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Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Across every industry, force measurement solutions are utilized to improve product performance, safety and quality. Sensor technologies are used every day to test various consumer products’ weight, torsion, tension, compression, fatigue, impact, and materials.

Force measurement testing is used throughout the product development lifecycle, from concept and R&D, through engineering and testing, to manufacturing and distribution, leading to eventual utilization. Interface load cells are commonly integrated into actual consumer products for activation and to measure performance during use.

Interface force measurement solutions are also used in the testing of equipment, machines, and tools used in the production of all types of products and goods. Our products are used in industrial automation robotic arms as well as within lifting equipment deployed to move materials around a facility.

The key to all force measurement testing is accuracy and reliability of data, as well as selecting the right type of force sensor for the specific product being testing.

Types of Product Testing Applications Using Interface Measurement Solutions

  • Weighing Applications: Interface miniature load cells are often for product testing to measure the exact weight of consumer products, such as food, beverages, and electronics. This information is critical R&D, as well on the production line and to meet the exact product specifications. Our load cells help to ensure that the products are not underweight or overweight, and comply with regulations. Read more about Load Cells for Smarter and More Efficient Weighing
  • Material Applications: Interface LowProfile load cells are often found in product testing labs to assess the strength of materials used in consumer products such as plastics, metals, and mixtures of composites. The measurements gathered during the product testing safeguards consumers and confirms the product’s durability. Read Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers
  • Force Applications: Interface load cells, torque transducers, and instrumentation are used in complete test systems that examine the usability of products such as exercise equipment, appliances and electronics. The data acquired in shear, tensile and force testing is important to understand if the product meets design specifications, is easy to use and does not require excessive force to work.
  • Safety Applications: One of the most important product use cases for Interface measurement solutions is to test the safety of products such as furniture, toys and automobile features. It is a requirement for every maker of products that are not hazardous and will not cause injury to consumers. Read Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

To give you a better idea of how our load cells and instrumentation are utilized in distinct types of product tests, we have included a few application notes below outlining real-world examples of force testing projects.

Bicycle Helmet Safety and Impact Product Testing

A high production bicycle manufacturing facility set up a product testing lab to measure the impact of the safety of their helmets when dropped from different heights onto a flat surface such as an anvil. This test is necessary to ensure consumer safety and that the products are made with the highest quality materials to protect the rider. Interface suggests installing the 1101 Compression-Only Ultra Precision LowProfile® Load Cellat the bottom of an anvil. The bike helmet is then dropped from multiple heights and at multiple angles onto the anvil. The measurements from impact are then recorded and logged throughout the product testing using Interface’s INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module with supplied software. Every design or material change runs through the same rigorous testing protocols using these high accuracy measurement solutions.  Read CPG Bike Helmet Impact Test

Product Weighing of Consumer Water Bottles

A manufacturer of glass bottled water needs to dispense the exact amount of fluid into each bottle and then weigh the water bottle to ensure it is at the labeled weight on the product packaging. The product testing of the manufacturing equipment is used to minimize waste and to meet the weight requirements to ensure consumer satisfaction. Interface suggests using the MBP Miniature Beam Load Cell and attaching it under a plate or platform where the water bottle is placed on while it is being filled with fluids. The force weight is measured by the MBP Miniature Beam Load Cell and connected to the 9870 High Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator where results are captured, displayed, and logged for quality control. Read CPG Water Bottle Dispensing and Weighing

Product Test Lab Conducts High Volume Tensile Force Testing

A product test lab is constantly requested to conduct a series of tensile force tests on different samples and materials until failure. These materials include plastic, steel, or woven fabric, and are utilized in the design and manufacturing of several consumer products. The lab professionals want to measure tensile strength, yield strength, and yield stress for every submitted product material sample. For the tensile test stand, we recommend using Interface’s 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell be installed into the test frame. As the tensile test is conducted, force results captured by the load cell and extensometer are synchronized through the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module. The results are displayed on the customer’s computer with supplied software. Learn more by reading Material Tensile Testing.

Interface’s high precision force sensor technologies used in robotics have revolutionized the manufacturing of consumer products. With automated assembly lines and robotic arms taking charge, these machines work efficiently to mass-produce consumer goods. Quality control of all the products we provide you for testing is one of the main focuses of Interface, as we want to keep your customers happy and safe.

