Force Measurement Solutions for Test & Measurement

FlexiForce™ sensors and complete measurement systems are used to measure, analyze, and verify products and applications. Our force measurement solutions are used throughout various industries including medical, design services, electronic components, manufacturing, and academics. The FlexiForce sensor is thin, flexible, and accurate making it an ideal, user-friendly tool for engineers, researchers, or scholars looking to obtain force feedback data.

How does the force sensor work?

The FlexiForce sensor acts as a force sensing resistor in an electrical circuit. When the force sensor is unloaded, its resistance is very high. When a force is applied to the sensor, this resistance decreases. The resistance can be measured by a multimeter, then applying a force to the sensing area.

For more information, visit our "How it Works" tab above.


Force and Load Measurement Systems

ELF System

The ELF™ (Economical Load and Force) Measurement System is a complete user-friendly, cost-effective force and load measurement tool. The single element force sensors, advanced electronics and software produce a simple but powerful, cost-effective force measurement system. This system is available in 2 versions (all available in high-speed versions):

Standard Force Sensors

FlexiForce sensors are paper-thin, lightweight, and flexible. These sensors are available off-the-shelf in a variety of sizes and force ranges that can connect to your own data acquisition electronics. Below are a few of our key sensor offerings. Visit our Force Sensor page for more information about our standard force sensor specifications and applications. Force Sensors

FlexiForce sensors are utilized in many applications to detect and measure:

  • Relative change in force or applied load
  • Rate of change in force
  • Force thresholds and trigger appropriate action
  • Contact and/or touch
Standard Force Sensor Line

A101 

Smallest standard sensor

7.6 mm (.30 in.) x 15.6 mm (.62 in.)

 

A301 FlexiForce A301

Smaller sensor, ideal for product integration

14 mm (.55 in.) x 25.4 mm (1 in.)

*Also available in high temp (85°C/185°F) and humidity: ESS301

A401 FlexiForce A401 Sensor

Larger Sensing Area

31.8 mm (1.25 in.) x 56.9 mm (2.24 in.)

A201 

Most popular standard sensor

Also available in high temperature (204°C/400°F): HT201

Complete Load and Force Measurement Systems

Tekscan's economical load and force  measurement systems match the market's need for inexpensive load and force measurement systems with Tekscan's ability to deliver innovative load and force measurement solutions. These systems come in a tethered (ELF™) and wireless (WELF 2) version. Both also come in high-speed versions and are capable of multi-point sensing. 

Sensors for Force Measurement Systems

The B201 and WB201 sensors are designed exclusively to use with the ELF (B201) and WELF 2 (WB201) systems.

FlexiForce™ Standard Sensors

FlexiForce™ force sensors can measure force between almost any two surfaces and are durable enough to stand up to most environments. Our sensors are available off-the-shelf for prototyping or can be customized to meet the specific needs of your product design and application requirements. The sensors are designed for use with your own electronics, multimeter, or our Quickstart Board.

Table IconFor a full view and comparison of sensor products, please visit our Force Sensor Product Table.

Prototyping and Embedding Electronics

FlexiForce ELF Systems

Position Sensors

The FlexiPot™ Strip and Ring tactile potentiometers and/or position sensors are used to identify location or position and adjust output. These sensors can measure position between any two surfaces. 

Accessories

Looking to get started with FlexiForce sensors? The following accessories allow you to explore our sensor capabilities and make it easy to use the sensors within your own application.

Economical Load and Force Measurement System

Force Measurement System

System Features and Benefits:

  • The system utilizes paper-thin (.203 mm/0.008 in.) FlexiForce™ B201 sensor technology.

  • The plastic ELF™ handle contains data acquisition electronics with USB connection and patented interface to B201 sensors.

  • Patented electronics allow you to optimize the performance of the ELF system over a selected force/load range. The electronics adjust the device sensitivity to best fit the dynamic range of the specific application. This allows you to "fine tune" FlexiForce sensors for optimal performance.

  • Simple calibration procedures can deliver accuracies of ± 5%. More controlled procedures can reach an accuracy level of ± 3%.

For a complete ELF™ systems specification table, please expand.

ELF System Sampling Rate Max. # of Handles Includes:
Single Handle Up to 200 Hz 1
  • (1) Handle

  • (3) B201 Sensors

  • ELF Software

Single Handle High- Speed Up to 6,000 Hz 1
  • (1) Handle

  • (3) B201 Sensors

  • High-Speed ELF Software

Multi-Handle  Up to 200 Hz Up to 16
  • (1) Handle

  • (3) B201 Sensors

  • Multi-Handle ELF Software

Multi-Handle High-Speed Up to 6,000 Hz Up to 16 
  •  (1) Handle

  • (3) B201 Sensors
  • Multi-Handle High-Speed ELF Software

For more detailed specifications about each system, please refer to our system product pages below:

Single Handle ELF System
Wireless ELF 2 System


Standard Sensor Series

FlexiForce sensors are paper-thin, lightweight, and flexible. Our sensors are available off-the-shelf for prototyping or can be customized to meet the specific needs of your product design and application requirements. The sensors are designed for use with your own electronics, multimeter, or our Quickstart Board.

Table IconFor a full view and comparison of sensor products, please visit our Force Sensor Product Table.

 

For a complete FlexiForce™ Sensor specification table, please expand.

