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How Do Load Cells Work?

What is the most frequently searched question searched related to Interface and the products we manufacture? It may seem overly simple to test engineers and frequent buyers of Interface force measurement solutions, but to many it is an important question. What do inquisitive users of the internet want to know? They want to how load cells work.

Diving into this question, we learned that many understand the purpose of a load cell. A load cell converts an applied mechanical force, whether that is tension, compression, or torsion, into a measurable electrical signal. Any change in force, increases or decreases the signal output change in proportion.

There are fewer people that understand how a force transducer works. After 55 years making load cells, we thought we should help provide an answer to an incredibly good question. Here is a quick technical brief on how a load cell works.

Interface Tech Talk Answers How Do Load Cells Work

A load cell has two basic components. It has a spring element that is often known as a flexure that mechanically supports the load to be measured and a deflection measurement element that responds to flexure movement resulting from the application of force.

In simpler terms, there is a bending beam under the load and when weight or force is applied, the change in bend (deflection) results in change in output.

A load cell’s basic function is to take applied force and convert it into an output signal that provides the user with a measurement. This process of converting a force into data is typically completed through a Wheatstone bridge that is comprised of strain gages.

Strain Gage Load Cells: A strain gage is typically constructed of an exceptionally fine wire or metal foil that is arranged in a grid-like pattern. Strain gages are strategically placed on the load cell flexure and bonded securely, such that the force induced deflection of the flexure causes the gages to stretch or compress. Thus, when tension or compression is applied, the electrical resistance of the strain gages changes and the balance of the Wheatstone bridge then shifts positive or negative. Fundamentally, the strain gages convert force, pressure, or weight into a change that can then be measured as an electrical signal.

Why use strain gages in load cells? Strain gage characteristics include thermal tracking, temperature compensation, creep compensation, frequency response, and non-repeatability. The major advantage of the strain gage as the deflection measuring element is the fact that it has infinite resolution. That means that no matter how small the deflection, it can be measured as a change in the resistance of the strain gage.

The strain gage is the critical foundation of a load cell and the most vital component for accurate and reliable measurements. One thing to understand about Interface load cells is that we develop our own strain gages in-house using a proprietary manufacturing process to ensure premium performance.

In addition to strain gage load cells, there are also two different less common load cells that use a diverse types of data collection method. This is defined as pneumatic and hydraulic methods.

Pneumatic: These load cells are typically used for measuring lower weights with high degrees of accuracy. They measure weight in terms of force-balance, meaning that weight is reported as a change in pressure. Key advantages of pneumatic load cells are their resistance to electrical noise and inability to spark, in addition to their low reactivity to temperature changes.

Hydraulic: As the name suggests, these load cells utilize fluid pressure for measurement. Like pneumatic load cells, hydraulic load cells balance force by measuring weight as a change in pressure, and the pressure of the fluid rises because of an increase in force. These load cells have no electric components, allowing them to perform well in hazardous conditions.

How to choose the right load cell?

Load cells seem like an extremely basic piece of equipment used to measure different forces such as weight, compression, tension, torsion, or a combination of these. It can be on a single axis or across multiple axes. However, there are many distinct types of strain gages and load cells that are designed for a variety of environments and force measurement testing requirements.

Specifications of a measurement sensor validate the design capabilities and capacities, including the amount of measurement that can be used for a particular device before you exceed the limits.

The field of force measurement has the same types of constraints as any other discipline. It starts with considerations of weight, size, cost, accuracy, useful life, and rated capacity. This also means considerations for extraneous forces, test profile, error specifications, temperature, altitude, pressure, and environment are particularly important when choosing a load cell.

The major difference in strain gages is the base material used in the manufacturing process. Varied materials are used when a load cell needs to perform optimally in a variety of temperatures, humidity levels, and elevations. Matching the correct strain gage and a load cell to the customer’s needs is critical to accuracy. It is why Interface has excelled in building precision load cells for five and half decades and continues to be a trusted supplier to industry market leaders, innovators, engineers, and testing houses around the world. It is what we do best. It is what we know.

Our team of engineers and manufacturing experts use expertise that has built over time, applications, and load cell experience. A load cell starts as a raw piece of steel, aluminum, or other metal. It is machined, gaged, wired, finished, and calibrated by experts in load cell production, machinists, and quality engineers.

