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Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review

Interface is world renowned for our ability to engineer and manufacture the most accurate and reliable force measurement products on the market. Most in the the test and measurement world know us for our suite of off-the-shelf and custom load cells and torque transducers. We have been supplying these products to some of the most complex and highly regulated industries in the world for over a half century.

Though most people instantly recognize our blue load cells, many test engineers and labs are finding our total system solutions are a valuable compliment to our line of precision products. It is why Interface has greatly expanded our instrumentation and accessories products to meet the demands of our customer’s specific test and measurement project requirements that need wireless and Bluetooth capabilities.

One of the most popular products in our systems-supporting product line is Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System (WTS). This solution group provides our customers with easy to use and full-featured wireless data communication capabilities between a force or torque sensor and a receiver. The WTS line includes sensor transmitters, receivers, displays, accessories and free software, which operates on a standard 2.4 GHz signal making it FCC compliant.

WTS works with torque transducers, load pins, load cells, multi-axis sensors and other inputs with the goal of connecting to a display, PC or the customer’s system.  It wirelessly communicates with different types of receivers including displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces for easy configuration of the application. WTS is also easily expandable for measuring multiple sensor types. It connects with up to 100 sensors up to half a mile range and is supported by powerful configuration software with data logging and visualization for local or remote access.

Within the WTS product suite, we have wireless options for sensors, handhelds, transmitter modules, antennas, printers, displays and more. Included below are a few of our WTS and BTS Telemetry Systems product options highlighted:

WTS-AM-1E WIRELESS STRAIN BRIDGE TRANSMITTER MODULE

The WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module connects to strain bridge transducers such as load cells, torque sensors, strain gauges and pressure modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry system. The data transmitted by the WTS-AM-1E can be received by multiple WTS receivers that include displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces.

WTS-BS-1 WIRELESS HANDHELD DISPLAY FOR UNLIMITED TRANSMITTERS

The WTS-BS-1 is a roaming handheld allowing the operator to cycle the display between all available transmitter modules and forms part of the WTS modular telemetry system. The data sent by transmitter modules can be utilized by multiple receivers such as displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces. Receivers support common industrial power supplies and are available in robust IP rated enclosures with internal antennas optimized to give outstanding coverage.

WTS-AR WIRELESS REPEATER MODULE

The WTS- AR Wireless Repeater Module which will allow the WTS telemetry system modules to span around obstacles, increase range and coverage by retransmitting received messages. The data sent by transmitter modules can be utilized by multiple receivers such as displays, handheld readers, analog outputs, relay modules and computer interfaces. Receivers support common industrial power supplies and are available in robust IP rated enclosures with internal antennas optimized to give outstanding coverage.

WTS 1200 STANDARD PRECISION LOAD CELL

Interface’s most popular load cell is available with wireless capabilities. The WTS 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile® Wireless Load Cell is designed for general purpose applications requiring a wireless load cell that is compensated for eccentric loads. This load cell can transmit distances up to 2000 feet (610 meters) to a number of different base stations including a USB version and a handheld display. There are higher capacities available, along with options for 2nd, 3rd Bridge and Overload Protection.

WTSLP WIRELESS STAINLESS STEEL LOAD PIN

This specialized Wireless Stainless Steel Load Pin is great for lifting applications in use cases of transmitting measurement data both short or long distances. This product can transmit wirelessly up to 600 meters in distance with clear line of sight to a handheld display or USB base station. This Interface load pin is available in capacities up to 3,000K lbf (1,360 MT) for custom versions.

WTSSHK-B-JR WIRELESS CROSBY™ BOW LOAD SHACKLE

WTSSHK-B-JR Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle range of telemetry load shackles are manufactured using the Crosby™ G2130 shackle. Suitable for use in a wide range of lower capacity industrial weighing applications, these load shackles are accurate, reliable and simple to install. They are particularly popular in theatrical applications for measuring the loads on rigging, hoists and stage lifts. The IP67 rated telemetry housing is manufactured from ABS plastic making it strong yet light, and the telemetry housing is manufactured from ABS plastic making it strong yet light, and the telemetry electronics contained within are powered by two AA batteries. The unit also features an internal antenna for maximum protection from damage.

This is just a preview of the products offered within the WTS Suite. In addition, we’ve developed a number of applications notes highlighting the capabilities of our WTS solutions. For more information about our full WTS (Wireless Telemetry System) products, please click on this link Wireless Telemetry System. Included below is a unique example of how the wireless capabilities of the WTS system was necessary to measure a golf club’s swing accuracy, see below:

GOLF CLUB SWING ACCURACY

A golfer wanted a system that will monitor and record their striking accuracy and swing movement. To meet this need, Interface created a custom made SSB Sealed Beam Load Cell that can be attached in line with the golf handle. When the golf ball is struck, force measurements are recorded, logged, and graphed using the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter. The results are transmitted directly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s PC or laptop. Using this solution, the customer was able to successfully record, graph, and log a golf player’s striking accuracy and swing movement with Interface’s wireless force system.

