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CONVENTIONAL CALIBRATION

VPG TRANSDUCERS The conventional method of rationalising load cell outputs creates problems when load cells are connected in parallel. Multiple load cell systems normally require the individual adjustment of each load cell output to ensure that weight measurements are within tolerance for weight placements within prescribed areas. The individual load cell adjustments are very time-consuming, particularly Application VPG-05 Load Cells for high-capacity systems or in hostile environments where containers may need to Note be emptied and filled several times during calibration.

Current Calibration Traditionally, load cell specification sheets quote the rated output of each load cell in voltage, usually mV/V, with a "rationalised" tolerance of 0.1% ( 2 0.002 mV/V ). However when connected in parallel, each load cell will be loaded with the output impedance of the other load cells. As a result the system needs further adjustment in the field to be accurate. Conventional Calibration
The conventional method of rationalizing load cell The figure opposite shows the electrical outputs creates problems when load cells are connected in diagram of load four cells, connected in parallel. Multiple cellload systems normally require the parallel. Each load cell load can be as a individual adjustment of each cell represented output to ensure thatvoltage weight measurements are within for weight source "U" with tolerance resistance "Ro" placements within prescribed areas. The individual load (output resistance). cell adjustments are very time-consuming, particularly for high-capacity systems or in hostile environments where containers may need to be emptied and filled several times Calculations are better understandable when during thecalibration. Norton equivalent circuit is used. The load

cell is now as a sheets current source, Traditionally, loadrepresented cell specification quote the rated outputcurrent of each through load cell the in voltage, usually mV/V, driving parallel combination with a "rationalized" tolerance of 0.1% ( 2 0.002 mV/V ). of the load cell source impedances, where I = However when connected in parallel, each load cell will be U /with Ro. the output impedance of the other lo ad cells. loaded As a result the system needs further adjustment in the field to be accurate. the shows following four conventional calibrated load cells are connected in parallel and TheExample, figure opposite the electrical diagram of four as a current source, driving current through the parallel load cells, connected in parallel. Each load cell can be supplied with an excitation voltage of 10 Vdc: combination of the load cell source impedances, where represented as a voltage source "U " with resistance "Ro" I = U / Ro. (output resistance). LC Capacity Rated output (mV/V) Output (mV) the following Rout () four conventional Current (mA) Example, calibrated Calculations are better understandable when the Norton load cells are connected in parallel and supplied with an 1 2.001 20.01 350.50 0.0571 equivalent circuit1000 is used. The load cell is now represented excitation voltage of 10 Vdc:
2 3
LC 4
1

1000 1000

2.001 2.000

20.01 20.00

352.00 351.50

0.0569 0.0569

Capacity 1000

Rated Output (mV/V) 2.002

Output 20.02 (mV)

Rout () 351.00

Current (mA) 0.0570

Total

4000

1000

2.0011)

2.001

20.011)

20.01

87.812)

350.50

0.2279

0.0571

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

2)
3 4 Total

1) 2

The combined load cell output equals the arithmetic 20.01 mean value of the individual 1000 2.001 352.00load cell outputs. 0.0569 2) 1/Rt = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4
1000 1000 4000 2.000 2.002 2.001(1) 20.00 20.02 20.01(1) 351.50 351.00 87.81(2) 0.0569 0.0570 0.2279

1) The combined load cell output equals the arithmetic mean value of the individual load cell outputs 2) 1/Rt = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 + 1/R4

VISHAY REVERE TRANSDUCERS

APPLICATION NOTE 10/06-08/02 Page 1

Document Number: 11860 Revision 12-Dec-2011

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VPG-05
VPG Transducers Current Calibration
The combined output can also be calculated by multiplying the total current with the combined resistance: U = It * Rt = 0.2279 * 87.81 = 20.012 20.01 mV These calculations show clearly that the system needs further "corner" adjustment to be accurate. This is usually done in a junction box (signal- or excitation trim), using fixed or variable resistors. But this method has major disadvantages: Additional temperature-sensitive resistors are being introduced into the system. Selection of these resistors can be very time-consuming and require the use of deadweights. The process of adjustment must be repeated each time a load cell is exchanged. A solution used by some load cell manufacturers to improve the overall result is to supply separate resistors with each load cell for use in the output lines to balance up the output resistances. However this does not solve the problem of fitting extra resistors and again these must be changed when any load cell is exchanged.

The reading when applying a test load of 500 kg on each individual load cell will be: Load Applied on LC 1-2-3-4
500-0-0-0 0-500-0-0 0-0-500-0 0-0-0-500

Total Total Current It Output Uo


0.028545 0.028423 0.028450 0.028519 2.5056 2.4958 2.4982 2.5043

Reading M
501.05 498.91 499.39 500.61

where: It=T*S*E / Ro*E max Uo=It*Rt M=Uo*N*E max / Uoc It T S E Ro U o Rt M N Total current (mA) Test load (kg) Rated output LCx (mV/V) Excitation voltage (V) Output resistance LCx () Total output (mV) Combined resistance () Reading (kg) Number of load cells =4 = 20.01 = 87.81 = 10 = 500

In General
Typical conventional calibration specifications are: Tolerance on rated output: 0.1% (absolute error 0.2%) Tolerance on output resistance: 1.0% (absolute error 2.0%) By combining the three formulas above, it can be recognized that the maximum corner difference is based only on the tolerance on rated output and output resistance: M=(T*E*Rt*N / Uoc)*(S / Ro)=Const*(S / Rt) Hence, the maximum corner difference will be:

E max Rated capacity load cell (kg) = 1000

(0.22 + 2.02) = 2.01%

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Uoc Combined output (mV)

The readings are based on a full scale calibration. The zero balance (output at no-load) is considered to be 0 mV/V. Hence, if the load cell is not loaded, the current will also be 0 mA. The example above considers a test load which only acts on one of the four load cells. In practice the test load will be unequally divided over all load cells because of the structure (platform/hopper) of the system. The absolute errors will therefore be smaller, but still considerable. If all load cells were loaded with 500 kg, the total reading will be 501.05 + 498.91 + 499.39 + 500.61 = 1999.96 2000 kg.

