Feeling the heat: load cells and extreme temperatures

Published On: July 15 2022

In case you’ve been living under a (cool) rock this week, you won’t have failed to notice the media hyping up next week’s “extreme” heat.

With temperatures forecast to reach 37+ degrees C here in sunny Reading, it’s certainly going to get a tad warm in our load cell workshop. Indeed, our part of Berkshire could be hotter than popular Mediterranean destinations including Athens and Rome.

Feeling the heat – not!

The good news is that whilst the UK population might be flagging in the heat next Tuesday, our load cells won’t. We design and manufacture our load cells to be reliable and robust in a wide range of temperatures.

For example, our 100 series low profile cells are built to withstand a wide temperature range.

  • Storage Temp : -40 to +70 C
  • Operating Temp : -20 to +70 C
  • Compensated Temp : +20 to +70 C

Their thermal sensitivity is impressive too, including our 400 series miniature button type load cell, designed for compressive force measurement in confined spaces.

Thermal Sensitivity : 0.005% of F.R.O/Degrees C or better

For more details check out our blog from 2019 when this sort of frenzy also hit the headlines, “Phew what a scorcher: load cells and temperature effects”.

Load cells in a cold climate

At the other end of the mercury, load cells are often used in cold conditions, where what they are mounted on might be affected by the temperatures much more than the load cells themselves. The same applies to the cables, which in turn might affect readings. (The solution? Wireless load cell data!)

Feeling the pressure

Most people who watch the weather presenters on tv will know that “high pressure” and “low pressure” systems moving around Europe affect the weather we experience here in the UK.

Some of us might also be old enough to remember a barometer hanging in a grandparents’ hallway, watching the needle move across the dial from Fair to Change and (inevitably in the summer months) on to Rain.

Most antique barometers used mercury to measure the atmospheric pressure as, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica:

“In the mercury barometer, atmospheric pressure balances a column of mercury, the height of which can be precisely measured. … Its density allows the vertical column of the barometer to be of manageable size. If water were used, for instance, the column would have to be 34 feet high..”

What many won’t know is how changes in atmospheric pressure can affect sensitive monitoring instruments such as load cells. As we said in a previous blog on load cells and climate:

“Some people know when the atmospheric pressure has changed, but most of us are blissfully unaware. The same does not apply to load cells. If the item you are weighing or monitoring items sit within a pressurised environment, the load cells must be calibrated in those conditions too.”

Differences in pressure

Problems can also occur if two areas of your manufacturing facility have different pressures, As a white paper “Five Factors that Can Affect Your Weighing Systems Accuracy” explains:

“A pressure differential can create weighing errors by applying unwanted forces to the weighing system. A pressure differential can occur, for example, when a weigh vessel is installed between a pressurized plant floor and another floor at ambient pressure. To minimize weighing errors, calibrate the load cells to the pressurized floor’s constant pressure level.”

Feeling the pressure to choose the right load cells?

Don’t stress out, contact us. Here at Richmond Industries, we design and manufacture advanced load cells and force transducers for industry, governments and universities all over the world.