If your operations require exceptional precision when weighing products and components, then you rely on the effectiveness of your scale’s load cells. The unsung heroes of your industrial metrology equipment, do the actual work of quantifying the weight of an item.
Many businesses opt to customize their load cell sensors to maximize the functionality or productivity of their weighing platforms. But what is a load cell?
What is a Load Cell?
A load cell sensor is the component of a scale that translates mechanical force into a quantifiable, electrical output. This output, which is displayed as a digital value, is the measurement that your operator or data-logging system records.
How Do Load Cell Sensors Work?
The way that a sensor defines weight from the force is determined by the category of the load cell. These include:
- Hydraulic Load Cells
- Strain Guage Load Cells
- Surface Acoustic Wave Load Cells
Read “3 Types of Load Cells” if you want to learn more about how these precision instruments differ from one another.
Industrial Applications of Load Cells
You’ll find that industrial-grade scales are used in almost every type of business, regardless of the sector that it’s in. Semiconductor manufacturers use counting scales to keep track of the parts that they’re producing and how many are meant to go into each individual bucket.
Agricultural businesses use veterinary animal scales to measure the weight of livestock. You’ll even see scales used to weigh trucks and rail cars in order to find how big a load is versus the tare weight of the vehicle that’s holding it.
Force Sensors Help in the Enforcement of Safety
Many railroads and highways have strict limits on how much the vehicles passing over them can weigh. As a result, logistics experts turn to industrial scales so that they can comply with the requirements laid out before them by road commissioners and other safety specialists.
In fact, you might say that accurate scales are needed to maintain a level of safety in almost any industry. After all, there are plenty of chemical works that rely on scales designed to deal with potentially flammable materials.
Finding the Perfect Load Cell Manufacturer for Your Operations
While load cells are available from a variety of sources, you may not always be able to find ones that suit your exact purpose. In addition to industrial floor scales and Ultra Precision Scales, we also design, develop, and produce rugged industrial-grade load cells.
Differing Sensitivity Characteristics
No matter which supplier you buy from, each individual load cell is going to have sensitivity characteristics that will differ from other load cells. This means that the output signal varies a little from load cell to load cell.
While this may not matter if you’re using a single load cell in a smaller capacity scale, it will matter a great deal in a larger capacity scale that requires more than one load cell. So if you order from a source that does not adjust or group the load cells based on the uniformity of their outputs, you’ll have to manually adjust the load cells on your own.
This generally requires the use of a summation board to connect the load cells, which is actually a common cause of scale failure. Dirt, water, and other substances can easily damage the connectors on the board, which makes your entire scale less reliable and more likely to need repairs in the future.
How Do Our Custom Load Cells Differ?
During our manufacturing process, we measure the output signal of each load cell and put them in groups of four based on the consistency of the output.
This enables us to eliminate the summation board in our own scale design because they’re matched before they’re ever installed.
It also allows us to provide you with accurately matched load cells that you can use any way you wish — without troubling with a summation board.
Load Cells for Specific Types of Scales
Once we started manufacturing our own load cells we realized we could design better ones that were specifically geared toward a specific purpose.
For example, one of the first new designs we implemented was a lower height load cell, which significantly reduced the overall profile of our scales.
This made it much faster and easier to get loads on and off the scale, and in some cases eliminates the need for loading ramps entirely, which saves space on the work floor.
A Brief Case Study in Custom Load Cells
Around that same time, we had been approached by a company that made gas cabinets for the semiconductor industry. They were searching for an extremely rugged cylinder scale that had a lower profile than their current scale, so we took our new low profile design and tweaked it by incorporating stainless steel.
Not only did this lower the profile of our scales even further, but it also produced a load cell that is inherently more accurate than other steel or aluminum varieties. Even better, it’s more capable of withstanding rough, industrial environments and unexpected situations, like shock loading and overloading.
The stainless steel design was such a success that we still use it in our own industrial scales to this day. When you purchase load cells from Arlyn Scales, you’ll get this same hearty design unless you specify the need for another material. Our current design portfolio includes stainless steel load cells from a lightweight 2 lb. capacity to heavy-duty models that can weigh 20,000 lb. or more!