Current Calibration makes external balancing resistors unnecessary; allows much quicker on-site set up and calibration; and enables load cells to be replaced in the field without any need to readjust the system. Current calibrated load cells are rationalized in terms of current output, rather than in terms of voltage output. During production of load cell "LCx", the output resistance "R x" is measured. The desired output is then calculated by: Ux = Iref * R x After this calculation the required value for "Ux" is obtained by means of the internal calibration resistors to an accuracy of 0.05%, resulting in identical output current tolerances for each load cell.

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Document Number: 11860 Revision 12-Dec-2011

VPG-05
VPG Transducers Current Calibration
Example, the following four current calibrated load cells are connected in parallel and supplied with an excitation voltage of 10 Vdc: LC
1 2 3 4 Total

Capacity
1000 1000 1000 1000 4000

Rated Output (mV/V)


1.9943 2.0029 2.0000 1.9972 1.9986

Output (mV)
19.943 20.029 20.000 19.972 19.986

Rout ()
350.50 352.00 351.50 351.00 87.81

Current (mA)
0.0569 0.0569 0.0569 0.0569 0.2276

The total output can be calculated by multiplying the total current with the combined resistance: U = It * Rt = 0.2276 * 87.81 = 19.986 mV The total output when applying a test load of 500 kg on each individual load cell will be: Load Applied on LC 1-2-3-4
500-0-0-0 0-500-0-0 0-0-500-0 0-0-0-500

All load cells should be placed on the same horizontal level (corrections can be made by placing thin plates underneath the load cell with minor output). The load should be transmitted vertically through the load cell (2 out of the perpendicular is already causing an error of approximately 0.061%).

Total Total Current It Output Uo


0.028450 0.028450 0.028450 0.028450 2.4982 2.4982 2.4982 2.4982

Reading M
499.99 499.99 499.99 499.99

Load Cell Replacement


Although current calibrated load cells remove the need for corner adjustment, calibration should always be checked after replacing a load cell. If the load cell as a current source is considered to be a constant factor, it can be recognized that the calibration change is directly related to the change of combined resistance; Uo=It*Rt=Const*Rt Hence, the change of calibration can be calculated by: M (M / N)*a (%) Number of load cells to be replaced Number of load cells in the system Resistance change in percentages: ((mR new - mRold) / mRold) * 100% Where: N a

The above calculations show clearly that the system needs NO further "corner" adjustment to be accurate.

In General
Typical current calibration specifications are: Tolerance on rated output: 1.0% Tolerance on output resistance: 1.0% Tolerance on output current, Iref : 0.05% (absolute error 0.1%) This results in a maximum corner difference of 0.1% , approximately 20 times better than conventional calibrated load cells. The manner in which the load is transmitted through the load cell has a major impact on the accuracy and repeatability. Current calibrated load cells only perform without corner load differences in a multiple cell system when they are correctly installed:
Document Number: 11860 Revision 12-Dec-2011

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Example, a load cell with an output resistance of 350.5 will be replaced by a load cell with an output resistance of 353.0. The application has a total of four load cells. The resistance change will be: (353.0-350.5 / 350.5)*100% = 0.71% (M/N)*0.71% = (1/4)*0.71% = 0.18% The calibration change will be:

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VPG TRANSDUCERS

Load Cells

Application Note VPG-08

Load Cell Troubleshooting


Scope
Load cells are designed to sense force or weight under a wide range of adverse conditions; they are not only the most essential part of an electronic weighing system, but also the most vulnerable. Load cells m ight be damaged because of (shock) overloading, lightning strikes or heavy electrical surges in general, chemical or moisture ingress, mishandling (dropping, lifting on cable, etc.), vibration or internal component malfunction. As a direct result the scale or system might (zero) drift, provide unstable/unreliable readings or not register at all. This application note is written to assist our customers with potential load cell problems. It describes basic field tests which can be performed on site, and provides the information necessary to interpret the results. Proper field evaluation is absolutely critical to prevent similarly induced damage in the future! Under no circumstances should fault location, as described below, be attempted on load cells installed in a hazardous area! Visually inspect the load cells before performing the tests as described on the following pages. Pay particular attention to signs of corrosion (especially around the critical gauge area), the integrity of the cable (might be compromised due to cuts, abrasions, etc) and the condition of the cable entry. The following test equipment is required to properly evaluate a load cell: A high quality, calibrated, digital volt- and ohmmeter with a measuring accuracy of 0.5 and 0.1 mV, to measure the zero balance and integrity of the bridge circuit. A megohm meter, capable of reading 5000 M with an accuracy of 500 M at 50 volts, to measure the insulation resistance. Do not use megohm meters which supply more than 50 volts to the load cell, in order to prevent permanent damage! A means to lift the dead load (weighbridge, tank, hopper, conveyor, etc.) off the load cell to be able to measure the zero balance or to remove the load cell(s), i.e. a crane, hydraulic jack, etc. Load cells are produced according to specifications and tolerances which are described in the applicable data sheet. More detailed information can be found on the calibration certificate which is packed with each load cell. The calibration certificate mentions the exact values for the input and output resistance, insulation resistance, zero balance, rated output and the correct wiring code; it provides an important reference for the values which can be measured and should be f iled with the system documentation set.

In General
Carefully check the system integrity before evaluating the load cells: Check for force shunts (might be caused by dirt, mechanical misalignment or accompanying components such as stay- or check rods). Check for damage, corrosion or significant wear in the areas of load introduction. Check cable connections to junction box and indicator. Check the measuring device or indicator with an accurate load cell simulator.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Document Number: 11867 Revision 14-Dec-2011

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Test #1 Zero Balance

OK

VPG-08
VPG Transducers Load Cell Troubleshooting
Wrong

Test #2 Insulation Resistance

OK

Te Br Inte

Wrong

Moisture or chemical overload Test Procedures andfor Analysis The diagram below represents a proposed sequence testing load cells after a particular system ingress the fault location byfor moving relatively small deadweight over each load cell, The malfunction. diagram below Isolate represents a proposed sequence testing a load cells after a particular system malfunction. Isolate the faultor location by moving a relatively small by disconnecting load cell by deadweight load cell. over each load cell, or by disconnecting load cell by load cell. R 1k
Sudden change in Zero point Unstable readings, random change in Zero point Scale reads overload, incorrect or not at all Erratic readings when load is applied or removed Short circuit