If you are just beginning to work with products that require accurate force measurement, we would suggest that you speak with an application engineer who can help you understand the load cell that will fit best for your use case.

When shopping for a load cell it is important to know the type of force that you need to measure, the size of the application, the environment in which you will be measuring the application, the accuracy of data needed, the type of communication output that will work with your current test system and if there are any unique details about your application, like extreme or hazardous conditions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface Load Cell Field Guide

Interface Presents Load Cell Basics

LowProfile Load Cells 101

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Technical Library

LowProfile Cutaway

Data Acquisition Systems 101

Engineers and testing professionals use data acquisition systems to enable smart decisions. The data retrieved through DAQ systems empower users to identify points of failure, optimize performance, and create efficiencies in products and processes.

When it comes to measuring force, the accuracy and reliability of the sensor is a critical component to receiving quality data. The data acquired from measurement devices, including load cells, torque transducers, and other types of force sensors, is valuable for product development, research, and robust testing to ensure performance and durability of all types of innovations. Ultimately, utilizing precision-based data provides enhanced control and response for all types of applications and use cases. Interface provides a wide range of data acquisition instrumentation that is easily paired with our force measurement products.

By definition, a data acquisition system is a collection of components used to acquire data via analog signals and converting them to digital form for storage, research, and analysis. Data acquisition systems, also called DAQ systems, typically are made up of sensors, signal conditioners, converters, plus computer hardware and software for logging and analysis. Interface experts are available to help pair the transducers with the right instrumentation.

The data acquired through the measurement device is only useful if it is logged for analysis and traceability. This is where instrumentation, in particular DAQ systems come into play, in not only transferring data, but also obtaining the right type of data in a format and data transfer method that works with existing user systems.

Data acquisition that utilizes analog output has long been the standard in the industry. As new requirements for use cases and applications grow, test and measurement professionals and engineers find these systems advantageous because of the lower cost, easy integration, and scalability. They also like the advantage of daisy-chaining multiple sensors together on a single cable run to maximize the amount of data through single tests. More data improves the quality of analysis and monitoring.

Advancements in sensor technologies coincide with growing demands for digitalization and to gather more testing data. This is seen using multi-axis sensors, along with requirements for multi-channel acquisition that can integrate into existing systems already designed with specific digital connections and protocols.

In addition to improving speed of data output, acquisition systems offer an abundance of value-added benefits. This is primarily due to the digital signal, as they are less susceptible to noise and are more secure. The systems also typically have built in error detection. Digital signals are best for transmitting signals across longer distances or when you need to allow for simultaneous multi-directional transmissions. Many people like the ease of integration, both into existing networks as well as with other testing devices.

Data acquisition systems and accessories come in many shapes and sizes, wired and wireless and there are also a handful of different software options in different systems. All these various products such as digital instruments, input and output modules, cables, monitors, and accessories. Interface offers a range of DAQ products, including full systems including the sensors.

Interface Complete Data Acquisition Systems

BlueDAQ Data QA Pack

Force sensors can easily connect via the BlueDAQ Family Data AQ Pack for fast and accurate data acquisition. This solution provides a convenient way to view the test results from transducers including single axis, dual axis, 3-axis, and 6-axis multi-axis sensors. Check out our BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for Multi-Axis Sensors with Lab Enclosure.

T-USB-VS Rotary Torque Transducer Data AQ Pack

Connecting dynamic torque transducers to the T-USB Rotary Torque Transducer Data Acquisition Pack will provide you with convenient way to view the test results for your torque transducers that have internal USB functionality.

WTS Wireless Data AQ Pack

Utilizing the popular WTS Wireless Data Acquisition Pack provides convenient wireless communication with speeds up to 200 samples per second. Learn more in our Interface Wireless Telemetry System Review. See the complete line Interface WTS here.

DIG-USB PC Interface Module Data AQ Pack

Interface’s DIG-USB Data Acquisition Pack enables a straightforward way to view the test results our load cells or torque transducers. Check out the popular DIG-USB Output Module and the DIG-USB-F Fast USB Output Module.

