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Interface Force Measurement Solutions Featured in Quality Magazine

Choosing a force measurement device and getting the most out of it is a tricky process, even for the most seasoned engineers. So, when Quality Magazine asked our Chief Engineer and VP of Quality, Ken Vining, to share his knowledge of force measurement, he decided to put together a guide on what to look for in force measurement equipment and how to use and maintain your equipment properly.

In his Quality Magazine article titled, “Selecting and Using a Force Measurement Device: Everything you need to know,” Vining explains the contributing factors to force measurement device quality and accuracy, as well as a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re getting the best possible accuracy and longevity out of your device.

Included below is a brief introduction from article:

Force measurement devices like load cells, torque transducers and data acquisition devices are used across industries to design and test hardware. They’re a key factor in the product development process because the force, torque and weight data they collect helps to ensure products are accurately constructed, work as intended, are safe for use, and can withstand the test of time. In highly regulated and complex industries like medical and defense, this data becomes even more important because any miscalculation in the design of a product can put lives at risk.

The first thing to understand is every project requiring a load cell or torque transducer has different variables affecting accuracy and quality. And for every situation in product development and testing, there is a load cell to fit your precise need. Therefore, the most important step in ensuring accurate and high-quality data is speaking to a force measurement expert about the details of a project.

There are five key factors you need to know related to data accuracy, and three factors related to force measurement device quality. I’ll explain why each factor can contribute to inaccuracies and what to look for when selecting a device based on material selection, build quality, and environmental factors… READ MORE

Additional Ken Vining feature:

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For additional information on selecting and using your force measurement device, please contact our solutions experts.

Exploring Aerospace Force Measurement Solutions

The aerospace industry is responsible for some of the greatest inventions and innovation in our global history. The engineering and manufacturing of a single rocket engine design, using handwritten calculations and with less computing power than a modern smartphone, took us to the moon.

The NASA Parker Solar Probe is the culmination of some of the most impressive technology ever developed by mankind, journeying through the skies and beyond earth’s atmosphere with the ability to reach a top speed of 430,000 miles per hour.

The aerospace industry is an assembly of researchers, design houses, test labs and manufacturing companies that engineer and build vehicles to travel within and beyond Earth’s atmosphere. The range of aircraft and space vehicles include all types from unpowered gliders to commercial and military aircraft, as well as rockets, missiles, launch vehicles, and spacecraft. The term aerospace comes from the combination of the words aeronautics and spaceflight. All of these vehicles go through extensive and rigorous test and measurement programs and processes.

For more than half a decade, Interface has served some of the most prominent aerospace organizations in the nation including NASA, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and more. Our sensor technology has been used to design, test and manufacture airplane frames, wings, landing gear, rocket engines and even the machines that build the components for these products. These projects require the most precise data available, not only to ensure that the airplane or spaceship can fly and land, but more importantly to guarantee its safety for the pilot, crew and passengers.

Interface is humbled and proud to provide critical force measurement solutions and technology to the aerospace industry, in support of science, innovation and exploration.

Interface is often selected by our aerospace customers over the competition because we offer the most accurate and reliable force measurement products on the market. In this blog, we will be outlining how Interface serves the aerospace industry in validating designs, improving performance and maintain the highest safety possible.

AIRCRAFT

One of the most important tests to run in aircraft development is static and fatigue testing on the frame of the aircraft and the wings. Engineers will often simulate the effects of various forces on the aircraft and wings with actuators which act as of wind, weather, debris and more. Hundreds of Interface load cells are used to measure those forces to either validate the simulations or find errors in order to adjust the simulation and design accordingly. Load cells are also used on the machines controlling these forces in the test environment to ensure the actuators are simulating the right amount of force.

