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Interface Load Cells 301 Characteristics and Applications Guide

The Interface Load Cells 301 Guide is a technical resource and a practical tool for test engineers and measurement device users. It equips you with comprehensive insights into load cell performance and optimization, empowering you to design and execute specific test plans confidently.

Our team of application experts and load cell engineers, with their deep understanding and extensive experience, delve into critical topics. They provide technical explanations, visualizations, and scientific details that are informative and reliable, ensuring you understand and maximize the functionality of load cells in diverse applications.

LOAD CELLS 301 GUIDE CHARACTERISTICS & APPLICATIONS TOPICS

  • Load Cell Stiffness
  • Load Cell Natural Frequency: Lightly Loaded Case
  • Load Cell Natural Frequency: Heavily Loaded Case
  • Contact Resonance
  • Application of Calibration Loads: Conditioning the Cell
  • Application of Calibration Loads: Impacts and Hysteresis
  • Test Protocols and Calibrations
  • Application of In-Use Loads: On-Axis Loading
  • Control of Off-Axis Loads
  • Reducing Extraneous Loading Effects by Optimizing Design
  • Overload Capacity with Extraneous Loading
  • Impact Loads

Learn how the inherent stiffness of load cells affects performance under different loading conditions. Use this guide to investigate load cell natural frequency in our analysis of lightly and heavily loaded scenarios to comprehend how to load variations influence frequency response.

Contact resonance is another crucial aspect covered extensively in this guide. Gain an understanding of this vital principle and its implications for accurate measurements. The effect of contact resonance can be minimized using high-quality rod end bearings and a higher capacity load cell to increase the load cell stiffness.

Additionally, we discuss the application of calibration loads, emphasizing the importance of conditioning the cell and addressing impacts and hysteresis during calibration procedures. Any transducer that depends upon the deflection of a metal for its operation, such as a load cell, torque transducer, or pressure transducer, retains a history of its previous loadings. This effect occurs because the minute motions of the crystalline structure of the metal, small as they are, have a frictional component that shows up as hysteresis.

Test protocols and calibrations are thoroughly examined, providing sensible guidelines for ensuring precision and reliability in measurement processes.

TIP: Load cells are routinely conditioned in one mode (either tension or compression) and then calibrated in that mode. If a calibration in the opposite mode is also required, the cell is conditioned in that mode before the second calibration. Thus, the calibration data reflects the cell’s operation only when it is conditioned in the mode in question.

We also delve into the application of in-use loads, focusing on on-axis loading techniques and strategies for controlling off-axis loads to enhance measurement accuracy. We explore methods for reducing extraneous loading effects by optimizing design, offering valuable insights into mitigating external influences on load cell performance.

TIP: All on-axis loadings generate some off-axis extraneous components, no matter how small. The amount of this extraneous loading is a function of the parts’ tolerance in the machine or load frame’s design, the precision with which the components are manufactured, the care with which the machine elements are aligned during assembly, the rigidity of the load-bearing parts, and the adequacy of the attaching hardware.

Overload capacity with extraneous loading and dealing with impact loads are also discussed in detail to equip engineers with the knowledge needed to safeguard load cells against adverse conditions.

TIP: One profound effect of off-axis loading is reducing the cell’s overload capacity. The typical 150% overload rating on a standard load cell or the 300% overload rating on a fatigue-rated cell is the allowed load on the primary axis without concurrent side loads, moments, or torques applied to the cell.

The Interface Load Cells 301 Guide is not just a resource but an influential tool for anyone using load cell technology. The information helps you optimize performance, enhance accuracy, and ensure the reliability of measurement systems in various applications, making it an essential asset for any test engineer or measurement device user.

You can find other helpful Interface guides here. Our exclusive 101 Series explores the ins and outs of force measurement. Subscribe and follow our updates.

Additional Resources

Interface Load Cells 201 General Procedures Guide

Load Cell 101 and What You Need to Know

Introducing Interface Load Cell Selection Guides

Interface Load Cell Field Guide

Interface Load Cell 301 Guide- 2024 Edition

Powering Up Precision Machine Building and Automation Webinar

Interface’s new webinar explores the world of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, wireless technologies, and instrumentation used in machine building and automation. Get engineering tips on the latest advancements in sensor technology, including miniaturization, wireless integration, and the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Join us to explore building smarter, more responsive machines.

