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Examining Machine Builder Applications

Interface solutions test and measure the performance of all types of machines, from heavy-duty extraction equipment to tiny digits on robotic arms. Machine builders turn to Interface for the most precise and high-quality sensors for accurate data and device durability.

Responsibilities of machine builders generally include defining machine requirements and use cases, creating technical specifications and drawings, selecting materials and components, building and testing machines, and installing and maintaining machines.

The specific responsibilities of a machine builder vary depending on the size and complexity of the machines they build and the use case of the machine. Depending on the industry and application, machine builders provide systems and machinery to meet specific production and operational requirements. These machines can be used for tooling, assembly, press operations, automated guides, and even cobots.

Machine Builder Applications Using Interface Products

  • Industrial Automation Systems: This includes machines and systems used in manufacturing processes, such as robotic assembly lines, conveyor systems, and automated packaging machines. See: Snack Weighing and Packaging Machine App Note and Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions
  • Specialized Production Machinery: Machine builders design and build machinery for specific manufacturing processes, such as injection molding machines, CNC machines, or metal stamping presses. These machines form, stamp, and crush materials.
  • Facilities Equipment: Machines like forklifts, cranes, and conveyor systems fall under this category. They are designed to move and handle materials efficiently within a facility. Read: Cranes and Lifting
  • Universal Testing Machines (UTMs): These valuable machines test the mechanical properties of materials like metals, plastics, and composites.
  • Weighing Systems: Used in various production processes like batching, mixing, and filling, weighing systems and scales are commonplace in most manufacturing facilities. Learn more: Load Cells for Smarter and More Efficient Weighing

As the machine building space becomes more precise with the evolution of automation and focus on efficiency across industrial facilities, force measurement becomes more critical to machine builders.

Interface products are used broadly for a variety of machines. Force measurement products, including our load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and instrumentation, aid machine builders by measuring force, weight, tension, compression, and torque.

Machine builders use Interface sensor technologies in applications that weigh raw materials, test component designs, and build finished products to ensure they meet the required specifications. Force measurement devices are essential in measuring the machines or the processes force to control product quality and prevent accidents. Machine builders frequently use load cells to monitor loads over time to detect and prevent potential machine problems.

Automation is one of the most critical requirements driving the need for force measurement and precise Interface solutions. Automated processes require consistency and accuracy in every piece of the process to enable efficiency gains.

Benefits of Interface force measurement devices include:

  • Improved safety
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced waste and operating costs
  • Quality improvement
  • Reduced downtime

Machine Builder Application Notes

Robotic Sanding and Grinder Machine

robotic grinder containing 6A40 6-Axis Load Cell and BX8-HD44 BlueDAQ Series Data Acquisition System

Robotic grinding and polishing are commonly used in manufacturing for industrial applications. Machine builders design robots or cobots to grind and polish on different materials and surfaces. A force measurement system can monitor and control the force exerted on the grinding product. 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 customer connects the BX8’s analog outputs to their control system. This enables the customer to monitor, log, display, and graph these measurements. The results are sent to the customer’s control system via analog or digital output.

Press Machine Load Monitoring

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 being applied by the press-forming machine. 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 create a shape, the force applied is measured by the 1000. 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.

Food and Beverage Conveyor Belt equipped with PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells and 920i Programmable Weight Indicator and ControllerMachine Use for Conveyor Belt

Conveyor belts for the food and beverage industry must be maintained and adequately 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 suggests installing PBLC Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cells onto the conveyor belt. They are designed for easy maintenance. The PBLCs measure and monitor the force of the conveyor belt while preventing misalignment. The PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells successfully maintain the proper alignment of the conveyor belt for the food and beverages being transported while also monitoring the forces being implemented.

Machine builders turn to Interface for solutions that support Industry 4.0 innovations, enabling more efficiency and machine advancements. These professionals rely on Interface for the accuracy and quality of our solutions, the depth of our product offerings, and our experienced team that can help our customers select the right solution for their next application or develop custom applications to fit unique needs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery

Interface Load Cells for Press Machines

Seat Testing Machine

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Sanding Machine Force Monitoring

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Robotic Solutions

Collaborative Robots Using Interface Sensors

Fastening Work Bench

 

Force Measurement Sensors are Essential to Modern Industrial Machinery

 

Industrial machinery plays a vital role in the global economy. It helps to improve productivity and efficiency, and it is essential to produce many of the goods we rely on daily.