Interface’s experienced team are renowned specialists in force, torque and weight measurement manufacturing and technology. Our depth of knowledge and wide range of capabilities create custom solutions of all types, whether special transducers made to your exact specifications or complete customized sensor, instrumentation, and software systems. We collaborate with you to ensure the product specifications you need are designed to match your precise requirements.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

Interface Solutions for Consumer Products

Force Measurement is Reducing Waste and Automating the Consumer Packaging Industry

Applications for Consumer Products and Packaging

Load Cells for Consumer Product Applications

Why Product Design Houses Choose Interface

Testing Labs Choose Interface High Accuracy Products

Interface Solutions for Material Testing Engineers

Force Measurement Enables Precision Drone Aerial Displays

Many of the largest outdoor celebrations around the world are utilizing drone technologies quipped with LED lights working in complete unison to create amazing displays. From coronations and holidays to world sporting events, these incredible lighted airborne spectacles are growing in scale, design and capabilities.

The use of drones for aerial displays are on the rise. Swarms of drones offer new possibilities for creating captivating light shows and visual displays that can accompany or even replace certain aspects of traditional fireworks. They offer a unique aerial perspective by flying at various altitudes and angles. They can be programmed to create specific patterns, shapes, and movements in the sky, allowing for more intricate and tailored displays. Drones can also be equipped with different lighting effects and colors, offering a wide range of visual possibilities.

Drone shows provide stunning visuals and add a new dimension to sky visual arts; however, safety is still primary in design and use. Though drones can be programmed to fly predefined paths and execute specific maneuvers, ensuring that they stay at a safe distance and do not provide risk or harm is critical to use.

Safety and regulation of a flying object is determined by the location and governing bodies. As increased visual arts using drones grows, testing and design is paramount to ensure these objectives are met and held to standards for sake of the manufacturer, operator and the viewing public.

How does Interface take part? Sensor technologies have a big hand in making drone and areial displays due to the necessity of force measurement in designing and evaluating the drones for the launch, precision movements, lighting effects and descent. Interface products are used by drone manufacturers to design these flying machines to conduct different tasks, from deliver packages as well as for testing motor torque and center of balance.

Due to Interface’s experience in supplying measurement devices for aerospace, automotive, industrial automation, we have several load cells, miniature transducers and instrumentation solutions perfect for use in drone application. Our wireless sensors and digital instrumentation are particularly attractive to drone makers because they eliminate the need for wires and facilitate real world testing. For more unique applications, Interface also offers custom solutions and can work with the original equipment manufacturers to understand their specific needs and deliver a sensor suited for those needs.

The use of drones for creating light shows has become a safe and more environmentally friendly alternative to fireworks, often being used at big venues across the country. Force sensors are used in the testing of these types of drones to ensure they can manage the weight of the equipped LEDs.

Drone Show Application

Drone fireworks have become increasingly popular in recent years. During drone firework and light shows, drones are equipped with LED lights, flying in synchronized patterns to create displays in the night sky. A force measuring and monitoring system is needed for the weight of the LED or the forces generated by fireworks explosions.

Interface suggested four of its WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cells, which were installed to the necessary propeller motors measure the attached LED lights. Each were connected to a WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules. The WMC’s measure the weight of the LED lights to monitor weight shifting or any uneven weight distributions. Data results were wirelessly transmitted directly to the customer’s laptop through the WTS-BS-4 Wireless Base Station, or to the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for Multiple Transmitters. The four WMC load cells accurately measured and monitored the weight of the attached LED light and maintained stability of the propeller motors to when the drone was in air performing the fireworks show.

Interface, a US manufacturer of force measurement solutions, will be closed on July 4th. We will resume our normal business hours the following day.

Heavy Truck Test and Measurement Solutions

Interface is a trusted supplier to the vehicle industry. Manufacturers of vehicles and components rely on our sensor technologies for measuring force, torque, and weight. In the vehicle subsector of trucks, there are three main classifications of this type of vehicle based on weight: light, medium and heavy trucks, sometimes called heavy-duty.