Load Cells for Adhesive and Bonding Shear Testing

Thousands of adhesives and bonding agents are used to assemble parts and final goods. In addition to their bonding characteristics, they may be required to have a certain elasticity, resistance to chemicals, electrical conductivity, temperature coefficient, or other controlled parameters.

A shear testing machine uses a load cell to measure the shear strength of bonds and adhesives. A load cell transforms bond and adhesive tests from a subjective evaluation of adhesion strength into a precise and objective measurement tool. This allows various industries to make data-driven decisions regarding adhesive selection, formulation optimization, and quality control.

Specifically, adhesive or bonding shear force testing is used to evaluate the strength of a joint formed by an adhesive between two materials. It measures the force required to separate the bonded materials by a sliding motion parallel to the adhesive joint instead of pulling them directly apart to measure tensile strength or peeling them from one another, which defines the peel strength.

Benefits of Using Load Cells for Adhesive and Bonding Shear Force Testing

  • Material Characterization: Shear testing data helps characterize the shear properties of adhesives and the materials they bond. This information is valuable for selecting appropriate adhesives for specific applications and predicting their performance under stress. Read more in Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers.
  • Improved Design and Development: The data from shear testing informs researchers, product designers, product development teams, and engineering of new adhesives and bonded products. By understanding how different materials and adhesives perform under shear stress, engineers can optimize designs for better performance and durability.
  • Failure Detection: Product manufacturers can identify the bond’s failure mode by analyzing the force data. Did the adhesive itself fail? Did the bonded materials detach during the test? When did the failure occur? This quantifiable information helps understand the weak points and prepare improvements before assembly and product release.
  • Quality Control: Manufacturers must validate consistent bond strength across production batches. By performing standardized shear tests with a load cell, the data helps maintain product quality and prevent potential production, distribution, and use failures.

What is Peel Strength Testing?

The peel test is common for adhesives, adhesive-coated tapes, and paints. The test parameters are usually detailed in a government or industry specification, and the pull rate is often closely controlled. Adhesive-backed tapes are tested this way.

Many industries rely on standardized peel test methods for quality control. Load cells are used for reliable peel testing and quality assurance analysis. The load cell data can be captured electronically, allowing you to analyze the force variations throughout the peeling process, not just the peak force. This can reveal aspects like initial adhesion strength or how the force changes as the peel progresses.

During a peel test, you need a way to measure the force required to precisely separate two bonded materials. Unlike a simple hand pull, a load cell quantifies the peeling force. This allows you to analyze the results numerically and compare them to specifications or between different samples. This is an important step in R&D for all parts, components, and final products.

Building a Shear Testing Machine

The design of a shear tester is relatively straightforward if the following conditions are met:

  • The line of action of the primary axis of the load cell should be aligned with the contact point on the test sample to minimize moment loads on the load cell.
  • The linear bearing motion should be carefully adjusted to run exactly parallel with the primary axis of the load cell to avoid a side load into the load cell.
  • The load cell’s capacity should be at least twice the expected maximum load to be applied during a test cycle to provide enough extra capacity to protect the cell when a sudden failure of the test sample impacts it.
  • The linear drive should have a wide range of controlled speeds and a high-resolution displacement measuring capability, including an
  • Usan an automatic adjustable stop with fast braking to protect the load cell from damage. The usual system is a stepper motor drive with precision high-ratio reduction gear.

For additional information about shear testing, an illustration of the shear testing machine, and peel tests, please use the Interface Load Cell Field Guide.

If you have questions about choosing the right load cell for your machine or test, consult with our application engineers. You can also reference our easy-to-use Load Cell Selection Guide.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Why Machine and Equipment Manufacturers Choose Interface

Load Cells Built for Stress Testing

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Force Measurement is Fundamental in Material Testing

The Basics of Shear and Bending Beams

Do You Call it a Thru-hole, Donut, or Load Washer?

In the world of test and measurement, one load cell model that seems to garner a series of names is the thru-hole load cell. Is it a through-hole, thru-hole, donut, load washer, or force washer load cell?

The answer is all the above. Though the names may differ, the basic middle hole design feature is the same. These sensor model terms refer to the same cylindrical shape with a central hole. Regarding function, these load cells measure the force acting on an object through its center using strain gages to convert force into an electrical signal for measurement.

The difference is in size, capacity, and how you use the thru-hole sensor. Are you using it to measure force, weight, torque, or a combination of measurements using a thru-hole multi-axis sensor? What dimensions will fit your use case? What range of measurement capacity do you require for your application? Are you conducting single tests in a lab or integrating the sensor into an existing testing stand or product?