TEST PROCEDURES AND ANALYSIS Mechanical

Electrica or in shor

to housing / screen

Brok or com

Test #1 Zero Balance

OK

TEST #1: ZERO BALANCE


Wrong Mechanical overload

Test #2 Insulation Resistance

OK

Test #3 Bridge Integrity

OK

Test #4 Shock Resistance

OK

Wrong Wrong The Zero Balance is defined as the load Wrong cell output in a "no-lo deadload) has to beElectrical removed from the load cell. Low capacity load c Moisture overload Failed electrical or chemical or internal connection the ingress load cell is designed to measure force to prevent the weight of the short circuit The load cell should be connected to a stable power supply, preferab R1 R R 1kk R 4 of at least 10 volts. Disconnect any other load cell for multiple load c Measure across Short circuit the voltage Broken wire the load cell's output leads with a milli to housing / screen or component excitation voltage to obtain the Zero Balance in mV/V. Compare the certificate ( if available ) or to the data sheet.

The Zero Balance is defined as the load cell output in Input The Zero BalanceTherefore, is defined all as weight the load cell output in a "no-load" situation. Therefore, all weight (including a "no-load" situation. (including deadload) has has to be removed from the Lowcapacity load cells should be measured in the position in which deadload) to be removed from theload load cell. Low ~ capacity cells be to measured theto position the load cell isshould designed measure in force preventin the weight of the element giving wrong results. whichThe the load load cell cell should is designed to measure force topower prevent be connected to a stable supply, preferably a load cell indicator with an excitation voltage the weight of the element giving wrong results. of at least 10 volts. Disconnect any other load cell for multiple load cell systems.

TEST #1: ZERO BALANCE

Test #1: Zero Balance

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Measure the voltage across the cell's output leads with a millivoltmeter and divide this value by the input or The load cell should be connected to aload stable power supply, excitation voltage to obtainwith the Zero Balance in mV/V. Compare the Zero balance to the original load cell calibration preferably a load cell indicator an excitation voltage ( if available ) or to the other data sheet. of at certificate least 10 volts. Disconnect any load cell for Output multiple load cell systems. V
Measure the voltage across the load cell's output leads Input with a millivoltmeter and divide this value by the input ~ or excitation voltage to obtain the Zero Balance in mV/V. Compare the Zero balance to the original load cell calibration certificate ( if available ) orANALYSIS to the data sheet.
V

in the strain gauge resistance Changes in Zero undergoing Balancea change usually occur if the loadbecause cell has been Analysis Output of chemical or moisture intrusion. However, in this case excessive shocks.the Load cells that experience progressive zero ou insulation resistance and/or the bridge integrity will Changes in Zero Balance usually occur if the load cell also be has been permanently deformed by overloading and/or undergoing a change incompromised. the strain gauge resistance because of chem excessive shocks. Load cells that experience progressive the insulation resistance and/or the bridge integrity will also be comp ANALYSIS

zero output changes per time period are most likely

Changes in Zero Balance usually occur if the load cell has been permanently deformed by overloading and/or the insulation resistance and/or the bridge integrity will also be compromised.

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The insulation resistance is measured between the load cell circuit a VPG Transducers cell from the junction box or indicator and connect all input, output a Input Measure the insulation resistance with a megohmmeter between the the measurement between the same 4 or 6 leads and Load body. Cell Repeat Troubleshooting resistance between the load cell body and cable shield. Never use a megohmmeter to measure the input or output resistan Outputvoltage by far! Test #2: Insulation Resistance exceeds the maximum excitation
The insulation resistance is measured between the load cell circuit and element or cable shield. Disconnect the load cell from the junction box or indicator and connect all input, output and sense (if applicable) leads together.

body. Repeat the measurement between the same 4 or 6 leads and the resistance between the load cell body and cable shield. Never use a megohmmeter to measure the input or output resistance, TEST #2: INSULATION RESISTANCE exceeds the maximum excitation voltage by far! VPG-08

Input

ANALYSIS Measure the insulation resistance with a megohmmeter between these four or six connected leads and the load cell The insulation resistance of all load cells should be 5000 M or more fo body. Repeat the measurement between the same 4 or 6 cable screen and housing to cable screen. leads and the cable shield. Finally measure the insulation Output A lower value indicates electrical leakage, which is usually caused by mo resistance between the load cell body and cable shield.
Never use a megohmmeter to measure the input or output Electrical leakage resistance, as it normally operates at a voltage which exceeds temperature. the maximum excitation voltage by far!

the load cell or cable. Extremely low values ( 1k ) indicate a short cir results usually in unstable load cell or scale reading ou

Analysis

load cell or cable. low values (1k 5000 ) indicate a or mor The insulation resistance of all load cells should be The insulation resistance of Extremely all load cells should be M short circuit rather than moisture ingress. 5000 M or more for bridge circuit to housing, bridge cable screen and housing to cable screen. circuit to cable screen and housing to cable screen. TEST #3: BRIDGE INTEGRITY Electrical leakage results usually which in unstable load cell A lower value indicates electrical leakage, is usually caused b or scale reading output. The stability might vary with A lower value indicates electrical leakage, which is usually the load cell or cable. Extremely low values ( 1k ) indicate a shor bridge is verified by measuring the input and output resistan temperature. caused by moisture or chemical contaminations The within the integrity

ANALYSIS

Test #3: Bridge Integrity

Electrical leakage usually in unstable load cell or scale readin Disconnect the load results cell from the junction box or measuring device. The input and output resistance is measured with an ohmmeter across eac temperature. the input and output resistance to the original calibration certificate (if av The bridge balance is obtained by comparing the resistance from -output difference between both values should be smaller than, or equal to 1 .

The bridge integrity is verified by measuring the input and TEST #3: output resistance as well as the bridge balance. Disconnect the load cell from the junction box or measuring device.

