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Universal Load Cells 101

In the force measurement testing world, versatility has tremendous value. That is why some of Interface’s most popular products are designed to provide adaptability for a broad spectrum of testing and force monitoring processes.

These products are engineered for universal use cases, from standard tension and compression LowProfile Load Cells to Interface’s multi-axis sensors that can measure up to 6 axes for additional data.

Universal load cells can measure both tension and compression forces in testing and monitoring applications. Universal load cells provide the ability to capture data on both forces. They are designed for a broad scope of force or weight measurement applications such as weighing scales, material testing machines, and industrial automation equipment.

These load cells are ideal for installations where the load may change from tension to compression. Universal load cells also suit various product and material destructive testing as they are robust and easily mounted in various applications.

Top Benefits of Universal Load Cells

Range of Standard Capacities: Universal load cells are diverse in dimension and capacities. From miniatures like our model ULC, which is the world’s most accurate ultra-low capacity tension and compression load cell measuring loads from 0.1 to 2 N (10.2 grams to 500 gmf) to 1000 Series High Capacity Fatigue Rated LowProfile Load Cell capable of measuring tension and compression over a million pounds of force, Interface has a range of universal options. The requirements of any testing program will define the type of load cell.

Versatility: Universal load cells can measure force in multiple directions, including compression, tension, and shear forces.

Adaptable Accessories: Universal load cells can be used with various accessories and fixtures to suit specific applications. This includes bases, mounting hardware, adapters, cables and protective enclosures. Wireless sensor options are in high demand for universal load cells.

Engineered to Order: Interface offers engineered to order and customization of our load cells to further the application use and flexibility of use.

Products such as universal load cells appeal to highly regulated industries like aerospace, defense, automotive, and industrial automation. In controlled testing, engineers must meet stringent performance measurement standards for components, equipment, and machinery.

Another area in which universal load cells stand out is in material testing. Measuring tension and compression provides critical force data when testing a material that will be used in system that needs to be both strong and flexible for safety and quality purposes.

One of Interface’s most popular load cell model, the 1200 series, is universal. For example, Interface’s Model 1200 and 1201 Series IO-Link Universal Load Cells are pancake style load cells which are IO-Link compatible with an open standard serial communication protocol that allows for the bi-directional exchange of data from sensors and devices.  We also offer a 1200 and 1201 Series 3-Wire Amplified Universal Load Cell.

Features and benefits of the 1200 and 1201 Series IO-Link Universal Load Cell include:

  • Proprietary Interface strain gages
  • Temperature compensated
  • Eccentric load compensated
  • Low deflection
  • Shunt calibration
  • Tension and compression
  • Compact size
  • 3-wire internal amp choice of 4-20 mA, ±5V, ±10V, 0-5V, 0-10V

Patient Hoyer Lift

A Hoyer lift is used to move patients. A medical equipment manufacturer would like a force system to weigh disabled patients and measure the maximum force when using the equipment. Interface’s WTS 1200 Precision LowProfile Wireless Load Cell is attached to the top of the Hoyer lift. The tension and compression force results are wirelessly transmitted to the medical personal’s computer through the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station. Interface’s wireless force system was able to measure the amount of weight a patient while also clarifying the maximum capacity the Hoyer lift can hold during use. Read more about this application here.

If you need a little more flexibility in your testing and monitoring system, Interface universal load cells may be a great option for you.  The choice of a specific load cell will depend on factors such as the required load capacity, accuracy, environmental conditions, and signal compatibility with the rest of the measurement or control system.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Interface 101 Series

Wireless Telemetry Systems 101

Load Cell Sensitivity 101

LowProfile Load Cells 101

ITCA Tension and Compression Load Cell

 

Interface Manufacturing and Production Solutions

Force measurement is integral to advanced manufacturing systems, especially when it comes to how this technology is used in production lines. Force sensors are utilized in both testing and monitoring of a wide variety of machines to ensure accuracy and repeatability throughout the production line. These sensors are also used by production line engineers in the design and development of systems used to ensure accuracy in measurements of force, weight, compression, and torque as products and components move throughout the line, including distribution.

Watch how Interface provided an industrial automation solution for small pallets used in the distribution of manufactured products. In the video, we highlight a request for a pallet weighing solution to use in their warehouse to monitor their products and goods 24/7. They need to use sensor technologies to verify if any products are missing based on the weight, and able to determine pricing for their goods based on the weight.

Interface works with a large range of manufacturers and equipment makers to improve quality and productivity by supplying high-performance measurement solutions. From using miniature load cells to apply the exact force needed to press a brand identity onto fragile consumable, to using multi-axis sensors for verifying performance data when making intricately machined parts, Interface products are commonplace in manufacturing and production.