Thru-hole sensors are versatile, accurate, and compact solutions for various applications, making them a valuable tool for engineers and technicians. They offer high-precision measurements, ensuring reliable data collection for quality control and performance monitoring tasks. The compact size allows space-saving installation even in tight areas, making them ideal for applications with limited footprints, like robotic systems or custom machinery.

Diversity of Applications Using Thru-Hole Precision Sensors

  • Satellite Deployment during a spacecraft separation, equipped with LW Load Washers and SGA Signal ConditionerAerospace and Aviation: Thru-hole load cells are critical in aerospace and aviation applications for testing the structural integrity of aircraft components, such as wings, fuselage, and landing gear. They are also used in flight simulators for training purposes. Check out how our load washer load cell is used in a spacecraft test: Satellite Deployment.
  • Compression Testing: Thru-hole load cells are widely used in compression testing applications where forces must be accurately measured. This includes material testing, structural testing, and component testing.
  • Robotics: Thru-hole load cells are utilized in robotics applications for force sensing and control. They can be integrated into robotic arms and grippers to measure forces exerted during manipulation tasks, assembly processes, and material handling operations.
  • Brake caliper being tested with LW General Purpose Load Washer Load Cell, Customer PC with supplied SI-USB4 software and SI-USB4 4-Channel Interface ModuleAutomotive Testing: In the automotive industry, thru-hole load cells are employed for various testing purposes, including crash testing, durability testing, and component testing. They can measure forces exerted on vehicle components, such as suspension systems, brakes, and steering mechanisms. See: Brake Caliper Testing
  • Medical Device Testing: In medical device manufacturing, thru-hole load cells are utilized for testing the performance and durability of medical equipment, such as prosthetic limbs, orthopedic implants, and surgical instruments.
  • Material Handling Equipment: Thru-hole load cells are integrated into material handling equipment, such as cranes, hoists, and lifts, to monitor and control lifting forces. They ensure safe and efficient material handling operations in the construction, manufacturing, and logistics industries.
  • Geotechnical and Civil Engineering: Thru-hole load cells are used in geotechnical and civil engineering applications for soil and rock testing, pile load testing, and structural monitoring. They provide valuable data for assessing the stability and integrity of foundations, retaining walls, and other structures.
  • Industrial Automation: Thru-hole load cells are essential for process control, quality assurance, and safety monitoring in industrial automation systems. They are integrated into machinery and equipment to measure forces and torque during manufacturing, assembly, and material processing. Check out this thru-hole torque application: Chemical Reaction-Mixing
  • Measuring bolt tension: Thru-hole load cells can measure the force applied to a bolt to ensure it is properly tightened. This is important in applications where a loose bolt could lead to a safety hazard or equipment failure. See: Bolt Tension Monitoring
  • Monitoring press forces: Thru-hole load cells can be used to monitor the force applied by a press to ensure that it does not exceed the capacity of the press or damage the material being pressed.
  • Weighing systems: Thru-hole load cells can be used in weighing systems to measure the weight of an object. They can be used in various applications, such as conveyor belts and truck and tank scales.

Interface Thru-Hole Load Washer Load Cells

The Interface Load Washer Load Cells are donut-shaped sensors using advanced strain gage technology to measure compressive forces precisely.

Their center-hole design makes them ideal for scenarios involving bolts, fasteners, and clamping applications and for environments with minimal space. The thru-hole load washer load cells are relatively easy to install, especially in applications that need integration into existing systems or structures. Their design allows for straightforward mounting and connection.

We offer eight distinct load washer model series in various capacities for each. Our load washers boast capacities ranging from a delicate five lbf to a mighty 1,124K lbf, catering to a broad spectrum of force measurement needs.

LW GENERAL PURPOSE LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL 5 lbf to 40K lbf

LWCF CLAMPING FORCE LOAD CELL 3.37K lbf to 33.7K lbf

LWHP14 PRECISION LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL 11.2 to 22.5K lbf

LWHP18 HIGH CAPACITY PRECISION LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL 1.12K lbf to 1,124K lbf

LWMH1 LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL WITH MOUNTING HOLES 45 to 2.25K lbf

LWMH2 LARGER LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL WITH MOUNTING HOLES 112.4 to 4.5K lbf

LWPF1 PRESS FORCE LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL 450 to 22.5K lbf

LWPF2 HIGH CAPACITY PRESS FORCE LOAD WASHER LOAD CELL 22.5K to 135K lbf

Their typical small size and donut shape make them easy to integrate into tight spaces and various configurations. Note that Interface also offers larger sizes for larger applications, like the LWPF2, which is over 12 ½” in diameter. They offer precise force measurement for critical applications demanding tight tolerances. These load cells are built to withstand demanding environments and handle repeated loading cycles.