Interface WTS Products

  • Acquisition Modules
  • Repeater Modules
  • Telemetry Antennas
  • Base Stations
  • ASCII Serial Output
  • LED Displays
  • Repeater Modules
  • Modbus
  • LED Displays
  • Wireless Telemetry Printers
  • Relay Output Receivers
  • Wind Speed Transmitters
  • Load Cells
  • Load Pins
  • Tension Links
  • Shackles

In design and engineering, the need for flexibility is paramount today. Interface’s WTS solutions provide our customers with a host of wireless force measurement systems that allows for an easier way to test and measure force in a wide variety of environments, on site and in the field.  Let us know what we can do to help you get the right wireless solutions for your project.

Additional Resources

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection App Note

WTS Equine Bridle Tension System App Note

WTS Brake Pedal App Note

WTS and BTS Telemetry Systems Brochure

Interface Outlook for 2021

Interface CEO Greg Adams shares his outlook for the coming year.

Never in our collective lives have we faced so much uncertainty and turmoil! The year 2020 will make history, that much is certain. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, and a year of political strife for the ages, I think we’re all ready to turn the chapter on the start of this decade.

Despite the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, I’m still very optimistic about our future, and for Interface. My optimism is fueled by the amazing people we have here at Interface.

As a family, we’ve gotten through this together and are only growing stronger. I couldn’t be prouder of our people for their resilience and hard work in the past year. We have continued to provide the same excellent service our customers appreciate. In fact, our Net Promoter Score® remained above 60 again in our latest 2020 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Additionally, product quality is higher than ever and we even had a few major product launches this year, including ConvexBT, our most advanced load button load cell ever, and the G Series, a new international Mini Load Cell product line. And most importantly, we’ve done all of this by ensuring that the health and safety of everyone is our number one priority.

Our ability to remain successful in the past year is a product of how diversified our end markets remain. We continue to serve a wide variety of critical technology-focused industries including aerospace and defense, automotive, medical, industrial, T&M and more. We have benefited from global diversification as well, stepping up our focus on market leaders around the world. It’s also a testament to our engineers who continue to be future focused on innovation. We’ve developed new and groundbreaking ways to serve customers, and we’ve identified trends to keep us at the bleeding edge in our industry and continuously moving forward.

The last point I’ll make on the year 2020 before looking ahead is that we’ve also taken some of the downtime to improve our internal processes and dedicate time to skills training for our team. Not only have we improved our product lines and capabilities, but we’ve also ensured that our skillsets remain strong going into the next year.

And as we finally make the turn to 2021, I’ve spent some time looking ahead to what I believe the next year will hold for our industry and for Interface:

A heightened focus on pre-sale and post-sales service is one thing that we’ve heard from customers in the last year through our semi-annual surveys. We’re upgrading our sales process to ensure our engineering teams are more involved in assisting the customer select and configure the products and systems that are right for their application. Enhancing our after-sales service will include capturing and distributing instructions, guides, and other technical services into a more accessible and easier to find outlets like our robust website.

Another trend we’re seeing requested from our customers is a desire for force measurement providers to migrate from components to systems. World-class componentry will always be important, but our experience working with customers to provide total system solutions that meet their specific needs is critical. In addition, the demand for higher performance and more customization options continues. One of the biggest improvements Interface has made in the past year is updating our production lines to include more automation capabilities. This allows us to provide high-performance, customized products at high volume while still being able to offer competitive costs. This change is helping us expand our sales with the OEM customers.

Finally, a big trend we’ve been following is miniaturization and the desire to pack more sensor technology into a single load cell or torque transducer. We’ve already begun to address this in some of our products by designing accelerometers into load cells. In industries like automotive, we often use a torque transducer to measure rotation with components like car engines. By adding an accelerometer, we can measure both rotation and acceleration through a single device.

As this desire for more data and less convoluted test systems grows, Interface will continue to find ways to customize our load cells and add more sensor types like temperature and humidity. We’ll also do this by using electronic miniaturization manufacturing methods to improve capability without increasing the overall size of the package.

In conclusion, I’m extremely pleased with the level of talent, the strength of the brand and the depth of our commitment to customer satisfaction. We’ve overcome the challenges presented to us this year and remain stronger than ever. Our renewed focus on the future will also help us identify opportunities for innovation to serve customers in more unique and beneficial ways.

I hope that everyone in our community, from our partners to our customers and employees, has a wonderful holiday season and comes back in the new year refreshed. We’re not out of the woods yet with the pandemic, but there is light ahead and we are speeding to be the Interface you can always rely on.

Understanding One-Cell Force Measurement Systems

When it comes to load cells and force measurement systems used to test and validate product designs, the options for different configurations is nearly endless. In fact, Interface has tens of thousands of force measurement products in standard, modified and custom-made configurations.

