Approved load cells for weighbridges: don’t count your chickens

Published On: February 28 2022

Choosing an “unapproved” load cell to repair a weighbridge has cost a New Zealand firm over $30,000.

Precia Molen, a weighing specialist company, were called in to repair a weighbridge used to weigh truckloads of chickens arriving at a factory. The owner of the factory, Tegal Foods, were experiencing problems with their road weighbridge.

According to a report in the NZ Herald:

“The certificate of approval for the weighbridge only allowed for the fitting of a particular type of compression load cells … But Precia Molen had used one unapproved load cell, in addition to three of the approved, and then issued a certificate of accuracy in relation to the weighbridge.”

Uncovering the unapproved

The unapproved load cell was only uncovered when Tegal continued to have issues with the accuracy of their weighbridge, and called in another company to assess the problem. The inaccuracies may have affected payments made to chicken farmers supplying Tegal, who are paid for the weight of their birds as measured by the road weighbridge.

Precia Molen admitted their mistake, paying Tegal $23,00 and a court fine of $11,500. According to a newspaper report:

“Judge Tony Greig was critical of the company, saying it had been trusted to undertake its role as an accredited company, and any breaches could undermine public confidence.”

The judge also described the action by Precia Molen as “deliberate”.

The right load cell for the job

Choosing the right load cell for the job is the first step. Ensuring that the load cells you need to be exactly the same are the same is the second. Mixing different load cell manufacturers within a system risks inaccuracies and calibration issues. The same applies to using old and new load cells within your system. Often the extra cost is outweighed (pardon the pun) by the time and effort involved in ensuring compatibility and undertaking recalibration.

Aging load cells?

Call us. As designers and manufacturers of load cells here in the Uk, we can ensure both high quality and consistency across our entire range. Or check out our full range at our online load cells shop.