Interface Thru-Hole Torque Transducers

The central hole torque transducer allows easy integration into existing testing environments, structures, and machinery, making them adaptable to various torque measurement applications. These devices are popular for measuring tool performance in different testing labs.

TSCF C-FACE FLANGE TORQUE TRANSDUCER 88.5 lbf-in to 885 lbf-in (10 Nm to 100 Nm)

T27 BEARINGLESS HOLLOW FLANGE STYLE ROTARY TORQUE TRANSDUCER 443 lbf-in to 8.85K lbf-in (50 Nm to 1000 Nm)

TS11 Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer 88.5 lbf-in to 177K lbf-in (10 Nm to 20K Nm)

TS19 SHORT FLANGE STYLE REACTION TORQUE TRANSDUCER 443 lbf-in to 88.5K lbf-in (50 Nm to 10K Nm)

TS20 Hollow Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer 88.5 lbf-in to 1.77K lbf-in (10 Nm to 200 Nm)

5330 Hollow Flange Style Reaction Torque Transducer

Overall, the thru-hole design enhances its versatility and applicability across various industries and applications where precise measurement is essential for performance, safety, and quality assurance.

Interface Thru-Hole Multi-Axis Sensor

As with all sensor technologies today, the more data, the better for some applications. In addition to the capabilities to measure Fx (N), Fy (N), Fz (N), Mx (Nm), My (Nm), Mz (Nm) in a 6-Axis Multi-Axis Sensor, Interface does offer a thru-hole model.

6ADF Series 6-Axis DIN Flange-Type Load Cells Force: 4.5 to 269 lbf, Torque: 8.85 to 531 lb-in (Force: 20 N to 1.2 kN, Torque: 1 Nm to 60 Nm)

Interface’s 6-axis load cell measures forces simultaneously in three mutually perpendicular axes and three simultaneous torques about those same axes. Six full bridges provide mV/V output on six independent channels. Interface’s 6-axis load cell is ideally suited to many industrial and scientific applications, such as aerospace, robotics, automotive, and medical research (orthopedics and biomechanical). A 36-term coefficient matrix is included for calculating the load and torque values in each axis. An 8-channel amplifier with USB PC interface is also available, which simplifies data analysis.

For your convenience, detailed specifications, design files, and model ranges are readily available online. Use our Interface Load Cell Selection Guide to evaluate force measurement sensors. Use our Interface Torque Selection Guide to find a torque measurement transducer with a thru-hole design best suited for your next testing project.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Load Washers 101

Interface 2023 Top Products and Trends

Interface Mini Load Cells Growing in Product Use and Testing

 

 

Measuring the Potential of IoT Wearables Using Load Cell Technology

IoT wearables utilizing load cell technologies are smart devices worn on the body that leverage sensors capable of measuring force, weight, or torque. Integrating these sensors with internet connectivity offers a unique blend of real-time data collection and remote accessibility, opening doors for diverse applications.

Interface has been involved in the IoT market from its early stages, as detailed in Interface Sensor Technologies Enables IoT Capabilities. Empowering inventors and innovators to utilize accurate measurements for connected products. Seamless integration with other IoT devices and platforms is essential for data analysis and broader application, one of the advantages of Interace’s line of wireless measurement solutions.

We make sensors specifically for IoT Solutions in healthcare and consumer products. With the growing requirements for connectivity, Interface load cells provide valuable data in real-time to product engineers and users of IoT wearables.

Internet of Things (IoT) connected wearables have permeated our society across various industries,  from sports and medical to fitness and fashion. The technology surrounding wearables has also become more complex in using sensors to provide better and more complete data. Among the sensor technologies used in both the testing and built into the product, force sensors play a large role.

Whether customers use Interface measurement products for prototype testing, usability studies, manufacturing equipment, or small-scale testing machines, we have solutions that improve the use and viability of IoT wearables.

