To meet the demand for the ever-evolving technological landscape, Interface is constantly gathers input from our customers across all industries and global network of test and measurement professionals to understand trends and sensor requirements for today and into the future. These valuable insights drive our new product introduction strategy and evaluations into how we can best solve your challenges.
ConvexBT was introduced due to the growing trend of electronics miniaturization going on throughout nearly every hardware industry in the world. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are packing more capabilities into smaller and smaller packages, and as product size shrinks testing sensors and equipment must downsize to match. ConvexBT is engineered to fit in tight spaces to test compression force with ultimate precision. It’s well-suited for industries like medical and industrial, where product miniaturization is prevalent throughout.
You can see some of the other recent ConvexBT highlights and use cases here:
ConvexBT also includes some incredibly novel design choices that helps with rejection of misaligned loads, as well as temperature compensation. This makes it not only the most accurate load button load cell on the market, but also the most flexible. To learn more about ConvexBT and the unique design, capacity ranges, technical specification and more, download the white paper here.
https://www.interfaceforce.com/wp-content/uploads/convexbt-whitepaper-1.jpg800800Brian Johnson/wp-content/uploads/Interface_White_Red.svgBrian Johnson2021-03-17 17:30:472021-10-17 19:53:22Interface Releases New ConvexBT White Paper
It is estimated that the force measurement sensor industry market, which includes strain gages and load cells, is valued at $2 billion annually. This is a result of the diverse amount of application uses for these types of sensors, whether embedded into an OEM product or for use in test and measurement. With innovations pushing product designers, this segment of the overall sensor market is growing rapidly from the advancements in robotics, semiconductors, automotive, aerospace and defense.
In these areas of growth, Interface continues to focus on the manufacturing and sales of precision force measurement products. For 52 years, Interface remains the leader in accuracy and quality. There are no plans to change that focus. What is changing is the market place and opportunities for using precision sensor technology of all sizes and capacities, whether that be for electronic vehicle testing or industrial automation, launching spacecraft or introducing new robots.
The way we develop force measurement products is continually evolving. It is our responsibility to understand trends in the engineering, testing and manufacturing, as well as identifying customer needs, in order to develop new force measurement innovations for today and into the future.
Technology is moving at a fast pace, and it’s imperative that companies like us rise to meet the demand for new innovations to solve modern and future design and testing challenges. In last week’s blog, we detailed our product development process and our evolution over the years to meet these demands. Product development has grown from a process to something that we engage in every day, especially in the customization of our standard products as well as introduction of new solutions.
The voice of our customer is instrumental in defining this development journey. We learn about new trends and opportunities for expanding our product line by listening to our customers and team members. At Interface, we know that in order to continue building upon our half-century legacy, it’s critical to keep an open mind to new solutions and continually learn how our customer’s industries are evolving too.
Interface recently had the opportunity to contribute article to two different publications that outlined our thoughts on the trends in force measurement. We were able to lean on our entire team to discover what they believe is the future of our industry. It was not only a fun exercise to take a step back and look into the future, but it was also encouraging because we realized that many of these trends are things that Interface has placed a heavy focus on in our strategic plans for the months and years to come.
Included below are links and a quick synopsis of recent articles by Interface ForceLeaders™ that were published in Machine Design Magazine and Metrology News.
Until about 10 years ago, the force test and measurement industry had been fairly unimaginative. It had developed a standard way of building analog load cells, torque transducers and other devices, and it worked for many years. However, as most of the rest of the technological world advanced and big data changed the way engineers and manufacturers work, this age-old force measurement analog technology stood out with no way to improve data collection or make it more efficient.
The digital revolution has pushed load cell manufacturers to look around and think about how customers develop products and how factories and production lines operate. Here are some of the trends force-measurement companies must get in line with or risk disappearing, as defined by Keith Skidmore, Regional Sales Director at Interface. Click here to read more
The rise of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and “Big Data” has had a tremendous impact on almost every industry, including force measurement. Up until about ten years ago, the industry had remained steady and predictable. There was a standard way of building load cells using analog technology that was widely accepted, and they served their purpose well. In this article Ted Larson, VP Product Management and Marketing at Interface explains the industries recent transition and what lays ahead. Read more here.
Interface will continue to remain future-focused in an effort to serve our clients force measurement needs for now and beyond. If you are interested in learning more about custom solutions or new applications, contact us here.
https://www.interfaceforce.com/wp-content/uploads/future-of-force-1.jpg800800Brian Johnson/wp-content/uploads/Interface_White_Red.svgBrian Johnson2020-06-16 15:20:262020-06-16 15:20:26Envisioning the Future of Force Measurement
Interface continues to advance our business to meet the growing demands and requirements of our expansive line of products. As it pertains to product development, the focus is heavily placed on innovating to enable our customers to depend on Interface solutions for evolving technology trends to design and test next-generation products. This fundamental prioritization at Interface over the past decade is centered on the way we serve our customers and by enhancing our product development process.
