A compression load cell is a commonly used cell in the weighing sector. Compression load cells can measure pushing forces. In contrast to tension load cells, unidirectional compression load cells exclusively measure downward compression.

A tension load cell is a frequently used load cell in the weighing industry. Tension load cells measure the pulling force in a system. In addition to detecting amplitude, some tension load cells can also determine compression force, making them highly flexible. They have an upper and lower arm that aligns the central axis to the mounting points, making them ideal for suspension applications

Here is a valuable insight into the differences in working, design, and applications of compression and tension load cells.

1. Working

Compression load cells are no different from transducers that transform mechanical force or mass into electrically induced signals. They do this via strain gauges mounted to the load cell’s body. The load cell’s body deforms somewhat when compressed, which the strain gauges sense before resulting in a voltage change.

Tension load cell employed in a weighing scale to depict mass reading

Since tension load cells utilize strain gauges to transform mechanical weight into an electrically induced signal, tension load cells are no different from other current load cells. The load cell’s main body will somewhat distort when subjected to a load. The strain gauges connected to the load cell body undergo distortion to modify their electrical resistance.

The voltage produced is directly proportional to the initial weight, regardless of the type of load cell.

2. Design

Compression load cells are cylindrical, with the bottom and top ends having a mounting surface. An inner central column works as the weight-bearing element. Strain gauges attached to the column’s surface undergo orientation to detect load-induced deformations. A protective outer coating shields load cells.

Tension load cells behave as specialty beam load cells. Strain gauges on either side of the central bar can detect strain and bending, similar to a beam load cell. There is a fastened and a free end in traditional beam load cells, with load application at the latter end. The upper arm of an S-type tension load cell connects with the apparatus, while the lower arm connects to the equipment.

3. Application

A compression load cell’s interior workings can be reasonably diverse. Although their applications are extensive, the most common use for these load cells is in vehicle scales and silos, which require high capacity static weighing.

Other frequent compression load cell designs employ low-profile and tiny buttons in measurement and test applications. Pump monitoring systems in the oil and gas industry illustrate how effective compression load cell technology is in numerous applications.

Tension load cells fit best in applications that include hung weights. These include pulley systems, hanging scales in industries and laboratories, and force measurement applications.

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