Load cells are one of the most important parts of the industrial scale; without load cells, you wouldn’t be able to weigh your product accurately. However, if you don’t choose the right load cell for your scale, you won’t get accurate results. With so many different types of load cells on the market, choosing the best one can seem like an overwhelming task; that’s why we put together this guide on how to choose load cells so that it’s much easier for you!
It’s important that your load cell will fit your application. Make sure you have enough space for it and that it will work with your other equipment (for example, an amplifier). Don’t forget that these devices can weigh up to 100 pounds or more, so make sure you have adequate support for them. Usually, machine manufacturers provide detailed specifications on what size of load cell is needed for each application. You may even be able to use multiple load cells if one isn’t strong enough. If possible, take some time to read through reviews and customer feedback before making your final decision, so you know how well they worked out in real-world applications. This can be especially useful when deciding between similar products from different manufacturers.
In most load cells, rigidity refers to whether or not you’re using strain gauges on each plate. It is not an indication of how much force it can take before buckling. Lower gauge numbers generally indicate better rigidity and stability but also more susceptibility to interference. Remember that lower gauge numbers are actually weaker than higher ones when it comes to how much force they can handle! You should aim for at least 8 or 9 gauges when choosing a load cell; if possible, go with something as high as 11 (though you will see diminishing returns after that). Even though you may be able to find less expensive options, they will probably degrade your accuracy over time.
Reliability of scale-reading accuracy is an important feature for any quality load cell. Since many data collection and control applications require high levels of precision, especially in industrial environments, accuracy must be carefully verified under real-world conditions before committing to purchase. Test all scales during manufacture and calibration using carefully prepared standards and do so again before use. As they’re put into service, verify scale readouts with externally verified reference weights or certified standards.
You’ll have to wire your load cell—and wiring can be confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with electrical work. Each load cell manufacturer has its own recommendations, but they all fall into one of two categories: 4-wire and 2-wire. The 2-wire option refers to a system that only includes current-carrying wires (positive and negative), while 4-wire systems include additional wires for connection grounding, which improves accuracy by minimizing voltage variations. To cut down on wire costs, look for a design that uses flat ribbon cable and allows daisy-chaining of multiple load cells in series—which should save you money since you won’t need extra supplies or expensive connectors.