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What is a load cell?

Industrial load cells are designed as a special form of force transducers for use in weighing technology. The measured force values are converted in electrical output signals or local mechanical indications. The calibration is made in grams, kilograms or tons, not in Newton, as is usual in force measurement. Integrated strain gauges transform the elastic deformations of the load cells, caused by the weight loads, proportionally into electrical signals. This enables a very high measurement accuracy of between 0.01 % and 0.05 % Fnom.

Through the integration of tecsis, an experienced and global measurement technology manufacturer, WIKA offers a high-quality product portfolio, from platform, through bending beam and shear beam to compression force load cells.

Load cell working principles

In order to meet the demands of most industrial applications WIKA applies three important measurement technologies. The thin-film technology uses resistance grids that convert pressure values into redundant output signals. The measuring bridge and the cell body are connected through a sputtering process instead of an adhesive connection.  These sensors are applied especially for OEM – applications due to  their high robustness and long term stability. Piezoresistive sensors use semiconductor materials that change electrical resistance caused by stretching and compression by force exposure. This method is also called strain gauge technology and offers high accuracy at measuring ranges from 0 ... 0.5 N to 0 ... 10,000 kN. Hydraulic force transducers work use pistons as diaphragms as sensors. Variants with a pressure gauge for local indication are easy to assemble and do not require any batteries or other power supply.

Non-contact level measurement using load cells

For many applications, it is advantageous if level measurement does not require intrusion into the tank or vessel. Thus the measurement takes place independently of the material and its properties. For the different vessel geometries, for example of silos, containers or reservoirs, we offer suitable load cells that fulfil these requirements – regardless of the type and character of the media. Whether liquid or solid, aggressive, generating foam or dust, steaming, conductive or non-conductive, with small or large grain size: Factors like these are irrelevant. Also, neither hoppers nor conical piles, bridging, caking nor even agitators affect the measuring result.

Gravimetric level measurement is also in demand in temperature-critical applications and where high durability and robustness are required, such as in the steel industry.

Acentric weight determination using load cells

Single-point load cells are by far the most commonly used load cells, with a wide range of possible applications. They are also referred to as platform load cells and are particularly suitable for use in scales and weighing equipment in which the weight determination is not predictably centric.

Their installation and use is proven to be very simple: As can be seen from everyday bathroom scales, they are insensitive to side and corner loading. Typical areas of application are in the logistics sector, in machine building or in the packaging industry.

Fast determination of weights using load cells

Bending and shear beams are often used to determine the weight of small and medium-sized vessels. In these measurements, high accuracy, high ingress protection, robustness and low costs play a major role.

The bending beam is fixed using two mounting holes at the transducer side with the cable outlet. At the opposite side, the force is applied perpendicularly to the measuring unit, centrically and without any shear force. Since it is manufactured completely from stainless steel, trouble-free operation is possible, even under unfavourable environmental conditions.

Application areas for load cells

WIKA weighing technology is used in a wide variety of industries and applications. The following examples illustrate this diversity:

  • Medical engineering:
    Our products, for example, help to monitor the weight of newborns in incubators.
    In blood mixing scales, load cells are used for the exact delivered volume of blood donations.
  • Agricultural technology:
    The levels of aggressive media, such as in silos, can be precisely measured by our weighing technology.
    In agricultural engineering, for example, exact weighing of the harvest yields on a combine harvester is made possible.
  • Machine building:
    Our load cells are used, for example, in heat sealing devices. Platform load cells measure the optimum contact force for the heating rail.

If your requirements go beyond our existing range, our experts are happy to advise you individually and seek a suitable solution together with you.

Rely on our years of experience and our know-how!

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