IoT Wearable Applications Using Interface Products 

  • Gaming hand-held devices
  • Wearable simulation garments and headgear
  • Gear used in professional sports, including helmets and pads
  • Haptic feedback devices
  • Smart shoe gait analysis
  • Exoskeleton design and prototyping
  • Sports equipment feedback
  • Smartwatch manufacturing
  • VR headset manufacturing
  • Treadmill force testing
  • Prosthetics development and performance monitoring

Load cells are becoming increasingly popular in designing, prototyping, testing, and using wearable IoT products. They offer a highly accurate and reliable way to measure force, pressure, and weight. Our measurement devices are being designed into wearables such as smart clothing and augmented reality equipment, including headsets and fitness equipment for precision measurement during use.

Use Cases for Load Cells in IoT Wearables

Fitness and Training: These wearables track metrics like muscle activation, balance, and gait analysis, helping athletes optimize their performance and prevent injuries. Examples include smart insoles monitoring foot pressure or resistance bands measuring workout intensity.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy: These devices monitor patient progress during therapy by measuring the force exerted on limbs or joints, enabling personalized treatment plans and objective data collection.

Smart Clothing and Shoes: Clothing embedded with load cells can track posture, gait, and activity levels, while smart shoes monitor pressure distribution for customized footwear.

Occupational Safety: In industries like construction or manufacturing, wearables measure pressure on specific body parts to ensure proper posture and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

The key features necessary to building force sensors for the IoT wearable market are accuracy, reliability, versatility, and sensor size. Load cells must be highly accurate and measure force to a high degree of precision. Force sensors using strain gage technology are well-suited for wearable devices, as they are durable and can withstand repeated use. Load cells are available in various sizes and capacities, with customizable options to embed them into wearables. Manufacturers are building small, lightweight, wearable IoT products, so force sensors must be suitable to take on small and precise forces.

IoT wearables incorporating load cell technology hold immense potential for various domains, from enhancing athletic performance and healthcare monitoring to revolutionizing human-computer interaction. As this technology evolves, we can expect even more innovative applications to emerge that contribute to daily health, well-being, and productivity.

Learn more about Interface’s IoT Solutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Wonderful World of Wireless Webinar

Wireless Telemetry Systems 101

IoT Golf Club Swing Accuracy App Note

IoT Solutions

 

 

 

 

Exploring New Measurement Products Webinar

The Interface Exploring Capabilities of New Measurement Products Webinar details new products, including sensors, instrumentation, and accessories. Our experts will cover dozens of new additions to the extensive 40,000-plus product catalog of force measurement solutions. Interface engineers highlight product features, capacities, use cases, and technical tips in the fast-paced new technical online seminar.

Building a Clean Energy Future in Hydrogen with Force

Clean energy is a driving force of innovation, technology, and investment in the global economy. Established energy giants and nimble startups are pouring resources into sustainable solutions. Among them, hydrogen shines as a particularly exciting frontier. The global hydrogen generation market is estimated to be $170B and growing, with an estimated 2,000 hydrogen production-related projects globally.

As with any evolving technology, monitoring and testing are necessary to qualify and improve the various systems that validate inventions and advance adoption. Interface has worked with clean energy suppliers and equipment manufacturers for many years. We have gained much experience in understanding the complexities and requirements of testing and monitoring alternative energy sources.

Among the various clean energy harvesting and storage solutions available today, hydrogen is among the most researched and impactful clean energy options. Hydrogen is considered a clean fuel that produces only water when consumed in a fuel cell. Hydrogen can be produced from biomass, natural gas, nuclear power, and renewables, including solar and wind. Read: Load Cells for Renewable Energy Production and Testing

Due to experience as a supplier of force measurement solutions for energy providers and equipment makers, Brian Peters contributed a new article about the dynamics of applying force testing in hydrogen energy to the Winter Edition of Global Hydrogen Review. His article highlights the current state of hydrogen energy and the barriers that force measurement is helping to solve. He details force-testing solutions for novel technologies that transport, monitor, and store hydrogen energy.

The full article can be read on page 19 of the December 2023 edition of Global Hydrogen Review here. We’ve also included a brief preview of the article below.

Feel The Force

By Brian Peters, VP of Global Sales, Interface

Hydrogen, as a clean and reliable renewable energy source, has been a carrot on a stick for green energy innovators for many years. Scientists and technologists have understood the positive impact of hydrogen for a long time and even harnessed it at times, but the ability to reliably transport, store, and harness this energy at a reasonable cost has previously eluded them. However, hydrogen is back in full force as storage and battery technology has advanced, giving new life to the promise of hydrogen.

