You say tomato, I say Global Tomato Congress: Load cells and autonomous greenhouses

Published On: March 29 2021


One of the joys of designing and manufacturing load cells is to discover the diverse range of uses in a myriad of industry solutions, from the Mars rover arm to developing better ways to grow the food we all enjoy every day.

One of the hot topics at the Global Tomato Congress was new software systems for commercial greenhouses. This is to:


“Assist and stimulate growers to implement digitisation in their current cultivation process on a daily basis”,


according to Dutch cultivation engineer Max Van den Hemel from Delphy Digital.

The aim is to bring all the data together that growers require, including forecasting, light analysis, and climate monitoring. AI machine learning enables a climate profiler to predict the best climate for the following 24 hours, including ventilation and heating.

So, where do load cells come in? Delphy is currently running a trial entitled The Road to Digital Green Fingers, with the team aiming to gain:

“Insight into photosynthesis, water uptake and assimilate partitioning with the aim of developing an integral measurement system as part of the overall crop management process. Technology being trialled includes load cells to measure the total weight gain of a plant, stem diameter sensors and microclimate sensors.”


In the swim: load cells helping haemophiliacs

In another fascinating discovery, load cells were used in a study to assess the health benefits of swimming and hydrotherapy for haemophilia patients. A Brazilian study published in the journal “Haemophilia” showed that water-based exercise and rehabilitation improved functional abilities such as a wider range of movement. To assess patients before and after therapy sessions, the team took:

“Electrophysiological measurements … using surface electromyography (SEMG) of thigh muscles to assess electric activity, and load cell measurements on thigh muscles to evaluate strength.”


Help with your load cell monitoring requirements

Every year we provide our UK manufactured load cells for a range of scientific and engineering research projects, from those undertaken by undergraduates to top professional motor racing teams. We are always more than happy to help design systems and innovative solutions, so feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements, challenges and questions.