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Interface Accelerates Accuracy in Test and Measurement

Since Interface was founded in 1968, we have developed millions of load cells and torque transducers for engineers and designers that require the highest precision force sensors for accurate and reliable data collection in test and measurement (T&M). Our customers represent a wide swath of industries, products, equipment types, tools, and electronics that depend on us for proving accuracy, consistency, and reliability in performance.

The complexity of user applications and testing environments is rapidly expanding as a result of shorter product lifecycles and demands for smaller, lighter, faster-performing innovations. This has created a proliferation of new test and measurement use cases for sensors in almost every sector including technology, energy, and biomedical, as well as industrial, additive manufacturing and automotive verticals.  We are seeing more and more sensor products utilize Bluetooth technology, digital outputs, and direct OEM installations into the product without connectors.

Our products serve a wide variety of these types of test and measurement requirements used for structural and material testing, static and fatigue testing, torsion effects, tension tests and mass and kinetic energy. When experienced users see the Interface brand, they know they can expect the highest-quality results possible from the force measurement industry leaders.

The load cell products we provide T&M customers range from our  Ultra Low Capacity Series, which measures forces in mere grams, to our industry-leading LowProfile™ Load Cells with capacities up to 2 million lbf. For torque testing, Interface supplies a wide variety of torque transducers with ranges as low as 0.005 Nm and as high as 340K Nm. We customers depend on us for various multi-axis sensors, instrumentation products, accessories, tension links, load pins, and shackles. For complex challenges and unique applications, our customers work with our application engineers to create modified and customized solutions.

Test and Measurement Applications

To give you a sense as to the range of test and measurement use cases, here is a small sample of applications that utilize our standard and custom force measurement solutions:

  • Fatigue testing
  • Material testing
  • Suspension testing
  • Shear testing
  • Force testing
  • Tensile testing
  • Pressure testing
  • Friction testing
  • Durability testing
  • Tension testing
  • Device testing
  • Hardware load and fatigue testing
  • Force verification
  • Calibration

Included below are two examples of how our products were used to help our customer’s test and measure “real life” applications.

Harness Durability Testing

A customer came to us needing to test the load and durability factors of harnesses used by workers to carry heavy loads or those used in sports equipment. We developed a drop test apparatus using an Interface Model 1200 Load Cell. The apparatus dropped a humanoid dummy outfitted with the harness from various heights to measure the force generated during sudden stops at maximum cable extension. These tests helped our customer develop harness limits which inform users on unsafe loads.

Figure one: Interface drop test apparatus using the Model 1200 load cell

Prosthetic Load and Fatigue Testing

Medical hardware engineers are among the largest users of T&M equipment because of the stringent regulations in the industry. Interface developed a new solution to test heavy loads on prosthetic limbs to certify them for falls, accidents and athletic movement. These stress tests determine the expected lifespan of prosthetic components under normal usage.  Our solution involves a static load test apparatus with an S-type load cell attached to a hydraulic actuator which applies and measures cyclic loads. These tests help our customers determine whether prosthetic materials and designs will withstand the rigors of daily use and occasional high-load situations.

Figure two: Load test apparatus with an S-type load cell attached to a hydraulic actuator  

What we find most exciting about the T&M industry is continuous innovation, perhaps it is the “engineer” in us.  We like to solve, create, build, imagine and challenge ourselves. There are a wide variety of new applications we see every year, and yet many applications are unique.

Those that are in the test and measurement field help to guarantee product safety, reliability and longevity. Therefore, the tools they use are critical to the confirmation of their work. That’s why Interface builds products that reliably and consistently gather high-quality, accurate data for any application. For more information on our T&M offerings, or to discover more T&M product applications, please visit www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/test-measurement/.

Interface Celebrates Made in the USA

Manufacturing is essential to the U.S. economy, with an estimated $2.38 trillion contribution and accounting for nearly half of all exports. This equals about 11.4% of U.S. economic output. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)

With approximately 250,000 firms in the manufacturing sector in the U.S., Interface is proud to be counted as one of them. Companies with manufacturing operations solely in the U.S. are considered an anomaly today. With a great deal of U.S. production occurring outside the country, there are fewer enterprises that sustain domestic manufacturing success. As we approach Independence Day on July 4th, Interface is reflecting on how honored we are to be a U.S. manufacturer for more than a half-century and counting.