9325 Portable Display Data AQ Pack

Interface’s 9325 Data Acquisition Pack makes your system portable. The 9325 allows simple display of strain bridge based measurements such as load cells, torque transducers, and other mV/V output transducers with sensitivity up to +/-1 V/V.

INF-USB-VS3 PC Interface Module Data AQ Pack

Our INF-USB-VS3 Data Acquisition Pack connects Interface mV/V load cells or torque transducers to provide real-time data analysis.  Here is more information about the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module.

Interface Data Acquisition Systems are modular. We offer the complete system, including enclosures, along with single components to complete a system. Consult with our application engineers to learn what system would be best for your test and measurement programs.

Data AQ Pack Brochure

 

 

 

Interface Best Selling Products in 2022

Interface sells tens of thousands of force measurement products every year. As a manufacturer of the world’s highest quality load cells, it is no surprise that our top selling products are the precision load cells that we engineer and build in our US headquarters.

We have been manufacturing high-accuracy load cells in all kinds of configurations and capacities for 55 years. With growing demands for complete systems, instrumentation, and specialty sensors, we continue to add new products and expand our line of standard and engineered to order offerings. In 2022, we again have grown our Interface Product Catalog significantly.

As is tradition, we want to share our best selling products and what garnered the most views by product categories and models. The criteria for what constitute a best seller can vary depending on the industry and the specific market. A best seller is typically considered to be a product that is in high demand and is selling well consistently over a period.  In general, Interface best sellers are products that have a strong record of success and are highly sought after by our customers year-over-year.

In our annual recap, we do not include products that are custom OEM, as these unique sensors are built for a particular use case.  Interface defines a best seller as a product model series that ranks among the top sellers in our entire force measurement solutions line.

2022 Interface Best Selling Products

Load Cells

Mini Load Cells

Torque Transducers

Specialty Products

Instrumentation

What captured the greatest interest in 2022 by users and researchers of force measurement solutions? We have cataloged what is capturing the greatest interest from you and your peers. The following are Interface products most frequently viewed this past year by test and measurement professionals, engineers, product designers, and manufacturers around the world.

Interface Top 10 Product Categories Ranked by Online Interest in 2022

  1. Load Cells
  2. Torque Transducers
  3. Instrumentation
  4. Tension and Compression Load Cells
  5. Accessories
  6. Mini Load Cells
  7. Multi-Axis Sensors
  8. Compression-Only Load Cells
  9. Load Button Load Cells
  10. LowProfile Load Cells

Interface Products Most Viewed Online in 2022

Summary Catalog 8 Pages

Most Popular Interface Content in 2022

Interface is committed to providing valuable content and resources related to force measurement and supplemental topics based on how our customers use our products. Every year, we publish content in a variety of formats, including our blogs, newsletters, catalogs and brochures, case studies, industry solutions and white papers. In 2022, we added 125 new pieces of content, along with 109 new Interface IQ Blog posts.

Research tells us that blogs and publications are an important source to keep up with the latest developments in the field of practice. This certainly applies to test and measurement, engineering, product development and metrology. This type of material can be a fantastic way to stay informed and inspired, as well as up to date on trends and peer-related subject matter.

The question we like to answer every year, what are you reading?

Interface’s Most Read 2022 IQ Blogs

  1. 2022 Test and Measurement Industry Trends
  2. Shunt Calibration 101
  3. Force Measurement Installation Guides
  4. Types of Force Measurement Tests 101
  5. Interface Submersible Load Cells
  6. EV Battery Testing Solutions Utilize Interface Mini Load Cells
  7. Choosing the Right Torque Transducer
  8. Solutions to Advance Agriculture Smart Farming and Equipment
  9. Interface Sensors Used for Internet of Things
  10. Flange Style Load Cells and Torque Transducers 101

The subjects we right about, sometimes technical, and other times focused on use cases, are driven by our customer’s interests. Often, these subjects are relevant over an extended period. We are now entering our fifth year of the Interface IQ Blog. In fact, the most read posts on our website this year dated back as far as 2018. Are you a subscriber?

