What is a load cell?
A load cell sensor is a type of transducer that converts force into an electrical signal, with change in signal (output) proportional to change in force (input).
How do load cells work?
Strain gauge load cells are the most common type in use today. The load cell body is a stiff spring that deforms in response to applied force. Strain gauges are the sensing elements bonded to the load cell body that generate the output signal.
An amplifier, digital display or other instrumentation is used to scale the output into engineering units to form the measurement system.
All Force Logic UK load cells use the strain gauge measurement system.
What are load cells used for?
By far the most common use is in weighing scales and industrial weighing machines. All digital weighing scales contain some form of strain gauge load cells.
However, there are many varied uses for load cells in every sector of industry, transport and research. Any requirement to measure load (force or mass) can utilise load cells.
While strain gauge load cells are relatively old technology, advances in mechanical design and signal processing continue to provide new applications.
In addition to our range of standard products Force Logic UK design and manufacture bespoke load cell solutions specific to individual measurement requirements.
What type of load cell do I need?
In most cases the load cell type is determined by the direction of load applied: either in tension (e.g. suspended weighing systems, rope tension measurement, lifting equipment) or in compression (e.g. presses, weighbridges, weighing scales). Some universal load cell types will operate in both tension and compression (e.g. materials testing machines) and in more complex arrangements can even measure on multiple axes of force application (e.g. special purpose machinery and testing systems).
How accurate are load cells?
Load cell accuracy is usually determined by the design, which may be based on the intended use, not on price.
For example, low capacity weighing scales can use load cells designed for very high measurement precision.
Load cells that are designed for specific purposes may have characteristics that limit their accuracy.
For example, a portable load measurement system will need to be lightweight; when used on lifting machinery they may need a very high safety factor or be designed for specific attachments.
Therefore, in some measurement applications the required accuracy will determine the type required, where in others only a particular design can be used and measurement accuracy may be compromised.
Contact us to discuss the correct load measurement system for your application.