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What is an Overhead Crane Load Cell and Why Do You Need One?

Introduction

An overhead crane is a particular kind of crane that consists of a horizontal beam that travels along two tracks on either side of a workspace. The crane can lift and transfer big items across a wide area since the beam and a hoist can travel along the rails and the beam, respectively.

A load cell is a machine that transforms force into a measurable electrical signal that can be shown on a display. Strain gauges that alter resistance when stretched or squeezed by an applied force are used in load cells to measure weight. There are many advantages to using a load cell for overhead crane safety and effectiveness. A load cell can gauge the hoisted load’s weight in real-time, enabling the crane operator to keep an eye on the lifting conditions and steer clear of overloading or underloading the crane. A load cell can also provide feedback to a control system, which can automatically stop the lift, activate alarms, or modify the speed of the hoist if the load exceeds the safe limit.

Types of Overhead Crane Load Cells

There are various types of load cells that can be used for overhead crane applications, depending on the crane’s design, capacity, accuracy, and environment. Among the most typical types are:

This kind of load cell substitutes for a weight-bearing pin that was previously included in the crane header block or hook block. Shackle/clevis load pin. By assessing the surface strain, it detects the force exerted on the pin.

  • Bow-type load shackle: This kind of load cell involves a shackle with a built-in strain gauge sensor that is fashioned like a bow. Slings or hook blocks on cranes are used to measure tension and strain on collars. Slings or hook blocks on cranes are used to measure tension and strain on collars. It can handle capacities ranging from one to one thousand tons and has an ecologically sealed design.
  • A compression load cell measures the compressive force placed on both its top and bottom surfaces. It is frequently positioned between two flat plates or flanges that are attached to the crane’s hook block or sling. It is made of stainless steel and has a capacity range of 1 to 100 tons.

Tension load cells measure the tensile or pulling force that is delivered to their ends. It is often mounted in series with a wire rope or chain attached to the crane’s hook block or sling. It is made of stainless steel and has a capacity range of 5 to 100 tons.

  • Custom-designed load pins: These load cells are made to meet the crane’s particular dimensions and needs. It can replace any existing load-bearing pin in the crane framework and measure the force applied to it. It can manage loads ranging from 100 kg to more than 1500 kg.

How to Choose the Right Overhead Crane Load Cell for Your Application

The best load cell for an overhead crane application will rely on a number of variables, including:

  • Capacity: The load cell should have a capacity that is equal to or greater than the heaviest weight that the crane is capable of lifting. Additionally, the load cell must have a safe overload limit that guards against harm in the event of an unintentional overload.
  • Accuracy: The load cell’s accuracy should be at least as accurate as the measurement’s needed precision and resolution. Temperature, humidity, vibration, and calibration are a few examples of variables that may have an impact on the accuracy of the load cell.
  • Environment: The load cell should have a rating for environmental protection that is appropriate for the circumstances of crane operation. The load cell needs to be resistant to elements including shock, fatigue, dust, moisture, corrosion, and shock.
  • Installation: The load cell’s installation procedure needs to be compatible with the crane’s current structure and parts. The performance and safety of the load cell should not be compromised in order for it to be simple to install, align, and secure.
  • Compatibility: The load cell’s output signal needs to be able to work with the crane’s monitoring and control display or control system. The load cell should also include a communication protocol that enables data transmission and configuration.

Examples of various applications and appropriate load cells for them include:

  • For a gantry crane that lifts huge containers in a port, a shackle or clamp load pin can be used to replace the existing pin in the hook block and measure the weight of the container.
  • For a bridge crane that raises steel beams in a factory, a bow-type load shackle can be utilized to attach to the sling or wire rope of the hook block and measure the tension force on it. This load cell has a medium capacity, accuracy, and environmental protection rating, and it is easy to install and compatible with the majority of display and control systems.
  • At a building site, a compression load cell can be used to measure the compressive force of a jib crane lifting bags of cement. This can be mounted between two flanges on the hook block or sling. This load cell has a low capacity, accuracy, and environmental protection rating, and it is simple to install and compatible with the majority of display and control systems.
  • Concrete blocks can be lifted with the help of a tower crane by installing a tension load cell in series with a chain or wire rope attached to the hook block or sling.
  • This load cell has a low capacity, accuracy, and environmental protection rating, and it is simple to install and compatible with most display and control systems.
  • A custom-designed load pin can be utilized to meet the precise dimensions and needs of the crane and assess the force exerted on it while lifting things with irregular shapes using a specially designed crane. This sort of load cell has a configurable capacity, accuracy, and environmental protection rating, and it can be installed and used with any display or control system.

How to Install and Calibrate an Overhead Crane Load Cell

In order to properly install and calibrate an overhead crane load cell, there are a few fundamental precautions and processes to follow. For example, before installing the load cell, ensure that the crane is turned off, locked out, tagged out, and secured from any movement or operation.