Interface devices are commonly used in heavy-duty truck design and testing for various purposes, from structural to aerodynamic testing. Manufacturers use our load cells, torque transducers and instrumentation in testing labs to ensure vehicles meet regulatory and performance standards. Component and parts makers utilize our sensors and instrumentation for research, design, development and production, whether they are making brake pedals or tires.

Heavy Duty Truck Test and Measurement

  • Structural Testing: Interface products are used to evaluate the structural integrity and performance of truck components and systems. Load cells may be installed at critical points such as suspension mounts, chassis connections, and body attachments to measure forces and stresses experienced during static or dynamic testing. This helps engineers understand the load distribution, identify weak points, and optimize the design for enhanced durability.
  • Brake System Testing: Force measurement devices play a crucial role in assessing the performance and efficiency of a truck’s braking system. Load cells are commonly employed to measure the forces exerted on the brake pedal during braking maneuvers. This data helps evaluate braking performance, optimize braking force distribution, and ensure compliance with safety standards. Wireless load cells are growing in use for these types of tests. See: WTS Brake Pedal Force Testing
  • Tow and Haul Assessments: Determining a heavy-duty truck’s towing and hauling capabilities requires measuring the forces. Interface measurement devices are used to quantify the forces experienced by the vehicle during towing or hauling tasks. Load cells installed at key attachment points, such as trailer hitches or cargo beds, are used to measure the forces applied under different loads. This data aids in establishing safe operating limits and optimizing the truck’s design for maximum payload capacity.
  • Suspension Testing: Strain gage based sensors are frequently utilized to evaluate the performance of a truck’s suspension system and its impact on ride comfort. Load cells or accelerometers may be used to measure forces, vibrations, and accelerations experienced by the vehicle under various road conditions. This helps engineers optimize suspension settings, tune shock absorbers, and design suspension components that provide a balance between load-carrying capacity and ride quality.
  • Crash Testing: High-accuracy load cells and instrumentation are integral to crash testing heavy-duty trucks to evaluate occupant safety and structural integrity. Sensors are used to measure impact forces, accelerations, and deformations during controlled crash simulations. This data helps engineers assess the effectiveness of safety features, such as crumple zones and restraint systems, and improve the truck’s crashworthiness. Read: Vehicle Crash Test Load Cell Wall
  • Aerodynamic Testing: Measurement tools are employed to assess the aerodynamic performance of heavy-duty trucks. Load cells and systems used to measure the forces acting on the vehicle’s body, including drag and lift forces helps optimize the truck’s shape, reduce aerodynamic resistance, and improve fuel efficiency.

Another force that Interface has a great deal of experience measuring and helping our customers to monitor is load pulled or hoisted by components attached to trucks or other heavy machinery. As an example, Interface can measure the load capacity of a truck hitch to test the maximum capacity of an object it is pulling. It can also monitor the hitch in real time to ensure the load combined with the velocity of the vehicle or the gradient of a roadway is not creating a risk of failure.

In addition to testing the vehicles, safety standards exist for large, long and short haul trucks regarding their weight limits for most highway systems. It is why you often see weigh stations across the highway on road trips. Force sensors are often used in these types of weigh stations due to our product’s high capacities, accuracy, and reliability. Adversely, we also measure these types of vehicles capacity prior to hitting the open road to ensure the vehicle is designed to manage the amount of load in transport.

 

Suspension Testing for Heavy Duty Trucks

It is important to heavy duty track manufacturers to thoroughly test suspension. Automotive suspensions require fine tuning for best performance on various roads and conditions. Simulation of bumps, banking and other road conditions result in off-axis loading. Interface’s 1200-series load cell were mounted on top of each post in a 4-, 5-, or 7-post rig, which allowed them to measure forces during simulated driving. Moment compensating design of 1200-series load cells provide accurate readings during off-axis loading. This solution provides highly accurate (0.04%) measurement of loads applied to individual suspension points.