Custom Ultra Precision Load Cells
Many applications require accuracy levels that are simply not obtainable with traditional strain gauge load cells, no matter how much we’ve been able to improve them. Our internationally patented Ultra Precision Load Cells feature the newest weighing technology to be released in the last 40 years, providing ten to twenty times greater accuracy than the standard strain gauge variety.
Using the same basic theory of load cell design found in our industrial strain gauge cells, we applied a new technology called Surface Acoustic Wave, or SAW. This offers 20 times the resolution, at the same capacities, and with 10-times better accuracy than other leading load cells.
The Incredible Precision of Surface Acoustic Waves
We fabricate our SAW transducers using semiconductor-grade crystalline substrates. Then we deposit sensitive electronics onto them using the same photolithography process used to manufacture advanced semiconductor devices.
This ultimately makes our SAW load cells inherently more accurate than strain gauge ones because they produce a fully digital output stream that results in precise, high-resolution measurements. While a 500 lb. capacity strain gauge scale would give you:
- Resolution: 0.1 lb.
- Readability: 1 part in 5,000
- Accuracy: 1/10 of 1 percent (± 0.1)
An Ultra Precision Arlyn Scale offers you:
- Resolution: 0.005 lb.
- Readability: 1 part in 100,000
- Accuracy of 1/100 of 1 percent (± 0.01)
This new design improved the performance of our load cells by an amazing 1000 percent!
The Durable Design of Custom Load Cells from Arlyn Scales
SAW load cells were made for use in rough industrial environments. They boast an extremely durable weighing component that is not vulnerable to drifts in accuracy due to changes in temperature, passing air currents, or vibrations caused by other equipment.
Which is the Best Load Cell Manufacturer in the U.S.?
Judging by search engine results, it seems that quite a few people end up online and start looking around for the best load cell manufacturers around. They’ll normally come across some high-end manufacturers owned by Taiwanese firms and a few companies in Japan.
However, they’ll seldom find manufacturers that are located in the United States that support domestic jobs. In certain cases, this can cause major issues for companies that are bound by certain contracts.
People often have to purchase American products exclusively if they receive any sort of public money. This means they might end up missing out on certain pieces of equipment.
Domestic, Custom Load Cell Manufacturing Supports U.S. Jobs
Other firms might have moral and ethical reasons to prefer only buying products made domestically. Purchasing from an American load cell manufacturer supports stateside jobs and economic growth.
As a result, you’ll want Arlyn Scales ultra-precision load cells. We’re able to provide higher quality at an affordable price using only American-sourced labor.
Accompanying Electronic Instrumentation
Virtually every application requires some sort of electronic instrumentation. We also offer a large portfolio of designs that includes everything from simple 4-20 ma amplifiers to low cost, full-featured digital indicators.
After all, accuracy is often determined by how good the indicator attached to the scale really is. Many of our newer designs incorporate surprisingly inexpensive Android-based color touch screen instruments.
Almost any type of communication interface is available including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, Bluetooth, RS-232, and Cloud. All of our designs can be modified to meet your exact specifications.
Working with OEM Equipment Manufacturers
We’ve also worked with many OEMs to develop industry-specific weighing components and solutions. In a large majority of these cases, the equipment we develop is also accompanied by a custom software application.
Our technology can run conveyors, operate feeders, batch and mix a number of ingredients, and operate sensors and valves. The software can be “cloud-based” and run on the web, or you can choose to have readings sent directly to a local PC spreadsheet or database.
Our Custom Load Cell Sensors Lower Your Costs
One of the greatest benefits of working with Arlyn Scales for your custom load cells and accompanying equipment is that you’re working directly with the factory. Unlike other distributors (who must pass your request through a line of representatives before it reaches the factory):
- We are always on hand to discuss your operational goals & specifications.
- We have the capacity to understand exactly what you need.
- We have the expertise & collaborative spirit to provide you with an effective solution.
We’ll also do it at some of the most competitive costs in the industry since there are no middlemen trying to make a profit off you.
Discover the Best Custom Load Cells at Arlyn Scales
If you’re looking for a custom weighing solution and haven’t been satisfied with anyone you’ve worked within the past, then you need Arlyn Scales. To see the difference that our factory can make, reach out to our team today!