Weighing up the options; load cells and livestock

Published On: October 19 2016

Using load cells in a laboratory or workshop environment is usually quite straightforward. Using them out in the field – literally – can be quite a different proposition. Especially if your test subject have four legs, hooves, and no appreciation of the delicacy of the engineering they are being asked to stand on!


Horses for courses

We’ve designed and built a number of robust load cells for outdoor use, including a system for assessing horses remotely prior to anaesthesia. One of our clients needed help in accurately weighing horses remotely, before their operations, in order to provide the correct levels of anaesthesia. This is particularly important for valuable race horses as they are at their most vulnerable as they come around. The ability to administer just the right amount allows horses to recover more calmly and move from lying to standing without injury.


Monitoring cattle growth using load cells

cow2Farmers need to weigh their livestock in order to assess their growth and weight. Load cells systems with wifi and tag recognition software allow farmers to match load cell data with the ID tag of the individual animal, and upload to a database accordingly. While some farmers will invest in fixed scales, others use portable platforms that are more flexible. 

The issue is that cattle, along with many other animals, don’t really like to stand on a platform and keep still. The load cells beneath must respond quickly and efficiently to record as many measurements as possible, to ensure the minimum amount of stress to the animal. What’s more, farmyards can be wet, muddy, uneven and with plenty of potentially corrosive manure, so any load cells need to be robust, watertight and corrosion-resistant. Cattle platforms and sheep crates can features load bars made from aircraft-grade aluminium that keep the shear beam load cells inside clean and moisture-free, and also add protection for the data cables.


Weighing in at the vets

Chances are, you’ll find the same technology in use at your local vets, with a weighing platform for dogs to walk onto, and a linked digital display. It’s a similar solution and needs the same sort of robust cells underneath and the same speed and accuracy levels, as the average dog at the vets rarely sits still for long!


Bespoke load cells for unusual environments

Bespoke load cells for extreme or unforgiving environments is something of a speciality for the team here at Richmond Industries.

We have provided load cells for marine environments, including strain gauges aboard racing yachts that can transmit data wireless up to 800 metres away, perfect for assessing performance using a support boat.

Our load cells can also be found in the new Airlander workshop, on board a GT racing car, under 50 tonne grain hoppers in a famous brewery, and as part of various vet research projects in UK universities.

If you need specific load cells for a special project, call us. We have an extensive range of load cell types in stock, and if you want something bespoke made to your specific requirements, just ask. Our prices are extremely cost effective as we don’t ship in from abroad – all our load cells are designed, tested and manufactured at our company premises in Reading, Berkshire.