Important Things to Know about Load Cells

Load cells are available in various configurations and standards, depending on the application and environment. The signal they produce is commonly displayed in units of mass or torque. All electronic scales use them for displaying weight, making them crucial to today’s world.

Keep reading to learn more about the basics of load cells.


Classifying a load cell can be done based on the output signal it generates or how they detect weight. This signal can be pneumatic, strain-gauge, or hydraulic and weight direction includes shear, bending, tension, and others.

  • Pneumatic. Typically, these are used to measure lower weights with high degrees of accuracy. They measure weight in terms of force-balance. This means that weight is reported as a pressure change. This type of load cell is resistant to explosions and has low reactivity to changes in temperatures.
  • Hydraulic. They are used for water measurements including in tanks. They also balance force by measuring weight as a change in fluid pressure which rises as force increases. They do not have electronic components, letting them do well in hazardous conditions.
  • Strain-gauge. They attach to a support beam that experiences pressure. Once pressure is applied to the beam, the material experiences tension change that places force upon the load cell, sending an electronic signal through a switching unit. Such a signal displays a load measurement, which is the amount of force the beam is exerting.


Electronic load cells, also called load cell transducers, are the modern standards in the majority of today’s heavy industries, large-scale production floors, manufacturing plants, and stringent quality control environments. Their significance has to do with the dependence of a big part of all global scales on precise weight measurement. They are quite essential in maintaining precise quality control systems necessary to maintain manufacturing consistency and safety processes.

How they Work

Because the spring elements attached to a strain gauge material are often made from aluminum or steel, they tend to be quite strong and slightly elastic. Thus, they tend to deform under sufficient pressure before they return to their original form and shape. Strain gauges can measure the precise extent of this deformation. In typical load cells, the micro deformation analysis is converted electronically in highly accurate weight readout. Thus, directional pressure creates an electric signal in a load cell and the signal’s magnitude is directly proportional to the measured force.

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