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A Multi Axis Sensor is a force-torque transducer that measures up to 6 different forces (Fx, Fy, Fz) and torque (Mx, My, Mz), in 3 spatial directions and converts it into an electrical output signal. Multi Axis Sensors are also known as Multi-component transducers or force-torque sensors (2 axis force sensor, 3 axis force sensor, 6 axis load cell, 6 axis force/torque sensor). Multi Axis Torque Sensors manufactured in the US by FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, a leading manufacturer producing a vast selection of Multi-axis load cells, utilizing one of the most advanced technologies in the Sensor Industry: Metal foil strain gauge technology.

A Multi-Component Sensor (also commonly known as force-torque sensor or multi-component load cell) designed to measure in all spatial directions: forces in tension and compression (±Fx, ±Fy, and ±Fz) as well as torques or moments in clockwise and counterclockwise (±Mx, ±My or ±Mz).

These special force-torque sensors are equipped with multiple strain gage bridges that accurately measure the forces and torques applied in one direction with little or no cross-talk interference from force or moments applied in other directions.

In applications where multiple force and torque vectors must be measured simultaneously in x, y and z-directions, multi axis sensors are the preferable choices. Due to its compact design, multicomponent transducers save up a lot of space in the assembly and installation work time when compared to the alternate solution of installing multiple single axis load cells and/or torque sensors.

multi axis load cell manufacturer
Fig. 1: FUTEK MTA500 – Low Profile Tri-axial Thrust and Moment Load Cell.
Want to learn more about Strain Gage Load Cell? Visit the "How a Load Cell works" page!  load cell recalibration

Multi-Axis load cell is designed to independently measure force and torque in each of its axis or channels. However, based on the physical effect of Poisson forces, there will be expansion or contraction of the flexure material in directions perpendicular to the direction of applied loading. So, when a load or torque is applied in one direction only, there is also a minimum output signal in the other axis due to the transverse sensitivity of the sensor.

Crosstalk levels are part of the technical specs of multi-axis torque sensors. FUTEK sensors normally range in 2-4% of the output. The good news is that, during the engineering 6 axis load cell design project (or two axis load cell), crosstalk interdependencies among forces and torques crosstalk can be compensated mathematically.

three tri axis load cell two axis load cell 2 multi axis force sensor
Fig.2: FUTEK QMA124 – Custom Multi-Component Sensor (three axis load cell – Fx, Fz, My).

FUTEK’s multi-component sensors (not LVDT displacement sensorscan be used in many applications where a load or torque vector must be described in terms of x, y and z positional coordinates (Fx, Fy, Fz and Mx, My, Mz).

  • 2-Axis Load Cell (Fx, Fy): The MBA400 Biaxial Load Arm is designed to measure forces in both Fx and Fy directions (tension and compression);
  • 2-Axis Torque and Thrust Biaxial Sensor (Fz, Mz): The MBA500 Torque and Thrust Sensor is designed to measure both load (Fz) and reaction torque (Mz) directions;
  • 3-Axis Low Profile Thrust and Moment Load Cell (Fz, Mx, My): The MTA500 & MTA505 sensors are designed to measure tension and compression forces in Fz directions as well as reaction torque moments in Mx and My, clockwise and counterclockwise directions;
  • 3-Axis Load cell (Fx, Fy, Fz): The MTA400 & MTA600 sensors are designed to measure tension and compression forces in Fx, Fy and Fz directions;
  • Custom Multi Axis Sensor: FUTEK multi axis product line can be modified or customized to meet your requirements and most capacities are in our inventory, making them available for quick delivery. Customized sensors Similar to our entire Multi-Component Load Cell product line this model is manufactured in USA and utilizes metal foil strain gauge technology.

One of the proudest developments of FUTEK Engineering Team ingenuity is the Multi Axis force sensor specifically designed for the Mars Rover Curiosity mission. FUTEK, as a prominent multi axis load cell manufacturer, developed a tri-axial load cell cryogenic sensor to operate aboard the rover in Martian soil. The multi-axial load and torque sensor is responsible for the maneuvers of the robotic arm. As the arm moves, the tri-axial sensor provides feedback to the operating device identifying the levels of torsion and force applied. The necessity of this multi-axial sensor is to alert the rover if over-exertion on the arm occurs.

Another common aerospace industry application for multi channel force sensors are wind tunnels. Wind tunnels are used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects referred to as models. A model is mounted onto a stationary 3 axis sensor, which provides measurement of the pressure placed on the object (i.e. aircraft) at test. Tri-axial Load Cell (MTA400) paired with Instrumentation (IAA Series Amplifier & USB Solutions).

Last but not least, one of our most important Tri-axial load cell application: monitor the pull force (thrust) and the directions of the Santa Claus flying reindeer during the Christmas Eve! 😊 At December 24, Santa Claus has a busy night delivering gifts to the 1.3 billion children in the world. To meet his delivery schedule, Santa relies on high precision GPS navigation and autopilot systems to minimize travel time. Load feedback is necessary to confirm rein inputs and monitor reindeer health (even magical flying reindeer can grow exhausted). To monitor the reindeer, their harnesses are tied to a pair of FUTEK MTA600 tri-axial load cells hooked to IAA Series Amplifier .

Got creative and want to learn more about applications of 6 axis load cell and other multi component force sensors? Visit our Multi-Axis Sensors Applications Page.


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