Interface’s Most Popular IQ Blogs

  1. Understanding Load Cell Temperature Compensation
  2. Strain Gages 101
  3. Load Washers 101
  4. S-Type Load Cells 101
  5. Load Pins 101
  6. Load Cell Basics Sensor Specifications
  7. Interface Engineered to Order Solutions
  8. The Anatomy of a Load Cell
  9. Understanding Uncertainty in Load Cell Calibration
  10. Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Many test and measurement professionals find it valuable to read and stay current on the latest research and technical papers related in their industry. Interface produces new technical papers and case studies every year. The top technical white papers and case studies that captured the most interest in 2022 include:

Interface introduced a helpful guide in 2022 to navigate some of the content that has gained the most interest over the years. You can find this in our new 101 Force Measurement Series. It is a sequence of blogs that we add that are we categorize as 101-level references. This new guide also adds associated content on the same subject matter.

We look forward to learning from your interests and adding updated content in the coming year.

Exploring Interface Capabilities and Differentiators

Interface is the largest producer of load cells defined by a particularly important core differentiator. The Interface difference is precision.

How do we maintain this standard of excellence? Interface is directed by our foundational 4-pillars for success: quality, service, accuracy, and innovation. This applies to anything and everything that we do, including manufacturing premium force measurement products, engineering and design, custom solutions, providing calibration and repair, and in our commitment to service.

Interface has long been known for providing accuracy-based sensor technologies, innovative solutions, engineering excellence and quality products that our customers trust. We have detailed our breadth and depth of capabilities and differentiators for our products that are designed to serve customers across a growing number of industries.

In our online capabilities statement, you can find:

  • Interface differentiators
  • Interface core products and expertise
  • Certifications
  • Industry NAICS and PSC Codes
  • Interface’s Company Snapshot

Our customers around the world are innovators, market leaders, boundary-breaking, finding ways to do things differently, make things safer, improve products and create new all through the measurement of force. We provide solutions for test and measurement, as well as OEM. This includes companies in aerospace and defense, automotive and vehicle, medical devices, energy, industrial automation, entertainment and amusement, agriculture, maritime, infrastructure, and equipment manufacturing.

As world’s trusted leader in force measurement technology, design, and manufacturing, it is important that we guarantee the highest quality performance of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, wireless telemetry, instrumentation, calibration and more. To do this, it is the Interface people, technology, manufacturing, engineering, and force measurement solutions that make the difference.

Here are just a few of Interface’s key differentiators and capabilities:

  • PROPRIETARY STRAIN GAGES: We make our strain gages and assemble them in the same buildings as our final sensor testing is performed in-house to ensure the quality and accuracy.
  • THE STANDARD: Interface is the standard for all load cells. Since 1968, our LowProfile® load cells have been used throughout the world because of their accuracy and dependability.
  • CALIBRATION: Our trademarked Gold Standard Calibration System is the industry ‘gold standard’ for test and measurement.
  • SYSTEMS: Interface is the only major load cell company offering a comprehensive system for customers to calibrate their own load cells.
  • CERTIFICATIONS: Every load cell we make is individually calibrated and tested through a series of performance tests before it leaves our facility.
  • STANDARD, ENGINEERED-TO-ORDER AND CUSTOM: We design and build our force measurement solutions, delivering the broadest variety of available options in the industry.
  • TEAM: Our team is an extended network of professionals that design, build, administer, sale and support our customers with the best force measurement solutions that fit their exact requirements based on expertise and experience.

You can see all the Interface differentiators in our capabilities statement.

We’ are proud of the Interface brand, our five-decade legacy as a leader in the industry and fact that we are a women-owned manufacturing company. We guarantee our products quality because every employee and partner take pride in our work. It is our dedication to deliver on our promise.

Capabilities-Statement

Types of Force Measurement Tests 101

There are distinct types of force tests that engineers, product designers, manufacturers, and test labs perform to accurately measure factors that control quality, safety, and reliability.

Testing force helps to qualify how something will react when applying load, either by a normal application or by pulling and pushing it fails. The type of force measurement classifications are compression, fracture, tension, flexure, and shear.

Interface provides a broad range of solutions for static and dynamic force measurement tests including standard and custom transducers, instrumentation, accessories, frames, calibration equipment and other components used for in force testing.

