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EV Battery Testing Solutions Utilize Interface Mini Load Cells

Automotive components undergo rigorous testing to meet regulatory standards, guarantee performance, and ensure consumer safety. These components continually require investment in innovation to meet the expressed governmental, consumer and commercial use requirements.

One of the vehicle components that is undergoing intense change is the battery. The market is heavily focused on increasing mileage use and life, which includes the shift from single-use lithium batteries to lithium-ion batteries which are rechargeable.

These customer sentiments are noticeable in the growing global electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) demands for sustainable and longer-lasting battery solutions. Customer satisfaction and commercial applications are closely intertwined with a vehicle’s ability to travel longer distances without refueling or charging. The demands and changes drive robust test and measurement programs to bring new battery models and designs to market.

In 2021, it is estimated the EV battery market exceeded 38% of total battery sales. As technology continues to improve the lifecycle and reducing battery costs, Precedence Research estimates 32% CAGR through 2030. This translated to $46B in the US alone of market share, while Asia Pacific is leading the production of EVs and overall demand for the EV batteries. Based on global adoption of electric vehicles, supported by government initiatives and an intense focus on reduced carbon emissions, the EV battery market is expected to continue expanding around the world.

The testing of batteries is growing in complexity with the increase in number of cells, modern designs, materials, cycles, installation, vehicle models, certifications and charging equipment to name a few. Battery simulation and real battery integration testing are two examples of commonly used T&M programs used to validate battery adaptability and use requirements. In battery testing, accuracy and quality of the measurement devices are vital. The following are the most common battery types today:

  • Lithium-ion Battery
  • Lead-Acid Battery
  • Sodium-ion Battery
  • Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery
  • Others

Due to the market shift to EVs, the lithium-ion battery is the number one battery type today. The domination of the lithium-ion battery exceeded all other battery types in 2021. Manufacturers of EVs prefer partnering with OEMs of newer model Li-ion batteries because they are lighter in weight and have higher energy density. The following details one of many Interface solutions offered to automotive component and battery manufacturers.

Electric Vehicle Battery Monitoring

The EV battery manufacturer required a system to monitor their lithium-ion batteries. Normally, lithium-ion batteries are measured through voltage and current measurements or (ICV) to analyze and monitor the battery life. In consultation with the design and testing engineers, Interface recommended a solution that required installing the LBM Compression Load Button Load Cell in between two garolite end plates, and measuring the force due to cell swelling or expansion. Instead of monitoring through voltage (ICV), this method is based on measured force (ICF). To monitor the testing, the load cell was paired with the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator. This instrumentation solution provides the ability to display, record and log the force measurement results with supplied software.  To review the results and complete application note, go here.

Interface has long partnered with auto manufacturers and suppliers of various parts and components to provide a large range of automotive industry test and measurement solutions.  This includes sensors and instrumentation solutions for the development, testing and performance monitoring of all types of batteries, with growing interest for lithium-ion battery testing.

Interface will be discussing this and other force measurement solutions at the upcoming Auto Test Expo in Europe. Join us in Stuttgart or contact our application engineers to collaborate on a testing solution that works for your next project.

Additional Automotive Industry Resources

Interface Automotive Force Measurement Solutions

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Test and Measurement for Electric Vehicles

The Future of Automotive is Electric

AxialTQ Technical White Paper Details Comparative Testing

WTS Brake Pedal Force Testing

Automotive + Vehicle Brochure

Automotive Window Pinch Force Testing App Note

Automotive Head Rest Testing App Note

Advancing Auto Testing with Interface Measurement Solutions

Interface Automotive Force Measurement Solutions

Interface introduced our load cells to the auto and vehicle industry more than five decades ago. Quality and precision sensor technologies are essential to manufacturing and production for vehicles.

Interface force measurement devices are used for critical testing in both commercial and industrial vehicle design and production to ensure safety and reliability in the automotive industry.

As the industry has evolved and transformed, so has the products we supply to our customers in this market. Our range of solutions continues to expand in functionality and capabilities as complexities of testing throughout the entire journey, from component design and prototyping to rigorous safety testing of every piece of equipment progresses.