Industrial machinery use cases range from equipment used in manufacturing and construction to transportation and robotics. Force measurement sensors and instrumentation play a critical role in ensuring industrial machinery’s safe and efficient operation.

Interface sensor technologies, including our load cells and multi-axis sensors, provide critical data for various machinery designs and functions. Interface analog and digital instrumentation products are available to amplify, condition, and display the signals from force measurement sensors.

The accuracy of force, torque, and weight measurements guide industrial machinery’s design and performance mechanisms.

What types of industrial machinery are using Interface measurement products today?

  • Machine tools used for grinding, drills, and lathes
  • Fabrication apparatus used for bending, shearing, and welding
  • Assembly equipment for production environments that include conveyor belts, robotic arms, and picking devices
  • Testing, quality control, and safety inspection equipment
  • Heavy equipment operational controllers for forklifts, cranes, and hoisting gear
  • Construction machinery such as loaders, bulldozers, and lifts

Industrial machinery is prevalent in manufacturing vehicles, aircraft, consumer goods, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Heavy-duty machinery is standard in energy production, mining, forestry, agriculture, and transportation.

The machines’ quality heavily depends on the accuracy of measurements used in the initial design, retrofitting, production, and practice. Interface products provide the products that enable machines to operate at peak performance safely and efficiently. Learn more in our new Interface Industrial Machinery Solutions, a part of Industrial Automation market offerings.

How Interface Measurement Solutions Used in Industrial Machinery

Machine Safety Monitoring

Interface products are used for monitoring the performance of machines and for management in sensing potential problems before they cause a failure. Interface measurement technologies are used in construction machinery to enable operators to gauge the force applied to materials, preventing overexertion and potential damage. Read Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Heavy Machinery and Lifting Equipment

In material handling equipment, force sensors help prevent accidents and injuries. Interface load cells, including load pins and shackles, monitor loads, weight, and distribution. Learn more about lifting solutions in our Engineered Solutions for Lifting Webinar.

Manufacturing and Production Machines

Manufacturers rely on Interface sensor solutions in industrial machines such as injection molding machines to monitor the force applied to the mold or how they are used in machines to ensure correct product packaging. The efficiency of machines is enhanced by correctly measuring the forces applied during different operations. Force sensors help ensure products are assembled correctly and within tolerance on production lines.

Industrial Automation Machines and Robotics

Interface sensors in industrial machines such as robots allow for more precise and delicate tasks that measure force at touch and throughout the entire operation. In machine tools, load cells assist in monitoring cutting forces and prevent damage to tools and workpieces. In robotic arms and automated assembly lines, force sensors provide precise force application during welding, riveting, and material handling.

Benefits of Using Interface Products in Industrial Machinery

  • Improved safety: Load cells can help prevent accidents and injuries by monitoring the weight and distribution of loads and ensuring that machines operate correctly.
  • Increased productivity: Force measurement sensors can help improve machines’ efficiency by optimizing the force applied during different operations. Force measurement sensors can help reduce machine downtime and enhance the quality of products with accurate data, helping to make intelligent decisions.
  • Reduced waste and operating costs: Measurement devices can help to reduce costs by preventing machine failures and improving the quality of products.

Force measurement sensors and instrumentation are essential components of modern industrial machinery. They ensure the safe, efficient, and productive operation of these machines. Contact Interface application engineers to evaluate the best sensor technologies for your specific test and measurement pe failures and improving the quality of products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Hydraulic Press Machines and Load Cells

Sanding Machine Force Monitoring

Interface Solutions for Machine Builders

Metal Press Cutting Machine

Laser Machine Cutting Force App Note

Ice Machine Weighing

Force Measurement Testing Improves Products and Consumer Safety

Cobot Safety Programming

Crane Capacity Verification App Note

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

Amongst the wide variety of industries that Interface serves, clean and renewable energy sectors are some of the hottest in pursuit of sensor-based solutions. Between private and public funding, and the overwhelming desire for humans to become more sustainable, new energy technology and investment is multiplying at a rapid pace. 