  • To install the load cell between the crane’s load block and hoist hook, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Verify that the load cell is aligned, tightened, and fastened in accordance with the guidelines.
  • Connect the load cell to a display or control system with cables or wireless modules. Ensure that the connections are accurate, reliable, and interference-free.
  • Test the load cell’s accuracy by using a calibration tool or a known weight. For setting up the calibration parameters, such as the zero point, span, units, decimal point, etc., refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Lift various loads within the load cell’s capacity range to evaluate the load cell’s performance. Verify the readings to see if they are precise, reliable, consistent, and within tolerance.

How to Maintain and Troubleshoot an Overhead Crane Load Cell

A load cell used in an overhead crane needs to be maintained, and problems should be resolved using some general guidelines.

Clean the load cell and its components using a soft cloth and a light detergent. Useless materials that could harm the load cell or its sensors should not be used.

Look for any loose, broken, or frayed wires in the load cell’s connections, cables, and display or control system. It is necessary to replace any damaged cables or connectors as soon as possible.

Periodically check the load cell’s calibration and performance using a known weight or a calibration tool. Recalibrate the load cell in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions if the readings are unreliable, unstable, inconsistent, or outside of tolerance.

If the load cell is unresponsive, emits an error message, or gives inconsistent readings, try the following troubleshooting steps:

Verify that the power supply is turned on and sufficient for the load cell and its display or control system. Replace or replenish the batteries, or utilize an alternate power source if necessary.

Verify whether the load cell is loaded too much or too little. If so, adjust the load cell’s weight until it is within the acceptable range.

Examine the load cell to see if it is impacted by any outside elements like temperature, humidity, vibration, or electromagnetic interference. If so, either relocate the load cell to a better place or separate it from the interference source.

  • Check if the load cell is damaged or defective. If so, contact the manufacturer or a professional service provider for repair or replacement.
  • If the issue continues or you are unable to resolve it on your own, get in touch with the product maker or a reputable service provider.

Conclusion

An overhead crane load cell is a device that measures the weight of the hoisted load in real-time and delivers input to a display or control system. By avoiding overloading or underloading, triggering alerts or brakes, and maximizing production, using an overhead crane load cell can increase safety and efficiency. Overhead crane load cells are classified into several varieties based on their capacity, accuracy, environment, installation, and compatibility. Installing and calibrating an overhead crane load cell necessitates a few standard steps and safeguards. An overhead crane load cell requires maintenance and troubleshooting; thus, it’s important to follow some guidelines and standard fixes.

What is an overhead crane?

A horizontal beam that travels along two tracks on either side of a workplace makes up an overhead crane, a particular kind of crane. The crane can lift and transfer big goods across a wide region since the beam and a hoist can travel along the rails and along the beam, respectively.

What is a load cell?

A load cell is a device that transforms force into a measurable and visible electrical signal. Strain gauges, which vary their resistance when stretched or compressed by an applied force, are used in load cells to measure the weight of an object.

What are the benefits of using an overhead crane load cell?

A: Using an overhead crane load cell can increase efficiency and safety by preventing overloading or underloading, triggering alarms or stops, and increasing production.

What are the types of overhead crane load cells?

A few of the most popular kinds of overhead crane load cells are the shackle/clevis load pin, bow-type load shackle, compression load cell, tension load cell, and custom-design load pin.

How do you choose the right overhead crane load cell for your application?

The best overhead crane load cell for your application will rely on a number of variables, including capacity, accuracy, environment, installation, and compatibility.

How do I install and calibrate an overhead crane load cell?

To install and calibrate a load cell for an overhead crane, there are a few important steps and precautions to keep in mind. Firstly, ensure that the crane is turned off and secured. Next, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install and connect the load cell. Then, calibrate the load cell using a known weight or calibration device and test its performance by lifting different loads.

How do I maintain and troubleshoot an overhead crane load cell?

To maintain and fix a load cell, it is essential to inspect and clean it and its components regularly. Check and replace any damaged or faulty cables or connectors periodically. Verify and recalibrate the load cell periodically, and troubleshoot any issues by examining power supply loading conditions. These are some important tips and common solutions for maintaining and troubleshooting an overhead crane load cell. actors damage or defect, contacting the manufacturer or service provider if needed.

What is the capacity range of overhead crane load cells?

The capacity range of overhead crane load cells varies based on the kind and design of the load cell. The capacity range can typically be found between 100 kg and 1500+ tons.

What is the accuracy range of overhead crane load cells?

The accuracy range of overhead crane load cells varies based on the kind and design of the load cell. The accuracy range can typically be found between 0.1% and 0.5% of the full scale.

What is the environmental protection rating of overhead crane load cells?

A: The environmental protection grade of overhead crane load cells varies based on the kind and design of the load cell. In general, the environmental protection rating might range from IP65 to IP68, indicating that the load cell is protected from the elements and can withstand dust, water, corrosion, shock, and fatigue.

What is the output signal of overhead crane load cells?

The output signal of overhead crane load cells varies depending on the kind and design of the load cell. The output signal can typically be either digital or analog, such as mV/V, mA, V, RS232, RS485, Modbus, CANbus, etc.

What is the communication protocol of overhead crane load cells?

The communication protocol of overhead crane load cells differs based on the kind and design of the load cell. In general, communication protocols like USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, etc. can be wired or wireless.

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