BRIDGE INTEGRITY
Input

The bridge integrity is verified by measuring the input and output res The input and output resistance is measured with an Disconnect the load cell from the junction box or measuring device. ohmmeter across each pair of input and output leads. The input and output resistance is measured with an ohmmeter acros Compare the input and output resistance to the original calibration certificate (if available) or to the data sheet and output resistance to the original calibration certificate ( the input specifications. The bridge balance is obtained by comparing the resistance from -ou Output The bridge balance is obtained by comparing the between both values difference should be smaller than, or equal to 1
A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E
resistance from -output to -input, and -output to +input. The difference between both values should be smaller than, or equal to 1.

Analysis

Input

ANALYSIS result from over-voltage (lightning or welding), physical Changes in bridge resistance or bridge balance are most resistance or bridge balance most excessive often caused by damage from shock, vibration or are fatigue, often caused by a broken or burned wire, anChanges electrical in bridge temperature, or from production inconsistencies. component failure or internal short circuit. This might failure component or internal short circuit. This might result fromover-v damage from shock, vibration or fatigue, excessive temperature, or from
Output

Document Number: 11867 Revision 14-Dec-2011

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VPG-08
VPG Transducers

TEST #4: SHOCK RESISTANCE

Test #4: Shock Resistance

The load cell should be connected to a stable power supply, preferabl of at least 10 volts. Disconnect all other load cells for multiple load ce With a voltmeter connected to the output leads, lightly rap on the load Load Cell Troubleshooting Exercise extreme care not to overload low capacity load cells while te Watch the readings during the test. The readings should not become e return to original zero readings.
Input

The load cell should be connected to a stable power supply, preferably a load cell indicator with an excitation voltage of at least 10 volts. Disconnect all other load cells for multiple load cell systems. With a voltmeter connected to the output leads, lightly rap on the load cell with a small mallet to mildly shock it. Exercise extreme care not to overload low capacity load cells while testing their shock resistance. Watch the readings during the test. The readings should not become erratic, should remain reasonably stable and return to original zero readings.

Output
V

Analysis

Erratic readings may indicate a failed electrical connection Erratic readings may indicate a failed electrical or a damaged glue layer between strain gauge and element element as a result of an electrical transient. as a result of an electrical transient.

ANALYSIS

connection or a dama

Load Cell Evaluation Form

LOAD CELL EVALUATION FORM

The following load cell evaluation form should be used as a guide for the testing and evaluation of load cells. We recommend that this form be included in the customer dossier and used as the basis to discuss the test results and diagnostics with third parties.

A load cell evaluation form is included in this application for testing and cells. We recommend this If a load cell is returned to VPG Transducers, the Evaluation Form will evaluating assist our repair load department in further diagnostics and repair of the cell. and its use as a basis to discuss the test results and diagnost If a load cell is returned to Vishay Revere Transducers, th department in further diagnostics and repairing the cell.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Customer support:

The Vishay Revere Transducers combines sixty years of lo application know how. For further information, please con one of our regional sales offices.

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Vishay Revere Transducers B.V.

Document Number: 11867 Revision 14-Dec-2011

VPG-08
VPG Transducers Load Cell Troubleshooting
Load Cell Evaluation Form
Company:________________________________________________ Contact person:___________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________ City / Country:___________________________________ Tel. / Fax.:__________________________________________________ Repair order:__________ Date:____________________ Load cell type:______________________________________________ Serial number:___________________________________ Capacity:_________________________________________________ Accuracy grade:___________________________________ Short description of system failure and application:______________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Visual Inspection
Label Condition Corroded parts Affected by chemicals OK Like new Broken welds Weld(s) Housing/element No Unreadable Cable cut Visual mechanical overload J-box/cable entry Top/bottom plate Unknown Missing J-box damage Dents/cracks in parts Diaphragm Bellow/tube/cubs Yes: _______________

Electrical Inspection
Bridge Measurements
Zero balance Input resistance Output resistance Output to input Out put to input +

Actual
mV/V

Specification
1% of rated span 1% 1% difference 1%

Conclusion
OK OK OK OK OK

Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong

Insulation Resistance
Bridge to housing Bridge to shield Shield to housing

Actual
M M M

Specification
5000 M 5000 M 5000 M

Conclusion
OK OK OK

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Expected Reason for Failure


Moisture ingress Electrical transients Short circuit Mechanical overload Broken wire/component Excessive corrosion Excessive heat Broken cable

Other: ____________________________________________

Recommendation
Return load cell to supplier for further evaluation and repair (if possible) Return load cell to supplier for warranty Load cell beyond (economic) repair ________________________________________________________________________________
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Document Number: 11867 Revision 14-Dec-2011

VPG TRANSDUCERS

Load Cells

Application Note VPG-04

Environmental Conditions
Scope
Most of the process industries rely heavily upon strain gage based load cells for accurate and consistent weight data and expect them to perform under a wide range of adverse conditions, including mechanical and chemical attack. The problem is that premature failure of load cells can have far reaching effects on the overall processes, and have a consequent impact on cost, safety and product reputation. Replacing a load cell in the field will involve not only the cost of the component itself, but also the expenses associated with labour, downtime and re-calibration. There are several factors that can cause load cell failure, one of the most important is the environment. This application note takes a look at the effects the environment can have on load cells and offers guidelines on how to minimize these effects through proper selection and application. In addition,existing load cell classification standards are overviewed. Protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against the ingress of solid foreign objects. Protection of equipment inside the enclosure against harmful effects due to the ingress of water. The IP code consists of five categories or brackets identified by a number or letter that indicate the degree of some element to the standard. The first characteristic number relates to access to the hazardous part by persons or solid foreign objects. A number from 0 - 6 defines the physical size of the accessing object. Numbers 1 and 2 relate to solid objects and parts of the human anatomy, while 3 to 6 relate to solid objects such as tools, wire and dust particles. As shown in the accompanying table on the next page, the higher the number, the smaller the accessing object. Most load cell manufacturers use the number 6 for this category to signify that their products are dust tight. However the effectiveness of this classification depends on what constitutes an enclosure. Of particular significance here are load cells of a more open nature, such as single point cells, where the introduction of a tool, such as a screwdriver, could have catastrophic results even though the load cells are dust tight with regard to the critical components. The second characteristic number relates to the entrance of water with what is described as harmful effects. Unfortunately, the standard does not define harmful. Presumably, for electrical enclosures, the main problem with water could be one of electrical shock to persons in contact with the enclosures, rather than the malfunctioning of the unit. The characteristic describes conditions ranging from vertically dripping water, through spraying and jetting, to continuous immersion. Load cell manufacturers usually adopt either the 7 or the 8 designation for their products. However the standard clearly states that "An enclosure designated with a second characteristic number 7 or 8 is considered unsuitable for exposure to water jets (designated by the second characteristic 5 or 6) and need not comply with requirements for number 5 or 6 unless it is dual coded, e.g. IP66/IP68". In other words, under certain conditions and for certain product designs, a product that passed a half-hour immersion test may not necessarily pass one that involves high pressure water jets from all angles.

