Force gauge (or force gage) is measuring instrument used across all industries to measure the force during a push or pull test. Applications exist in research and development, laboratory, quality, production and field environment. There are two kind of force gauges today: mechanical and digital force gauges. Digital force gauge is basically a handheld instrument that contains a load cell, electronic part, software and a display. A load cell is an electronic device that is used to convert a force into an electrical signal. Through a mechanical arrangement, the force being sensed deforms a strain gauge. The strain gauge converts the deformation (strain) to electrical signals. The software and electronics of the force gauge converts the voltage of the load cell into a force value that is displayed on the instrument.

Test units of force measurements are most commonly newtons or pounds. The peak force is the most common result in force testing applications. It is used to determine if a part is good or not. Some examples of force measurement: door latch, spring qulity testing, wire testing, strength, and the most complicated tests can also be performed like peeling, friction, texture.

Drawbar Force Gauge

Drawbar Force Gauge is a gauge designed to measure forces on a machine tool’s drawbar. These types of machines are found in metalworking, woodworking, stone cutting, and carbon fiber fabricating shops. Many modern machines generate well in excess of 50,000 N (12,000 lbf). Measuring and maintaining this force is an important and necessary part of a machine shop preventative maintenance plan.

Modern drawbar force gauges typically are based on a force sensor that uses bonded strain gauges and electronics to convert the resulting output into a digital display for the user to view. Earlier versions of these gauges sometimes also used a sealed hydraulic cavity with a pressure gauge to measure and display force. These hydraulic gauges are generally considered less accurate because of the physical limitations of the indicator.

Drawbar force measurement has been made much more important in recent years with the introduction of radically higher RPM machines. These machines are necessary to work the modern materials required in a multitude of applications—new types of composite wood material, carbon fiber, and high strength materials such as titanium. High speed machining of these materials is considered to begin at 10,000 rpm and may reach as high as 50,000 rpm. The need for regular verification of the spindle clamping system becomes obvious. Any metal or wood working machine that takes advantage of the HSK taper system should be routinely checked. The slightest stroke mis-adjustment, dirt, or slight wear of the drawbar system can result in significantly reduced holding force. A preventative maintenance schedule, with a strict timetable for testing is a necessity when operating any type of high speed machine utilizing the HSK system.

Drawbar force gauges are able to detect broken or weakening components of the drawbar clamping system, can give indications that the unit needs lubrication, detect gripper mis-adjustment, or demonstrate that the incorrect retention knob is being used for the machine.