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Load Cells: The Technology at the Core of Crane Load Measuring Systems

Ever wondered how crane load measuring systems produce accurate load readings?

The answer lies in the load cells…

What are load cells?

Load cells are force transducers that convert kinetic energy of a force into a quantifiable electrical signal. They are used in many different industrial weighing and load bearing measurement systems, including crane load measuring systems.

All crane load measuring systems come fitted with load cells to measure the loads being lifted. The load cells used in crane measuring systems are of the  strain gauge variety. These load cells rely on changes in electrical resistance to produce accurate load readings.

Knowing how much load the crane is lifting, and whether or not the load is in the crane’s specified operational limit, helps operators ensure that the lift is performed safely.

Load cells in crane systems

Load cells are placed at different points on a crane’s rope to map out a detailed load-bearing profile for the crane. This is a necessary practice because even if a single stress-point is compromised during lifting, the results can be a serious accident.

There are three main points on a crane rope where load cells are typically placed:

Hook Block

Hook block is the assembly to which the hook of a crane is attached. It consists of a steel enclosure, which houses a number of pulleys or sheaves. Load cells are placed on the pulleys of a hook block to measure and monitor the force being applied to it.    

  • Above the Hook

Above the hook, devices control the vertical and lateral movements of the load during lifting. Examples of above the hook devices where load cells are typically mounted include sheaves, drums, and trolleys.

  • Below the Hook

Depending on the application, below the hook devices on a crane vary between magnets, shackles, beams, canisters, and more. Load cells placed below the hook devices are used to monitor the forces that are applied to these devices during lifting.  

Cranes form an integral part of construction projects and various industrial processes as they’re used to lift, lower or move large and heavy objects from one location to another.

Determining whether or not a crane can handle a specific load constitutes an essential consideration for planning and executing a safe crane lift. crane load monitoring system and load cells are crucial technologies that help crane operators with this all-too important assessment.  

For further reading: Anti Two Block Warning Systems

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