Classification Standards
No area of load cell operation causes more confusion and contention than that of environmental protection and sealing standards. Although the weighing and load cell industries have in-depth standards and test procedures to define load cell and weighing system performance, no standards have been developed to cover product suitability for specific environmental conditions. In the absence of such standards, most manufacturers have adopted the IP classification (Ingress Protection by IEC/EN60.529 or DIN 40.050) or National Electrical Ma nu fa c t u r e r s A s s o c i at ion St a nd a rd s ( N EM A) Publication 250 classifications to define the level of sealing for their products. Both standards are good test procedures for environmental sealing when applied to the products for which they were intended - those being electrical enclosures, but they are not very well suited to load cells.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

IP Classification
Protection of persons against access to hazardous parts inside the enclosure.

Document Number: 11861 Revision 04-Dec-2011

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VPG-04
VPG Transducers Environmental Conditions

IP First Number Protection Against Solid Objects


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 No protection Protected against solid objects up to 50 mm e.g. accidental touch by hands Protected against solid objects up to 12 mm e.g. fingers Protected against solid objects more than 2.5 mm e.g. tools and small wires Protected against solid objects more than 1 mm e.g. small wires Protected against dust-limited entrance (no harmful deposit) Totally protected against dust 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

IP Second Number Protection Against Liquids


No protection Protected against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation) Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15 from the vertical Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60 from the vertical Protected against water sprayed from all directions, limited entrance allowed Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions, limited entrance allowed Protected against strong jets of water e.g. for use on ship decks , limited entrance allowed Protected against the effects of immersion between 15 cm and 1 m Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

As with IP66 and IP67, IP68 conditions are set by the manufacturer of the product, but must be at minimum more severe than for IP67 (i.e. longer duration or greater depth of immersion). The requirements for IP67 are that the enclosure can withstand immersion to a maximum depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. While the IP standard is an acceptable starting point there are shortcomings: The IP definition of enclosure is too loose to be meaningful for load cells. The IP system only relates to water entrance and ignores moisture, chemicals etc. The IP system can not differentiate between load cells with different constructions with the same IP rating. No definition is given for the term "harmful effects", so the effect on load cell performance is open to interpretation.

use, and provide a degree of protection against windblown dust and rain, splashing water, and hose directed water. However, no consideration is given for the effects of internal condensation. NEMA 4X enclosures meet the same standards as NEMA 4 and are constructed of 304 stainless steel or other material offering equal corrosion resistance. NEMA 6 enclosures are used where there is a chance of temporary immersion. The standard calls for the highest part of the enclosure to remain submerged in water, with its highest point 1.83 metres below the surface for 30 minutes. NEMA 6P enclosures are used where prolonged immersion may occur and resistance to corrosion is needed. While it may seem that NEMA standards offer some advantages over the IP system for corrosion resistance, they only relate to external corrosion of enclosures. This is very limited when applied to the more complex load cell construction and the different effects of corrosion or water. Also, neither system concerns itself with internal condensation or the subject of cable entry into the enclosures.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

NEMA Classification
Classifications in the NEMA system run from NEMA 1 to NEMA 12, but load cell manufacturers concern themselves with NEMA 4 and NEMA 6. Unlike the IP system, NEMA does concern itself with environmental conditions such as corrosion, rust, icing, oil and coolants. NEMA 4 enclosures are intended for indoor and outdoor
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Damp Heat Cycling


The IP standard clearly states that it does not deal with internal condensation or moisture within the enclosure, saying that this is the responsibility of the relevant product
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VPG-04
VPG Transducers Environmental Conditions

Relative humidity %

100 90 80 70 Time ( hr ) 0 3 12 13.5 18 24

Ambient temperature C

+ 50

+ 25

standard. However, moisture or condensation is of vital importance in load cell operation. Moisture may enter the inside of the load cell over a long period and have a catastrophic effect, especially when acids or alkalis are present. One test used to determine a load cells ability to withstand moisture or condensation is the Damp Heat Cycling Test. Although there are several versions of the test, the one most universally accepted is(IEC) 68-2-30. The object of the IEC standard is "To determine the suitability of components, equipment, or other articles for use and storage under conditions of high humidity when combined with cyclical temperature changes". It is obvious that this standard is a much more useful classification than the IP rating when it comes to defining load cell environmental suitability.
1 2 3 4 5 6 Open Potted Enclosed Enclosed Enclosed Hermetically Sealed IP64 IP65 IP67 IP66/IP67 IP66/IP68 IP66/IP68

Load cells certified to OIML R-60 are tested to withstand 12 damp heat cycles of 24 hours each. Load cells which are not suited to withstand this test should be marked with "NH"(non-humidity) behind the appropriate accuracy grade.