Hydrogen is critical to the future of green energy because it is an optimal solution to storing renewable energy from other sources such as wind and water. In certain areas, like California, we produce too much energy from renewable sources but have nowhere to store it. This is leading to a tremendous amount of resource loss. Therefore, hydrogen innovation investment is on the rise again to solve production, storage, and monitoring application challenges aimed at curtailing waste and holding enough energy to power more infrastructure with green energy.

To start, hydrogen production in its current state is quite expensive as the element is difficult to handle, and the equipment and processes available today are scarce or subpar. Many of the traditional production and storage methods also lead to excessive waste.

One of the key reasons that storage has become such a challenge is due to the unique nature of hydrogen energy. Hydrogen is an incredibly light element in liquid form, which is a popular way of storing it in higher volumes. However, in this form, it can be very volatile and hard to maintain due to temperature constraints, and therefore, storage, metering, and more require extreme precision. While in a compressed form, hydrogen takes up more space and needs to be carefully monitored for pressure-related concerns.

Due to the volatility of hydrogen energy, transportation has also become a barrier to the reliable transfer and use of hydrogen energy. The cost alone of transporting liquid or compressed hydrogen can become immense with the current lack of stable transportation/storage methods and the danger it can pose to the individuals shipping the substance.

The road to reaching a place where hydrogen could become a real solution to meeting the demand for renewable energy has been filled with hundreds of technological advancements. One of the lesser-known but extremely critical solutions to making hydrogen a reality on a large scale is force measurement. Force sensors can be used at every level of hydrogen advancement, from harnessing the power of hydrogen to storing, monitoring, and transporting it – and more use cases for hydrogen applications are being implemented frequently. Read More

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Load Cells for Renewable Energy Production and Testing

Interface Details Hydrogen Electrolyzers Solution in Design News

Interface and Green Energy Innovation

Interface Load Cells Propel New Torsional Force Measurements for Wind Energy Project

Interface Supports Renewable Energy Innovation

Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy

Demands for Quality Energy Measurement Solutions

Windmill Energy App Note

Wave Energy Converter

Biomass Handling

Force Measurement Solutions Support Innovation in Manufacturing

The manufacturing world is enormous, covering multiple industries and applications for force measurement. The manufacturing sector comprises factories and plants that use machines and equipment to build parts and final goods.

With an estimated 21 million manufacturing companies worldwide, the industry is also becoming more advanced and regulated, with technologies such as AI and automation influencing manufacturing processes to drive efficiency and safety.

There are various types of manufacturing, from repetitive, continuous, batch, job shop, and discrete.  All employ tools, machines, and equipment used through multiple processes. Manufacturers use Interface load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation to improve products and processes, meet performance requirements, automate machines, protect workers, and test designs. Force measurement supports innovation in manufacturing.

With advancements and process improvements, testing and measuring are primary to every manufacturing stage. It begins with product planning through machine building. Moving to assembly and monitoring production lines, sensors are at work through final distribution. Manufacturing engineers use Interface devices to test assembly line equipment, design and operate robotics, improve machinery, and operate tools like presses.

Manufacturing equipment and processes that utilize Interface load cells and torque transducers:

  • Conveyor Belts
  • Robotics and Cobots
  • Torque Wrenches
  • Tension Testing Machines
  • Weighing Systems and Scales
  • Heavy Machinery
  • Transportation and Moving Equipment
  • Mixers
  • Packaging Equipment
  • Sorting and Picking Devices
  • Material and Stress Testing Labs
  • Fatigue and Compression Testing Equip