How does Interface take a customer challenge or key technology trend from an idea to a scalable product?
Interface does not follow a standard product development process with a team dedicated to coming up with new ideas. New product development is a culmination of input from every facet of our company, from sales to engineers. We leverage the outstanding talent we have built at Interface across the board to identify what is next in terms of solving force measurement challenges.
New product ideas are mainly identified from three different areas:
Trend Research: We are continually looking at technology trends to determine how we solve problems in an evolving technology world.
Customer Requirements: Many product ideas are born from working face-to-face with customers to discover their precise needs. Occasionally, a custom product built for a specific customer will present a wider market appeal and turn into a larger product line.
Product Gaps: We are always reviewing our core products to try and identify gaps in our ability to solve customer needs.
Once we have identified specific challenges that Interface can solve with a new solution, we begin to look internally to ensure that we have the right talent and expertise to deliver an industry-leading force measurement product. If not, we may search externally for the right talent or partners to collaborate on the project. We utilize tools like the SWOT analysis to evaluate our technical, business, and competitive position in the market.
Upon determining that the product is in high demand with our customers or in new markets, we then further define our product concept, as well as the business case for development and going to market. We perform thorough research to determine potential applications and conduct a risk analysis on the product. This is followed by a timeline for development and assigning resources to the development project.
Interface uses either an agile or phase-gate approach depending on the type of project. This allows Interface to make better decisions throughout the development process and quickly adjust when we determine there is a better or more efficient way of doing something.
If the technology we will be working with to develop the new product is something we have never worked with before, we assess the technology readiness level (TRL). This process helps to determine if we are equipped to handle the new technology or if we need to invest in additional R&D and, in some cases, expertise to carry out the project.
Following the detailed development plan, risk analysis, establishing a timeline and allocating resources to the development of the new idea, we begin the concept phase. This involves some discovery and often includes designing and manufacturing a prototype of the product, to begin testing with customers and gaining feedback for additional iterations.
These steps lead us to deciding if a minimum viable product (MVP) or minimum valuable product is the best way to proceed to market. Utilizing this approach, we can quickly develop a fully functioning product with minimal bells and whistles and get it into a customer’s hands. This also freezes the design and allows production to prepare for the product launch.
Concluding the process is a new product introduction (NPI) and lifecycle management. During NPI we are focused on two key aspects – internal planning and external communication. Our internal planning involves setting up manufacturing and educating the sales staff on the final product. External communication is the process of creating a marketing plan, developing content and data sheets, as well as planning events and demonstrations for exhibits.
During the lifecycle management phase, we are taking orders, managing service on the product, and evaluating both the product and the launch. All these initiatives help drive future product development and launch strategies for innovative solutions.
This part of the process is where our technical sales team is critical. These individuals, with strong relationships with our customers, are constantly collecting feedback and reporting back to our design and engineering teams. This helps us determine the best way to proceed in adding additional features and technology to the product. This in turn, leads to post launch releases and enhancements to the product, which help fuel the product’s growth.
Our product development process is constantly evolving as we continue to add new capabilities and work towards providing our customers with an all-encompassing suite of force measurement solutions to handle the challenges of today and into the future. Interface has thousands of products, standard, modified, and custom. It is critical in our approach to stay ahead of trends, predict needs, and most importantly listen to our customers to make sure our products are exactly what they need from a leader in force measurement.
To learn more about Interface and our industry-leading lineup of force measurement products providing premium accuracy and reliability contact our Application Engineer experts. Be sure to watch for new product updates by subscribing to our InterfaceIQ blog here: /blog/.
https://www.interfaceforce.com/wp-content/uploads/innovation-1.png800800Brian Johnson/wp-content/uploads/Interface_White_Red.svgBrian Johnson2020-06-09 16:43:412022-12-22 11:26:11Setting the Standards in Innovation
As technology progresses, one of the main differences we see over years and years of iteration on a wide range of consumer and commercial technology is miniaturization. There are hundreds of thousands of examples of advancing technology that went from the room-size of a mainframe decades ago, to a handheld device today. As technology grows more compact and convenient, the equipment used to design, test and manufacture these devices has to follow suit.