READ THIS APP NOTE FOR AIRCRAFT WING FATIGUE TESTING

ROCKETS

For a spacecraft that can weigh up to 1,000 tons, you need a lot of force to get it off the ground and safely out of the earth’s atmosphere. One of the ways that engineers test the thrust force of a rocket engine is with load cells. During these tests, the engine is attached under the mounting plate, which is part of a test stand. Interface load cells are installed between the plate and test stand and when the rocket thrust pushes up on the plate, the load cells relay the force data to the engineers. These tests help engineers make adjustments to the engine to use the precise amount of force to lift the craft into space, but not too much so that it doesn’t burn up too much fuel.

READ THIS CASE STUDY: LAUNCHING INTO ORBIT WITH INTERFACE

AEROSPACE MANUFACTURING

Before the air and spacecrafts are even assembled, the components need to be manufactured in a plant. There are hundreds of machines that are used on the production line for the hundreds of thousands of components needed to complete the craft. Interface load cells and torque transducers can be found on many of these machines. Not only are they used to help test the machines, they are also used to measure various forces on the machines in real-time. Our products are used to provide a wealth of insight to tell the manufacturers if the machine is working properly, needs to be recalibrated or needs repairs.

READ THIS APP NOTE FOR ROCKET STRUCTURAL TESTING

For more information on the numerous applications of Interface products in the aerospace and space industry, visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace/. Here you can read application notes and browse the various products we offer for our customers.

To watch an actual aircraft structural, check out this great Airbus video of an actual test.

Contributor: Randy White, Regional Sales Director at Interface

Instrumentation Options in Test and Measurement

Force and torque measurement technologies such as load cells and torque transducers are a single part of an overall system often used for test and measurement projects and programs. Instrumentation is also a key component of force and torque measurement systems. Instrumentation tools are functional for visualizing and logging the sensor data.

When considering all the options for your project, product designers and engineers need to evaluate the type of instrumentation required to read and gather the sensor output and display the results.

Common questions to ask in preparing your test and measurement project, building a system or setting up a lab:

  • Where are you going to connect your sensor technology and how?
  • Do you need to store your data?
  • Do you prefer an analog or digital output device?
  • Are you going to plug-in your instrumentation or use hand-held, wireless or Bluetooth connectivity?
  • How will your data output be displayed?
  • How many channels do you need for your project or program?

These are all questions related to instrumentation devices and how they interact with and connect to your test and measurement products. Because of the wide variety of instrumentation options, from transmitters and indicators to data logging, it is critical to carefully review the features, specifications, capacities for each. Engineers and testers should review capabilities for data collection of a device, connectors and adapter requirements, and how the device works with specific types of load cells, torque transducers, multi-axis sensors, and other testing equipment.

A valuable tip is to spend time reviewing the specifications of any instrumentation device you are considering, as well as speak with an experienced application engineer. The critical model and design details are provided in the product datasheet to help in your selection.

Key areas to consider in your review and design of a force and torque measurement systems include:

  • Excitation
  • Outputs
  • Performance standards
  • Environmental performance
  • Power
  • Mechanical definitions
  • Connections
  • Protocols

There are dozens of instrumentation options available through Interface including signal conditionersoutput moduleshigh-speed data loggersportable load cell indicatorsweight indicators, and junction boxes. Here are some of our latest additions and most popular instrumentation products:

Download our Instrumentation Brochure
Download our NEW Digital Instrumentation Brochure

Terms and Definitions

To help get you started on the process of selecting the right instrumentation for your project, we have compiled a list of common terms used for instrumentation and in force measurement and sensor technology product descriptions.

