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Jan
19

Burning issues: load cells and bush fires

LC---Bushfires-Jan-2020

The Australian bush fires have dominated the news this month, and despite some very welcome rain and cooler temperatures in the last few days, the emergency is far from over. Our article this month investigates how load cells are helping scientists research the effect and possible solutions for wild fires.

 

A wind tunnel for studying wildfires

Wildfires are, buy their very nature, unpredictable and affected by natural factors such as wind, vegetation type, the land topography and more. A team in Canberra built a dedicated fire-proof wind tunnel to allow them to safely study of fuel combustion during a bushfire by reproducing a range of conditions. Load cells were, quite literally, taking centre stage in this project.

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Dec
20

Bread and butter: load cells in the food industry

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If, like us, you’ve been glued to the TV series “Inside the Factory”, you’ll know just how much food production is mechanised and automated, from mixing ingredients to final packaging.

A new bread production line launched in the USA uses load cells under a conveyor belt to measure precise weights of dough. It allows bakers to divide up large quantities of dough within a single line. The dough line is headed up by a feeder that “Adjusts the dough sheet width depending on the products being made, thereby reducing the amount of trim and increasing quality. The line can either divide the dough pieces by dimension or accurately cut by weight.”

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Dec
12

Braving the storm: calibrating load cells in marine environments

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Load cells are used extensively in marine environments, from the legs of oil rigs to cranes loading container ships. Load cells are effectively self-contained, so can be manufactured to be totally waterproof and work reliably even when submerged for long periods.

One of the issues in marine environments is that a lot of equipment will be naturally in motion due to weather, tides and wave action. This is particularly true for mooring winches, which are used to tie a ship to its berth when in port. When a ship is loaded or unloaded, or in a high swell, the winching ropes can suddenly tighten or loosen. If the cables were held at a fixed length, they could easily snap or be damaged, even given their own natural elasticity.

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Nov
25

Did the earth move for you? Load cells and landslides

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Land slides may not be that common in the UK, but they can be incredibly disruptive when they do happen. The recent heavy rain, for example, caused a land slip on the main rail route into from London to Southampton, and required some major earth removals before the services could continue. Luckily, load cells can play their part in monitoring structures holding back the flow of earth.

 

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Nov
19

Freight and weight: load cells keeping truckloads legal and safe

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How much weight is that truck ahead of you on the motorway actually carrying? Do you know? Does the driver even know?

Legal load limits in the UK

All goods vehicles have a weight limit, known as the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). However, because its based on plated (maximum) weights for each individual axle, if the load on the truck isn’t balanced properly. Therefore a load might be illegal because it’s in the wrong position rather than over the GVW.

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Oct
24

Load cell round up; old cranes, oil pumps and how to kill a lithium ion battery

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Three neat little news stories showing the versatility of load cells.

Old tech, new tests

All over the globe, there are machines that have worked hard for decades, using long-established techniques, and can continue to work well for the business. All they need is a little TLC, regular maintenance, and calibration or adaptation for special tasks.

A ringer cranes at a ship in Malaysia, originally built in 1973, was required to load anchor piles onto a ship, bound for a new oil and gas floating production storage facility. The crane, with a capacity of 308t at 24m, needed to be tested to lift 108t of weight 1 metre above the ground at a 41m radius.

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Oct
10

Fast and furious: load cells and the World Time Attack Challenge 2019

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Ever fancied racing a modified road car flat out at over 240km/h, covering a quarter of a mile in less than 12 seconds? That’s why the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge is all about, as competitors from around the world burn rubber at the Sydney Motorsport Park, on 18-19 October 2019.

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Sep
30

These are a few of our favourite things: load cell stories you might have missed

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Every month, we seek out the latest and most interesting stories on load cells to include in our articles. Here are just a few of our favourites.

 

Equine health and wellbeing

Load cells play a remarkably prominent role in the measurement of forces involved in equine sports. The focus is shifting from health issues such as hoof problems to assessing and measuring the impact of elements of traditional horse tack such as reins, bits and girths.

Our article: Best hoof forward: load cells and equine research

 

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Sep
13

Rockets, planes and sewers: load cells on the level

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Load cells are at the heart of three very different projects that involve keeping element on a level plain, including a NASA rocket, a sewer shaft and a airplane assembly line.

 

Turning space rockets on their side

If you’ve ever had your project specs changed halfway through, spare a thought for the team at Boeing building the new NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage.

In order to, quote, “cash in on the schedule benefits of the new plan”, the carefully constructed engine section needed to be turned from its current vertical position to lie horizontally. It may have only be a 90 degree turn, but according to an incredibly detailed article at NASASpaceFlight.com, the process involved modifying existing tools and creating several new ones within just a few months.

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Aug
27

Monitoring our heritage: load cells and historic buildings

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If you’ve visited a historic location this summer holidays, you may not realise the vital role load cells have played in monitoring the country’s monument and heritage.