By creating highly responsive, critically accurate, and safer load cell and torque sensors, we are seeing our products used in all types of test and measurement applications, including:

  • Engine dynamometers
  • Lug nut assembly
  • Airbag connector testing
  • EV battery testing
  • ICE and EV motor torque testing
  • Equipment fatigue testing
  • Motor test stands
  • Brake and clutch pedal force
  • Engine head bolt tightening
  • Vehicle crash test walls
  • Race car suspension testing
  • Transmission gear box and gear mesh
  • Autonomous vehicle tests

Research and development facilities with precision application requirements favor our 1200 Series LowProfile™ Load Cells with their special moment compensated design. These are used in auto manufacturer assembly lines in a variety of production monitoring and verification applications. Our exceedingly accurate LowProfile™ Load Cells have even been used in NASCAR and IndyCar garages for testing individual springs and entire vehicle suspensions.

Preview Interface products used in the automotive and vehicle markets in this new solutions video.

Here are two highlights of automotive application notes.  You can find more about automotive and vehicle solutions here.

Tire Testing

A top tire manufacturer needed a solution that would provide data analysis for stress testing.  The research would provide advancements to their product by defining the tire’s dynamic control capabilities. In review with our application engineers, they detailed they need to measure both the torque and lateral force in their testing.

Interface recommended the new AT105 Contactless Force Torque Transducer. With the torque and lateral force testing requirements, they determined that the best option to review the results by display as well as with graphing is to connect the transducers to the 4-Channel USB Interface Module SI-USB4.  You can see the entire solution and results in the Tire Testing App Note.

MDPS Testing

A manufacturer wanted to test the power steering for their vehicles. They want to test the linkage tension and compression between the rack and pinion. On a test frame, Interface’s 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile™ Load Cell was installed at the end of the rack and pinion actuator. As the wheel is turned, the load cell tests the push and pull forces. Force measurements can be displayed in real time using the highly accurate 9870 High-Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator. The 1200 Standard Precision LowProfile Load Cell successfully measured the tension and compression between the rack and pinion of the customer’s MDPS system. You can see the entire solution and results in the MDPS testing App Note.

Additional Resources:

Driving Force in Automotive Applications

Advancing Auto Testing with Interface Measurement Solutions

Automotive Window Pinch Force Testing

Test and Measurement for Electric Vehicles

 

Force Measurement Solutions for Mobility Markets

One of the tenets in addressing urban mobility is innovation.  As populations grow around the world, addressing how people get from here to there is part of a challenge and opportunity.  Investments are growing in this sector, as experts and designers look to how to increase efficiency and performance in vehicle markets.

Interface has long been a supplier of test and measurement solutions to industries that play a critical role in mobility, from vehicle manufacturers to infrastructure planners and builders. In our latest case study, we look at some of the innovative ways our solutions are being used to advance technologies and capabilities in transportation.

If something moves, it likely needs force and torque testing for reliability, safety and performance. With the evolving trends in urban mobility, Interface is working with makers and builders of all types of transportation solutions for unmanned vehicles like drones and autonomous vehicles, as well as alternatively fueled and electric vehicles.

READ OUR NEW CASE STUDY: INTERFACE’S CRUCIAL ROLE IN VEHICLE AND URBAN MOBILITY MARKETS

Interface customers utilize our standard and custom products in the vehicle and mobility markets to:

  1. Test the force and torque of components for validation or for design improvements
  2. Integration of sensor technology into a component or product for functional real-time performance data

These products include Interface load cells, mini load cells and subminiature load button load cells, rotary and reaction torque transducers, instrumentation, and accessories. For the growing trends for digital requirements in testing and OEM solutions, our wireless and Bluetooth solutions are commonly used in these markets.  Interface is also frequently engaged on specific customer requests for engineer-to-order products and customized solutions.

Here are four use case scenarios of Interface solutions used in the vehicle and mobility markets:

Brake Pedal Testing

Interface’s Brake Pedal Load Cell BPL-300-C was installed on a brake pedal and then connected to a BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, which collects and transmits data to our BTS Toolkit Mobile App. This solution allowed the customer to record and review data from a mobile device while out on a test track. READ MORE HERE.

