Force measuring instruments help quality control professionals ensure that products operate as their engineers intended. A tension spring is set up in a force testing system, consisting of a test stand, digital force gage and digital travel display. Source: Mark-10.
One of the most basic force measuring instruments is the digital force gage, a handheld instrument that integrates a load cell with electronics and display. The gage will typically display force in units of pounds, Newtons or kilograms.
Wide range of capacities
Force gages and test stands are available in a wide range of force capacities, from 1 lb or lower to 500 lbf or above, reflecting the great number of different products that need to be tested. Various grips and fixtures are available for use with these instruments, which vary based on the sample being tested. Many force gages and some test stands can output measurement data for further analysis.
Although most force gages are relatively simple to use, failure to follow some basic guidelines may result in instrument damage or lead to incorrect or inconsistent results.
In most manufactured component testing, it is critical that the load is applied axially with respect to the instrument. If not, load cell damage is possible, or the displayed force reading may be skewed because of the angle of measurement.
Another point to consider is that a force gage should not be used to measure shock or impact loads. A sudden buildup of force may not be measured accurately; force gages are most effective at longer duration tests.
Consistent speed is an important though often overlooked factor in force measurement. Because of this, handheld testing is not recommended for most applications. Depending on the test speed, a sample may require a greater or lesser amount of force to achieve the test’s objective. Whatever the speed, it should be consistent so that later tests can be compared according to the same parameters.
A motorized test stand or manual test stand, particularly hand wheel types, is useful in helping to achieve speed consistency. For some applications, such as spring testing, the travel distance observed during the test also is of value, and this is measured in inches or millimeters. Test stands also properly align the force gage and usually provide ample fixture mounting holes.
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