This is one of the driving factors for Interface to increase the product types and capabilities in our Load Button Load Cells and Interface Mini Load Cell products. Interface’s Load Button Load Cells are designed for customers who require the measurement of forces in a very confined space. They provide the most accuracy in as little space as possible. Diameters range from 1 inch to 3 inches, with heights from 0.39 inch to 1.5 inches.
For many years, load button load cells have been sensitive to off-axis, eccentric or misaligned loads. This means that if the load is not exactly perpendicular to the surface it’s resting on, the data could become skewed or inaccurate. All on-axis load generates some level, no matter how small, of off-axis extraneous components. This can cause a variety of challenges including slight inaccuracies and reduction of the load cells overload capacity.
With Interface’s family of load button load cells, we bring premium accuracy and repeatability, even under eccentric angular loading. The shaped load button has a spherical radius to help confine misaligned loads to the primary axis of the cell. Our design engineers and force measurement experts have purposefully tested applications under a wide variety of load conditions to ensure that the our load button series can continue to deliver premium performance. We have been extremely pleased with the results and continue to advance our offerings, including the soon to be released precision focused ConvexBT load button load cells.
The load button load cells’ size has in the past precluded the use of internal temperature compensation. We have redesigned our ultra precision product line of load buttons to ensure that this is no longer something the user has to account for when testing a product in certain environmental conditions.
Interface engineers have eliminated this issue by taking the technology out of the load button load cells cable and designing it back into the product. This ensures that temperature-sensitive applications do not suffer from errors caused by the load cell being exposed to different environmental conditions than the cable.
These new features open new possibilities to test compression force on a broader range of products and environments. To learn more about our ultra precision Load Cell Load Buttons and how it can make a difference in your design and testing process when dealing with tight and confined spaces, contact our Application Engineer experts here.
Although Interface initially developed AxialTQ for these applications, this innovative product is available for a range of use cases, including helicopters, forklifts, watercraft, industrial pumps, wind energy and more.
While AxialTQ is incredibly versatile, it continues to be used heavily in the automotive industry. Outside of traditional internal combustion lab engine testing, it’s also useful for drive train lab testing, automotive accessory lab testing and serving the unique needs of internal combustion for the agricultural industry. If it turns, it can be tested with AxialTQ.
Once we established AxialTQ as a leader in the internal combustion testing space, we knew the natural next step was to enter the electric vehicle market. The application of AxialTQ is similar; however, electrical vehicles use different technology. Our move to enter this new market is critical because as much as some people wish to ignore it, electric vehicles will soon dominate. Deloitte estimates the electric vehicle market will reach a tipping point in 2022 when the cost of an electric vehicle is on-par with its combustion engine counterparts.
AxialTQ’s industry-leading testing capabilities are helping to propel the change from combustion to electric engines. Interface is more than prepared for the shift to support test and measurement applications. As of 2019, there are roughly 20 major cities worldwide that have plans to ban gas cars by 2030 or sooner. Although the U.S. isn’t looking to ban combustion vehicles until 2040, other countries like Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands are being extremely aggressive due to renewable energy concerns. Even though internal combustion engines are part of our core testing capabilities, we have the necessary tools needed for the new wave of automotive technology.
“Energy concerns is why we will start seeing an increase in AxialTQ used in the electric vehicle market. If trends continue at the current pace, we will start to see more electric vehicle applications and less internal combustion soon.” – Ted Larson, VP of Product Management and Marketing
No matter what a customer’s application is, AxialTQ has the reliability and flexibility to test it. From internal combustion to electric vehicles and a whole lot more, Interface is prepared every step of the way.
https://www.interfaceforce.com/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-Copy-of-Solutions-1.png10801080Brian Johnson/wp-content/uploads/Interface_White_Red.svgBrian Johnson2019-10-10 17:20:092022-12-22 12:16:58AxialTQ for Anything That Turns and Needs Testing
In 2015, Interface’s visionary founder Richard F. Caris had many legacies, one of which is the donation he made to The University of Arizona’s (UA) Mirror Lab. This endowment was a testament to his unwavering commitment to innovation, exploration, and science. Because of his deep personal interest and generous donation to the lab, UA named it the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.
At the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, scientists, engineers, and technicians are developing large, lightweight mirrors with unparalleled surface accuracy. The actual mirrors are helping to advance science and discovery around the world with the new generation of optical telescopes that can explore the universe through optical and infrared light. The actual mirrors developed at the lab represent a sweeping departure from the old conventional solid-glass mirrors.
Buell Tomasson Jannuzi, Jeffrey Kingsley, Ted Larson, Ken Vining in front of GMT Primary Mirror Segment 5 (S5). Photo Credit: Damien Jemison UA
Interface’s Chief Engineer Ken Vining and VP of Product Management and Marketing Ted Larson recently took a trip to Tucson, Arizona, to get an up close and personal view of the advancements that have been made over the last four years at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab. The experience is breathtaking for anyone that gets the opportunity to visit the lab.
