At SMD, we’ve built our business on understanding the needs of our customers and delivering fully engineered custom solutions to complex problems. We offer a range of off-the-shelf parts; however, in the majority of cases, the standard part serves as a jumping-off point to assist during the “proof of concept” stage of a project.
More often than not, a custom solution is required, and we have a team of engineers that are able to work with you to find the perfect solution. This can be a modification to a standard part or a complex design project. We are ISO9001 and ISO13485 certified, which makes us well-equipped to handle your industrial or medical device design.
Reasons for customizing a load cell sensor often include:
- Unique size, geometry, or maximum capacity
- Integrating an overload protection stop
- Building it into a more complex subassembly
- Adding custom calibration electronics and lead-outs
- Protecting it from extreme conditions (e.g. autoclavable load cells)
- Adding wireless communications, e.g. Bluetooth, Zigbee, or IoT
Our 5-Step Custom Load Cell Engineering Process
Step 1: Meet With You To Understand Your Vision
Our mission is to turn your vision into reality. If you need a load cell for a specific type of infusion pump, for example, then we want to make sure we understand your target application in its entirety before moving forward. At this stage, Non-Disclosure Agreements are signed and ideas are shared, usually via conference calls. We like to get a “big picture” overview of the project to help us foresee any potential stumbling blocks along the way. We may also suggest off-the-shelf products so you can test our technology while a custom solution is in the works.
Step 2: Create a Written Quotation For Your Project
After we have a good understanding of your project and the challenges involved, we will provide a written estimate for a deliverable prototype, which comes with a budgetary estimate for production-ready parts. This written document will give you a thorough breakdown of design objectives, delivery dates of product samples, and cost.
Step 3: Start Designing Your Custom Load Cell or Assembly
Once you’ve agreed to the quote, our engineers will roll up their sleeves and get to work! To transform your load cell into something real and tangible, we will conduct many failures and risk assessment tests. Your satisfaction and approval is our goal, so you can expect to receive frequent progress updates during this phase.
The design process can be as collaborative as you want it to be. We can take your list of specifications and turn it into a reality; however, the design process can often be a bit more nuanced than that. There are usually engineering tradeoffs, and we want our customers to be involved in these decisions as necessary. For bigger projects, we often schedule weekly conference calls between our team and our customers to discuss progress and important milestones.
Step 4: Provide You With Product Samples
After an initial design has been approved, we will manufacture prototypes for you to evaluate. We utilize all of the manufacturing tools available to us, including rapid CNC-machining, stamping, cutting, etching, and more to get you parts in a time frame that fits your project schedule. While prototypes undergo thorough in-house testing, feedback from our customers is extremely important at this stage in the project. If design changes are necessary, we will iterate until we have a production-ready design.
Step 5: Finalize Your Product Design & Send to Production
Once we formally agree on the final design of your custom load cell sensor, we will finalize the documentation, produce the necessary tooling, and send the design to our in-house manufacturing facilities.
All of SMD's Load cells use proprietary sputtered thin-film strain gauge technology to create a rugged sensor with exceptional long term stability. These sensitive sensors offer a wide-variety force range and are manufactured using state-of-the-art equipment. The compact sensors feature an integral overload protection scheme can be used to electronically measure force or displacement in a wide variety of applications.
|· Suited for low force|
· Low power consumption
· High, long-term zero point stability
· Low hysteresis
· Integral tension/compression overload protection