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Automotive Engineering Students Test the Limits with Force Measurement

Interface has a long history of supporting higher education in force measurement, empowering students to explore and innovate in STEM fields.

A prime example of this commitment is our collaboration with Gopher Motorsports, a student engineering group at the University of Minnesota that designs and builds race cars for the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Series. Interface fuels student innovation by bridging the gap between theory and track with precision force measurement tools, as detailed in this case study.

The Challenge: Building Top-Performing Race Cars for Competition

Each year, Gopher Motorsports aims to design and build two vehicles, one internal combustion (ICE) and one electric (EV), to compete in the global Formula SAE Series. The competition demands speed and performance on the track, meticulous engineering, efficient manufacturing, and sound business planning.

To meet these rigorous criteria, Gopher Motorsports needed a reliable and accurate force measurement solution to optimize their car’s performance. They turned to Interface and our partner, Minnesota Measurement Engineering Inc., for expert guidance and state-of-the-art equipment.

The Solution: Interface Mini Load Cells for Precise Data Acquisition

Interface recommended several Mini Load Cells ideal for Gopher Motorsports’ needs. They utilized:

The load cells were strategically mounted in line with the suspension on their Go4-23c vehicle. This setup allowed the team to collect crucial data during extensive track testing sessions, enabling them to fine-tune their suspension system for optimal performance.

The Results: Lighter, Stronger Parts and a Competitive Edge

The data acquired using Interface’s load cells proved invaluable for Gopher Motorsports. As Jacob Henderson, a team member, stated, “Based on the data from the SM-1000 Load Cells, we will be able to update load cases through all the suspension components to more accurately simulate our system response to loading before the parts are ever manufactured. This will allow our parts to be lighter and stronger!

Interface’s support, including a student discount on the load cells, made this critical testing possible. By providing Gopher Motorsports with the tools they needed to gather accurate force data, Interface played a key role in their quest to build competitive race cars.

Interface: Your Partner in Higher Education STEM Innovation

This case study showcases Interface’s dedication to empowering the next generation of engineers and scientists. By providing top-notch force measurement solutions and collaborating with educational institutions like the University of Minnesota, Interface helps students translate theoretical knowledge into practical skills and push the boundaries of innovation.

Formula SAE isn’t just a competition; it’s a launchpad for the next generation of engineering superstars. Student colleagues, fueled by passion and ingenuity, design, build, and race a sleek, open-wheeled race car. That’s the essence of Formula SAE, an international collegiate competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

If you’re involved in a university or college STEM program and require reliable force measurement solutions, Interface is here to help. Contact our experienced team today to discuss your needs and explore how we can support your educational endeavors.

Together, let’s build a brighter future through the power of STEM education and accurate force measurement!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Race Car Suspension Testing App Note

Building a Championship Race Car

Gopher Motorsports Takes Force Measurement Optimization to the Track

Interface Automotive Force Measurement Solutions

A Visit to The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab

Read the entire case study:

Gopher Motor Sports Takes Force Measurement Optimization to the Track Case Study

Interface All-In-One Custom Test Systems

One of the most enjoyable aspects of being a world-class manufacturer is when we’re able to work with customers on a custom solution that meets their unique and mission-critical needs. Custom solutions can be anything that’s needed from a customized sensor component to a complete custom system. One custom solution that is gaining popularity for its mobility, ease of use and wide variety of application options is what we call, testing systems in a box.

We have developed these unique all-in-one testing systems that combine force measurement sensors, transmitters and data display devices all together in a transportable case. The benefit for customers is that every aspect of this type of mobile test and measurement system is enclosed in the box and can be brought to remote testing locations along with a testing rig and computer. The wide variety of configurations also allow Interface to develop a test system for virtually any mobile requirement. Think of it as on-the-go testing that is flexible and adaptable to the test environment.

MOBILE TESTING CASE

When our customer wanted to perform force tests on a helicopter, we developed a mobile force measurement system that was put together in a ruggedized case to match the environmental conditions of the testing locations. The custom system included Model 9890 Indicators alongside SSM Fatigue Rated Load Cells. The case also featured rechargeable batteries for continuation of testing in remote locations. With this solution, the customer was able to easily perform their force tests while remaining independent of any confined lab or testing facility. They had a testing system that was completely versatile to the mobility requirements of test engineers.

AIRPLANE JACK POINT TESTING 

Interface developed a unique test system for an airplane jack testing solution. Once again, we put together a full system in mobile cases that included our precision LowProfile Load Cells, nearly 20 wireless transmitters, and a graphical display with visual alarms to read the output at each jack point. This allowed the customer to measure the forces at all jack points on a plane from front to tail and both wings. The testing system was created to be portable and provide constant feedback through the hardware and instrumentation via wireless signals.

MULTI-AXIS SPRING TEST SYSTEM

The final custom solution we are highlighting in this post is smaller in design, but just as impactful for the customer. This system included a 3-Axis Load Cell in a compact box with three indicator panels. The system was used to simultaneously measure both force and moment on a spring and provide the data on the indicator screen. The system was compact, easy to use and simply needed to be connected to the test rig to accurately collect data from the spring.