Though our production is domestic, our reach is global. Interface load cells and torque transducers have been used in nearly all industries providing reliable test and accurate measurement capabilities to international market leaders in aerospace, automotive, energy, medical, education, and other top manufacturers. We’re proud to say our products are “Made in the USA.”

We began designing and manufacturing load cells and other force measurement equipment in 1968 when Richard F. Caris started Interface in his garage. Since those early days, we have grown to become one of the most trusted names in the industry. And not once in our history have we considered moving production out of the U.S. We maintain the highest degree of performance by managing the entire process, from design and machining, to strain gage manufacturing and assembly at our headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.

One of the most satisfying aspects of having U.S. manufacturing operations is contributing to our country’s economic prosperity and innovation. The National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) presented the following facts on the state of U.S. manufacturing, and Interface is appreciative to be an integral contributor to these milestones.

NAM Facts (Source):

  • U.S. manufacturers perform 64% of all private-sector R&D in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector.
  • For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.82 is added to the economy.
  • There are 12.82 million manufacturing workers in the U.S., approximately 8.5% of the workforce.
  • Over the next decade, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2.4 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap.
  • Over the past 28 years, U.S. manufactured goods exported have quadrupled.
  • Manufacturers in the U.S. export nearly half of U.S. manufacturing output.
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the U.S. would be the eighth-largest economy in the world.

Interface is focused on our contributions economically, by supporting innovation and job growth through a robust manufacturing role in the production of the world’s leading force measurement solutions. It’s definitely worthy of a holiday celebration.

Making the Case with Accuracy and Reliability for Ultra HD Testing

Interface is a leader in ultra-accurate and high-reliability force measurement solutions and services for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)

We recently published a case study on a unique and complex project for a customer specializing in designing and building automated systems to observe and test for color and light performance in Ultra HD displays. It was a great opportunity for Interface to showcase our innovative design expertise. Working with OEMs in partnership allow our team members to collaborate closely to on the project’s specific and delicate nature.

This blog provides an abbreviated version of the case study. You can download the full version here.

Qualifying Ultra HD Resolution

With the rising popularity of Ultra HD and 4K format video monitors, testing for video output quality is critical. These screens have a resolution of 3840×2160.  This is four times the number of pixels in full-high-definition (HD) and eight times as many as standard definition. To put it in perspective, Ultra HD (UHD) is only a slightly lower resolution than the picture displayed on theater movie screens.

Evaluating the Application Requirements

Interface’s customer needed a solution to monitor and control forces during testing. With this technology, inspecting the color and light performance of the screen is much more critical than ever before due to the intensity of perception. Because the hype of this technology is centered around its stellar resolution, testing for output quality is one of the most important steps in the manufacturing process.  The solution had to easily allow for the mounting of sensors into the large glass array handling tool.

The Clear Results

Interface’s solution provided direct force and weight feedback around the periphery on the monitor array panel to allow for precise handling control without fracturing the glass. Because of Interface, the customer was able to test the video output quality long before the completion of the end product.

For more than 51 years, Interface has worked with manufacturers to provide industrial automation solutions for test and measurement that improve products, reduce risks and ultimately foster continuous innovation to do more, better and faster.  For more information on how Interface can help solve your unique challenges, contact our application engineer team today.

READ THE FULL CASE STUDY HERE

Interface Case Study For HD Manufacturer

 

The Future of Automotive is Electric

Interface has been a longtime provider of force measurement solutions that help engineers develop the technology of tomorrow. One of our main areas of expertise during our 50 plus years in business has been in solutions for the automotive industry.

Interface has helped to revolutionize design and efficiency in this industry using our high accuracy test and measurement solutions. With the increased need for sustainable electric vehicles, we have set our sights on advancing this high-growth area in automotive.

“Less than 5 percent of vehicles sold in 2016 were equipped with EV power trains. Major OEMs have announced that they’re aiming to bring that number above 50 percent by 2021.” McKinsey Quarterly, February 2019

Electric vehicle design and manufacturing requires a precise level of accuracy in order to improve energy efficiency, minimize weight and maximize vehicle range. Battery technology has only come so far; therefore, maximizing power output is the key to improving vehicle design. To achieve this, test and measurement solutions need to be as accurate as possible.