Interface force measurement solutions are used in all types of energy-related applications for wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, geothermal, and emerging energy sources worldwide. We are recognized as a provider of choice for our reliability and accuracy in designing, engineering, testing, innovating, and manufacturing precision sensor solutions for the energy industry.  In fact, we have designed unique load cells that are embedded into some of the largest test and production equipment for energy production in the world. Read Interface Most Promising Energy Tech Solution Provider

Advance technologies in renewable and sustainable energy sources continues to drive the critical need to monitor, test, and validate concepts, equipment, and tools used in procurement. In the global energy industry, many of the alternative source technologies are inventive, newer, and require unique measurement solutions to take on the challenges found in R&D, testing, and production.  

In addition, alternative energy sources in their infancy can be very cost prohibitive going from exploration to consumption. Therefore, it is important that quality, cost effective testing solutions are provided to help researchers, engineers and manufacturers minimize total costs. Interface force testing solutions help to solve and lessen the burden of these challenges by offering a wide range of test and measurement solutions.

New Interface case study reveals how our load cells were used by the PTB in Germany to calibrate and test the world’s largest machine that measures torsional forces related to wind turbines.

Interface force measurement sensors were requested to help Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the national metrology institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, in the design of an innovative wind energy project. As the second largest metrology institute in the world, the PTB has an acclaimed international reputation in research relating to units and precise measurement. 

PTB is a service provider for science, business, and society, and advises the German federal government on all metrology issues. Organizationally, the PTB is a departmental research facility and senior authority within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. For more than 135 years, PTB’s role has been making important contributions to advancing the energy transition, heat transition and climate protection with quality and speed. 

Interface, working in tandem with our esteemed partner Interfaceforce e. K. in Germany, was asked to provide load cell solutions to use in the design and testing of the world’s first traceable torque measurements of up to 5 MN ∙ m for a wind energy facility. As a first of its kind project, the PTB needed to include high accuracy, quality test equipment to guarantee precise and reliable data. Interface solutions fit the exact requirements.  Read the complete case study here.

Summarizing the engagement, PTB endeavored to construct a system with highly accurate and repeatable results, and one that enable bending moments, axial forces, and dynamic excitations of up to 3 Hz. Thereby, making it possible to realize a metrological characterization of dynamic influences in the (MN ∙ m) torque range, as well as in the MN force range. Working closely with PTB, Interface’s experts in Germany worked with the metrology lab engineers to identify the correct products for this unique calibration system.  

These products are being used to calibrate and test PTB’s torque measurement system, allowing the system to provide accurate and repeatable results over time. The custom load cell products Interface provided PTB for this innovative wind energy system, as detailed in Interface Supports Incredible Wind Energy Innovation, included:

The load cells that were chosen helped PTB to create the system needed for its wind energy facility, which allows multi-component transducers to be calibrated in a traceable and practice-oriented way for force and torque. The system is also now the world’s largest machine starting up at PTB, with which the large torsional forces that occur in wind turbines can be precisely measured for the first time.  Read the article: World’s largest device for measuring torque in wind turbines opens.

As we detailed in Load Cells for Renewable Energy Production and Testing, Interface and our incredible distributor network continues to work with engineers and industry leaders to find viable measurement solutions. Pushing the boundary forward on new and renewable energy is rewarding for our company, especially as we help those achieve energy innovation using sustainable, quality measurement solutions.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Geothermal Well Drilling

Interface and Green Energy Innovation

Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy

Demands for Quality Energy Measurement Solutions

Interface Supports Renewable Energy Innovation

Interface Supports Incredible Wind Energy Innovation

Metrologists and Calibration Technicians 101

Interface works with metrologists and calibration technicians worldwide. We are a partner, supplier of calibration grade products they use, and participants in research to advance the science of measurement. We are also proud team members with experienced experts in measurement, including our esteemed force measurement engineers and calibration technicians at Interface.