Load Cell Construction


Besides a given IP-rating or NEMA-classification load cells should also be classified according to their design in terms of cable entry, material of construction and gages sealing method. Load cells can be divided into six main groups in terms of sealing:

The gages have a minimum basic coating, but no formal potting Critical areas are covered with potting compound, but no mechanical protection Critical areas are fully potted and mechanically protected with rubber bellows or side plates; have standard cable entry Critical areas (are potted) and protected with welded covers (bellows, cups, etc.); have standard cable entry Critical areas (are potted) and protected with welded covers and have water block cable entry Critical areas (are potted) and protected with welded covers and have glass to metal sealed cable entry

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

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VPG-04
VPG Transducers Environmental Conditions
Whether or not the products 4 to 5 in the above listing meet the IP66 classification may depend upon how the load cells are used and whether additional mechanical protection is provided. In parallel with these six classifications, different load cells are constructed from different materials. The main ones are aluminium; copper beryllium; tool steelpainted;tool steel-nickel plated or stainless steel. Certain products may be a combination of these e.g. tool steelnickel plated body with stainless steel bellows or cups. Surface finish Weld areas around seals, bellows and cups Thickness of seals Varying construction materials High stress levels at loading points

The Cable Entry


Whilst it is relatively common to weld-seal critical areas on a load cell body, one potential problem area is the cable entry. A variety of methods are used to make sure cells are properly sealed at this point. 1) In some load cells the main cable enters through a conventional cable gland directly into the gage area. Regardless of how well the gage area is sealed, however moisture and solvents can penetrate either around the gland or through the centre of the cable itself. Often, temperature changes cause a pumping action to occur, pushing moisture down the inside of the cable. Entry also can be via a leaking junction box or through a damaged part of the cable. This can take some time to reach critical areas, but once there it will become sealed in place to do its damage. 2) An improvement on the cable gland is a water block at the point of cable entry. Here, the main cable terminates at for example a small circuit board with on-going wires leading tot he gage area. The block is fully potted to prevent moisture or other contaminants from reaching the critical areas. 3) The best solution is the use of a glass-to-metal cable entrance. This prevents any contamination from reaching the gage or other critical areas. In addition, the manufacturing process used must keep the load cell free from residue contaminations. The problem of residuals is usually solved by purging the internal cavity with helium. VPG Transducers model RLC is first filled with helium, which allows leaks to be found with conventional leak detection equipment and just before closing the load cell the helium will be replace by argon.

The environment itself plays a large part in how a particular load cell type behaves in practice. Salt water, for example,has different corrosion effects depending on the local circumstances. Stainless steel in stagnant salt water is subject to crevice corrosion and a regular wash down is necessary to avoid degradation. Unfortunately the term stainless steel has become synonymous with "no corrosion, no problem and no maintenance". While stainless steel load cells usually of fer opti mu m protection in most env iron ments, other factors should be taken into account. In certain applications,painted or plated load cells may offer better long-term protection.

Additional Coatings
Protective coatings are the oldest and most widely used method of corrosion control. Special paints are often used after installation to protect load cells and mounting hardware. However, the effectiveness of these is dependant upon initial surface preparation as well as the specific environment (care should be exercised when preparing the surface to prevent any damage to the load cell itself; if in doubt, please contact our manufacturing operation): One that provides an inert barrier against attack (paint) One that provides reactive (galvanic) protection, such as cadmium plating An alternative is wrap-around protective covers. These can provide good environmental protection, but can be selfdestructive if corrosive material is trapped inside the cover. Paint or plating can not always protect the load application point on certain load cell designs. The suitability of any paint-like protective coating should be checked with the end-user of the load cell as well as the supplier of the coating. The influence on accuracy after coating is usually negligible small, but the coating must be"f lexible" enough to withstand the def lection of the load cell. Very suitable flexible coatings with an excellent resistance to most harsh environments can often be found at a car-shop.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Corrosion Resistance
The corrosion resistance of load cells is a very complex subject, one that is further complicated by the variety of available configurations. As a result it is only possible to use standard corrosion charts as guidance for load cells. In addition, the following factors must be considered:

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Document Number: 11861 Revision 04-Dec-2011

VPG-04
VPG Transducers Environmental Conditions
Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is often overlooked or ignored by both load cell users and service companies. However, the regular service and maintenance of load cells in a weighing system will greatly improve their long-term reliability and performance as well as greatly reduce their sensitivity to corrosion. Maintenance inspections can be divided into two categories: Routine: Performed at periodic intervals, it includes the removal of any material or debris build-up from around the load cells and mounting fixtures. Serious damage can occur to the load cells if mounting systems do not function correctly. Any damage or degradation of surface coatings should be remedied and all cables and junction-boxes should be checked. To minimize the effects of flooding,any drainage systems in the pit should be free from debris. Where required, regular wash down of the load cell should be carried out to prevent chemical attack. Ad hoc: Made immediately after any adverse or unexpected events such as flash floods, gales, seismic activity or electrical storms. In general, careful consideration must be given to any reason for failure. If this has occurred as a result of ingress of water or chemicals, then continued deterioration of any other load cell(s) in the system can be expected, resulting in mechanical failure. This failure can have serious safety and cost consequences. The chart on the right should only be used as guidance. Acids, bases and salts in a solution of water. More information about specific substances is available on request. Resistance designation: 0 1 2 3 Not affected Slightly affected, additional protection recommended Severely affected, additional protection necessary Not applicable CH3 -COOH H2O4 (sulfuric acid)

Corrosion Chart
con (%)
0.0 1 2 5 10 20 20 25 40 >40 0.2

T (C)
60 20 60 35 20 20 35 25 20 >20 20 50 20 20 >20 65 20 Boil Boil Boil 102 108 Boil 20 Boil 20 Boil 20 Boil 20 Boil 20 Boil 65 <Boil

1.4542 1.4301
0 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 3 1 2 2 1 3 0 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 0 3 1 3 0 1 0 2 1 2 2 0

1.4403 1.4568
0 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 1 3 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0

HCI (hydrogen chloride)

0.2 1 2 >2 50 60 60 65 >90 30 50

HNO3 (nitric acid)

H3PO4 (phosphoric acid)

50 60 60 80 80 10 10 80 80 10 10 40 <100

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

HCOOH (formic acid) H2CO3

Chart continues next page

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VPG-04
VPG Transducers Environmental Conditions
Corrosion Chart (cont.)
con (%)
25 30

Conclusion
1.4403 1.4568
0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 3 0 0

T (C)
Boil Boil 20 Boil 20 Boil <Boil <Boil <Boil 20 820 30 >30 20 Boil 20 Boil 20 20 Boil 25 20 20 65 <Boil <Boil

1.4542 1.4301
0 2 0 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 2 0 1 1 2 0 1 2 0 2 3 0 3 0 0

NaOH (sodium hydroxide)