Truck Weighbridge

A customer owns a truck company and needs to record the weight or loads being carried by their trucks. They would like a wireless weighing bridge that is able to transmit, log, and display the results in real time. Interface suggested installing multiple WTS 1200 LowProfile™ Load Cells under a weighing bridge. When the truck drove over it, the load cells transmitted the force results wirelessly to the WTS-BS-4 Industrial Base Station connected to the customer’s PC with provided Log100 software. The WTS-LD2 Wireless Large LED Display also displayed the weight inside for the driver to see in real time. Using this solution, the customer was able to measure, log, and graph the different loads their trucks carried wirelessly onto the weighbridge with success.

Tire Testing for Semi-Trailers

A typical semi-trailer truck consists of a tractor unit with two front wheels and two sets of tandem axles at the rear, each with two wheels, resulting in a total of 18 wheels. By trade, 60,000-pound trailers needed at least three axles and 12 tires. Testing tires and mounting requires precision for these vehicles that are responsible for trucking goods and materials across the interstates and highways. A tire production company wants to put their tires under a stress test to research the dynamic control capabilities of their tires. Interface suggests using the AT105 Contactless Force and Torque Transducer to measure both the lateral force and torque of the tired being tested. Torque and force results can be displayed and graphed when connected to the SI-USB4 4 Channel USB Interface Module. After conducting a stress test on their tires, the tire production company was able to record and log the measurements of the torque and lateral forces implemented on their tires.

These are just a few examples of the types of test and monitoring solutions provides for trucks and other heavy duty vehicles. To learn more about our sensor’s capabilities in the automotive test and measurement markets, visit Automotive and Vehicle Solutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Truck Weighbridge

Weighing

Garbage Truck On-Board Weighing App Note

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing

Torque Measurement for Electric Vehicles

AxialTQ Engine Dynamometer App Note

Bluetooth® Brake Pedal Animated Application Note

Interface and Testing Lab Applications

Test and measurement impacts nearly every industry.  At Interface, we classify Test and Measurement (T&M) as it’s own solutions market. Though testing is generally a service, the accuracy and quality equipment and tools that are required for performing these T&M services has created an industry in itself.

Throughout the Test and Measurement industry, there are several different classifications and testing lab types. Each of these different testing labs provide unique equipment for different forms of testing depending on the application, system or component. These different types test labs include:

  • Structural testing labs perform tensile, compression, bending, fatigue and hardness testing on materials, components, or assemblies.
  • Environmental testing labs evaluate the impact of environmental factors on products, components, or materials performing temperature, humidity, salt spray, and vibration testing.
  • Electrical testing labs determine the electrical properties of components or products using insulation resistance, electrical continuity, and dielectric strength testing.
  • Chemical testing labs determine the composition and purity of materials using chromatography, spectroscopy, and elemental analysis.
  • Product safety testing labs ensure that products meet safety and regulatory standards with flammability, toxicity, and durability testing.
  • Calibration testing labs ensure that measuring instruments and equipment are accurate and reliable. Common disciplines include force, torque, pressure, temperature and physical calibration. Read more: Interface Calibration 101
  • Non-destructive testing labs evaluate the integrity of materials with ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, and radiography.

Here at Interface, we are deeply ingrained in supplying nearly every type of testing lab out there with precision T&M devices, from the world’s best force measurement sensors to advanced instrumentation. Interface offers one of the most diverse force, torque, and weight related force sensor product lines in the market. It is why labs prefer Interface. In addition to our expanding line of  data acquisition systems, software and accessories, T&M engineers and lab pros find Interface as a one-stop-shop for simple and complex testing projects.

Testing Lab Applications Using Interface Products

Material Testing Lab – Press Form Monitoring

Customer Challenge: Press forming is a method to deform different materials. A force measurement solution is required to monitor the forces being applied by the press forming machine to ensure quality control and traceability during the production process.

Interface Solution: For large press forming machines, Interface recommended installing the 1000 High Capacity Fatigue-Rated LowProfile™ Load Cell. When the material was placed under the punch plate to form a shape, the force applied was measured and results were sent to the INF-USB3 Universal Serial Bus Single Channel PC Interface Module, where results can be graphed and logged.  Read: Press Forming and Load Monitoring

Medical Testing Lab – Specimen Research Linear Test Stand

Customer Challenge: Medical experts need the best equipment during research of multiple specimens. In this case, a medical researcher needed to monitor the load force of their linear actuator that uses a needle to collect material from the desired specimen.