By simple definition, a metrologist is a scientist who researches and applies the science of measurement. Working in the field of metrology, they often create processes and engineer tools and systems used to measure objects, such as load cell calibration tools used to accurately to measure applied force.

Engineers and technicians work in collaboration with metrologists in the design of products and devices used for measuring objects. Metrologists are keen to maintain the accuracy standards of measurements for organizations, product makers, and manufacturers of measurement devices.

Metrologists practice their expertise in test and measurement at manufacturing facilities, corporate R&D centers, independent test and calibration labs, government entities and standards organizations, as well as at higher learning institutions. The range of industries that utilize metrologists spans from aerospace to medical sciences. It is commonplace for metrologists to participate in research, product design, testing, and repair of equipment.

To preserve accuracy of performance and standards of measurement, metrologists develop calibration procedures to control performance of devices. They use these techniques to also identify enhancements and continuous improvement initiatives. Metrology professionals often share their findings with metrologist groups and associations, for purposes of scientific research and development within the field of measurement science. NIST publishes reports related to metrology from contributors around the world. You can find thousands of reports here.

Calibration technicians calibrate test and measurement equipment, as well as provide quality inspection, installation, troubleshooting support, and regular maintenance. Cal techs operate the machines used to validate performance, then report on the findings.

A calibration technician can work in production or manufacturing environments, onsite calibration labs, or for independent labs that provide services to users and makers of measurement devices. It is quite common to find calibration labs staffed with experience technicians as a part of a manufacturer’s facility, across most industries. Depending on the size of the manufacturer, this could include a small in-house lab or multiple lab sites. These labs are stocked with a variety of sensors, rigs, machines, and tools. As noted by many of our representative firms and onsite customer visits, they often will find shelves of blue load cells ready for use at any time for test and measurement projects and calibration services.

Interface supplies calibration labs with all types of measurement calibration grade transducers and equipment, including:

Calibration technicians work with various testing and calibrating tools and technologies. The role requires a mix of expertise in the science and application of measurement. Interface has multiple onsite calibration labs with full testing rigs, machines, operating tools, instrumentation, and software used for tracking performance. Interface does calibrate every product we manufacture, to certify performance prior to releasing to the customer.

Interface Services Calibration Technicians operate within our Services Calibration and Repair Department at our Interface production facilities in Arizona. They provide services for Interface products for annual and regular calibration check-ups, as well as diagnostic, repair, and warranty evaluations. Interface recommends annual calibration services. If you need to schedule a service, go here.

Technicians perform calibrations and any additional needed services for customer owned equipment, works with quality and inspection managers to maintain the proper records within the services process application. They ensure that the measurements taken with our equipment are accurate. Interface calibration techs work on multiple shifts for a 24/6 operation. Interface is adding qualified technicians to our team to meet the demands in production and services.

Calibration technicians perform inspection, testing and validation to ensure conformance to established accuracy and calibration standards. They also help to create calibration procedures and help n sourcing errors or quality issues reported during calibration activities.

Requirements for Interface Calibration Technicians include:

  • Perform basic to mid-range diagnostics of force measurement equipment
  • Work collaboratively in a team environment to complete discrete tasks
  • Print and Review Calibration Certificates Competencies
  • Able to use fine motor skills to calibrate product
  • Able to work with hand and power tools, lifts, electronic test equipment, soldering and indicators
  • Understands industry and quality concepts and standards such as ISO, A2LA, NIST
  • Offers suggestions and improvements as they see them
  • Organize and schedule work in progress
  • Experience in calibration technology, science, engineering, or a related field

You can apply for positions Interface Calibration Technician jobs here.

For metrologists and calibration technicians, quality and control require strict adherence to ensure that the products and equipment are performing properly. As measurement is exact, both are responsible for performing routine audits and quality inspections to maintain compliance with good calibration practices.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Regular Calibration Service Maintains Load Cell Accuracy

Top Five Reasons Why Calibration Matters

Shunt Calibration 101

Extending Transducer Calibration Range by Extrapolation

Strain Gage Design Under Eccentric Load WRSGC Presentation

Specifying Accuracy Requirements When Selecting Load Cells

 

Interface Solutions for Testing Tools

Interface load cells, torque transducers and instrumentation are commonly used in the test and measurement of different tools and fasteners used in testing products and actual production of various machines and components. The sensor data received in measuring assembly tools and fixtures used in securing nuts, bolts, and screws, is critical in making safe and reliable products.

