Faulty load cells can mess with your readings during the weighing process. Since they bear the burden of delivering on precision and accuracy, sudden problems can interfere with your daily business operations. That’s why it’s good to know the signs of faulty load cells, as well as common problems and solutions. We go through some of the basics and how you can fix your problems proactively.
Common Problems With Load Cells
Generally, external factors will play a part in disrupting measurements. If you can minimize such factors, then you are already well-equipped to handle the situation. Keep in mind that load cells have an error tolerance, so you are identifying a problem when it surpasses those parameters.
It may not seem like much, but external vibrations can cause problems for you. They will disrupt the readings when they are in excess. Such vibrations can come from trucks or certain tools like jackhammers. If you know the vibrations are consistent, you can add filtering capability to the weight controller to your setup.
If you are working with equipment that causes ample vibration, try to move the load cells away from the former. The best-case scenario is to remove the equipment in the first place. If neither is an option, implement rubber or cork dampeners, which will block the vibrations from your strain gauge cells.
Sudden Temperature Changes
You may be using scales in temperature-extreme environments, from freezing warehouses to sweltering outdoor areas. Some of our scales are built to withstand these extremes. Not all load cells are, however; if they go from a cold environment to a hot one, the strain gauge results can become skewed. It doesn’t help that temperature also affects the weight of the items, because heat or cold can cause them to expand or shrink on a microscopic level. Although high-quality load cells are compensated for temperature changes, there will still be some changes.
The first step to avoid problems is common sense; keep your load cells out of the sun. Sunlight is damaging to such equipment. The second step is to take multiple measurements at different times, and then calculate the average weight from these results. This allows you to account for the changes in weight due to temperature, and achieve more accurate results. Certain scales can conduct these multiple measurements automatically.
Believe it or not, electronic noise can be a problem. These come from electromagnetic signals and radio waves. These signals cause high-frequency vibrations, and we have talked about how vibrations can be disruptive. In the case of electric currents and radio waves, they can interfere with the load cell transferring signals across cables or other means of communication, which in turn will disrupt your results.
Shield and ground your load cells to handle this issue proactively. Test the environment to see if outgoing signals are providing interference. Do what you can to remove such currents and radiowaves. If necessary, invest in a digital model that can transfer the signals quickly and locally before interference can happen.
Water Droplets And Moisture
Industrial environments do not like excessive moisture. Water vapor can clog pathways within certain types of equipment. It can also cause parts to rust, especially those that aren’t stainless steel.
Some environments have humidity. These can include warehouses that are constantly washed or outdoor areas. If that is the case, invest in the hermetic ceiling or find waterproof housing for the load cell in question.
Load Cell Response
The load cells need to reset to zero in-between measurements. This applies to all scales, from analog to digital ones. If it doesn’t reset to zero, or you are weighing items too quickly, then the load cell will mess up the response. It may also be a sign that the load cell is unstable.
Set up a regular weighing system; if using a check weighing system and an assembly line, you can time it so that the load cells have time to reset. If this doesn’t work, then test the load cell after it’s been installed and calibrated. The issue could very well be with the cell’s stability, in which case you need an expert to take a look and estimate other potential problems.
Improve Your Weighing System With Arlyn Scales
Arlyn Scales is one of the top firms for industrial weighing scales. Our engineers spent ample time working with strain gauge load cells to perfect their design and increase their tolerance for strain. We want to ensure that you can reduce the potential for short circuits or other potential damage.
Reach out to us today to get started; contact one of our representatives. We will offer options about customized scales and load cells, depending on your business needs. Simply ask and our engineers can provide the answer. Let us ensure that your scales can withstand any external disruptors and that you have the technology to determine active measurements.