Mobile test systems provide a massive benefit to engineers and product manufacturers who want to be able to collect accurate and reliable data on the go and not be constrained by wires and large heavy solutions. Test systems enclosed within a box are a great solution for many of these remote challenges, as they protect the equipment and also provide a functional “on-the-go” testing system, anywhere.

As more demands for testing within the actual environment become core to the engineering and design of small and large apparatus, these types of unique solutions from Interface can be customized to capacity and test specifications based on the customer’s needs.

Our experienced engineers and application experts are able to look at specific objectives and present the best components to get the best results. From force and torque measurement sensors to digital instrumentation, wireless and supported by batteries, we can build the custom components to be enclosed in a case that is an all-in-one testing system or design the solution to put into an existing configuration. Taking advantage of our expertise, we work together with our customers to develop the right solution that fits their exact requirements.

Be sure to watch, “Making the Case for Custom Solutions” to get more insights on customization considerations and options when you partner with Interface Custom Solutions.

To learn more about Interface’s custom solutions and explore options and possibilities in building your testing system, go here to contact us to get started.

READ MORE CUSTOM SOLUTION POSTS

What is New in Custom Solutions

Making the Case for Custom Solutions Webinar Recap

Trending at Interface

As in years past, the Interface team looks at trends in what products caught the greatest interest of our customers, along with those that are top sellers throughout the year.

We’ve gathered our key findings based on searches and purchases by industry-leading engineers, product designers, testing labs, manufacturers and T&M pros using Interface solutions. Here is a summary of the trends over the past 12 months.

TRENDING PRODUCT CATEGORES IN 2020

#1 LOAD CELLS – There is no surprise that topping the 2020 list is what we are best known for, our precision load cells. When quality, accuracy, and reliability matter Interface Models 1000, 1100, 1500 and 1600 in various capacities ranked highest in interest. What’s the top seller? The 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Load Cell ranks number one, with the 1000 Fatigue Rated Load Cell in second place.

#2 TORQUE TRANSDUCERS – Torque is definitely trending, taking the number two spot. Hot picks are the MRT Miniature Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer, T8, T25 and our proprietary AxialTQ. Read Torque 101 here.

#3 INSTRUMENTATION – One of the most popular adds to any purchase is instrumentation like the DMA2, SGA, 9320 or 9840.

#4 MULTI-AXIS SENSORS – Watch Dimensions of Multi-Axis Sensors to learn more about why multi-axis is trending, including the popular 3AXX 3-Axis Force Load Cell.

#5 MINIATURE LOAD CELLS – Interface’s expertise for engineering force measurement applies to a wide range of capacities and sizes, including Interface Mini best sellers: SSM and SSM2 Sealed S-Type Load Cells, SM-S Type and SMT Miniature Load Cells followed closely by MB, MBP, WMC Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell and SMTM models.

#6 CALIBRATION SYSTEMS – These Interface systems are growing in popularity. Read why here.

#7 CALIBRATION SERVICES AND REPAIR ­­­– Our customers can depend on us for our services. Click here to request service today.

#8 DIGITAL INSTRUMENTATION – Interface has expanded our line of digital instrumentation based on growing demands. See what’s hot here, like our BX8.

#9 LOAD PINS, LOAD SHACKLES AND TENSION LINKS – A new entry to the trends list this year based on the high interest for these specialty products including the wireless options.

#10 LOAD BUTTON LOAD CELLS – Robotics, automation and testing in confined and compact spaces has raised greater interest in highly-accurate load button load cells, including our new ConvexBT and our popular LBM and LBS models.

Based on feedback and our analysis of trends, we know that getting exactly what you want is as important as the product category selection. Engineered to order, custom solutions and complete systems are rapidly growing in demand as Interface customers evaluate ways to embed sensor technologies into products or utilize advances sensor technologies, along with wireless and Bluetooth communication capabilities.

Take a look at why Interface Engineered to Order Solutions continue to be in high demand by helping our customers get exactly what they need.

Interface has played an important role in shaping the test and measurement industry and though we know our standard catalog is robust, we are always here to get the exact product for our customer’s exact requirements. How can we help you get what you want in 2021 and beyond?  Reach out and let’s start the conversation now.

Interface Mini Load Cells Growing in Product Use and Testing

One of the biggest manufacturing trends over the past decade is the miniaturization of hardware components. Reducing the size and weight of products and the components, while increasing the power of complex technology systems, is growing in use across all industry segments using force measurement in design and production.

The growing trend to utilize sensor technology in miniaturized products has been especially significant in the medical, consumer products, technology and robotics industries. These industries are looking to fit more force and measurement capabilities into a package that is the same size, or in many cases, considerably smaller than previous generations of like products.

To address this expanding trend, Interface Mini™ Load Cells were designed specifically for light touch, light weight, high accuracy, and robust performance to utilize for OEM products and smaller testing applications in confined spaces. Our miniature load cells provide exceedingly accurate measurements, similar to our full-size load cells and utilize our proprietary alloy strain gages. Capacities are available as low as 0.11 lbf / 0.5 N and as high as 100 kN.