For example, the ability to measure torque on screws and the force output of a screwdriver or wrench is very important when there are tight tolerances involved like in engineering and build of automotive or aerospace and defense machines and parts.

As we did for the machine testing blog, we’ve detailed a few examples of how Interface force and torque solutions are used in measuring tools performance for both design and assembly.  You can find additional application notes on these examples and more by visiting our industry solutions.

Bolt Fastening Force and Torque

An aerospace company was working on a test plan that involved taking torque and compression measurements on fasteners with varying joint materials. The system required both high and low sampling rates, in addition to the capability of precisely measuring force and torque simultaneously. They required reliable accuracy and long-term stability. The test plan intended to provide verification of required force and torque specifications for fasteners, to ensure safety without compromising installation. Interface suggested a LW or LWCF Load Washer in conjunction with a  T12 Square Drive Rotary Torque Transducer. With this solution, the customer was able to align force and torque measurements to desired levels. This was accomplished by combining the sensors with the high sample rate of the data logging and graphing capabilities of the SI-USB, capturing real-time force and torque levels for examination. The fasteners were tightened to the specified force and torque requirements and were safely installed without impairment to themselves or the joint material. The customer was able to measure the rapid event effectively and accurately. Read more about this bolt fastening solution here.

Aircraft Screwdriver Fastening Control

An airplane manufacturer needed a solution where they can control the torque when fastening screws on their airplane models. They didn’t want to create any damage to materials or apply too much torque when plane components are being fastened together. Interface suggested a T15 Hex Drive Rotary Torque Transducer, which can be attached to the fastening work bench, measuring and recording torque, rotational speed, and angle of the screwdriver. The LWCF Clamping Force Load Cell is installed, measuring the forces applied on the screw being fastened. Results are sent to the SI-USB4 4-channel USB Interface Module, which is connected to the customer’s PC or laptop where data is logged, graphed, and displayed. This solution allowed the airplane manufacturer to calibrate their screwdriver by measuring its torque, rotational speed, and angle, when attaching materials together for their airplane. They were also able to measure the forces being applied to the screw, to ensure it was not applying too much torque to the components. You can learn more about the aircraft screwdriver application here.

Ratchet Wrench Torque Verification

A customer wanted to perform regular torque testing on his ratchet-type torque wrench while recording these values for future examination. Interface supplied a model TS15 Square to Flange Reaction Torque Transducer with the INF-USB3 PC Interface Module for the customer to use. The customer mounted TS15 to work bench through flange and inserted the ratchet-type torque transducer into the TS15. Using this product, the customer was able to accurately perform their calibration checks and view the results while logging them to their PC Computer.  Learn more about this wrench torque verification testing here.

While not nearly as complex as machine testing applications, tools testing is equally important to the outcome of a project. The tools and fasteners used, even those as simple as a bolt and wrench, need to be accurately measured and assembled to avoid loose connection or overtightening that can damage the product. Interface provides a host of tool testing solutions for nearly anything that outputs force or torque. To learn more about our tool testing solutions, visit us at www.interfaceforce.com.

Additional Resources

Force Measurement Solutions for Bolt and Screw Fastening

Bolt Fastening- Force

Fastening Work Bench

Engine Head Bolt Tightening

Force Solutions for Testing Machines

In test and measurement, one of the most common application for force sensors is industrial-scale testing machines of all kinds. Force and torque data is used in several ways with these types of applications. They can be used in the design phase to help perfect a product or component as it relates to force input or output. They can also be used as a monitoring device to tell users when a machine or its accessories need to be repaired or replaced.

For machine makers, product engineers and test lab equipment users, Interface supplies precision load cells, torque transducers, data acquisition devices and accessories.

Machine testing is one of our most prominent use cases for measurement sensors. Interface has seen quite a few different applications across industries. We’ve noted a few of our application notes that highlight these use cases by outlining how force measurement solutions are used in various machines.

