Taking the “Weight” out of Weight Lifting

Having calibrated equipment is crucial in collecting precise test data. Internal strain-gage balances used in wind tunnel testing follow a very specific and tedious calibration process. It is imperative to take precaution when undergoing this process in order to ensure proper data collection. Calspan’s Force Measurement Systems (FMS) offer their services to calibrate balances of all makes and models and have been doing so for the past 65 years.

From the beginning, Calspan’s FMS has always done what many refer to as dead weight loading to complete the post calibration procedure. After a balance is hydraulically loaded in the Automatic Balance Calibration System (ABCS), the calibration is typically verified by manually loading it with steel weights. This is a labor intensive but necessary process to confirm that the data reduction matrix generated by the ABCS is valid. A manual post-calibration check load requires a minimum of two people lifting different variations of 25, 50, and 75 pound weights. This can lead to bending and lifting over 120 times to apply and remove loads totaling upwards of 5,000 pounds. 

Given the obvious strain this process places on our FMS team, for the last several years Calspan have been leveraging the INDEVA® Industrial Manipulator Liftronic® air system featuring pneumatic lifting force and electronic control. The stabilization and lifting assist aspects of this system make lifting and maneuvering weights a one-man job. The weights are easily positioned with minimal operator input and there is no longer any need for the picking up and lifting of heavy weights. The previous weight-lifting scenario would be performed eight hours a day for approximately four weeks and included complex load combinations. As can be imagined, it quickly becomes exhaustive work.

Thanks to the Indeva System, a 75 pound weight has been reduced to the equivalent of lifting less than 5 pounds, quite literally taking the “weight” out of weight lifting.

This technology reduces the amount of time it takes to calibrate and return a balances to our customers. Calspan is ready to assist with your force measurement systems needs. Contact us to discuss requirements for internal or external balancescalibrations, or model positioning systems.


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Company News Flight & Wind Tunnel