For most types of automated control systems on lines or for equipment where tension has to be maintained, load cells are used as the way to provide the precision measurement required. The load cell operates by sensing a change in tension or force and then converting that movement into an electrical signal.
The use of a load cell amplifier comes after the load cell completes the measurement. This is a component that reads the signal and completes what is known as signal conditioning to provide the necessary output that can be utilized by automatic systems that control brakes and drives on a system.
The most common reason for the use of a load cell amplifier is the often weak signal that is produced by the load cell itself. Without the ability to amplify the signal, the slight variations in force would be recognized by the load cell, but would not generate a strong enough signal to be detected by the automated equipment sensors.
What to Consider
It is important to realize that the amplifier for the load cell doesn’t actually read the force or change the information coming from the load cell. It simply enhances or amplifies the data in a way that is uniform and consistent.
There are different types of amplifiers designed to work with various load cells. The two basic options are the digital or analog models. They do need to be selected to match the type of load cell.
Some load cell amplifier models work on a single channel while others are more flexible and can be used in a wider range of applications. Many manufacturers of load tensioning systems recommend the use of their amplifiers in a tension control system while others are universal in their application and use.