This Christmas, load cells will be working hard across the UK in a wide variety of applications, from monitoring bridges to weighing Christmas cake ingredients. So, we’ve uncovered some fascinating stats for the season where we know load cells will be involved in making Christmas extra special.
As we stick Air Mail stickers onto our parcels to relatives and friends abroad, Heathrow will be gearing up to carry a record-breaking 143million kgs of commercial Christmas freight to non-EU destinations over the festive period, according to the Daily Mail.
As our first blog in December revealed, obtaining an accurate weight for each part of this cargo is crucial to maximising fuel efficiency. So, what will be in those crates and pallets? If last year’s trends continue, much of that freight will consist of books, flowers and salmon – last year, 6million kgs of the fish were flown out of the airport.
We may think of Christmas lights as something we import from Asia, but almost 27,500 kg of Christmas lights went up, up and away in planes. Interestingly the second most popular destination for UK exports via plane is – China!
If you get your Christmas cake from M&S, the BBC’s programme “Inside the Christmas factory” revealed the man hours and precision weighing that goes into creating 2million ‘bauble’ cakes, at a rate of 480 cakes an hour. Like presenter Gregg Wallace, we loved the combination of precision automation and ‘hand-crafted’ elements, a feature of many specialist load cell projects we’ve been involved in.
Load cells feature in many brewing processes, particularly in weighing grain, malt or other ingredients in hoppers. No doubt they will have been working overtime for the past few months, as alcohol consumption rises by 40% during December. According to insurers Keith Michaels, that equates to 600,000,000 units of alcohol.
Sadly, 10m British drivers still take their lives (and others’) in their hands by drinking and driving. 40% of drink drivers who die on the roads are at least 2.5 times over the legal alcohol limit.
Please don’t be one of them. Vehicle manufacturers use highly sophisticated crash test dummies containing multi-axle load cells to ensure their cars and trucks are as safe as possible. However, those tests also show the devastating effects of car crashes on the human body.
So it’s good to see that for the tenth year running, Coca-Cola are running their Designated Driver special. The ‘buy one, get one free’ offer is available 1-31 December at 7,000 pubs, bars and restaurants across the country. Just show your keys at the bar to claim the offer. (And yes, load cells are used in the soft beverage industry both in the production of the syrup and the final finished product.)
Christmas food and drink budgets
A survey by Statista showed how UK expenditure on food and drinks in the UK rose dramatically last year, from an average spend of £159 to £224, and is set to maintain that level in 2017.
According to The Guardian, that will add up to a massive £4.2bn spend across the UK, with the biggest rush being on Friday 22 December, as people stock up before the weekend. However, any increase in spending must be offset against rising prices, as the UK’s cheapest supermarket-bought Christmas dinner will cost 18% more than in 2016.
And after all that indulgence, many more of use will be stepping onto our new wifi bathroom scales (with load cells at each corner,) and logging our New Year weight loss attempts on our mobile phone app!
Have a very Merry Christmas
From all of us at Richmond Industries and the Load Cell Shop, enjoy your Christmas and we look forward to serving you in 2018.