Load Cell Technology
Traditional load cells are the most well-known transducers for measuring force. Strain gauges, piezoelectric elements, and variable capacitance are all examples of load cell technology. In more recent years, thin and flexible, but accurate technology has advanced to become a viable alternative to the load cell.
Load Cell Alternative: Piezoresistive Sensors
FlexiForce® piezoresistive sensors are an unobtrusive, economical alternative to the traditional load cell. The FlexiForce sensor consists of a proprietary piezoresistive material sandwiched between two pieces of flexible polyester film with printed silver conductors on each inner half. The conductive traces form electrical connections to external circuits, resulting in a paper-thin (8 mils thick) sensor. These sensors are available for purchase online.
Bottom line: when precision is crucial, a load cell is the solution. In applications where space and price are important factors, FlexiForce sensors, with ±3% linearity and low-cost off-the-shelf options, are the right choice.Download this free Ebook by Tekscan engineers and Machine Design magazine to learn more about force sensing technologies and when thin & flexible piezoresistive force sensors are a good alternative to the load cell.
Piezoresistive sensor construction
Choosing FlexiForce Over a Load Cell
SSI Wireless President Michele Mordacq describes her company's rationale for selecting FlexiForce technology over a load cell for a recent project involving development of an inventory management prototype system:
"From all available force sensing technologies, we selected the FlexiForce as the best combination of durability, price, and accuracy. Highly accurate devices cost too much, and that level of accuracy was unnecessary anyway. As long as measurements lay within a few ounces, it was good enough. Load cells proved too big because they interfered with system operation."
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