Although the lab has been using Interface’s load cells long before 2015, the purpose of the Caris donation was to aid in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) with the lab’s revolutionary mirror casting capabilities.
These primary mirrors for the GMT are described as “a marvel of modern engineering and glassmaking.” Five of the seven 8.4-meter segmented mirrors have been cast thus far. The first mirror is complete and the other four are in various stages of production.
Completing any telescope project is a significant time commitment. In the last four years, a few segments have been cast. The project is expected to run until 2027. Although completing the GMT is a long-term endeavor, the lab is starting to think about future projects.
During Interface’s recent visit, our engineers made sure to provide careful guidance on product selection to promote future achievements and inventions.
“The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab team has all these ideas they’re thinking about and we knew if they engaged Interface early, we could help them solve a lot of problems.” – Ken Vining, Chief Engineer at Interface
While our experts were touring the Mirror Lab, they also discussed our new Interface University Program that provides special incentives for students and higher education programs. Interface knows that when programs learn with the best force measurement products, they can advance their learnings and encourage future innovations.
One of the additional benefits from the onsite visit was advancing Interface and the Mirror Lab’s collaboration in providing additional technical education, support, and resource to UA engineering students and Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab personnel. Interface has developed a variety of topics for educational seminars, including humidity’s effect on load cell performance, the basics of metrology, how to properly calibrate a load cell, and the impact of high elevation on load cells.
In case you’re curious about the last topic, elevation doesn’t have much of an effect on load cell performance. However, a telescope of this magnitude can test the boundaries like no other. It is 18,000 feet at installation altitude, which gets a telescope above the ‘dirty’ parts of Earth’s atmosphere. If you are looking to learn more about the Interface University Program, contact us here.
Interface was founded in 1968 by Richard F. Caris. You can read more about our history here. If you would like to tour The University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, you can get tickets online. Tours are Monday through Friday at 1 pm, and as available at 3 pm. Click here for tickets and information.
About UA: Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state’s super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually. https://www.arizona.edu
https://www.interfaceforce.com/wp-content/uploads/Mirror-Lab-Ted-and-Ken-at-UofA-4-4-2019-1.jpg20481384Brian Johnson/wp-content/uploads/Interface_White_Red.svgBrian Johnson2019-04-30 16:30:202021-10-14 12:32:26A Visit to The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab
When Ted Larson, VP Product & Project Management at Interface, has a passion for something he devotes his time and energy to mastering it, whether it is innovating industry game-changing products or discovering new tequila.
This pursuit of excellence has served Larson well during his 30-plus year career in product design and engineering. His expertise has helped Interface establish itself as one of the premier innovators in the force measurement industry. Larson credits his success to being mindful of customer needs.
“I believe the most important aspect of product development is listening to the customer and discovering the most difficult issues they face every day.” Ted Larson
Larson started his journey at the University of San Francisco in 1979 where he would go on to earn a B.S. in Business and Organizational Behavior. Shortly after graduating, he quickly realized that he had a desire to become an engineer and wanted to bolster his skills as a maker. In 1987, Larson earned a B.S. in Electronics from Chapman University in Orange, California.
His education and skillset boosted Larson’s career in the aerospace and defense industry where he held positions with Boeing and SYMVIONICS. Over the next 20 years, Larson would hold various management and executive level positions in manufacturing and engineering, initially starting in mechanical and eventually moving into electronics. He worked in a diverse range of industries including software, automotive, chemical and lighting.
In 2015, Larson joined Interface to head up new product development. This position was unique to Interface because in the company’s 50-year history its focus centered around improving its industry-leading load cells, as opposed to creating new products. Larson was tasked with creating products that take the company into its next 50-years, what Interface coins as the 2nd 50, as a leading innovator of force measurement technology solutions for the automotive, aerospace and defense, medical, industrial industries and metrology.
In the four years that Larson has been with Interface, the company has released some of the industry’s most innovative products including ConvexBT and AxialTQ. Larson’s propensity for fresh ideas and new ways of thinking have propelled Interface’s capability to solve complex customer problems.
“Engineers thrive when they are attacking a specific problem, and without customer input, new ideas wouldn’t change a thing.”
When Larson isn’t developing new ideas for Interface, he enjoys traveling to Mexico to be with family. In Mexico, he can spend time discovering and collecting new and delicious tequilas. Each year, Larson will bring back a few unique bottles of añjeo tequila to taste with family and friends.
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