  • Accuracy: The closeness of an indication or reading of a measurement device to the actual value of the quantity being measured. Usually expressed as ± percent of full-scale output or reading.
  • Adapter: A mechanism or device for attaching non-mating parts.
  • Amplifier: A device that draws power from a source other than the input signal and which produces as an output an enlarged reproduction of the essential features of its input.
  • Analog Output: A voltage or current signal that is a continuous function of the measured parameter.
  • Analog-to-Digital Converter (A/D or ADC): A device or circuit that outputs a binary number corresponding to an analog signal level at the input.
  • Bluetooth: A standard for the short-range wireless interconnection of mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices.
  • Bus Formats: A bus is a common pathway through which information flows from one computer component to another. The common expansion bus types include, Industry Standard Architecture (ISA), Extended Industry Standard Architecture (EISA), Micro Channel Architecture (MCA), Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), PCI Express (PCI-X), Personal Computer Memory Card Industry Association, (PCMIA), Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Small Computer Systems Interface (SCSI).
  • Calibration: Process of adjusting an instrument or compiling a deviation chart so that its reading can be correlated to the actual value being measured.
  • Communication: Transmission and reception of data among data processing equipment and related peripherals.
  • Controller: Controllers deliver measurement and control functions that may be used in a wide variety of applications. They feature compact form and versatility in systems that require precise measurement of weight or force combined with processing and storage.
  • Digital Output: An output signal which represents the size of an input in the form of a series of discrete quantities.
  • Environmental Conditions: All conditions in which a transducer may be exposed during shipping, storage, handling, and operation.
  • Frequency: The number of cycles over a specified time period over which an event occurs. The reciprocal is called the period.
  • Indicator: Load cell indicators are often needed where the force, load or weight measurement needs to be displayed to a user visually and displaying the results on a PC is not feasible.
  • Intelligent Indicator: Intelligent Indicators ensure sensor equipment is used for the correct amount of time, thereby helping to safeguard against mistakes or purposeful misuse.
  • Output: The electrical signal which is produced by an applied input to the transducer.
  • Protocol: A formal definition that describes how data is to be exchanged.
  • Range: Those values over which a transducer is intended to measure, specified by its upper and lower limits.
  • Signal Conditioner: A circuit module which offsets, attenuates, amplifies, linearizes and/or filters the signal for input to the A/D converter. The typical output signal conditioner is +2 V dc.
  • Strain Gage: A measuring element for converting force, pressure, or tension into an electrical signal.
  • Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS): Provides a force or torque transducer with electronic identification, allows sensor instrument to be “Plug & Play Ready” meets IEEE 1451.4
  • Wireless: Broadcasting, computer networking, or other communication using radio signals, microwaves, and other signals.

If you still have questions about load cells, torque transducers, and the instrumentation options please give us a call at 480-948-5555 or visit www.interfaceforce.com.

For some of the key terms, we used an online reference you can find here: Source

AxialTQ for Anything That Turns and Needs Testing

The Interface AxialTQ™ wireless rotary torque transducer is a specialty product designed specifically for internal combustion testing, engine development testing, and manufacturing.

Although Interface initially developed AxialTQ for these applications, this innovative product is available for a range of use cases, including helicopters, forklifts, watercraft, industrial pumps, wind energy and more.

While AxialTQ is incredibly versatile, it continues to be used heavily in the automotive industry. Outside of traditional internal combustion lab engine testing, it’s also useful for drive train lab testing, automotive accessory lab testing and serving the unique needs of internal combustion for the agricultural industry. If it turns, it can be tested with AxialTQ.

Once we established AxialTQ as a leader in the internal combustion testing space, we knew the natural next step was to enter the electric vehicle market. The application of AxialTQ is similar; however, electrical vehicles use different technology. Our move to enter this new market is critical because as much as some people wish to ignore it, electric vehicles will soon dominate. Deloitte estimates the electric vehicle market will reach a tipping point in 2022 when the cost of an electric vehicle is on-par with its combustion engine counterparts.

AxialTQ’s industry-leading testing capabilities are helping to propel the change from combustion to electric engines. Interface is more than prepared for the shift to support test and measurement applications. As of 2019, there are roughly 20 major cities worldwide that have plans to ban gas cars by 2030 or sooner. Although the U.S. isn’t looking to ban combustion vehicles until 2040, other countries like Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands are being extremely aggressive due to renewable energy concerns. Even though internal combustion engines are part of our core testing capabilities, we have the necessary tools needed for the new wave of automotive technology.