How Manufacturers Use Interface Products

  • Research and Development: The measurement data from transducers provides a valuable roadmap to improving the design of products and processes.
  • Testing: Every product undergoes rigorous testing before hitting the line. Interface force measurement devices are essential for this manufacturing phase to validate the use, lifecycle, and materials.
  • Machine and Tool Building:  Machine builders use Interface sensor technologies to weigh raw materials, components, and finished products to ensure they meet the required specifications. Force measurement devices are important in measuring applied force by equipment and processes that help control product quality and prevent accidents. Machine builders frequently use load cells to monitor loads over time to detect and prevent potential machine problems. Read more about why Machine Builders Choose Interface.
  • Quality Assurance: Interface products are used to measure the weight of manufactured products to ensure that they meet specifications. This is important for consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other products where precise weight measurement is critical for safety and effectiveness.
  • Automation: Force measurement products are valuable in automation. As robotics, cobots, tools, and machinery are designed to automate tasks and processes in manufacturing, load cells like our multi-axis sensors provide valuable analysis data through all phases of automation.
  • Retrofitting Existing Equipment with Sensors: Manufacturers require modern tools and equipment to meet growing demands. Interface products are used to retrofit machines and update tools with sensor-based technologies, such as replacing machine pins with load pins that measure loading and lifting in real-time.
  • Safety and Regulation: Sensors prevent accidents by detecting dangerous conditions in the manufacturing industry. Using measurement systems for alarms, alerts, and monitoring of equipment and tools is critical in manufacturing plants.
  • Process Control: Manufacturing operations monitor the force or weight of materials in a facility to control the process and ensure that products are made to the correct specifications.
  • Productivity and Equipment Maintenance: Using Interface products to monitor the condition of equipment and detect potential problems before they cause downtime helps to prevent costly breakdowns and production delays.

Our depth of force measurement expertise and experience enable us to innovate, engineer, and produce the world’s most accurate, reliable, and quality sensor technology for manufacturers worldwide.  This can be seen through some specific application examples in which Interface solutions have been involved. We have included a few of these examples below.

robotic grinder containing 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition SystemRobotic Grinding and Polishing During Production

Robotic grinding and polishing are commonly used in manufacturing. Robots or cobots are programmed to grind and polish on varied materials and surfaces. A force measurement system must be implemented to monitor and control the force exerted on the grinding workpiece. Interface’s Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell can be installed between the flange and the grinding tool. When connected to the BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition, the customer can receive force and torque measurements when connected to their control system using BlueDAQ software. The 6A40-6 Axis Load Cell measures all forces and torques (Fx, Fʏ, Fz, Mx, Mʏ, Mz), and our BXB-HD44 Data Acquisition logs, displays and graphs these measurements while sending scaled analog output signals for these axes to the robot’s control system. Manufacturing: Robotic Grinding and Polishing application.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

A customer has a feed roller system that monitors the forces of both ends of the rollers to maintain a constant straight feed. They preferred a wireless system. Interface suggested installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the applied forces. The forces were measured when connected to the WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data was then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, where data was displayed, graphed, and logged on the customer’s PC or laptop. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells installed at the bottom roller were able to measure and monitor the forces to maintain the straight feed by the rollers. Manufacturing: Feed Roller System app note.

Press Load Monitoring for Material Testing

Press forming is a method to deform different materials. For instance, materials such as steel can be bent, stretched, or formed into shapes. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces the press-forming machine applies. This ensures quality control and traceability during the production process. Interface recommends installing the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell for large press forming machines. When the material is placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied is measured by the Interface 1000 Series Load Cell. The captured force results are sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged on the customer’s PC using the provided software. Interface’s force measurement products and instrumentation accurately monitored and logged the force results of the press force machine, ensuring zero-error production performance.

Interface began designing and manufacturing load cells and other force measurement equipment in 1968. These precision load cells are commonly found in factories worldwide in testing equipment, scales, machines, and production line devices. Load cells help bring life to older machines with accurate measurements while in use, ultimately improving maintenance and worker safety in manufacturing.

Our force measurement products are versatile and valuable tools for manufacturers. Our sensor solutions improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of products and the equipment and tools used to make them.

Manufacturing Solutions Brochure

 

Conveyor Belts Use Load Cells to Keep Things Moving

Conveyor belts are incredibly versatile machines with numerous applications across industries, constantly moving materials from one point to another. During some of the busiest packaging and shipment times of the year, it is a good reminder of why measurement solutions keep things moving fast and efficiently.

Critical for automated manufacturing, conveyor belts rely on precise weight distribution, timing, and speed of the conveyor belt operation to keep production in sync.

Conveyors are used for sorting and merging systems, inspection systems, and automated loading and unloading using robotic arms or other equipment to handle materials efficiently. Their versatility and adaptability make them critical in modernizing industries, including construction, mining, manufacturing, logistics, maritime, and agriculture.

Boxes, cans, bottles, and other packages glide smoothly through packaging lines on conveyor belts, ensuring efficient sorting, labeling, and palletizing. These machines efficiently load and unload ships, trucks, and trains with bulk materials, minimizing manual labor and maximizing throughput. Conveyor belts are crucial in sorting and distributing packages in warehouses and postal facilities, speeding up delivery processes.