Interface Solution; Interface’s SuperSC S-Type Miniature Load Cell was easily installed into the linear test stand. A needle with a gripper on the end was installed on the lower end of the SuperSC. As the needle is pushed to collect material of the specimen, the load feedback is captured using the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator.  Read: Specimen Research App Note

Safety Test Facility – Bike Helmet Impact Test

Customer Challenge: A company wanted to test the impact of a bike helmet when dropped from different heights, onto a flat surface such as an anvil. This test is necessary to ensure consumer safety, and that their products are made of the highest quality until sold to the public.

Interface Solution: Interface suggested installing our 1101 Compression Only Ultra Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell at the bottom of an anvil. The bike helmet was then dropped from multiple heights, at multiple angles, onto the anvil. The measurements from impact were then recorded and logged using our INF-USB3 Interface Module.  Read: CPG Bike Helmet Impact Test

Product Test Lab – Touch Screen Force Testing

Customer Challenge: Touchscreen kiosks used in restaurants, retail and entertainment venues all need various tests to be performed to ensure functionality and sensitivity. One of those tests are force tests that touch screens to withstand high use by all types of consumers.

Interface Solution: Interface’s SMTM Micro S-Type Load Cell was installed on the customer’s force testing machine. The touchscreen was laid flat under the machine, and force tests were conducted in different locations of the touchscreen. With supplied BlueDAQ software, results are captured and reviewed using the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator through an SD card.

These are just a few examples of where Interface products are involved in a wide variety of different testing labs and how T&M engineers are utilizing them. To learn more, check out our new Testing Lab Essentials webinar, which can be found here.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Testing Lab Essentials Webinar Recap

Introducing the Interface Consumer Product Testing Case Study

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing

 

Interface Solutions for Research and Development

Among the many roles of force measurement in engineering and manufacturing, the role of force sensing in research and development may be the most exciting and important. Load cells and other types of force sensors qualify and collect data on exploratory projects across a wide variety of industries. These tests determine the viability of a potential project and eventually new innovations.

Research and development are core to most businesses to stay competitive. R&D is essential in creating new products and anticipating customer demands. Whether it is assessing the viability of a new IoT home technology for consumers or designing a component used in a new surgical medical device, research is core to the technical and technological development of most any product.

In an R&D environment, force testing helps to compare product materials, determine the strength materials and components, and evaluate environmental, ergonomic, and other features. Additionally, force testing is common across industries as a quality control measure to accurately check that a given group of products meet targeted design specifications, per performance, safety, and regulatory requirements.

Interface often works with engineers whose role it is perform research and development within their organization. R&D engineers use research theories, principles, and models to perform a variety of experiments and activities. Not only do R&D engineers create new products, but they often are responsible for the redesign of existing products.

Our goal at Interface is to help R&D engineers identify the best sensor-related products they can use to work through the problems they are seeking to solve. The products we provide validate findings through highly accurate sensor test and measurement data. There are some R&D applications that need just one or two load cells and basic instrumentation to conduct the project testing. Other times Interface is asked to create an application-specific engineered to order part or design a custom measurement solution to achieve the desired test and measurement outcomes. The later is often the case if a sensor is an actual part of the product design. Interface has helped R&D engineers assess all kinds of prototypes and early designs using our precision force measurement devices.

Force measurement is used throughout the product research and development lifecycle, from ideation and prototyping, to robust testing and eventual commercialization phases.

  • IDEATION: In the ideation phase, we provide force measurement solutions for testing materials for compatibility with the idealized product’s use cases.
  • PROTOTYPING: In prototyping, force sensors help engineers select a minimum viable product (MVP) design. Sensors are used in the lab environment to validate a product or component, or as an actual embedded sensors utilized for real-time feedback and performance monitoring.
  • TESTING: When a product moves into the testing phase, it ready for a more thorough batch of tests including cycle and fatigue testing. Our load cells, torque transducers and instrumentation are commonly used in these environments. Every product will require a sensor model that fits by specifications and capacity.
  • COMMERCIALIZATION: Finally, when a product is ready for commercialization, we provide products used to run a variety of tests to ensure the product is constructed in a way that is safe for the user and meets certain force related specifications for intended use.

