Flexible force measurement: materials testing on the move

July 03, 2017 // By John Cove
Force measurement is an essential part of product manufacturing across a vast array of industries. However, relying on large and expensive force measurement machines is not always feasible — or even necessary — in all manufacturing applications. 

Quality control teams are often reluctant to conduct product inspections on the factory floor. Instead, part examination is usually redirected to the lab, where the inspection can be performed on a dedicated force measurement machine. Traditionally, force measurement devices are larger pieces of machinery that are designed to deliver accurate measurement of products and parts.

Manufacturers in the aerospace industry, for example, often produce large parts that cannot be easily manoeuvred on the factory floor. In these environments, testing is not always viable until the end of a manufacturing process, when the part can be safety moved to the force measurement device. However, waiting until the end of the production process to conduct an inspection can cause problems.

If any problems are identified with part of product, it may be more difficult to locate where in the manufacturing process the problem has occurred, especially if production comprises of several different steps. As an alternative, quality assurance managers should be able to conduct inspections during the entire production process while on the factory floor, using portable force measurement devices.

Unlike traditional force measurement machines, portable force measurement devices are lightweight. Usually, the technology is handheld and can be operated by one inspector without the need for assistance. Where a stand is required, stands are smaller and a fraction of the weight of fixed force measurement machines.