It is also important to recognize how specialized conveyor belts transport people in public spaces. Conveyor belts seamlessly whisk luggage from check-in counters to aircraft and vice versa, ensuring a smooth passenger experience.

Force measurement can be applied to testing and monitoring conveyor belts in several ways. One of the most common ways is by using load cells to measure the alignment of the belt. Load cells can detect subtle changes in belt behavior, such as uneven loading or misalignment, which can indicate internal damage like cracks or tears. Early identification of these issues allows for timely interventions, preventing further damage and costly repairs.

Testing the conveyor belt rotation or ability to hold weight is a requirement for equipment makers and engineers. Machine builders use Interface sensors in the design of conveyors. In addition to monitoring the system during peak usage, load cells are instrumental in testing the equipment’s quality and durability.

Load cells on the head and tail pulley shafts continuously monitor belt tension for preventative maintenance. This data helps identify deviations from optimal tension levels, leading to premature belt wear, pulley misalignment, and energy inefficiency.  You can prevent costly repairs and downtime by addressing these issues early on.

Conveyor systems often have multiple belts working in tandem. Load cells can monitor the load distribution across these belts, ensuring balanced operation and preventing the overloading of individual components.

Conveyor Belt Adhesion Test

A customer wanted to test the adhesion strength between a conveyor belt’s many layers and textiles. They wanted to conduct a separation test from the rubber of the conveyor belt from the other layers. They also wanted a wireless solution. Interface suggested a SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell to be installed in the customer’s tensile test load frame, where it measured the forces applied as the test was conducted and the layers were pulled and separated. When connected to the WTS-AM-1F Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, the data was wirelessly transmitted to WTS-BS-5 Wireless Analog Output Receiver. The WTS-BS-5 then connected to the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator to display, graph, and log the data with the supplied BlueDAQ software. With Interface’s force measurement system and solution, the customer successfully tested the strength of the adhesion applied to their conveyor belts through the layer separation test.

Force measurement sensors can be built into machines as a real-time monitoring system. This type of force application can let engineers know if there is a problem with the system that needs to be taken down for repairs by reviewing data and seeing discrepancies in the normal forces on the conveyor belt. This is particularly important in maintaining efficiency on production lines to ensure minimal downtown.

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt equipped with PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells and 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and ControllerFood And Beverage Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belts for the food and beverage industry must be maintained and properly aligned to transport products. A load cell is needed to prevent misalignment and to reduce the risk of damage or malfunction of the belt while in operation. Interface suggested installing PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells onto the conveyor belt. They are designed for easy maintenance. The PBLCs measured and monitored the force of the conveyor belt while preventing misalignment. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells successfully maintained the proper alignment of the conveyor belt for the food and beverages being transported while also monitoring the forces being implemented.

In automotive, electronics, and other production settings, conveyor belts move components and products along the assembly line, facilitating efficient workflow and ensuring precise positioning.

Conveyor belts easily handle diverse materials, from transporting heavy metal sheets in steel mills to delicate circuit boards in electronics factories. They are the go-to for transporting vast quantities of mined ores, coal, grains, and other bulk materials over long distances and uneven terrain.

Conveyor belts move waste and recyclables efficiently in processing facilities, ensuring efficient sorting and processing. Industrial automation robotics often supports this as part of advanced conveyor systems.

Automating Conveyor Production Lines

Collaborative robots, known as cobots, are used to working alongside humans next to conveyor belts on the production line. Extensive safety measures must be taken for the conveyor and the robot for optimal efficiency and operations. A multi-axis sensor is a tool for this use case. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell is installed at the head of the cobot. The 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell interfaces with the BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System for data collection of force and torque measurements on the line. The customer connected the BX8’s analog outputs to their control system. As a result, the customer can log, display, and graph these measurements during the robot and belt operations. The results are sent to the customer’s control system via analog or digital output.

Interface products are commonplace in these types of applications. Force measurement is integral to advanced manufacturing systems like conveyor belts. Our sensors are utilized to ensure accuracy and repeatability throughout the production line.

We understand manufacturing test and measurement applications, and our custom OEM solutions are ideal for manufacturers who require direct installation to monitor weight, force, and torque into conveyor belt systems.  Contact our application experts to see how we can help you modernize your conveyor systems with advanced sensor technologies.

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