34 34 50 60

Selecting the wrong load cell for a particular application in terms of environmental compatibility can have far reaching consequences in terms of costs, safety and product reputation. Current classifications fall well short of defining adequate environmental standards for load cells. As a result,this subject needs careful review by both load cell users and manufacturers to ensure that clear guidelines are available. Users should be able to compare like-for-like features when selecting products from different manufacturers. If in doubt,they should ask pertinent questions relating to: Construction of the load cell Cable entry method Past experiences (long-term environmental success stories) For applications in harsh environments, additional protection for the load cells may be needed to assure their reasonable working life. This can be achieved with enhanced scale designs and the use of additional coatings on the load cell, such as paints, greases and plating. The scale or system design should minimize the possibility of material build-up around the cells. If appropriate, the design should also provide mechanical protection from the effects of direct water and solvents whilst cleaning. Sealing compounds and rubbers used on some load cells can deteriorate when exposed to chemicals or direct sunlight. Because they embrittle rubber, chlorine-based compounds are a particular problem. Load cells correctly selected and regularly maintained should be capable of a working life in excess of ten years. There are always exceptions, but the engineer needs to be able to obtain the optimum performance out of his or her selected load cells.

Ca(OH)2 NH4OH NaNO3 NA 2CO3 NaCI (sodium chloride)

<100 <100 <100 <100 100 <100 100 10 10 25 25 5 10 10 10 1 5 30 100 100

NH4CI

(NH4)2SO4 (ammonium sulfate) FeCI2 FeCI3 K 2CO3 HBr/HF Acetone Ether

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

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Document Number: 11861 Revision 04-Dec-2011

VPG TRANSDUCERS

Load Cells

Application Note VPG-06

Vessel Weighing
Scope
Load cells may be used to weigh vessels in various installation configurations. The installation of load cells into a practical field application requires following several basic rules as well as careful design attention if the system has to be accurate and provide a long, maintenance free span of operation. This application note describes the options and external influences, applicable for the design of a weighing vessel, such as type and number of load cells to use, mode of operation, overall accuracy required and piping. the deflection and output of each load cell should be equal for equal loading. The general considerations to design a weighing vessel are: Use a rigid foundation for maximum accuracy. Avoid force shunts between the foundation and the vessel as much as possible. Keep clearance around the vessel and sufficient clearance between the foundation and vessel. Try to incorporate a calibration facility on to the vessel. Avoid sloshing of liquids, by dividing the vessel into compartments. Pay attention to material entry and exit; avoid impact forces due to material flow. Realize the air flow and air pressure due to material flow. Pipe connections and other external equipment to the vessel should be as flexible as possible. For outdoor installation; realize the wind influence. System integrity is virtually important; use safety systems if necessary. Realize the influence of temperature differences of the vessel and its connections.

Accuracy
Accuracy requirements for load cells used in scales for trade are clearly defined by Weights and Measures Authorities. For process weighing applications it is more difficult to define accuracy and usually it is requested for a system "to be as accurate as possible". Calculating true system accuracy is possible by adding the individual errors of the external influences and should be done in the very early stage of design. Determined by the application, weighing systems can be divided into the following categories:
High accuracy Low accuracy 0.02% to 0.10% Scales for trade 0.50% to 5.00% Level detection

Mode of Operation
Load cells measure force in one of two directions; tension or compression. In the tensile mode the vessel is suspended from one or more load cells. In the compressive mode a vessel is supported by load cells.

Medium accuracy 0.10% to 0.50% General purpose

The maximum achievable system accuracy equals approximately 5000 divisions, i.e. 1 kg divisions for a weighing system with a capacity of 5 tons. However the accuracy of most process weighing applications is limited to approximately 750 divisions due to external influences.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Mechanical Considerations
It is a common misconception that a load cell can be considered as a solid piece of metal on which vessels, silos or hoppers can be supported. The performance of a load cell depends primarily on its ability to deflect under highly repeatable conditions when load is applied or removed. More importantly, if more than one load cell is used then

The use of a tension or compression system depends upon the mechanical structure around the vessel and the ease of making the system. If a vessel must be placed on an open concrete pad, compression will be a logical way to operate, because a tension system would require an expensive additional overhead supporting structure. As a general rule, if a suitable structure for a tension application is available, it is usually easier, more acceptable and less costly to suspend the vessel from one or more load cells up to a vessel capacity of 15 tons. When the vessel capacity exceeds this value, the physical size of the load cells and the tension rods become large, installation

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VPG-06

VPG Transducers

assemblies. Furthermore, a large tension system has a low natural frequency, which might cause the indicator to bounce up and down objectionable. Stiff, low deflection supporting members are therefore desirable. In theory, suspension of a vessel by a single load cell may be the ideal solution, but such tension installations are not usually feasible. Three of four point supports are the most commonly used configurations.

THE NUMBER OF LOAD CELLS


The number of load cells to support a vessel is usually fixed by the design of the vessel, especially for an existing system. The most ideal situation is to support a vessel by three load cells. If a weighing vessel is supported by four or more load cells and the stiffness of the vessel is to high, the construction might be statically undefined. becomes more difficult and there is more cost involved in In hardware this case than threeproviding or in the an worse case only making the required adequate base for compression assemblies. Furthermore, a weight. large A two load cells will bear the total tension system has a low natural frequency, which might high vertical vessel, especially with a cause the indicator to bounce up andstiff. down objectionable. closed top is very Stiff, low deflection supporting members are bear therefore When only two load cells the total desirable. weight, an overload situation on these cells might occur. measuring In theory, suspension of a vessel By by a single loadthe celloutput may of be the ideal solution, but individual such tension installations are not every load cell ( before filling usually feasible. Three four point supports are the most the of vessel ), such a situation can be commonly used configurations. recognized and corrected by placing shim plates underneath the cells with minor Theoutput. Number of Load Cells

