Cutting edge; load cells for university research, degree projects and laboratories

Published On: October 26 2016
Gent exoskeleton

When university engineering departments need to test and measure cutting edge innovations, theories and prototypes, who do they call?


At The Load Cell Shop, we supply major universities in the UK and abroad with standard and bespoke load cells for cutting edge research and development projects, as well as student projects and dissertation work.

Load cells for universities

Gent exoskeletonWe work with the departments to help supply, or design and manufacture load cells for some truly cutting edge work, from field robotics to motion control, life and health sciences, and sports science. We’ve also supplied load cells for numerous projects in mechanical / civil engineering and material sciences departments.


Exciting exoskeleton research in Gent

It’s hard to pick out just one project from so many, but one that gained worldwide attention was an exoskeleton developed by a team at the University of Gent (Ghent) in Belgium to assist a crucial part of walking.

In their paper (1), the team described how they has focussed on the amount of energy required for plantarflexation (extension of the ankle and/or pointing of the foot) at the point when the opposite leg heel makes contact with the ground.

“Different groups attempted to reduce metabolic cost with exoskeletons but none could achieve a reduction beyond the level of walking without exoskeleton, possibly because there is no consensus on the optimal actuation timing. The main research question of our study was whether it is possible to obtain a higher reduction in metabolic cost by tuning the actuation timing.”


Load cells in exoskeletons

The energy used for this is crucial in the use of exoskeletons to assist in the mobility for the aged, as well as the carrying of heavy loads. It was therefore crucial to accurately measure the action of the pneumatic ‘muscles’ in the exoskeleton, which is where load cells came into play. “We measured the tensile force of the pneumatic muscles at a rate of 1000 Hz by means of a load cell and filtered it with a fourth order Butterworth lowpass filter with a 12 Hz cutoff frequency. Actuation onset was defined as the instant when the pneumatic valve was open and pneumatic muscle force exceeded a threshold of 5 N.”

The team used multiple measurement devices to record the results, including a motion capture system, and respiratory gasses analysis to assess the energy expended. The team concluded that:

“It is theoretically possible to build future ambulant exoskeletons that reduce metabolic cost, without power supply restrictions.”

See the exoskeleton in action on this Belgian news report.


Global load cell sales, from Australia to the USA

We have supplied load cells and accessories to the following international universities:

[yt_tables type=”bordered” background=”transparent” color=”#000″ row_color=”” column_color=”” cols=”University| Department ” ] Pontificia Universidad PUCMM Dominican Republic| | University of Michigan USA|Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology| Universitetet i Oslo Norway |Department of Physics| Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), Norway|Dep. of Mathematical Sciences and Technology | Univeriteit Gent Belgium|Sport Science| Victoria University Australia| | University of Sydney Australia|Australian Centre for Field Robotics| Victoria University Australia|College of Engineering and Science | University of Limerick Ireland| | National University of Ireland|School of Engineering and Informatics [/yt_tables]


Load cells for UK universities

Our UK university department load cell customers include:

[yt_tables type=”bordered” background=”transparent” color=”#000″ row_color=”” column_color=”” cols=”University | Department” ] Aston University Birmingham| Dept of Life & Health Sciences | University of Birmingham|Metallurgy and Materials Dept| University of Brighton|School of Environment and Technology| Bournemouth University|School of Design Engineering & Computing| University of Bristol|Faculty of Engineering|
Brunel University|College of Engineering • Design and Physical Sciences (CEDPS)| University of Bath|Dept of Architecture & Civil Eng • Dept of Mechanical Engineering| Cranfield University|School of Engineering| University of Cambridge|Department of Material Science and Metallurgy • Dept of Engineering| University of Central Lancashire|School of Physical Sciences and Computing| University of Chester|New Technology Initiative| Cardiff University|School of Engineering| University of Chichester|Sport and Exercise Science| De Montfort University|RIO TECH| The University of Edinburgh|School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA)| Furness College|Technical Engineering Dept| University of Huddersfield|Mechanical and Automotive Engineering| Heriot-Watt University|Engineering & Physical Sciences • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment| Imperial College London|Bio Engineering Dept Royal School Of Mines • Civil Engineering Department • Department of Aeronautics • Mechanical Engineering Department| Loughborough University|Aero & Auto Engineering • Wolfson School of MMEng • School of Design| University of Leeds|Faculty Of Engineering| Leeds Beckett University|School of the Built Environment| Lancaster University|Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC)| Liverpool John Moores University|General Engineering Research Institute| University of Manchester|School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE)| Manchester Metropolitan University|Faculty of Science and Engineering| Newcastle University|Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials • School of Mechanical & Systems Engineering • Marine Technology Dept| University of Nottingham|Department of Civil Engineering • School of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery| Oxford Brookes University| | University of Oxford|Department of Materials| University of Portsmouth|Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences| Plymouth University|School of Computing Elec Math| Queen Mary University of London|School of Engineering and Materials| Queens University Belfast|School of Architecture Planning and Civil Engineering (SPACE)| University of Reading|Engineering Dept| University Of Southampton|Faculty of Engineering| University of Strathclyde|Advanced Forming Research Centre| University of Stirling|School of Sport| Staffordshire University|School of Engineering| University of Sheffield|Department of Materials Science and Engineering • Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre • Dept of Civil & Structural Engineering| Swansea University|Engineering Department| University College London|Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research (WIBR)| University of Westminster|Computer Science Dept



(1) Malcolm P, Derave W, Galle S, De Clercq D (2013) A Simple Exoskeleton That Assists Plantarflexion Can Reduce the Metabolic Cost of Human Walking. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56137