In fact, Interface offers manufacturing and production standard off-the-shelf, engineered to order and complete OEM solutions including load cells, instrumentation and weighing devices. Our products provide the quality and durability necessary within industrial environments. In addition, we can customize the majority of our products to fit unique and evolving needs as sensor technologies like robotics and advanced manufacturing devices are integrated into production lines.

Load cells are frequently used in monitoring equipment. Interface can custom design force sensors to be installed directly into product for monitoring certain forces in real-time, including for use in industrial automation robotics. This is particularly popular in manufacturing because you can monitor equipment to understand when it may be out of alignment and needs to come down for repair, rather than risking a disruption in production. This is particularly important in automated production lines because it gives engineers and extra set of eyes on machines and improves efficiency overall by reducing downtime.

One of the unique use cases for load cells used for monitoring is in weighing materials held on pillow blocks bearings. Pillow block bearings, or similarly constructed bearing, are used to carry rolled materials or conveyor belt. Interface’s new PBLC1 Pillow Block Load Bearing Load Cell can be placed underneath the bearing to measure the weight of whatever material is being held up. These types of bearing are often found in machines with similar type of bearing are used on conveyor belts moving products down a production line.

Manufacturing Feed Roller System

A customer has a feed roller system and needs to monitor the forces of both ends of the rollers, in order to maintain a constant straight feed. They would also prefer a wireless system. Interface came to the rescue with our Pillow Block Load Cells and WTS Wireless Telemetry Systems. Interface suggests installing two PBLC Pillow Block Load Cells at both ends of the bottom roller to measure the forces being applied. The forces are measured when connected to WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module. The data is then transmitted wirelessly to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station and the WTS-BS-1-HA Wireless Handheld Display for multiple transmitters, where data can be displayed, graphed, and logged on the customer’s computer.

Production Line Conveyor Belt Adhesion Test

A customer wants to test the adhesion strength in between the many layers and textiles of a conveyor belt. They want to conduct a separation test from the rubber of the conveyor belt from the other layers. They would also like a wireless solution. Interface’s SMA Miniature S-Type Load Cell is installed in the customer’s tensile test load frame, where it measures the forces applied as the test is conducted and the layers are pulled and separated. When connected to the WTS-AM-1F Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Module, the data is wirelessly transmitted to WTS-BS-5 Wireless Analog Output Receiver Module with nV output. The WTS-BS-5 can then connect to the 9330 Battery Powered High Speed Data Logging Indicator to display, graph, and log the data with supplied BlueDAQ software.

Industrial Automation Robotic Arm for Production

A manufacturer of a robot arm needs to measure force and torque when the arm picks up and places objects. The manufacturer needs a wireless system to accomplish this in order to log the measurement results. Interface supplied Model 6A40A 6-Axis Load Cell with Model BX8-HD44 Data Acquisition/Amplifier.

Interface force sensors can be used in a number of ways within the manufacturing industry across a variety of applications for the test and monitoring of machines and production lines.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Robotics and Automation are Changing Modern Manufacturing at Interface

Vision Sensor Technology Increases Production Reliability

Industrial Automation Brochure

Weighing Solutions Brochure

Smart Pallet Solution

Interface Solutions for Safety and Regulation Testing and Monitoring

Weighing Your Options Webinar

Interface force measurement experts detail solutions used for all types of weighing and lifting applications. We discuss sensor models, capabilities, features and tips using various load cells, load pins, shackles, tension links, weighcheck systems and instrumentation. Learn about use cases, FAQs, measurement applications, options for harsh environments and OEM products. If you are exploring quality measurement solutions that provide high accuracy and reliability for scales, cranes, lifting equipment or tools, join us.

New Interface Case Study Exams Weighing and Scales

Test and measurement are used in the development and monitoring of manufactured goods across all industries. With a history of producing force measurement solutions for more than five decades, Interface has supplied a myriad of sensor devices for hundreds of thousands of different use cases and applications.

From the scales we use in packaging centers to the enormous weigh check equipment used in transportation, weighing and scale measurement solutions are instrumental in the successful design, engineering, launch, and maintenance of products and components.

Many of the earliest force sensors were designed for the purpose of weighing objects, and they continue to be a large part of test and measurement today. As products evolve and new inventions enter the market, sensors must maintain their durability, quality, and accuracy for large and miniaturized uses. Therefore, you see inventors and innovators turn to Interface today for sensors that are designed for use in robotics, IoT, and factory automation equipment used for weighing.

Historically, the only difference between now and then is that Interface has perfected accuracy in measurement across with an extensive range of force sensors models, configurations, sizes, capacities, and specification requirements that can measure weight at “jumbo” scale, as well precisely measure exceedingly small, minute forces as an embedded sensor.

