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Interface Explores Maritime Applications Near and Offshore

Land, air, and sea are all the places where Interface force measurement devices are used to test and confirm product designs and measure real-time functions of equipment. Interface has long been providing an array of sensor solutions for use in the maritime industry.

The solutions are diverse including hydrofoil watercraft testing, yacht rigging inspections, and safety weight monitoring on massive cranes used on shipping docks and offshore. Interface provides various load cells, load pins, tension links, load shackles, instrumentation, and wireless products for splash zone, offshore and underwater sites.

The reason we are a top choice for products in or around the water is because of our line of submersible and rugged load cells and sensors designed for underwater applications and use in harsh weather conditions. From rigs and docks to structural waterways and bridges, our load cells can survive through underwater submersions at different capacities, and still be able to relay reliable and accurate data to instrumentation and receivers at the surface level. Interface measurement technologies are helping customers regulate harsh maritime situations including underwater tension lines for commercial fishing, nearshore hoisting apparatus at shipyards, undersea energy exploration, as well as storm and tsunami monitoring.

Specifically, our wireless load pins, load shackles, and tension links are ideal for marine applications. These products can be paired with our different wireless sensor transmitters, receivers, and handheld displays. Our Wireless Crosby Bow Load Shackles have been used for line tension testing and rigging. Our load shackles are inter-changeable with our WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load Cell. The WTS-BS-4 Wireless Industrial USB Base Station is also a popular transmitter that gives outstanding coverage and can be easily paired with one of our handheld displays such as the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters or the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld for Single Transmitters.

Check out a few of our applications notes to see how these products can be used for testing in the maritime industry:

Hydrofoil Testing in a Wave Tank

Hydrofoil design for watercraft is a delicate balance between performance and complexity. Finding the right shape without using overly complex angles to achieve the desired amount of lift is crucial when designing a successful hydrofoil. Once an engineer’s concepts are ready for testing, using the best force measurement equipment is required to sense the subtle differences between hydrofoil designs. Lift and drag are the most important characteristics of a hydrofoil. The Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell is needed to read these forces. The Fz senses lift and the Fx and Fy sense the drag. Using a model BSC4D-USB bridge amplifier increases the visibility of the load cells output signals. When using the load cell and bridge amplifier, the engineers can record the real-world lift and drag forces the hydrofoils are having on the watercraft. This data allows a more in-depth comparison of proposed hydrofoil designs to find the best model for the job. Learn more.

Mooring Line Tension Testing 

Due to the changing weather conditions, mooring cable lines undergo wear and tear. Users want to ensure all mooring lines for ships or vessels are securely docked at the same loading tension so that they do not risk the mooring lines to break or cause damage. Interface WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link can be attached to each mooring cable in use. Results are sent to the customers through the WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station when connected to the customer’s supplied PC computer or laptop. Data can also be transmitted to the WTS-BS-1-HA Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters, giving the customer the option to view multiple mooring cable line tensions. Using these Interface products, the customer was able to verify the tensions to multiple mooring cable lines. Thus, resulting in the security of their ship being safely docked on shore. Check out the app note here.

WTS Yacht Rigging Inspection

For a customer who wants to have a complete rigging inspection to make sure the mast, still lines, and all movable hoisting lines are functional and meet the proper specifications for sailing, Interface has the products to help. To test the tension of the forestay, shroud, and backstay cables, and the tension of the movable lines when sailing, Interface provided a WTSSHK-B Wireless Crosby™ Bow Load Shackle paired with the WTS-BS-1 Wireless Handheld Display for Unlimited Transmitters. This allows customers to switch and view between multiple shackles being tested during the inspection. The WTS-BS-4 USB Industrial Base Station can also be attached to the customer’s PC or laptop to display real time measurements from the shackles and log data. With this combination of technology, the customer was able to conduct both a running and standing rigging inspection of their ship or vessel and was able to determine if all lines were functional and met safety standards. Learn more here.

Dock Crane Safety and Capacity Verification

It is essential that heavy equipment used on the dock can verify that their crane is strong enough to safely lift a heavy load. For productivity and timing, it also is helpful to constantly measure and rate maximum load capacity. In these environments, a wireless solution is needed to avoid long cables, and to have a faster installation time. Using the WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link Load Cell, operators can measure the load’s maximum capacity. The WTS-RM1 Wireless Relay Output Receiver Modules also can trigger an alarm that can be set when the maximum capacity of weight and force. The data is transmitted and can be reviewed with the WTS-BS-1-HS Wireless Handheld Display, or, on the customer’s receiving technology. Read more here.

As you can see, Interface has got Maritime covered with a wide variety of products suitable for submersion and the harsh weather that can be found at sea. In addition, if our off-the-shelf products don’t quite meet your use case, Interface’s custom solutions team will work alongside you to create the most effective and efficient solution based on your needs.

Testing the Reins

Think of nearly any piece of hardware, especially those with moving components, and chances are a force measurement device was used in its development and testing.

