Weigh Cells

Why are load cells important for industrial weighing?

Tuesday, 16.01.2024. - 13:30

Have you ever wondered how car airbags inflate during a crash? Interestingly, this procedure involves a small — but very controlled — explosion at the exact moment of impact. The chemical reaction responsible for this uses a solid fuel that is deposited inside the inflation module. To avoid dosing errors, integrated load cells automatically check this process during production. In this blog we will talk about the different types of load cells, how they are integrated into the process and some interesting ways they are used.

Accurate weighing is related to product quality and safety

Accurate and repeatable weighing is important in many industries - from pharmaceuticals to battery manufacturing. Using the correct amount of components directly affects the quality, but also the safety of the final product. Let's take a therapeutic drug as an example; deviation from the stated dose of the active ingredient can lead to underdosing or overdose, which can be dangerous for patients. Drug manufacturers manage these risks by incorporating automated weighing checks during the manufacturing process.

OEM load cells are the backbone of industrial weighing

An OEM load cell is a type of load cell that is made specifically for the needs of an original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These devices measure force or weight and are very common in industrial weighing applications.

Load cells collect measurements in several different ways and electromagnetic force-compensated load cells are by far the most accurate. These load cells use a magnetic field to suppress the weight of the object being weighed. The force required to balance the weight is then measured and converted into an electrical signal.

Integrated measuring cells enable continuous measurement

Load cells can be integrated into the process in several ways, depending on the application. Sometimes they are built into a piece of equipment, such as a filling machine or a conveyor belt. In other cases, they are placed on a platform and used as a stand-alone weighing system.

Integrated load cells bring great efficiency, cost savings, safety and repeatability of industrial processes. In automated systems, load cells provide continuous measurement without any manual intervention. This is essential in the chemical or pharmaceutical industries that work with exact amounts of active ingredients or potentially hazardous chemicals.

Modern load cells with data logging and connectivity also help support compliance requirements by providing accurate documentation.

Load cells are used in various stages of product production

Companies use load cells in their production and testing process in different ways:

  • Dosing: to add the correct amount of material to a product (e.g. when an active ingredient is added to a medicine) or to check that the correct amount of material has been delivered (e.g. when injecting electrolyte, adhesive or void filler during battery manufacturing)
  • Counting: for counting parts or other small objects (e.g. when counting small components such as resistors and capacitors in electronics manufacturing)
  • Statistical quality control: to monitor the weight of products and ensure they meet specifications (e.g. when ingredients are added to a drug batch formulation)
  • Checkweighing: to check that the product is within a certain weight range (e.g. when tablets are put into a bottle using a filling machine)

Unique industrial applications of integrated load cells

Load cells are used in numerous applications and we have listed a few interesting applications below.

Quality control of battery production

Load cells are a key part of the quality control process in battery production. They are used throughout production to weigh raw materials (e.g. lithium), mix components, apply the correct amount of electrode coating and check the correctness of the battery cell assembly.

Production of Czochralski crystals

One interesting example of the use of measuring cells is in the cultivation of crystals. The Czochralski method is a method of growing single crystals of semiconductor materials, such as silicon. This process involves melting a small amount of material in a crucible and then slowly pulling the crystal seed out of the melt as it is spun. As the crystal is extracted, it solidifies and grows into a larger crystal. In this process, load cells monitor the weight of the crucible and growing crystal in real time, and the data is used to fine-tune the growth conditions.

Sample preparation for metal analysis

A final example is keeping toxic metals out of food, soil and other organic matter. Analytical laboratories performing metal analysis should prepare the sample before spectroscopic analysis. The first step is to digest the sample with sulfuric acid. Here, precise dosing of sulfuric acid is key, and integrated load cells ensure that the job is done well.

Load cells with high-precision electromagnetic force compensation

Sartorius supplies a diverse selection of OEM load cells that are easily integrated into almost any machine or instrument. These cells are cut from a single block of aluminum and use electromagnetic force compensation technology for the best weighing accuracy.

Depending on the application, there are both custom solutions and standard options covering a wide range, including micro load cells and cells for explosive areas. Explore our offerings below to learn more!

Explore the Sartorius range of load cells

The text was downloaded and translated from the official Sartorius website.