Sitting in the oldest dry dock in the world at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is Nelson’s famous flagship, HMS Victory. Famed for its crucial role in the Battle of Trafalgar, this Georgian naval ship is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. It’s currently undergoing a

“13 year, £35million conservation project, with experts from fields such as timber preservation, shipbuilding, rigging, conservation, engineering and heritage.”

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Aug
14

A gentle touch: load cells in medical devices

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Many medical devices rely on accurately measuring force, enabling adjustments to be made either automatically or manually. What makes accurate measurement so crucial is that many of these devices are now available for patients to use at home, without a doctor or health professional available.

Equally, load cells have been playing a central role in the research and development of touch-sensitive prosthetics and the understanding of how our sense of touch can affect our body posture and accuracy of movement.

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Jul
30

Salamanders, origami and algorithms: load cells in university research

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At the Load Cell Shop, we supply numerous university departments with a wide range of load cells for research projects, all year round. While most university students will have already settled into their summer jobs and graduates ate busy applying for job positions, university research doesn’t just stop for the holidays.

So, what are the projects that university-based researchers across the world are working on that includes load cells? We’ve been taking a look at some recent examples.

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Jul
17

Load cells on the road with major musicals

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One of the UK’s most popular West End musicals, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, (https://uk.thephantomoftheopera.com/) is out on the road in the UK and Ireland next year, no doubt with a full set, impressive lighting and, of course, that pesky chandelier!

The US tour of The Phantom of the Opera back in 2015 featured an extensive lighting and sound rig featuring over 200 speakers, 85 moving lights and 10 tons of scenery, all loaded onto 20 trucks. That’s a lot of weight suspended above the performers’ heads, and a lot of load for theatre roofs and scenery towers that can date back to Victorian times.

So, in almost every modern stage or concert rig, load cells are playing a vital role in weighing the rig to ensure it stays within the venue’s capacity, and monitoring load distribution during rigging and performances.

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Jun
28

Phew what a scorcher: load cells and temperature effects

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Once again, Europe is bracing itself for record high temperatures in June - and this weekend we’ll get a whole day of the heat ourselves (well, most of the UK will anyway).

Whilst the media might be ramping up for pictures of Parisians in fountains or Romans in baths, UK businesses might be assessing the effect of high ambient temperatures on their equipment, processes and products.

If you’re using one of our load cells in an outside environment, it won’t even be breaking a sweat at 45 degrees C, the projected temperature for central Europe. Even in the heat of the Middle East and Africa, where temperatures regularly rise above 50 degrees C, it’ll still working just fine.

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Jun
17

Ice and a slice: craft gin and load cells

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The gin revolution is well and truly upon us. Even the most modest of supermarket shelves or remote of pub bars groans under the weight of designer gins in a myriad of flavours, from traditional dry London to wild and wacky such as watercress or maple syrup.

So, what role does the humble load cell play in creating your next mother’s ruin with ice and a slice? If you value the consistency, quality and taste of your boutique gin, quite a lot actually!

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May
24

Load cells and destruction testing

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It’s not often you get to test something to complete destruction, especially when it’s part of a very expensive America’s Cup racing yacht! Yet this is exactly what the team at Persico Marine got to do with one of the foil arms for the new AC75 racing class.

The America’s Cup team decided to destruction test one of the carbon foil arms, after one failed earlier than expected during testing in September 2018. These foils are crucial to the speed a stability of the this new breed of racing yachts, as this AC concept video shows.

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May
10

How much honey? Beehive health and load cells

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It’s World Bee Day on Tuesday 20 May, so we thought we’d take a look at how load cells are helping beekeepers remotely monitor their hives.

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Apr
25

Marathon testing: load cells and running shoe technology

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This weekend, an estimated 41,000 people will set off to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, little knowing the part load cells will play in their progress.

Whether an international athlete, elite runner, club superstar or fun runner dressed as a superhero/nurse/furry animal, every single participant will depend on their footwear to give them a firm footing over all the 26 miles and 385 yards of the course.

 

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Apr
11

Load cells and Parkinson’s Disease

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Load cells are used extensively in medical research and diagnostics. So, given that it’s World Parkinson’s Day today, Thursday 11 April, we loom at the role load cells have played in the investigation of this disease.

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Mar
27

Blowin' in the wind: load cells, cycles and renewable energy

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The strong winds in the UK over the last few weeks serve as a timely reminder that whatever we build needs to be able to withstand exceptional natural forces. Load cells have long played their part in the construction, and increasingly in the continual monitoring, of wind-resistant structures (see our story on the Ordsall Chord Bridge, for example).

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Contact Us

Richmond Industries Limited

Unit B9, Acre Business Park

Acre Road

Reading

RG2 0SA UK

 

Phone: +44 1189 310 396

Email: sales@loadcellshop.co.uk

Company No. 2813623

 

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