The most common categories of force testing include:

  • Tensile testing
  • Shear testing
  • Compression testing
  • Fatigue testing
  • Torque testing
  • Hardness testing
  • Static testing
  • Mechanical strength testing
  • Material testing
  • Proof load testing
  • End of line testing

There are variations to each of these test classifications, such as cycle testing is often a subset of fatigue and mechanical strength tests. Hardness testing is frequently referred to as nondestructive testing. Initial R&D tests typically center around choosing materials, strength and durability tests, compression ergonomic and abrasion tests.

Here are the general characterizations of the most popular types of force tests.

Tensile Test

Tensile strength is the ability of a metal to withstand a pulling apart tension stress. Performing a tensile test, sometimes referred to as tension testing, applies uniaxial load to a test bar and gradually increasing the load until it breaks. The measurement of the load is against the elongation using an extensometer. The tensile data is analyzed by using a stress-strain curve. Interface load cells are commonly used for various tensile tests when accuracy of measurement matters.

Compression Test

Compression is the result of forces pushing towards each other. The compression test is like the tensile test. Place the object in a testing machine, apply a load and record the deformation. A compressive stress-strain curve is drawn from the data. Interface provides load cells that measure compression-only or tension and compression measurements from the same device.

Torque Test

Torque measurement determines how an object will react when it is turned or twisted. There are two common use cases, fastening tests of objects or by testing rotating parts in an assembly. The two types of torque measurement are reaction and in-line, which are important when selecting the type of torque transducer to use in your test. The wrong torque can result in the assembly failing due to several problems, whether that is by torque testing bolts or engine parts. Parts may not be assembled securely enough for the unit to function properly, or threads may be stripped because the torque was too high, causing the unit to fail. Torque is a force producing rotation about an axis. This type of testing is also extremely popular in automotive to measure a variety of components.

Shear Test

Shear strength is the ability to resist a “sliding past” type of action when parallel, but slightly off-axis, forces, applied in the test. Shear force is directional force that is over the top of a surface or part. Shear is measured by tension or compression using a shear or bending beam load cell.

Hardness Test

Hardness testing, which measures the resistance of any material against penetration, is performed by creating an indentation on the surface of a material with a hard ball, a diamond pyramid or cone and then measuring the depth of penetration. Hardness testing is categorized as a non-destructive test since the indentation is small and may not affect the future usefulness of the material. There are a wide variety of hardness testing types as well.

Examples of Testing Types

Compression Test Example

Interface’s customer wanted to measure the amount of compression force a piece of candy could withstand to ensure its label is marked correctly. The purpose of the test was to correctly calibrate the equipment to provide the same stamping force each time without breaking the candy apart. An Interface Model WMC Mini Load Cell and 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator are used to measure the results. Read more about this compression test here.

Torque Measurement Example

In this example torque testing accurately measures the forced needed to securely fasten a bolt. This type of test is critical in highly regulated industries like aerospace and automotive to ensure every screw and bolt are not over or under-tightened. Interface’s LWCF Clamping Force Load Cell along with Interface’s INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module provide a solution that monitors the force being applied during bolt tightening.

Shear Test Example

This example shows how aerospace manufactures use shear testing to measure the affects of wind as it moves past the wings, hull, and other components of a plane. Interface measured this force using a Model 6A154 6-Axis Load Cell mounted in the floor of the wind tunnel, and connected  to the scaled model by a “stalk”. A BX8-AS Interface BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System was connected to the sensor to collect data.

As products become more complex and technologically advanced, the test and measurement industry must provide solutions to monitor a wide variety of factors. This is no different in force measurement.

Interface has been involved in every type of force measurement type across a variety of applications both large and small. To learn more about our more than 36,000 product SKUs designed to conduct all these tests, from single load cells and torque transducers to complete testing rigs and systems. We also provide calibration services for all types of force measurement transducers. Contact us if you are unsure which force measurement solution best fits your testing plan.

Additional Resources

Tensile Testing for 3D Materials

Material Tensile Testing

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Bike Handlebar Fatigue Testing

Interface Specializes in Fatigue-Rated Load Cells

Specifying Accuracy Requirements When Selecting Load Cells

Spring Compression Testing App Note

Insights in Torque Testing Featured in Quality Magazine

New Interface Case Study Exams Weighing and Scales

Test and measurement are used in the development and monitoring of manufactured goods across all industries. With a history of producing force measurement solutions for more than five decades, Interface has supplied a myriad of sensor devices for hundreds of thousands of different use cases and applications.