In our recent post, Considerations for Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminum Load Cells, we detailed materials used in load cell construction. These considerations are important based on the project specifications for accuracy, quality and reliability in test and measurement.

Similarly, understanding the system configuration is another critically important factor to setting up the correct test for receiving accurate data.  A simple system configuration used for less-complex testing is known as one-cell or single load cell system.  They are popular for performance and durability testing.

How do one-cell systems work and what are the benefits and trade-offs?

One-cell systems are developed by using a tension cell and mounting it through a rod end bearing and clevises. If the cell is properly oriented with the dead end going to the support, the only other major consideration for this system is the elimination or reduction of possible parallel load paths. This type of simple system is attractive to some testing engineers and product designers because it is cost effective and can provide very accurate measurements when using Interface precision load cells.  It is important that the load meets the criteria for the test system.

In this figure, it shows a high-impact one-cell system platform. This one-cell system can withstand the high impact of rough treatment from certain applications such as large drums, LPG tanks and more.

The downside to using a one-cell system is that the center of gravity of the load must be placed directly on the mark for the system to work properly. However, this can be accounted for by positioning the fences as shown in the high-impact one-cell platform diagram, so that the center of gravity is located properly when the application you are measuring is shoved up against fences.

The actual load at the center of gravity for your application will be factored by the lever arm (as shown below):

The one-cell system works simply because the location of the center of gravity is under control. If the force on the primary axis of the load cell bears the same relation to the location of the center of gravity and the load under all conditions, the scaling will be correct. Whether using a one-cell or two-cell system, the system must be designed to retain its integrity.

This has been a brief overview of a one-cell system, which is detailed in Interface’s Load Cell Field Guide.

To learn more about these systems and to determine if your application test can utilize the simplicity and cost savings of a one-cell or two-cell system, contact our systems experts and application engineers.

The Future of Force Measurement

In this post, Joel Strom, CEO at Interface, shared his vision for the company and force measurement predictions for 2020 and beyond. 

Engineering and manufacturing are continuously changing to keep up with the pace of fast-evolving technology. It feels like every time one of our customers releases a game-changing new product; they immediately go back to the drawing board to work on its next evolution. To enable our customers to meet the speed of innovation and compete in the expanding sensor marketplace, Interface must follow suit. That also means we are constantly looking at ways to improve the ingenuity and capability of our vast array of products and solutions.

Looking ahead to 2020 and the next five years, here are our predictions for the future of force measurement and how Interface is positioning ourselves as leaders in our industry.

Innovating for the Digital Age

For much of Interface’s 50-year history, we have developed analog load cells. This was always the way a load cell worked. In recent years, we have put a heavy focus on innovation and transforming our company for the digital age. The sensors we are building now allow our customers to transmit data wirelessly through WIFI and Bluetooth® technology. These products help to connect everything through the internet of things (IoT), giving our customers more accessibility in the way they collect and measure force data.

We are deliberately focusing on ways to provide our customers with more value from our entire suite of force measurement products, custom solutions, and services. Our goal is to connect everything we design, build and create ensuring the data our products gather can help make better decisions and automate processes greater efficiency and usability for our valued customers. Through the age of digital transformation, Interface is a partner to our customers in helping them do big things in the world.

Pushing the Limits in Force Measurement Technology

One of the biggest trends in force measurement is the demand for all-in-one tools and systems that provide more data points from a single product. Customers want their load cell and sensor technology to measure a combination of force, torque, vibration, position, speed and more.

We are addressing these requirements by investing in the next generation of our core products to improve the value to customers. As the most accurate and reliable load cell manufacturer, we want to push the limits on the accuracy, improve the temperature ranges of our products, and expand application uses and grow capacities. Using our ingenuity and industry experience, we also want to add more capability to our core products. Digitizing existing product lines is one way we are doing, as well as adding more sensors that can collect a wider range of data.

Exploring New Industries and Advanced Technology

One of the most exciting things about working in the force measurement industry is the fact that we are on the ground floor in developing new and innovative hardware. As we enter a new decade, we see expanding developments in space, robotics, and electric and autonomous vehicles. These are all products and inventions that require extremely accurate force measurement tools to create and test their innovations.

In order to stay on top of new technology, we are investing more in research and development than ever before. Imagining the possibilities, we are working closely with our customers, and in many cases partnering with them, to understand their evolving needs. Many of the products we have released in the last two years have been a direct response to customer requests and the application of imaginative thinking from our skilled leadership and engineering teams.

As we continue our journey in the 2nd 50 years of Interface, we are excited about the possibilities of force measurement and the new ways we can help our customers. We can’t wait to show you what we have on the horizon.

To stay up-to-date on new product announcements and to learn more about Interface and its commitment to accuracy, reliability, and innovation, please stay connected by subscribing to our blog and follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.  You can also watch a recent company video highlighting why Interface was chosen as Arizona’s 2019 Manufacturer of the Year.

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