Determining accurate weight is a key data point manufacturers need throughout a product lifecycle. Whether they need the information for transporting an object, lifting the object, or just creating a specification sheet, accurate data for weight measurements is fundamental for safety and function. This includes weighing single and combined parts in early design, weighing the manufactured equipment during assembly and production, using scales for weighing output with exact measure, as well as obtaining real-time weight in distribution and transport.

To accomplish this, Interface provides a host of load cells and instrumentation devices. Since our first load cells were designed in 1968, we have built millions of these products 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 in T&M.

In our latest case study, we outline four weigh and scale use cases that utilize Interface sensor technologies. Defined weight as a product specification requires extreme accuracy in measurement. Utilizing precision force sensing solutions and instrumentation enables product engineers and manufacturers to collect data and use it as part of the product design.

Accuracy Matters for Scales and Weighing focuses on weighing and scale applications used with heavy machinery, medical devices, operational containers, and distribution solutions. In each of these instances, utilizing weight in the design, build, and supply of these products is fundamental to each use case and the success for the product.

Weighing and Scales Case Study

 

Interface Solutions Designed for Infrastructure Challenges

All infrastructure, big and small, needs to be designed with safety and durability in mind. Take for instance the massive amount of design, engineering and quality control that goes into a suspension bridge requires testing before and after it’s built. Not only does it need to be constructed with supreme accuracy, but it also needs to be tested and monitored constantly to ensure it’s safe for use, especially as often infrastructure projects are exposed to extreme elements.

Among the various tools and technologies used to build and test infrastructure designs, sensors play a substantial role. Interface has served infrastructure industry suppliers and customers since our founding more than 50 years ago. Force and torque measurement products including Interface load cells, torque transducers, load pins, load shackles, tension links and instrumentation are involved in a wide variety of infrastructure applications including construction and maintenance of bridges, roads, transportation systems, communication structures, water and electrical facilities, and numerous inventions that are used to build, test, support, maintain and monitor performance of these critical projects around the world.

Accuracy and reliability of Interface solutions are a key factor in measuring structures and components that are exposed to hazardous or weather-related conditions, heavy loads and constant use. Our precision load cells, rugged load pins, wireless and digital instrumentation, along with multi-axis sensors and robust torque transducers are a top choice for those engaged in infrastructure engineering projects and testing.

A few examples of how Interface products have been used on infrastructure applications over the years are noted below. The following examples are also found with many others here /solutions/infrastructure/. 

Concrete Dam Flood Monitoring

A customer was looking for a solution to monitor a concrete dam and be notified when it reached high flooding levels. Interface provided WMC Miniature Sealed Stainless Steel Load Cells with multiple WTS-AM-1E Wireless Acquisition Modules connected to the load cells. This solution proved to be small enough and perfect for measuring compression and tension on the dam. The WMC Modules are installed on the arch of the dame and transmit data and notify the customer through Interface’s Wireless Telemetry System when flooding occurs. Check out the application here.

Hydropower Turbine Generator Monitoring

When a customer wants to monitor and detect turbine generator faults in their hydroelectric power plant located on a river, Interface can provide a T2 Ultra Precision Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer and attach it to the turbine generator with Interface’s Shaft Style Torque Transducer Couplings. When water from the river pushes through the penstock to the outflow, it moves the turbine blades, creating electricity through the generator shaft. Torsion measurements can be graphed and logged with the 9850 Torque Transducer and Load Cell Indicator catching any unusual fluctuations and vibrations. Using this solution, the customer can monitor, graph, and log the torque measurement results of the turbine generator. Learn more here.

Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring Solution

A customer wanted to monitor seismic activity that occurs to a bridge using force sensors to continuously monitor activity before, during and after earthquakes. They also wanted a wireless solution to avoid running long cables on the bridge. Interface provided an LP Load Pin custom made to fit the need. The load pin was used in conjunction with our WTS Wireless Telemetry System to monitor the force on the load without cables. Using this solution, the customer was able to monitor continuously, log results to the cloud and review the data. Read more here.

This is just a brief example of the applications throughout the infrastructure industry that Interface supports. A long list of additional applications that use Interface products includes:

Highways and Bridge Construction and Monitoring

Concrete Dam Measurement and Flood Monitoring

Transportation Heavy Equipment Testing

People Movers for Airports

Train Brakes Testing

Power Generation Equipment

Geotechnical Monitoring

Road Load Tests

Weight Bridges and Transportation Scales

Truck and Aircraft Weighing

Housing Mainframe and Skyscraper Construction Monitoring

Building Foundation Capacity Measurement

Bridge Seismic Force Monitoring

In-Motion Rail Weighing

Cranes and Heavy Object Lifting

Structural Testing and Telecommunication Structures

Conveyor Belts

To learn more about Interface and our solutions for Infrastructure and other key industries, please visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/.