How many load cells does it take to install a light fitting?

Published On: April 16 2020


The answer, of course, depends on how big your light fitting is, and where it is going! The Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Gothenburg commissioned a new design lighting installation for the hotel’s large atrium. The installation hangs from two large trusses, one motorised, one fixed and hanging from steel wires.

Back in the budget

The installers needed a way to quickly see the load on each suspension point during the raising and lowering of the truss grid. Despite the specified use of wireless load cells being cut from the original budget, their use was re-approved when the hotel management wanted to increase the load capacity beyond that originally calculated.

As Aart Gigengack, the co-owner of PSRIG who undertook the installation told ET Now magazine:

“When the clients are balancing their budgets, regrettably load monitoring is often down-prioritised in favour of other costly technical aspects, but increasingly as installations are becoming more complex and the importance of safety more prevalent than ever, we are demonstrating why, keeping an eye on your loads isn’t really a ‘nice to have’ – it’s essential.”


Name that shackle

The system used allowed the team to monitor the load on each individual shackle, even to the extent of being able to name each shackle. Data from individual shackles can also be added together, allowing the team to monitor the total for either of the two trusses, and for the entire structure. Once in place, the load cells were no longer required, and their load monitoring data was incorporated into the risk analysis and documentation. As Aart remarked:

“Had we not used load monitoring, there is no way we would have been able to ensure the safety and longevity of our installation. The significant risk is that, without knowing the loads, others will come along and hang heavier loads than those stated and agreed during the planning phase, or distribute the agreed upon load incorrectly.”


And in case you’re wondering how many load cells, it was eight 4.75 tonne load cells, a dongle antenna and a handheld monitoring unit – no PC required.


Old tech for testing new cars

Another story this week described how Mercedes-Benz are using load cells in their 125m long wind tunnel in Untertürkheim to find the optimum position for the new MirrorCam on the Actros truck cab. This isn’t primarily about aesthetics, it’s about fuel efficiency, as an article in Fleet Transport Ireland explained:

“The MirrorCam alone, which replaces the traditional rear-view mirrors, contributes as much as 1.5 percent to the overall fuel savings of the new Actros.”


Inside the wind tunnel, the test vehicle is placed on a 12m turntable that can be rotated 180 degrees to to measure “numerous” forces exerted on the truck cab from almost any angle.

“Integrated into the turntable in addition to a roller dynamometer is a six-component weighbridge. It is used for the highly accurate determination of numerous forces, including the air force. The forces are transmitted to load cells via levers and rods and can thus be evaluated.”


What really caught our eye was that the wind tunnel has been in use by Mercedes-Benz for eight decades. Yes, eight! Thanks to continual modernisation, it’s still up and running, blasting vehicles with wind speeds up to of 250km/h. Long may it continue to do so!


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