Interface provides high accuracy torque transducers, load cells, load washers and more for two areas of electric vehicle testing: laboratory testing to optimize system performance and production testing to ensure product quality.

Interface’s Role in Vehicle Testing

Laboratory Testing

In laboratory testing, Interface force and torque measurement products are used to achieve high-efficiency in component and system designs. While electric vehicle designs are already very efficient, minimal design adjustments can make a difference to increase total range from a single charge. Making small incremental changes in efficiency, therefore, requires very accurate measurement capability.

Applications of our products in the laboratory environment include maximizing the system performance of electric vehicle drivetrain components, such as motors and gearboxes. As well as performance in auxiliary systems, such as air conditioning compressors and motors, power steering motors, and even brake systems. Accurately measuring the force of dynamic systems like suspension components allow the designer to minimize weight to improve overall vehicle range and performance.

Production Testing

Once the components are moved into the vehicle production phase, Interface solutions are used to ensure the product has been built per the design.  Our products can be used to measure the steady state, as well as the dynamic performance of components and systems.  Using measurement systems they can trust gives customers the confidence that the components and systems meet the performance and dependability expected for the vehicle design.

The key to electric vehicle design is balancing the relationship between efficiency, performance, and cost.  The further we can make electric vehicles go on a single charge, the more attractive these vehicles become for mass markets.

Optimized efficiency requires the most accurate measurements available to our customers and this is where Interface excels. Jake Shaffer, Senior Product Manager

In October 2018, Interface released AxialTQ, specifically designed to help in the transforming vehicle market, including electric and autonomous vehicles. You can read about AxialTQ and view this revolutionary next-generation torque measurement system in action here:

If you are interested in scheduling a demonstration of the product or inquiring about Interface’s precision solutions like AxialTQ that we are providing for force measurement testing of electric vehicles, contact us today.

Contributor:  Jake Shaffer, Senior Product Manager at Interface

Taking Flight with Interface

When the aerospace industry needs a force measurement solution provider, they’ve turned to Interface for the past 50 years. There is no room for error when it comes to the hardware that keeps airplanes and helicopters safely airborne, and therefore Interface products are the easy choice for Fortune 500 and innovators in www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace from around the world.

Interface specializes in ground testing for aerospace vehicles. Our products are used in flight simulations, aircraft production, and structural, static and fatigue testing on fuselages and wings. We are the leader in moment and temperature compensation, and a unique differentiator of our load cells is their ability to accurately measure or isolate side loads.

The Interface force measurement standard, modified and custom products that we supply to the aerospace industry typically include:

  • LowProfile™ Load Cells
  • Mini Load Cells
  • Multi-Axis Sensors
  • Calibration Frames

The durability, reliability, performance, and accuracy of Interface load cells are what leads the market.  Unlike others, Interface’s load cells do not lose their accuracy over time. In fact, we just received a calibration order that included some of the very first load cells ever made by Interface. Simply said, our load cells are still on the production floor after 40 years of use.

Our load cells actually demonstrate improvements in performance the longer our customers have them.” – Ashish Desai, Director, Engineering and Technology, Interface

Our precision is the key to our success for aerospace, as well as all our industry solutions. To engineer high-precision load cells, we first start with the flexure. The flexure must be symmetrical, and a great deal of machining art goes into our symmetry process. We have strict control of the process, which also includes making our own strain gages. By maintaining tight control over all processes, Interface can better match the materials that go into the load cells, leading to higher performance.

Each Interface load cell is designed and manufactured at Interface corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.  This single location benefit gives customers the added convenience of not needing to accommodate their designs to account for inaccuracies resulting from generic strain gages that are not made in the same place by the best in force measurement engineering and manufacturing.

Interface load cell features are important to the aerospace industry because not only does the longevity of our load cells save our customers money, our precision guarantees that measurements are accurate. One tiny inaccuracy in the measurement of airplane wing’s force capacity can cause critical failures and have devastating effects.

Interface also has all the necessary certifications for working with the aerospace industry including ISO17025, NCSL Z540 and ASTM E74. These standards of excellence demonstrate our ability to serve our customers to the highest degree, on the ground and for taking flight.

Contributor: Ashish Desai, Director, Engineering and Technology, Interface