To give you an example of how an R&D engineer utilizes force sensors, we have included a few application examples below.

R&D Testing for Bicycle Manufacturer

A bike manufacturing company R&D engineer created a new handlebar design. They need to test the handlebar concept for their bikes during the R&D phase to ensure they will perform for a rugged trail ride experience, while ensuring safety of the recreational equipment. The R&D team took the concept and conducted fatigue tests on their handlebars to observe its structure and performance durability before mass production.  Interface suggested using Interface Mini™ product SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cells. Two of these s-type load cells are attached on either end of the bike’s handlebar stem, where it will measure the forces applied as the handlebar undergoes its fatigue test. Results can be measured, logged, and graphed with the SI-USB Universal Serial Bus Dual Channel PC Interface Module.

Research Rig Used for Testing Prosthetic Designs

Prosthetic limbs must undergo rigorous R&D testing prior to manufacturing. These critical apparatuses are tested for extreme loading that can occur during falls, accidents, and sports movements. Fatigue testing of prosthetic components determines the expected lifespan of the components under normal usage. R&D engineers use testing data to determine whether prosthetic materials and designs will withstand the rigors of daily use and occasional high load situations. For the R&D project, various configurations of compression and tension test machines can be used depending on the type of prosthetic device being tested. Often the same machine can be used for static and fatigue testing. For this application, an SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is mounted between a hydraulic actuator and the device being evaluated. During static testing, loads are applied to the specimen using the load cell signal as force feedback control of the test machine. During a fatigue test, the actuator repeatedly applies and removes the force to simulate activity such as walking. Tilt tables may be used to apply forces at various angles to simulate the heel-to-toe movement of walking or running. The 9890 Strain Gage, Load Cell, mV/V Indicator with Logging Software was used to store the research data.

 

Electric Vehicle Structural Battery Testing for Prototype

Battery technology is critical to the evolution of electric vehicles, so there are a variety of tests performed on new innovations in EV battery technology. As electric vehicles push advancements in efficiency gains, structural battery packaging is at the forefront for optimization. This drives the need to validate structural battery pack design, both in terms of life expectancy against design targets as well as crash test compliance and survivability.  Interface’s solution for this challenge included 1100 Ultra-Precision LowProfile Load Cells in-line with hydraulic or electromechanical actuators in the customer’s test stand. Also utilized were 6-Axis Load Cells to capture reactive forces transmitting through pack structure. Multi-axis measurement brings greater system level insight and improved product success. The tests performed using Interface’s force measurement products were able to validate the battery packs strong structural design.

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 an exceedingly 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 was 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 provided excellent data helping uncover the relationship between machine cutting parameters and the forces applied on the component. Using this knowledge, the machining process was reliably optimized for new materials and operations.

The role of Interface as it pertains to R&D is constantly growing as engineers create new innovations to solve a myriad of challenges throughout the world. We provide the most accurate and reliable force measurement systems to help advance technology across industries.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE

Interface OEM Solutions Process

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Interface Solutions for Consumer Product Goods

CPG Bike Frame Fatigue Testing

CPG Treadmill Force Measurement

CPG Golf Club Swing Accuracy

Interface Sensors Used for Development and Testing of Surgical Robotics

Fitness Equipment Makers Require Extreme Accuracy

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

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

 

AxialTQ Technical White Paper Details Comparative Testing

Recently, Interface put together a full comparison of our AxialTQ™ Torque Transducer measurement systems versus a competitor’s system that offers a DIN120, 1kNm capacity transducer. To view the complete details, read the new Interface technical white paper A Comparison of Torque Measurement Systems, authored by Jay Bradley, Interface Electrical Engineering Manager.

Here is a brief overview covering the crucial results of the comparison testing.

About AxialTQ Torque Transducer

Since 2018, the AxialTQ has redefined the category of torque measurement systems in terms of function, accuracy, and customizable compatibility. It’s a must have torque transducer for anyone working to minimize uncertainty when measuring anything that turns. It is specifically designed for the expanding torque measurement needs in fields that include the automotive industry, as well as the aerospace and industrial automation sectors.