 

Standard Sensor Series

 

A201 MODEL

Spec Sheet

A301 MODEL

Spec Sheet

A401 MODEL

Spec Sheet

Physical Properties

Thickness 0.008 in. (.203 mm)
Length

7.75 in. (197 mm)

6 in. (152 mm)*

4 in. (102 mm)*

2 in. (51mm)*

1 in. (25.4 mm)

2.24 in. (56.8 mm)
Width 0.55 in. (14 mm)
Sensing Area 0.375 in. diameter (9.53 mm) 0.375 in. diameter (9.53 mm)

1.0 in. diameter

(25.4 mm)

Connector 3-pin male square pin 2-pin male square pin

Typical Performance

Linearity Error <±3% <±3% <±3%
Repeatability

<±2.5% of full scale

<±2.5% of full scale

<±2.5% of full scale

Hysteresis

<4.5% of full scale

<4.5% of full scale

<4.5% of full scale

Drift

<5% per logarithmic time scale

<5% per logarithmic time scale

<5% per logarithmic time scale

Response Time <5 microseconds <5 microseconds <5 microseconds

Operating

Temperatures

-40°F - 140°F

(-40°C - 60°C)

-40°F - 140°F

(-40°C - 60°C)

-40°F - 140°F

(-40°C - 60°C)

Force Ranges

0-1 lb (4.4 N)

0-25 lb (110 N)

0-100 lb (440 N)**

≈ 0-1 lb (4.4 N)

≈ 0-25 lb (110 N)

≈ 0-100 lb (440 N)**

     0-25 lb (110 N)***

Temperature

Sensitivity

Output variance up

to 0.2% per degree F

Output variance up

to 0.2% per degree F

Output variance up

to 0.2% per degree F

* For an additional fee.

 

** See recommended drive circuit. In order to measure forces above 100 lbs. (up to 1000 lbs.), apply a lower drive voltage and reduce the resistance of the feedback resistor (1 k Ω min).

 

***Measurement ranges of 0-1 lb and 0-7000 lb are achievable with the A401 sensor by utilizing the recommended circuitry.  The force range can be extended by reducing the drive voltage, VT, or the resistance value of the feedback resistor, RF.  Conversely, the sensitivity can be increased for measurement of lower forces by increasing VT or RF.

Example of A201 Excitation Circuit    

Please contact us regarding circuit schematics for other sensor models.

 

Enhanced Sensor Series

 

HT201 (HIGH-TEMP) MODEL

Spec Sheet

ESS301 MODEL

Spec Sheet

Physical Properties

Thickness 0.008 in. (.203 mm)
Length

7.75 in. (197 mm)

6 in. (152 mm)*

4 in. (102 mm)*

2 in. (51mm)*

1 in. (25.4 mm)

Width 0.55 in. (14 mm)
Sensing Area 0.375 in. diameter (9.53 mm) 0.375 in. diameter (9.53 mm)
Connector 3-pin male square pin 2-pin male square pin

Typical Performance

Linearity Error <±3%
< ±8.6
Repeatability

<±3.5% of full scale

<±2.5% of full scale

Hysteresis

<3.6% of full scale

<5.5% of full scale

Drift

<3.3% per logarithmic time scale

<3.8% per logarithmic time scale

Response Time <5 microseconds <5 microseconds

Operating

Temperatures

-40°F - 400°F

(-40°C - 204°C)

-40°F - 185°F

(-40°C - 85°C)

Force Ranges

Low: 0-30 lb (133 N)

High: 0-100 lb (440 N)**

 

0-100 lb (440 N)

Temperature

Sensitivity

Output variance up to

0.16% per degree F

Output variance up

to 0.2% per degree F

How FlexiForce™ Sensors Work

The FlexiForce™ sensor acts as a force sensing resistor in an electrical circuit. When the force sensor is unloaded, its resistance is very high. When a force is applied to the sensor, this resistance decreases. The resistance can be measured by a multimeter, then applying a force to the sensing area. Figure 1 below shows both the Force vs. Resistance and Force vs. Conductance (1/R). Note that the conductance curve is linear, and therefore useful in calibration.

FlexiForce Resistance CurveFlexiForce Resistance Curve

One way to integrate the FlexiForce sensor into an application is to incorporate it into a force-to-voltage circuit. A means of calibration must then be established to convert the output into the appropriate engineering units. Depending on the setup, an adjustment could then be done to increase or decrease the sensitivity of the force sensor. Figure 2 below shows a typical sensor response (based on our recommended drive circuit).

Output vs Force ChartOutput vs Force Chart

FlexiForce Sensor Construction

FlexiForce Sensor ConstructionFlexiForce Sensor Construction

The FlexiForce force sensor is an ultra-thin, flexible printed circuit. The standard A201 force sensor is constructed of two layers of substrate (polyester) film. The high-temp model (HT201) is constructed of two layers of polyimide. On each layer, a conductive material (silver) is applied, followed by a layer of pressure-sensitive ink. Adhesive is then used to laminate the two layers of substrate together to form the force sensor.

The active sensing area is defined by the silver circle on top of the pressure-sensitive ink. Silver extends from the sensing area to the connectors at the other end of the sensor, forming the conductive leads. A201 sensors are terminated with male square pins, allowing them to be easily incorporated into a circuit. The two outer pins of the connector are active and the center pin is inactive.

FlexiForce User Manual

For more detailed information about setting up and using your FlexiForce sensors, please download our FlexiForce User Manual.

Applications

FlexiForce™ sensors are integrated into various applications and industries. The applications are only limited by your imagination! Please see below for a few samples.