When measuring large loads as part of your storage, shipping or production process, special equipment is needed. That equipment will often involve the use of a measuring component called a load cell. Hardy Solutions offers a variety of different types of load cells, and choosing the right one for the type of loads you handle is crucial.
What is a Load Cell?
A load cell is a transducer, sensor or other measuring device that measures weight. It does this by converting the force that is acting upon it into a measurable electronic or pressure change. The electronic change can be in voltage, current or frequency, depending on the type of cell, while the pressure change can be measured in a fluid like oil or a gas like air.
Different Types of Load Cells
The most common type of load cell is the strain gauge load cell. These cells use one to four strain gauges that deform as force is applied to them. The deformation causes a change in eletrical resistance which is then translated to weight. A piezoelectric load cell works the exact same way, but measures voltage instead of resistance. These cells tend to be useful in dynamic load measurement such as applications for tension load cells.
A hydraulic load cell works more like a traditional scale with a piston and cylinder. In this case, the cylinder is filled with oil and the load forces the piston to change the pressure of the oil which can be measured and translated into a measure of weight. Since this is a mechanical, not an electrical load cell, it is good for outdoor applications when there is a threat of lightning. A pneumatic load cell is a similar mechanical device that uses a diaphragm filled with air to support the load, and the weight is measured through changes in air pressure.
Choosing the Right Load Cell
Knowing what types of load cells are available, you need to know a few things about your application coming to Hardy Solutions for the right one. Consider the temperature range in which you are operating (electricity is not affected by temperature in the same way that pressure devices are). You also should consider the location and duration of the measurement, and whether you need a compression or tension load cell. Finally, you’ll want to consider the size of your load and the required accuracy of your measurement.