Building bridges and shipping containers: load cells in the news

Published On: May 13 2022

As the world rapidly opens up for trade and construction again, we found two interesting load cells news stories for you.

Monitoring the construction of cable bridges with load cells

Load cells often play an important role in monitoring the cables on cable-stayed / suspension bridges. The Tajo Viaduct in Spain was no exception.

Located on the high-speed railway line between Madrid and Extremadura, this elegant cabled bridge measures 14888 metres in length, with a 324m span arch. The top deck consists of six spans, each 54metres long.

During construction of the new viaduct, three different cable stress monitoring techniques were used:

  1. load cells on the active anchorages of the cables
  2. unidirectional strain gauges
  3. measurements using the vibrating wire technique via accelerometers

According to an article in Nature:

“The strain gauge load cells … consisted of a metal ring between the cable anchor plate and the distribution plate on the pile or temporary tower. Due to the dimensions of the suspension cables, the average diameter of the load cells of the Tajo River Viaduct varied between 200 mm for the least loaded cables (2000 kN) and 500 mm for the most loaded cables (5500 kN).”

For images of the viaduct under construction, see:

and also

Running smoothly: load cells and shipping containers

Over the past two years, the world has become increasingly aware of the crucial role shipping containers play in our global economy.

During the pandemic when containers were out of position, the cost of shipping a container load of goods soared. A single ship stuck sideways in the Suez Canal’s sandy banks created a backlog of containers at major European ports.

Given their important role, it is small wonder that the company behind the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) have invested almost US$17m in IT to create the first smart port in the Philippines.

According to an article in Seatrade Maritime News, the roll out of 5G at the terminal was key to the implementation of load cells and smart technology to replace weigh bridges..

“MICT is currently utilising the technology to automatically weigh containers using spreader load cells in rubber tire gantries (RTG) helping shorten truck drivers’ stay at the port as they no longer need to queue to use the terminal’s weigh bridges.”

The MICT has 52 RTGs, 40 of which are hybrids combining battery and diesel power, to reduce the terminal’s carbon footprint.

Load cells for trade, commerce, construction and more

It never ceases to amaze us just how much trade depends on the humble load cell for measuring, monitoring and researching. If you have a specific requirement for load cells, do call us.

We design and manufacture our own load cells right here in the UK, and hold extensive stocks at our online shop. So whatever you require, we either stock it or can make it for you.

Contact us with your requirements:

Main image by: Image by Carlos Manterola at CFCSL, independent civil and structural engineering consultants.