From the scales we use in packaging centers to the enormous weigh check equipment used in transportation, weighing and scale measurement solutions are instrumental in the successful design, engineering, launch, and maintenance of products and components.

Many of the earliest force sensors were designed for the purpose of weighing objects, and they continue to be a large part of test and measurement today. As products evolve and new inventions enter the market, sensors must maintain their durability, quality, and accuracy for large and miniaturized uses. Therefore, you see inventors and innovators turn to Interface today for sensors that are designed for use in robotics, IoT, and factory automation equipment used for weighing.

Historically, the only difference between now and then is that Interface has perfected accuracy in measurement across with an extensive range of force sensors models, configurations, sizes, capacities, and specification requirements that can measure weight at “jumbo” scale, as well precisely measure exceedingly small, minute forces as an embedded sensor.

Determining accurate weight is a key data point manufacturers need throughout a product lifecycle. Whether they need the information for transporting an object, lifting the object, or just creating a specification sheet, accurate data for weight measurements is fundamental for safety and function. This includes weighing single and combined parts in early design, weighing the manufactured equipment during assembly and production, using scales for weighing output with exact measure, as well as obtaining real-time weight in distribution and transport.

To accomplish this, Interface provides a host of load cells and instrumentation devices. Since our first load cells were designed in 1968, we have built millions of these products for engineers and designers that require the highest precision force sensors for accurate and reliable data collection in test and measurement (T&M). Our customers represent a wide swath of industries, products, equipment types, tools, and electronics that depend on us for proving accuracy, consistency, and reliability in performance in T&M.

In our latest case study, we outline four weigh and scale use cases that utilize Interface sensor technologies. Defined weight as a product specification requires extreme accuracy in measurement. Utilizing precision force sensing solutions and instrumentation enables product engineers and manufacturers to collect data and use it as part of the product design.

Accuracy Matters for Scales and Weighing focuses on weighing and scale applications used with heavy machinery, medical devices, operational containers, and distribution solutions. In each of these instances, utilizing weight in the design, build, and supply of these products is fundamental to each use case and the success for the product.

Weighing and Scales Case Study

 

Fitness Equipment Makers Require Extreme Accuracy

Interface’s specialty is building solutions for the testing and monitoring of parts and total systems that move and create force. One of the industries where this is critical is the fitness industry. Equipment and fitness machines, whether designed for in-home use or in professional athlete training facilities, needs to perform safely and accurately.

Utilizing Interface sensors and instrumentation, the performance of different fitness apparatus is measured in various testing protocols throughout the product’s lifecycle. Rigorous tests are performed during each phase: R&D, design, manufacturing, and after-market use. These tests look at performance data, as well as measure reliability, durability, fatigue, and safety of the equipment. Manufacturers of fitness devices also utilize feedback from sensors to monitor user experiences in real-time. This means they need accurate data for all types of user profiles, strength variability, weights, and experience levels.

The global fitness market also needs a testing solutions partner as the industry is looking at solid growth over the next few years. In fact, Allied Market Research predicts that the fitness market will reach $14.8 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 3.3% year-over-year during this assessment period.

Interface recently captured a series of use cases for how our test and measurement products are used in the fitness industry for testing and in OEM applications. You can read the entire case study here: Interface Measures Fitness Equipment with Extreme Accuracy.

Addressing Challenges in Making Fitness Equipment

In the development of fitness equipment, a lot goes into the manufacturing and engineering process to ensure equipment is safe and reliable for users. Taking a treadmill as an example, the wheels that move the running surfaces must withstand varying speeds and levels of force over extended periods of time. This requires torque and stress testing. Additionally, the sensors on the handrails that send out a pulse to measure the user’s heart rate needs to provide accurate data in health and wellness uses. Manufacturers are looking to install sensors into their equipment that measure various forces and provide fitness data to the user, or data that doctors can use to monitor patients while working out. These makers and product designers for fitness equipment need sensors that can be easily designed into the product or customized to fit into existing products to enable smart functionality and IoT capabilities.