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 suggest using its 3A120 3-Axis load cell 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. Review the complete cutting forces of rotary ultrasonic machine application note.

Friction Testing Machine

A testing laboratory was looking to replace two single axis load cells used in their friction testing machine with one sensor that could measure force on the x, y, and z axis simultaneously. Interface’s 3A60 3-Axis load cell was installed on their existing machine with an Interface BSC4D-USB Multi-Channel PC Interface hooked directly to a PC laptop to monitor and log the data in real time. The testing laboratory was able to simplify their sensor set-up and improve their data collection, creating more value for their end customer. Friction testing is a common use case.  To learn more about this application for a friction testing machine, go here.

Spring Compression Testing Machine

In an upgrade in machinery and testing equipment, a customer sought a solution to test the performance of their springs in their specially designed spring test stand using a new wireless solution. Interface suggests using the WTS-5200XYZ 3-Axis Force Moment Load Cell which has 3 integral WTSAM-1E Wireless Transmitters and installing it into the customer’s spring compression frame. The WTS-5200XYZ 3-Axis Force Moment Load Cell will measure the force compression of the spring. The integral WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules will transmit and display the information wirelessly to the LCCA Wireless Instrument enclosure. It can also be programmed to trigger an alarm.  You can read about the spring testing machine here.

Weighing and Packaging Machine

A food brand wanted to weigh the amount of their snacks that is automatically dispersed into the bags during the packaging process. In this case, they also want to weigh their potato chips being packaged and ensure the potato chips are at the exact weight needed due to regulatory standards. Interface’s suggested using multiple SPI Platform Scale Load Cells and install them to the potato multi-head weigher and packaging machine. The SPI Platform Scale Load cells were installed inside of the mount that attaches the head weigher to the packaging machine. Force results from the potato chips were read by the load cells and sent to the ISG Isolated DIN Rail Mount Signal Conditioner, where the customer could control the automated production from their command center. With these products, the customer was able to determine the weight of the potato chips being distributed into their bags with highly accurate results. They also were able to control the automated production process with the provided instrumentation. They will use this same weighing method for other snacks that need to be packaged. Learn more about the packaging machine here.

Interface sensors are used across industries to test advanced machinery because our products provide the most accurate data on the market to help improve the efficiency and quality of equipment and testing machines. To learn more about Interface solutions for testing machines, check out our application notes page at www.interfaceforce.com/application-notes/.

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.

Force Measurement Solutions for Bolt and Screw Fastening

Among the many applications of force measurement devices, one that appears to be a simple application can have a big impact on worker safety, productivity, waste reduction, assembly and product performance. In this new animated application note highlight, we take a look at the tools used for bolt fastening measurement.

Bolts and screws are used to secure different pieces or components together for nearly every product imaginable, especially when it comes to large machinery and even automobiles. The success of these products and the manufacturing of these components requires a strict level of detail that goes into the tightness of a bolt. It’s not like your typical “do it yourself” furniture where you just tighten a screw or bolt until you can’t anymore. The precision needed for certain objects to be tightened to the exact measurement is mandatory.

Interface provides measurement solutions for all types of industrial automation and toolset testing used in thousands of applications that ultimately are utilized in the building of products. In the example below, we provided devices that are used to determine the exact bolt force and tightness necessary. The goal of measuring the tightness is to avoid under or overtightening. As you can imagine, under tightening can cause components to come apart. However, over tightness can also cause significant damage to the pieces being bolted together.

Bolt Fastening Application

To show the process of measuring bolt tightness, check out this latest use case video demonstration.

For this bolt fastening application, the customer used an Interface Model LWCF Load Washer along with an Interface Model INF-USB3 Single Channel PC Interface Module to monitor force being applied during bolt tightening. The data transferred from the bolt clamping force load cell load washer with a thru-hole, to the instrumentation is displayed, logged and graphed directly onto a computer for analysis and performance testing.

This is a basic example of the test and measurement process, however, Interface also contributed to a number of real-world projects and created applications notes to provide an illustration. One of our favorites is when an industrial automation company was building an automated assembly machine for an automotive manufactur­ing plant.