Interface supplies load cells, torque transducers, load pins, tension links, and data acquisition devices utilized in testing hardware components for automobiles, drones, rocket engines, medical devices, bridges, watercraft, and everything in-between including for horses.

The applications for our products grow broader every year, so much so that we are rarely surprised with the ingenuity and innovation abound. There are no limitations, including in the equipment utilized in core agriculture markets, which comprises of products used in the equine industry.

In one customer’s project, were able to provide valuable sensor technology for a test and measurement project for products used with horses. Included below is a brief preview of the two new applications notes we developed based on the specific requirements for this equine industry design.

A customer came to Interface needing to quantify the poll pressure on the bridle of a horse. We created a solution using both a Wireless Telemetry System (WTS) and a Bluetooth® Telemetry System (BTS) Equine Bridle Tension System, with two SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cells in both the line of the reins and that of the cheekpiece on one side of the horse to study the dynamic response of the cheekpiece tension to rein tension in the ridden horse. Utilizing the WTS or BTS, the valuable data can be displayed and recorded in real time.

Within the real experimental system these sensors were used to test the tension resulting from the rider’s hands, the horse’s mouth and the bit, the elasticity of the equine mouth provides a “floating” fulcrum and a potential source of time-lag and decoherence between the dynamic rein and cheekpiece tensions. Because the cheekpiece is directly attached to the headpiece, we we’re able to assume that forces seen in the cheekpiece are those that are applied to the poll of the horse.

Want to learn more about this agriculture industry solution?  Be sure to read the Equine Industry WTS and BTS Bridle Tension System application notes.

Tension Links 101

A tension link load cell is commonly used in lifting, both for short and long distances, and weighing applications. This type of load cell sensor generally has capacities ranging from 2.2K lbf to 1.1M lbf (5 to 500 metric tons). All tension links are available in custom versions and large capacities based on the customer’s project requirements.

Interface’s Tension Link series is manufactured from high tensile aluminum and stainless steel. Matched to shackle sizes, the load links have a rugged design for uses in harsh environments on the surface and in water. The tension links are environmentally sealed to IP65, IP66 or IP67. There are higher ratings available upon request.

A major benefit of Interface tension links is the option for custom designs in dimensions, ratings and capacities. The tension links are easy to install and are highly accurate.  They are compact in size and light weight. Another benefit is the options available, which include standard, wireless and self-indicating, giving the operator a variety of application use cases for quick measurement readings.  Self-indicating tension links have a built-inaudible alarm, which can be set by the operator to warn when an applied weight or force is met.

Often, customers will integrate the tension links with an Interface Crosby styled load shackle for robust applications that require accurate and reliable force measurement used for lifting, weighing, hoisting or towing apparatus that need sensors for safety and monitoring.

Wireless options are growing in acceptance for all types of uses. Interface provides wireless tension links that are compact and reduce the overall product weight based on the casing used to house the small alkaline batteries, which can be easily accessed by removing the telemetry housing cover while the internal electronics remain completely sealed. The antenna is also internally mounted, protecting it from accidental damage during use and handling, which is ideal for harsh environments.

Watch this discussion to learn more about the wireless features of the Interface Tension Links and Load Shackles.

Interface’s most popular tension links include:

WTSTL Wireless Tension Link Load CellDesigned for lifting applications requiring short or long distances. This product can transmit wirelessly up to 600 meters in distance (clear line of sight) to a handheld display or USB base station. Model WTSTL is available in capacities ranging from 11K lbf to 220K lbf (5 to 100 metric tons). Custom versions and larger capacities are available upon request.

WTSLTL Lightweight Wireless Tension Link – This smaller version ranges from 1 to 300 MT (2.2K to 661K lbf) and uses a lightweight aluminum construction, with an internal antenna and 1200 hours batter life using standard AA batteries.  It has high accuracy and uses license free 2.4GHz radio. There is an option to use this with telemetry and/or software for readout and reporting.

ISITL Self-Indicating Tension Link Load CellManufactured from high tensile aluminum to minimize weight, the ISITL is great for lifting and weighing in rugged or harsh environments.  The self-indication tension link load cell is ideal for mobile use cases.  It is simple to install and is matched to standard shackle sizes. They have a built-in display for applied weight or force in tons, kgs, lbs or kN. Interface can also offer a custom software to meet any specific application requirements for digital display or readouts.

ITL Tension Link Load Cell – This basic tension link can be amplified with 5VDC, 10VDC or 4-20mA Outputs. It can also be made to meet ATEX requirements. Model ITL is available in capacities ranging from 11K lbf to 220K lbf (5 to 100 metric tons). Custom versions and larger capacities can be requested at no additional charge, based on the exact specifications needed by the customer.

To learn more about our wide variety of load pins, load shackles and tension links, please visit www.interfaceforce.com/product-category/load-pins-tension-links-and-load-shackles/.