Under Pressure- Compression Load Cells

Understanding Compression Load Cells

While most people haven’t heard of a compression load cell, almost everyone has used one. While load cells are typically found in manufacturing equipment, a compression load cell takes a variety of forms as well as uses. Still don’t understand? A compression load cell is what makes electronic scales work.

How Does it Work?

Compression cells are a type of transducer, in this instance, one that measures the mechanical force of pressure or weight. As weight is applied to the transducer, the force is converted into electrical energy which is measured and equated to whichever metric of weight you wish to use. Industrial applications use compression load cells to check the weight of heavier or oversized objects with incredible accuracy. Truck weigh stations are a good example of this. The truck drives onto what is essentially an oversized scale, the weight from the truck applies mechanical force which is registered by the compression cells. The information is then sent to a digital indicator for the weighmaster to review and decide if the truck is within the proper weight parameters. Not only does this discourage the abuse of overloaded shipments, but it also bears an important safety requirement, especially when it comes to the weight limit of roads and bridges.

However, not all compression cells are made for weighing such massive objects. Both the scale in your bathroom and at your local grocery store use a similar type of transducer, just on a much smaller scale. Compression load cells are a very common type of gage and very accurate when it comes to measuring weight.

Shouldering the Burden

Nothing in this world is infallible. As the complexity of technology increases, so does its rate of failure. While this is true of all things, it very much applies to the idea behind load cells. Due to the spring like nature of compression cells, and most transducers, wearing out is just one of the issues you can face. What’s worse is the machine becoming uncalibrated. Imagine again the weigh station, only this time the load cells aren’t showing the proper weight. A truck that is entirely too heavy gets passed and drives over a bridge which can’t support it. The end result is catastrophic, resulting in property damage or even the loss of life. While this is an extreme example, it’s easy to see why proper maintenance is important. With good upkeep, maintenance and regular calibration, not only does it keep things from breaking down, but it gives you a more accurate weight for a longer period of time. From shipping freight, to weighing produce, it’s important to have a properly working scale in either instance. That’s why it’s also important to get your scales calibrated by a factory trained certified technician, such as those at Garber Metrology. Serving the Mid-Atlantic region since 1975, Garber can help with sales, service, installation and maintenance of your equipment, big or small. Keep the pressure off, and contact Garber Metrology today.