maximize return on investment for testing devices.
- Enhanced testing capabilities: Multi-axis load cells enable more advanced testing procedures. Digitized sensor information allows for remote monitoring increased analytics, easy access and data collection. This expands the range of tests that can be performed and provides more comprehensive data for analysis and evaluation.
- Saving space in testing: Using a single multi-axis load cell saves physical space in the testing. This is particularly important in situations where space limited or when performing tests in confined environments. By reducing the footprint of the load cell setup, engineers and designers can optimize the use of their workspace.
- Simplifying set-up: Using a single multi-axis load cell simplifies the testing setup compared to using multiple single-axis load cells. It reduces the number of sensors, cables, and connections required, leading to a streamlined testing process. This simplicity improves efficiency, saves time, and reduces the chances of errors associated with multiple sensors and connections.
Interface Multi-Axis Sensor Models
2-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 2-Axis Load Cells measure any two forces or torques simultaneously, have minimal crosstalk, are standard off-the-shelf and are high accuracy sensors.
- TXY 2-Axis Force Load Cell
- AT101 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- AT102 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- 2816 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- 1216 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- 1516 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- 5600 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
- AT103 2-Axis Axial Torsion Load Cell
3-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 3-axis load cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes: X, Y, and Z – tension and compression. Options include:
- 3A Series 3-Axis Force Load Cell
- 3A40 3-Axis Load Cell
- 3AR Series Round 3-Axis Load Cells
- 5200XYZ 3-Axis Force Moment Load Cell
6-AXIS LOAD CELLS: Interface’s 6-Axis Load Cell measures force simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. In the end, they provide more data, accuracy, are very stiff and cost-effective for a wide range of testing options.
- 6A Series 6-Axis High Capacity Load Cells – Fx Fy Fz Mx My Mz
- 6A Series 6-Axis Standard Capacity Load Cells – Fx Fy Fz Mx My Mz
- 6ADF Series 6-Axis Din Flange-Type Load Cells
Interface continues to add to our product line of advanced multi-axis sensors. Read New Interface Multi-Axis Load Cells to see our latest model additions.
The future of multi-axis is evolving in versatility for various system level health monitoring for products and components. Data is valuable now and in the future. These sensors enable test engineers to collect more data now for future analysis. For example, an automotive electronics manufacturer could limit recall to only parts that match extremely specific build criteria based on the detailed sensor data that is captured and stored during product evaluations and testing.
The outlook for multi-axis load cells is promising. Their ability to provide comprehensive force measurement, improve efficiency, and enhance testing capabilities makes them a valuable tool for researchers, engineers, and quality assurance professionals. With ongoing advancements in sensor technology and increasing demand for precise and reliable testing, multi-axis load cells are expected to play a crucial role in the future of testing labs.