Interface Fitness Equipment Test & Measurement Solutions

Interface provides a variety of measurement solutions used by manufacturers and testing engineers in the fitness equipment sector. This includes our load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors and miniature load cells, along with the popular wireless products and instrumentation. Our products have been used across a wide variety of fitness applications, including elliptical, leg press, rowing machines, bicycles both mobile and stationary, and physical training and therapy equipment. Interface sensor technologies are preferred by product design engineers in this field because of the precision, accuracy, range of options, and quality.

The following application notes examples provide an overview of how Interface serves the fitness industry:

Designing Fitness Equipment and Machines

A fitness machine manufacturer wanted multiple load measurement systems for their different fitness machines such as the elliptical, leg press, rowing machine, and the cable machines used in gyms of all types. The goal of designing sensors into the equipment is to ensure the machines are functioning properly to prevent injuries. The sensors can also be used for trainers who want to conduct strength and endurance tests. Interface provided a combination of products including the WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load CellSSB Sealed Beam Load Cells, and AT103 Axial Torsion Force and Torque Transducers. Paired with Interface’s proper instrumentation, the forces can be measured, graphed, and displayed during the testing stage. Interface’s products all effectively measured forces needed for those working out or undergoing athletic training regiments. Not only did it ensure the designed machines were working properly, but it also helped those using them to track their endurance performance and consider future design enhancements based on consumer use. Read more about this use case.

 

 

Treadmill Rehabilitation

A medical device maker wanted a force measurement system for their experimental rehabilitation treadmill for patients that have pelvic mobility difficulties. For example, patients who have had strokes tend to have difficulty walking. Their goal was to measure the forces applied on the pelvis when the patient is walking on the treadmill and catch any pelvic deviations. The treadmill had a special harness with two actuators on either side of the patient when in use. Interface suggested installing two WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells to the actuators, which will measure the forces applied on the pelvis of the patient. Force results would be measured using the SI-USB4 4-Channel USB Interface Module, which could also be graphed and logged on the customer’s computer with supplied VS3 software. Using this solution, the medical company was able to catch different pelvic deviations in their experimental rehabilitation treadmill using Interface’s products. Learn more here.

Bike Power Pedals

A bike manufacturer wanted to evaluate the functionality of their power pedals. They needed a reliable system to measure how much force the cyclist pushes down onto the bike pedals, and they preferred a wireless system that can be paired with their computer to review data results. Interface suggested four Model SML Low Height S-Type Load Cells installed within the bike’s pedals. The four SMLs are paired with two WTS-AM-4 Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, which will transmit the force data from the cyclist to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station Dongle connected to the customer’s computer. The products Interface provided allowed the bike manufacturer to measure the pedal power applied by the cyclist. Read more here.

Interface load cells, torque transducers, and data acquisition systems are ideal for many fitness applications, especially those designed for IoT connectivity. Interface offers products that measure all types of force across the necessary fitness applications. Additionally, if we don’t have a product that works for your exact challenge, our custom solutions team will work alongside your design and test engineers to create the most effective and efficient solution based on the unique specifications.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Bike Frame Fatigue Testing Application Note

E-Bike Torque Measurement

Why Product Design Engineers Choose Interface

Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Golf Ball Tee

Industry Leader in Test and Measurement

Interface was founded as a supplier of cutting-edge test and measurement industry solutions in 1968. It’s in our DNA and fundamental to what we’ve been engineering, manufacturing and selling for more than five decades. What started out as first to market with a pancake-style LowProfile load cell, has expanded into a broad mix of world-class test and measurement products and calibration services that enable T&M professionals full access to complete systems, from sensors to instrumentation.

Our mix of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, calibration systems and other force measurement solutions allow engineers, product designers and manufacturers access to industry-leading testing devices that provide the most accurate and reliable data possible.

Whether that is testing the torque when applying a screw via robotics or verifying touch screen force for the latest 5G consumer hand-held device, we provide the sensors that test the machines, tools, and actual products before and in-market.

