Load cells are also referred to as load transducers. Their purpose is to convert a mechanical force into an electrical signal. The transducers are used in many different industries to monitor tension and compression. Bridges for example, must be monitored for static and dynamic weight testing and railway tracks must be measured for stress. If the monitoring of loads was not practiced the potential for dangerous consequences would be very high.
In December 2010 the first Calibration and Universal Test Machine in Europe was launched. This apparatus tests the calibration of transducers to measure tension and compression for 350 tons. When a crane lifts a heavy shipping container it must not lift one that is heavier than what has been specified as the maximum weight for the crane. If this should happen then the crane risks collapsing and damage to the container, its contents and peoples’ lives is a strong possibility.
The scale of loads that the cells monitor ranges from a weight capacity of fifty kilograms up to one hundred tons. Custom made cells can also be manufactured that reach up to three thousand tons of weight capacity. The cells can be retrofitted where new equipment cannot be installed. Miniature cells are available where there is limited space.
One of the fastest growing industries in transportation is that of container shipment in the maritime sector. Today’s container ships are the single largest transporter of foreign made goods to western markets. Approximately 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is transported by container. The enormity of cargo volume that these ships provide as well as the container shipment business in general has become extremely space and time efficient. A two week sea journey can be timed for accuracy of arrival within fifteen minutes.
The ultra large container ships measure four hundred meters long and carry loads that equal what seventeen pre-World War II freighters could carry. The weight High Demand Products that today’s vessels are moving around the globe is massive. Precision monitoring is critical to reduce the chances of catastrophic accidents from happening.
Marine systems must be reliable in all kinds of constantly changing environmental conditions. Prior to casting off the mooring lines there has to be a mooring load system in place for monitoring the tension of every mooring line. Each line is pre-tensioned according to the ship’s individual mooring scheme. There is no guesswork permitted. When being towed out of port the ship’s towing load is monitored by a cell that is fitted to the towing hook of the tugboat. Transducers are also placed under marine towing winches for measuring the weight.
Even when ships are at anchor there is an anchor load measurement system in place. The distribution of loads must always be correct whether the ship is at sea or not. Potential Entrants Hull stress, trawl control, wire length and tension, underwater measurements and berthing and docking systems are further examples of what is measured and monitored.
Load cells play a critical role in maintaining safe operating conditions in industries where tension and stress from varying degrees of a load’s strength are in force. Modern day technology has provided industries with the ability to create safer work environments. Precise weight monitoring results in a faster and more efficient system of delivery.

By master