Load Cells 101 Know Your Measuring Tools

Load cell calibration

To get the most accurate reading of force or pressure with your transducer, it’s important to understand the different types of load cell technologies and how they work as measuring tools. Get the 101 on five types of load cells to determine which one is best for your system:

  • Strain Gauge Type Load Cells
    This is one of the most common load cell measurement tools, and has been utilized effectively for more than forty years. The strain gauge calculates force as a measurement of electrical resistance based on the amount of deformation (or strain) that takes place through the sensing element. This method is highly precise, resistant, and accurate, which may be why it’s so pervasive.
  • Hydraulic Load Cells
    As the name implies, hydraulic measurement tools utilize fluid to gauge force. As such, they require no external power supply, and so are perfect for remote projects. The fluid pressure is measured in relation to the force exerted on the load cell.
  • Diaphragm Load Cells
    Also called pneumatic load cells, these types apply air pressure through one end of a chamber and gauge what is released through a nozzle at the other end as an indication of force. Balance is automatically maintained within the air pressure chamber. Diaphragm load cells are ideal for smaller weights and in industries where hygienic practice is of central concern.
  • Spool Type Load Cells
    This center-hole design type of load cell is useful for vertical underground measurements or leg mounts. The structure being measured must pass through the cell, which makes spool type load cells especially stable. They can be manufactured for a wide range of load capacities.
  • Ring Type Load Cells
    Ring type measuring tools are ideal for medium to high level loads, though the capacity and sensitivity varies depending on the dimensions of and materials used for constructing the proving rings. This method is highly compact and, as one of the newest measurement tools in load cell technology, has future potential for advanced applications.

Depending on your project and goals, consider which load cell type is right for your measurements and devices. While each of these technologies are equally designed to get the job done in any kind of condition and can withstand temperatures from -452 to +450 degrees Fahrenheit, understanding the mechanics and variations between each type will help you measure more accurately, efficiently, and effectively.

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