At the heart of AxialTQ’s innovation is the rotor and high-precision sensing element technology, which when combined with the electronics component, produces industry-leading accuracy. This product is also fully customizable due to its ability to use simultaneous analog and digital outputs. This is key, as it enables real-time control and data collection. The flexible capability of the stator and output module mounting offers an infinite number of configurations to meet any application needs.

AxialTQ was designed and engineered by Interface in direct collaboration with end-users who shared their wish-lists for operational priorities, user profiles, design specifications, feature preferences, and real-world field challenges they wanted a solution to resolve.

The unique decision to implement an axial gap, as opposed to the industry standard radial gap, means there is minimized concern that the shaft, rotor and stator will make contact, significantly reducing the possibility of damaging the system.

Installation Overview

AxialTQ features a 120° stator coil giving it the ability to be mounted in several different orientations. While the full stator loop of the competing system must be carefully aligned with the rotor. AxialTQ’s large axial gap of up to 6mm and radial gap of up to 12mm also allows for small misalignments or rotor movement. The competing system has a small radial gap of 1mm and ±2mm when installed, providing less flexibility and durability. The stators of both the AxialTQ and the competing system have multicolor status LEDs that indicate proper alignment and data transmission.

Performance Testing and Validation

The tests found that both systems performed well and met their respective operating specifications. Some of the dynamic testing was performed only once due to time constraints. This testing also has a greater uncertainty of measurement because of the test setup.

In this comparison we tested the installation process, as well as performance for the following specifications:

  • Zero balance stability
  • Shunt calibration stability and repeatability
  • Measurement repeatability
  • Measurement non-linearity
  • Measurement hysteresis
  • Axial force crosstalk
  • Zero balance over operating temperature
  • Axial gradient temperature performance

Overall, both systems performed in line with specifications. Areas in which the AxialTQ stood out included change in zero-balance readings, performance in operating temperature ranges, and in the in-house spin testing cycles.

Configuration Advantages

Unlike the competing system, the AxialTQ has one analog voltage or current output, two analog frequency outputs, and a digital serial output which are all active and independently scalable and filtered. This means that by applying different scaling to two different outputs, the AxialTQ can operate like a dual range sensor.

Durability

AxialTQ also has a significant advantage in durability. The large axial (up to 6mm) and radial (typically 12 mm) gaps between the rotor and stator make it highly unlikely that the rotor will contact the stator because of harmonic vibration, torque pulse or some other event. Both the rotor and stator coils of the AxialTQ are fabricated from 0.125in (3.18mm) thick FR4, with any conductors located at least 0.05in (1.27mm) from the edge. If damaged, these coils are easily replaced in the factory.

AxialTQ is innovative alternative to current systems and includes creative solutions to overcome some of the challenges that diminish performance in these systems as well. To learn more about go to our AxialTQ product page.

Additional Resources

Recap of Latest Spin on AxialTQ Webinar

AxialTQ Engine Dynamometer Application Note

The AxialTQ Dynamometer

AxialTQ for Anything That Turns and Needs Testing

Force Sensors Advance Industrial Automation

Industrial automation heavily relies upon the use of sensor technologies to advance production and manufacturing. In the next phase of the industrial revolution, also referred to as Industry 4.0, gains in operational efficiencies are often rooted in innovative tools, robotics, and equipment renovations. These types of enhancements require use of interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Interface is playing a significant role in enabling these advancements with smart force and torque measurement solutions.

Randy Franks at Sensor Tips poses the following question in a recent article: How can force sensing be integrated for Industry 4.0 upgrades?

“Upgrading facilities to industry 4.0 standards is one of the most significant trends in the manufacturing industry today. To do this, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are pushing hard to renovate their facilities with connected, automated devices and machines to create greater efficiency and cost savings. Smarter devices can ease the transition.”

He continues in his post to note, “For Industry 4.0, force measurement solutions providers are integrating actuators that move and control a mechanism or system with load cells to create fully automated force test systems.”

Illustrating how this work, Randy writes about manufacturers of mobile devices using force measurement testing automation to pressure test touch screens with the new Interface ConvexBT miniature-sized load button load cells

Click here to read the rest of the article.