Drone Delivery Systems

Interface supplied four WMC Sealed Stainless Miniature Load Cells to measure the payload weight and  for the detection of in-motion shifting and uneven distribution of the package weight. As the load cells detect this data, it provides a signal to the propeller to increase RPMs on the propellers and adjust balance and weight distribution inflight. WATCH HERE.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Testing

Compression testing performed on EV batteries is critical for performance and safety. As an EV battery is charged and stores more electrons, it swells. If the packaging housing the batteries does not compensate for this swelling in the design, failure is likely. Interface can supply a WMC miniature load cell. The load cell will measure compression force as a battery goes through charge cycles on a test stand to determine the force given off as the battery swells. This allows our customers to design the proper packaging for the batteries. Read more about the future of EV markets and testing here.

Engine Performance Testing

Force and torque sensors are used with a dynamometer, which isolates the engine’s power output to help quantify its overall performance.  In this application, a  precision SSMF Fatigue Rated S-Type Load Cell is attached to a torque arm to “feels” the torque from an engine loading system. The fatigue rating on the load cell allows it to accurately measure performance for extended cycles. A signal conditioner is used to connect out from the load cell to a computer to ensure clear transmission of data to accurately measure torque being produced by the engine. Engineers analyze power transfer through the data output to tune the engine performance. Check out this engine dynamometer application note here.

Contact our experts to learn more about these types of testing applications, use cases and products used in urban mobility projects.

Evolving Urban Mobility Sector for Test and Measurement

Every day it seems we are inching closer to the Jetson’s utopia of flying cars, floating cities and robot butlers. Technology is evolving to the point where robotics and computers control most aspects of travel and mobility. That requires a lot of testing and dependency on accurate measurements for what is on the road and what is flying up above.

Interface has been long been working with leading manufacturers and suppliers of all types of vehicles traveling on the ground, across the skies, and into aerospace. As innovations are removing old boundaries, one thing that remains constant is the need for test and measurement programs.

In the urban mobility sector, we are seeing growth related to rigorous T&M projects for everything from autonomous vehicles to manned rockets, as well as unmanned aircrafts and drones. Interface is proud to be a solutions provider to the engineers and innovators of these growing applications and sectors.

Arizona, the home to Interface’s headquarters, is considered a hub for new technologies and inventions in urban mobility, including autonomous automobiles, alternative-fueled vehicles, rockets and unmanned vehicles. There are dozens of companies with testing and research facilities located throughout Arizona, with countless self-driving vehicles testing and mapping streets throughout the state. In fact, the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM) in partnership with Intel, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, and other public and private organizations, is collaborating on state-of-the-art research in Arizona. The goal of IAM is to advance all aspects of autonomous vehicles from science to safety to policy.

Nearly every company currently testing and innovating autonomous vehicle technology in Arizona is a customer of Interface. We are providing everything from instrumentation to torque transducers, along with a large range of our standard precision load cells for all types of testing projects. Our custom solutions team also has been working with leaders in these markets.

Being on the forefront as a solutions provider for this sector gives us visibility into many of the applications. What we have learned is demand is related to advancing urban mobility to solve for increasing congestion and diminishing inner-city air quality. The 2019 Urban Mobility Report published by The Texas A&M Transportation Institute with cooperation from INRIX notes:

“Connected vehicles “talking” to each other, such as traffic signals and other systems, and providing this information to decision‐makers will provide unprecedented data and insights to identify and fix mobility problems. Newer model vehicles sense and adjust to their surroundings, increasing the safety and efficient movement of goods and people. Other technologies, such as The Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printers, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact transportation systems of the future.”

As technology leads the way in urban mobility, the safety and performance of the vehicle are of utmost importance. There is no room for failure. The point is, the advancement of robotics, sensor technology, and computing power are becoming a driving factor behind a fully autonomous world in terms of how people and products move about the world.

Another area of increased T&M product demand at Interface is coming from the application of our force measurement products for moving objects in unmanned vehicles above ground. The advancement of drone technology for commercial purposes is seen through the adoption across diverse applications such as mapping, logistics, and surveillance. Interface load cell technologies have been used for flight and wing testing, load testing and a variety of force measurement projects. The drone market, for commercial applications,  is expected to grow to more than $7B through 2022.

Interface is well known throughout key global industries as the premier manufacturer of the most accurate and reliable force measurement products on the market. For urban mobility, accuracy is critical to maintaining safe, pilot and driverless, vehicles and with the advancement of high-quality robotics.

Our load cells and torque transducers are used to test and measure key data points such as balance and weight distribution, thrust and lift, and to optimize movement on robotic arms and legs.