These small-scale load cells are engineered and manufactured to provide extremely accurate output data with the same degree of precision performance as our standard load cells. OEM’s must have this sort of precision force technology because many of the devices being made today are minuscule and more complex in comparison to earlier products and testing application use cases.

In the medical device industry, innovative and often small new products are used in various life-saving applications. Any inaccuracy or miscalculation of force can have devastating effects. Take a look at how our Interface LBS Miniature Compression Load Button Load Cell and 9330 High Speed Data Logging Indicator were used to record the force measurements when designing and testing vascular clamp surgical devices. You can also read about the Vascular Clamp application note here.

In our earlier Mini Load Cells 101 blog, we discussed the features and benefits of Mini Load Cells in detail. Today, we are highlighting some of our best-selling and new Mini Load Cell solutions available from Interface.

QS48 TruckSpecial Note: A large variety of our standard miniature load cells are available today through our QS48 e-commerce site for easy online ordering. Click here to order now through our QuickShip program and get your mini’s in as little as 48 hours! If you need something specifically customized, reach out to our expert application engineers who can work with you to design custom miniature load cells that will fit your exact requirements.

INTERFACE MINI™ LOAD CELLS

MB Miniature Beam Load Cell

Model MB is a miniature beam load cell used in medical test machines and a variety of low capacity applications. Performance on this product is +/- 0.03% FS and available capacities are 5 to 250 lbf (22.2 N to 1.11 kN).

Product Features:

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Performance to 0.03%
  • Low height – 1-inch max
  • Eccentric load compensated
  • ±0.0008% /˚F – max temperature effect on output
  • Low deflection

MBP Overload Protected Miniature Beam Load Cell

Model MBP series load cells provide similar performance to Model MB series with the added safeguard of internal overload protection. This patented overload protection is accomplished via hard stops that are EDM machined into the load cell flexure. This provides greater overload protection (2.5-10lbf ±1000% of full-scale capacity, 100 N ±500% of full-scale capacity), giving the user added protection in more severe applications.

Product Features:

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • 10x overload protection
  • Low height – 1in max
  • 0.0008%F temp. effect on output
  • 5′ Integral Cable (custom lengths available upon request)
  • NIST Traceable Calibration Certificate

WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell

Interface Model WMC Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell is excellent for industrial applications because of its stainless steel, sealed, environmentally protected construction. This product is available in capacities ranging from 5 to 500 lbf (22 to 2200 N).  Submersible versions of this product are available as well.

Product features:

  • Environmentally sealed tension and compression load cell
  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Tension and compression
  • Small Size
  • Stainless Steel Construction
  • Submersible

SSM and SSM2 Sealed S-Type Load Cells

Model SSM is a moderately priced highly-accurate sealed load cell for test machines and other general purpose applications. This product is available in capacities ranging from 50 to 10K lbf (200 N to 50 kN).

Product Features:

  • Proprietary Interface temperature compensated strain gages
  • Environmentally sealed
  • 0.02% non-repeatability
  • 0.0008%/°F (0.0015%/°C) temp. effect on output
  • 0.025% creep
  • Tension and compression

LBM Compression Load Button Load Cell

Model LBM Compression Load Button is very popular.  It is constructed from stainless steel and has a small size. This product is available capacities range from 25 lbf up to 50K lbf.

Product Features:

  • Temperature compensated
  • Integral load button
  • Small diameter
  • Environmentally sealed
  • Stainless steel

LBS Miniature Load Button Load Cell

Model LBS Miniature Compression Load Button is constructed from stainless steel and has a small size. This product is available capacities range from 5 lbf up to 1K lbf (22.2 N to 4.45 kN).

Product Features:

  • Temperature compensated
  • Integral load button
  • Small diameter
  • From 0.12″ height

LWPF1 Press Force Load Washer Load Cell

Model LWPF1 Press Force Load Cell is one of several load washer load cells available from Interface. It features a large thru-hole and short overall height. This product is available in capacities ranging from 2 kN to 100 kN (450 to 22.5K lbf).

Product Features:

  • Short height
  • Large thru hole
  • For press-force monitoring

BPL Pedal Load Cell

BPL Pedal Load CellThe Model BPL is a very LowProfile® load cell is used for measuring force on brake pedals. Interface Model BPL has the lowest sensitivity to off-center loading available and will outperform any competitive model.

Product Features:

  • Lowest nonlinearity and hysteresis of any brake pedal load cell – < 0.05%
  • Ultra-low height
  • Low sensitivity to off-axis loads
  • Mounts directly to pedal with included strap(s)
  • Interchangeable mounting plates
  • For use with gas, brake or clutch pedal
  • Storage case included

There are more than 30 different Interface Mini Load Cells and sensors available, in addition to our ability to provide modified and custom Mini Load Cells solutions. To find the Interface Mini that works for your needs, or to learn more about our expanding lineup of load cells and torque transducers, please visit /products/.