Interface is steadfast in ensuring the test and measurement professionals have more than quality sensors. We also provide T&M solutions to maintain and service testing equipment and devices used in labs and facilities throughout the world. The range of products we offer are from standard precision use to calibration-grade. Whether we are supplying our 1800 Platinum Standard Load Cell or a Verification Load Frame, Interface supports all types of T&M pros. Or as we like to call them, ForceLeaders.

Test and measurement use cases are growing due to the demands for miniature load cells, more data for intelligence gathering and automation functionality.  It is estimated that more than $27B is spent in the production of test and measurement equipment globally. And the market is growing due to professionals seeking advancements in equipment and sensor technologies for use in new products, maintaining equipment and sustaining usability with data and proven testing rigor.

Interface sensors are involved in a wide range of T&M applications across a multitude of industries, with increased visibility into new markets like IoT and smart data-drive technologies.

Trends in test and measurement that are fueling the greatest growth:

  1. Medical and healthcare devices using miniature and wireless sensor technologies
  2. Activation of sensors into real-time data monitors and feedback tools
  3. Networking and communications use with 5G and wireless sensor capabilities
  4. Robotics and industrial automation machines and equipment
  5. Safety and regulation equipment with performance sensors
  6. Consumer electronics durability and usability
  7. Environmental exposure and changing conditions, from submersible to extreme temperatures

Read more about the trends in test and measurement in 2022 Test and Measurement Industry Trends.

The reason Interface is the industry-leading provider is because T&M requires precision and reliability. Interface sensors are known for being the most accurate in the industry. From structural and material testing to static and fatigue testing, our products provide key data for manufacturers, engineers and testing professionals to ensure their products and services will hold up under designed loads and performance standards.

From our Ultra Low Capacity series measuring forces in mere grams to our LowProfile™ load cells with capacities up to 2 million lbf, our solutions can meet the needs for any test profile required when it comes to force.  In regard to torque testing, Interface can supply torque transducers with ranges as low as 0.005 Nm and up to 340K Nm to meet the needs of your test. Our overload protected low capacity load cells and torque sensor provide the most accurate results in the industry. In fact, T&M experts measuring torsion effects, tension tests, mass and kinetic energy are utilizing our products. Watch the video below to see some popular Interface Test and Measurement Product Solutions.

Interface provides an overview of solutions for the T&M industry, detailing our capabilities and providing an overview of some of recent applications. Of course, there are hundreds of use cases every year that depend on Interface, so these are just a couple highlights we thought you would find interesting below. Download the T&M Industry brochure at https://bit.ly/37q3Bnx. E-Bike Torque Measurement

An E-Bike manufacturer needed to test the torque on their electronic bicycles. They needed a torque sensing system that measures how much force the bike rider is pedaling onto the pedals, because this determines how much electric power the bike’s motor generates. Interface suggested installing the Model T12 Square Drive Torque Transducer where the pedal assist sensor would normally be. The T12 Square Drive Torque Transducer’s results can be recorded, graphed, and logged using the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module when connected to the customer’s PC. Using this solution, the E-Bike manufacturing company successfully tested the torque on their electronic bicycles with Interface’s products and instrumentation. Read the full E-Bike app note here.

Proving Theoretical Cutting Forces of Rotary Ultrasonic Machining

Rotary ultrasonic machining is a hybrid process that combines diamond grinding with ultrasonic machining to provide fast, high-quality drilling of many ceramic and glass applications. This new method has been theoretically proven using computer models. Rotary ultrasonic machining generates forces of a very small magnitude. To prove this theory, any load cell used for measurement must be sensitive, while at the same time retaining high structural stiffness within a compact, low-profile envelope. Interface’s 3A120 3-Axis load cell is installed in the rotary ultrasonic machine to measure the forces being applied to a sample part. With clear signals and minimal crosstalk, the applied forces are recorded and stored using an the BSC4D Multi-Channel PC Interface Module. The 3-Axis load cell provides excellent data helping uncover the relationship between machine cutting parameters and the forces applied on the component. Using this knowledge, the machining process can be reliably optimized for new materials and operations. Learn more about this machining T&M app note here.

You can learn more about all types of T&M applications in our Applications Catalog, demonstrating the diversity and range of T&M solutions and ingenuity of our customers.

Additional Resources:

Interface Solutions for Testing Tools

Insights in Torque Testing Featured in Quality Magazine