Here are a couple of application examples where Interface is providing critical components to advance innovation in urban mobility

Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense industries are among the earliest adopters of urban mobility technology. The defense sector has utilized drones for surveillance, tactical advantage and battle since the advent of the technology. Aerospace manufacturers have also implemented autonomy into many of their commercial and defense planes. Interface has been a longtime partner of the aerospace and defense sector, working with some of the largest OEM’s across the U.S., as well as internationally. Some of the capabilities of our products in the aerospace and defense industry include thrust tests, wing and fuselage balance, weight distribution and fatigue testing, landing gear tests and parcel delivery weight testing for drones.

Automotive

In the automotive industry, autonomous vehicles have been a critical focus for the past 10 years. The technology really exploded onto the scene over the past five years with key players like Google, Tesla, GM, and others making significant investments in the development and testing of autonomous vehicles. Interface products are used by most of the major automobile OEM’s throughout the world. In 2018, we released one of our most advanced products to date, the Axial TQ™, which includes capabilities uniquely designed for autonomous vehicle testing. Our services in automotive include bolt fastening, brake pedal force testing, engine torque testing and more.

Here are a couple of application notes and a case study that outlines how Interface products are used in this sector:

As the urban mobility sector continues to grow, more advanced travel and delivery systems will require precise weight and torque testing to ensure unwavering reliability. The less control humans have over land and air vehicles, the more we need to trust the construction and design of these vehicles using proper force testing. Interface will continue to grow as a key player in the space as more OEM’s turn to our services to optimize the development of drones, autonomous vehicles, and other urban mobility innovations.

Contributor: Kim Williams, Interface Business Development Manager

Auto Industry Applications

The automotive and vehicle industry has long relied on Interface products and services for accurate test and measurement programs and OEM products. Whether they are using our standard or custom load cells, calibration systems, load frames, multi-axis sensors or specialized torque transducers like AxialTQ, the applications uses for our quality sensor technologies are diverse in this sector.

Our team of solutions application experts recently put together three application notes that detail how automotive manufacturers, test labs and vehicle product engineers are utilizing our quality force measurement solutions.  Here is a brief summary of each app note.

Lug Nut Assembly Torque Application

T31 T32 T33 and T34 Spindle Style Rotary Torque TransducersThis application addresses the need to increase productivity for automobile wheel installation, while ensuring that the lug nuts are installed to the proper torque values for safety purposes. The solution from Interface was centered on the model T33 Spindle Style Rotary Torque Transducer for use in customer’s wheel installation assembly machine. These reliable and durable transducers come standard with +/-5VDC analog output for torque measurements and a 360 pulse, 2-track encoder for speed and angle measurement with simplified installation. In this application, the customer was able to perform five simultaneous torque measurements during wheel installation in seconds. The T33 Spindle Torque Transducer provided a signal torque and TTL for angle measurement back to customer’s control system so proper values could be applied and recorded.

SEE THE LUG NUT APPLICATION APPLICATION DESIGN HERE.

Fastening Work Bench Application

This application was used to increase productivity by creating a fastening work bench for screw installation with related data collection. The increased productivity would come through the use of automated tooling and torque transducer measurements resulting from an organized and efficient process. Interface supplied a model T15 Hex Drive Style Rotary Torque Transducer with integrated USB output for this project. USB output is used to measure and record torque, rotational speed and angle. The customer was able to utilize the industrial automation robotic functionality efficiently with many different screwdriver bit types with ease of installation due to the quick release feature of model T15.

SEE THE FASTENING WORK BENCH APPLICATION DESIGN HERE.

Bluetooth Brake Pedal Application

Testing engineers are able to utilize advanced connectivity and communication technologies to advance testing. For this specific application, the customer needed to measure brake pedal force when the pedal is pressed during vehicle testing. As the pedal is pressed, force is measured by the BPL-300-C Brake Pedal Load Cell. Results are transmitted by the BTS-AM-1 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Strain Bridge Transmitter Module to the BTS Toolkit Mobile App and displayed on a mobile device. The customer objective has been achieved when a brake test was executed the force measurement was simultaneously displayed and graphed for examination in real time in the tested vehicle.

SEE THE BLUETOOTH BRAKE PEDAL APPLICATION DESIGN HERE

You can see more solutions for the automotive and vehicle industry here.  Need to talk to our application engineers, distributors or representatives, click here to contact us. You can find more Interface application notes here.

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