The product engineers and testing team needed to tighten all of the head bolts on an engine on their assembly line to a specific torque value. Having the head bolts precisely and consistently tightened to the engine block is critical to the operation of the engine.

To measure this force, several Interface Model T33 Spindle Torque Transducers were installed in their new machine to control torque and angle and ensure the head bolt was properly tight­ened. The square drive of the T33 allowed the customer to fix their tool directly to the end of the torque sensor, streamlining the installation.

Using this solution, the head bolts were correctly installed according to manufacturer specifications, producing an engine that meets performance and reliability expectations of the auto manufacturing plant.

Here are additional solutions that showcase how Interface load cells, torque transducers, instrumentation and custom solutions are used for various tools and manufacturing processes across various industries.

Aircraft Screwdriver Fastening Control

Fastening Work Bench

Bolt Fastening Force and Torque

Interface Solutions for Robotics and Industrial Automation

Contact us to learn more how we can help you ensure the right fastening and machine control for your next projects.

 

 

 

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

As the leader in manufacturing force measurement solutions for more than 51 years, the day of carrying out monotonous tasks on the manufacturing line by hand is a history not worth repeating.

Innovation is a core value at Interface. It is essential in helping us advance and grow our production experience and responsiveness to our customer’s advanced application use of our load cells, torque transducers, and thousands of other products that we manufacture.

Continuous Improvement SME Lance Gerdes shares his insight into how a focus on innovation is leading to the introduction of automation tools and robotics onto the manufacturing floor at Interface’s 50,000 square foot headquarters in Arizona.

It is difficult to look back fondly on the days that lacked automation of production line tasks. Line work was straining and tedious during those days, as most technicians would agree. Fast-forward to today, companies who are incorporating new technology are typically experiencing process improvements, increased efficiency, reduced overhead, improved quality output and better run facilities overall.

Results speak for themselves. Manufacturing facilities equipped with automation can significantly reduce time spent on repetitive work, freeing up time for technicians to focus on other areas that advance production and get products to market.

Interface recently invested in a line of collaborative robots to upgrade our facilities. With responsibility for the specialized 1923 Wireless Load Cell product line at Interface, looking back there are many of the typical tasks our technicians used to carry out that involved full days of certain repetitive tasks by hand. The days where my technicians were forced to focus on these tasks represented a significant barrier to peak productivity. Times have changed and so has Interface!

Today with the introduction of automation, we are operating more efficiently than in those dark ages without robotics. We are using collaborative robots to handle tasks, including the application of RTV, which is a silicone sealant used on load cells to protect them from environmental factors. In the past, the technician would be responsible for applying this adhesive in addition to hand-tooling. By automating the adhesive step of this task, those technicians are averaging 50% more efficiency in their workflow.

“Robotics used to facilitate automation is a “must-have” addition to every manufacturing floor.” Lance Gerdes

The return on investment is easily achievable in a year or less. Interface has seen as high as a 15% production increases across the board. As a champion of continuous improvements in our manufacturing, I am excited to see our production results. This success is now leading us to look into more tasks that can be automated using collaborative robotics.

One concern regarding the rise of robotics in the industrial sector we constantly get questions about is the use of robotics as a replacement for our human workforce. This could not be further from the truth at Interface. If anything, robotics will eventually increase the skill set of our current technicians and open up new job openings for Interface as we grow. As we get more advanced collaborative robotics integrated into our work, it improves our capabilities. We will need operators for this automation equipment. And, as we become more efficient and increase profit margins, we’ll have the capacity to grow Interface’s products and services. A win for more jobs, more solutions, and more happy customers!

Robotics and automation are changing the way manufacturing floors operate for the better. At Interface, we look forward to researching and applying new ways that each department can implement automation and robotics technology.

Contributor:  Lance Gerdes, Continuous Improvement SME, Interface

More than half of Interface’s team members work in production. The average tenure for our team is nearly a decade. Our diverse talent in skill and capabilities serve more than 4,500 global customers in various markets each year. For more detailed insights on the inner-working of the Interface manufacturing floor, Interface’s revolutionary products and profiles on our excellent team subscribe to the InterfaceIQ blog.