Finding a Replacement for Hydraulic Load Cells

December 2, 2020

By Dara Trent, Technical Content Director

At Load Cell Central we specialize in strain gauge load cells and load cell systems. With changing technology involving wireless systems, explosion-proof enclosures, and portable power supplies, we are able to replace hydraulic load cell systems with highly accurate strain gauge systems.


                     Hydraulic Load Cell                                                            Strain Gauge Load Cell


Hydraulic Load Cells vs. Strain Gauge Load Cells

When choosing between a hydraulic and strain gauge load cell, the environment of the application is of primary importance. Hydraulic load cells that do not require electricity to function are used in applications where a power source is unavailable or in hazardous applications. While hydraulic load cells are often convenient, they are not as accurate as strain gauge load cells. Hydraulic load cells have a maximum accuracy of 0.25%, while strain gauge load cells can be higher than 0.03% accuracy.

How Do Hydraulic Load Cells Work?

Hydraulic load cells work using a piston and cylinder force balancing principle. The internal load cell chamber is filled with hydraulic fluid. When a force is applied to the load cell’s piston, the fluid inside is compressed, causing the pressure to increase. The change in pressure is directly proportional to the amount of force applied. An attached pressure gauge measures the pressure and converts it to weight.

How Do Strain Gauge Load Cells Work?

A strain gauge load cell, however, uses a change in electrical resistance to calculate the weight. In this type, strain gauges are attached to the solid metal body of the load cell. An electric current running through the gauges has a known resistance. As weight is applied, the resistance changes in proportion to the amount of weight being applied. An indicator calibrated to that particular load cell converts the data (voltage change) from the load cell into a digital readout.

Whatever your application, our technicians at Load Cell Central can help you design a highly accurate strain gauge load cell system to replace any hydraulic load cell or system. Call us today at 1-800-LOADCEL.

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