All About Load Cells

All About Load Cells

October 21, 2019

If you already know you need load cells, you know why you need them.  For many customers, though, they are a little confusing, especially with some of the new products on the market. It’s common for people to have questions about the best reasons to use load cells and how to best configure them.  This article is intended to shed some light on the topic.

What Are Load Cells Good For?

Generally speaking, a load cell is good at measuring weight. This can be a crane mounted load cell, where it’s configured to measure weight on the hook, or a load cell that’s mounted to a forklift or other piece of equipment.  Most people who ask about load cells are considering load on the hook, but a lot of these factors apply to other types of heavy equipment, as well.

There are a few different ways that measuring on the hook can be used. For instance, knowing the weight of the pick in real-time allows some quick decisions to be made about the load. Looking at it from the other direction, knowing the load in real-time allows better protection of the equipment, since a crane won’t be overloaded and slack will be minimized. There is a human safety element, too, since an overloaded crane puts everyone around it in danger of injury or death. Many load cells Brennan Jacobs works with are able to limit a load’s weight without significant permanent installation costs and headache. Some also offer motion detection.

Traditional load cells have been highly specialized, but now there are load cells that Brennan Jacobs works with which are flexible, can be calibrated in field, and are able to read many different sizes of load. In fact, taking the same load cell from one piece of equipment to another is not uncommon.

Obviously, knowing what your needs are today helps pick out the load cell configuration and technology that will help your business most. But knowing your business and understanding where your future growth is likely to take place is what helps Brennan Jacobs advise you on the configuration that will take your business further.

How are Load Cells Used?

Some load cells are mounted below the hook, because this position lends itself to more accurate readings. While there’s some reduction in headroom when the load cell is mounted this way, the load cell can be calibrated offsite before installation. Accuracy is very high in this configuration.

There are also clamp-on and load pin style options, although their accuracy is not as high. One decision point on load cell mounting depends on if the load cell is wireless or wired. If the load cell requires wired communication to the computer, its mounting position will be decided by its communication requirements. If it’s wireless, there’s much more flexibility but potentially additional complications in operation.  One load cell Brennan Jacobs is currently working with combine a wired configuration with a a very flexible wiring requirement, so they can be read safely from a distance.  Others include an LED panel so that wireless readings can be taken without the permanent installation of heavy electronic and computing equipment.  There are logging units, as well, so that their readings (which can be scheduled ahead of time to capture data automatically) are written out to a thumb drive or printer for future use.

Load Cells for Your Business

Advances in technology in general mean that load cell technology has advanced, and there are many more options than there used to be. More choices means it’s more important to work with a trusted and experienced adviser when selecting a load cell technology to use for your business. Brennan Jacobs has decades of experience making sure that your use case today is met, with thoughtful consideration of what your future needs might be. This reduces your spending and increases your safety over the long term.

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