“Energy concerns is why we will start seeing an increase in AxialTQ used in the electric vehicle market. If trends continue at the current pace, we will start to see more electric vehicle applications and less internal combustion soon.” – Ted Larson, VP of Product Management and Marketing

No matter what a customer’s application is, AxialTQ has the reliability and flexibility to test it. From internal combustion to electric vehicles and a whole lot more, Interface is prepared every step of the way.


For more information about how AxialTQ can make a difference in your organization, contact our Application Engineers to learn more. Download the latest AxialTQ brochure here:

Interface AxialTQ Brochure

Interface Displays Force Measurement Aerospace Applications at Space Tech Expo

As a leader in precision-based force measurement solutions serving the world’s largest aerospace and rocket makers in the world, Interface is proud to exhibit at Space Tech Expo 2019, May 20-22.

Interface a trusted leader with 51 year’s experience in supplying and customizing products that help in the design and test of aircraft and spacecraft vehicles, as well as ground equipment. Attendees can find our experts at booth #1016 at the Space Tech Expo 2019 in the Pasadena Convention Center in California.

During the Space Tech Expo, Interface is showcasing a variety of force measurement solutions used in various forms of aerospace test and measurement. Industry-specific applications of Interface test and measurement products are commonly used for structural testing, wing tests, flight condition simulation testing, climate-controlled testing and thrust testing for rocket and airplane engines. Read more here.

Interface showcase includes a wide range of force measurement products, capabilities and aerospace applications, including:

For additional information about Interface solutions for the aerospace industry, visit here.

Interface Goes Above and Beyond with Custom Solutions

For clients in need of customized force measurement solutions, look no further than Interface. We excel in providing customers with specialized load cells and torque transducers that can’t be purchased off the shelf—and we have a robust solutions design team to back it up.

Our dedicated engineers and measurement experts, company resources, and advanced engineering lab give Interface the competitive advantage to make any force measurement application work.

Starting the Customization Process

To create these specialized force measurement solutions, we start by assessing our customers’ fundamental requirements.

  1. Does the solution need to be customized from the ground-up?
  2. Does the solution already exist, and it needs to include some custom features?

From there, we determine what the load cell needs to mount to and what specifications it needs to perform in its intended environment. Interface also can transmit load cells wirelessly to our customers’ networks.

“We can customize the load cell, the torque transducer, or we can provide a total system solution. Essentially, if we can make it, we can customize it!” – Ken Bishop, Sales Engineering Director at Interface

Building Custom Solutions: Food Industry Sensors

To best understand how we approach a custom solution, consider this real-world example. A meat processing plant needs a custom load cell solution to weigh its product during processing. With this scenario, there were 225 sides of beef that needed to be accounted for on each trolley. Keeping track of all that meat is no easy task. That is until Interface deployed an intuitive wireless sensor network to make monitoring simple.

Interface addressed this task by engineering a wireless base station to talk to the customer’s network. The base station transmitted a signal that was converted to Ethernet. In this case, the solution also needed to be water resistant to withstand the intense water pressures for cleaning. By using a custom wireless network, the sensors could easily communicate with staff members to alert them of critical information without failure or disturbances.  Read more about our custom solution case studies here.

Engineers at the Ready

What allows [user_id] Even prototyping at Interface is faster on average than any other provider in the market. We also have access to a host of strategic partners that give us breadth and depth in all components and technologies. If a technological requirement extends outside of Interface’s capabilities, we have the partners in place to fully optimize the solution to meet the exact custom requirements.

Going back to the start, if you have a need with specific requirements that fall outside our standard products, contact us and let our specialized engineers identify the possibilities. You can also detail your requirements in our easy to use request for custom solutions. Don’t hesitate to contact us about developing a custom force measurement solution. We’re excited to hear about your unique challenges!

Contributor: Ken Bishop, Sales Engineering Director, Interface