Vessel Weighing

The number of load cells to support a vessel is usually fixed by the design of the vessel, especially for an existing system. The most ideal situation is to support a vessel by The load cells should be positioned in such a way that three load cells. If a weighing vessel is supported by four each load cell will bear the same amount of weight. This or more load cells VISHAY and the stiffness of theTRANSDUCERS vessel is to high, REVERE APPLICATION 07/07-06/03 2 on can be established byNOTE calculating the sum of Page moments the construction be statically undefined. In this case each side of the Centre Gravity (C of G) which should be The load might cells should be positioned in such a way that each load cellof will bear the same amount of three or in the worse case only two load cells will bear the equal. The moment of each individual load cell equals the weight. can be established by calculating thethat sum of moments on each of theamount Centre of of load cells should be positioned in a way each load cell bearside the same total The weight. A This high vertical vessel, especially with asuch closed product of the force andwill the perpendicular distance of that Gravity ( C of G ) which should be equal. The moment of each individual load cell equals the top is weight. very stiff.This can be established by calculating the sum on each side of the Centre of load cellof to moments the center of gravity. product of the force and the perpendicular distance of that load cell to the centre of gravity. Gravity C cells of G ) which should beoverload equal. The moment of each individual load cell equals the When only two ( load bear the total weight, an situation on these cells might occur. By measuring the product of the force and the perpendicular distance of that load cell to the centre of gravity. output of every individual load cell (before filling the
1/2 b 1/2 b 1/2 b 1/2 b 1/2 l 1/2 l 1/2 l 1/2 l

vessel), such a situation can be recognized and corrected by placing shim plates underneath the cells with minor output.

C of G C of G

1/2 b 1/2 1/2 b b 1/2 b

1/2 l 1/2 l

1/2 l 1/2 l

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by four load cells. Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by four load cells Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by four load cells.

1/2 b 1/2 b 1/2 1/2 b b 1/2 b 2/3 l 2/3 l 1/3 l 1/3 l 2/3 l 2/3 l 1/3 l 1/3 l 1/2 b 1/2 b 1/2 b

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Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by three load cells. Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by three load cells.

Horizontal and vertical vessel, supported by three load cells

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1/2 b 1/2 b

1/2 b 1/2 b

VPG-06
VPG Transducers Vessel Weighing

1/2 l

1/2 l

four load cells.

Pivot Weighing

1/2 b 1/2 b

In certain applications it is possible to weigh only half the vessel, the other half is supported on dummy load cells Excessive bending of the pivoting beams, dur ing or flexure beams acting as pivots. Such a system can only Besides dummy load cells, flexure beams are often used to provide the vessel to pivot with the load installation should be avoided. be used when weighing a symmetrical vessel containing 1/2 b cell deflection. It is essential to align the beam webs very carefully for maximum accuracy. liquids. Solid materials will pile-up on the sides and will The main advantage of flexure beams cause a shift of the center of gravity. The accuracy that can is their ability to take up horizontal be obtained with these systems is less than with an entire forces. Therefore constrainers 1/2 b supported vessel. In side practice, accuracies ofno 0.5% can be are necessary to get achieved. Pivot weighing provides an excellent, a low stable cost construction. level detection system.
2/3 l weight, 1/3 l but the force is measured by the In fact not the The selection of the flexure beam load cell(s). The force on the load cell(s) can be calculated must be based on the ability of the by: cells.

The selection of the flexure beam must be based on the ability of the beam to bear the weight of the vessel without bending of the web (buckling effect).

hree load

beam to bear the weight of the vessel

effect). Excessive bending of the The distance "l " between the live and dummy cells pivoting should beams, during installation should be be as long as possible to achieve maximum accuracy. avoided. gh only half the vessel, the other half is supported on

Flc = (d*Ftot)/l without bending of the web (buckling

Horizontal forces on the vessel out of the plane of the pivots. Such a system can only be used when weighing pivots must be avoided (wind forces on vertical outdoor Load Cell and Mount Selection id materialsvessel!). will pile-up on the sides and will cause a LOAD CELL AND MOUNT SELECTION VPG Transducers offers a wide range of industrial load cells hat can and mounts, with a capacity from 6 kg to approximately with an 200 t. The load cell elements are made of nickel-plated tool Vishay Revere Transducers offers a wide range of industrial load cells and mounts, with a capacity cies of C of G steel orelements (more suitable for of thenickel-plated process industry) stainless from 6 kg to approximately 200 t. The load cell are made tool steel or ides an steel. steel. The table below is representing a part of the (more suitable for the process industry) stainless
Dummy cell offered d l Live cell product families.

9102

9103

9363

SSB

SHBxR

C(S)P-M

ACB

my cells ximum

lane of vertical

Rated load : 5 kg 50 kg 100 200 kg 500 1000 kg 2t 5t 10 t 25 100 t Stainless steel Yes Yes Yes IP grade IP66/ IP66/ IP66/ EN IEC 60529 IP68 IP68 IP68 Besides dummy load cells, flexure 0,3 beams are often used Deflection 0,8 0,5 to provide the vessel(mm) to pivot with the load cell deflection. It is essential to align the beam carefully for Operation mode webs B very B SC

Determine the maximum weight of the applied load, or "Live Load". Calculate the weight, "tare", of the construction, or "Dead Load ". Determine the number of load cells to be used in the structure (N ). Check the possible presence of unequal loading conditions ( factor fa ). This factor is an allowance for low tare estimates and unequal load distribution. Standard: fa = 1,3. Check on extra factors as vibration, shock etc ( factor Yes fb ). This Yes factor Yes is a dynamic Yes Yesfactor; Yes Yes load for static IP66/ weighing IP67 fb IP66/ IP66/ IP66/ IP67 IP66/ = 1. IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 For outdoor vessels, calculate the windforce F w 0,3 0,9 0,4 0.5 0,3 0,4 0,1 (application note 09/3-01/01).
SC DS C minimum C B/SC Ccan be The individual loadS cell capacity

ASC

RLC

BSP

ured by can be

The selection of which capacity to use in a weighing application should be based on the following factors :

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

maximum accuracy.

The main advantage of flexure beams is their ability to take B : Beam type load cell. up horizontal side forces. Therefore no constrainers are APPLICATION NOTE 07/07-06/03 Page 3 SC construction. : Shear beam necessary to get a stable

calculated by : F w+( fa * fb*(LiveLoad+DeadLoad)/N)

DB C Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011 S

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following effects to the load cell: Lateral forces Bending moments Torsion moments VPG-06 Off centre loading to the load cell VPG Transducers These effects may be caused by expansion of the vessel due to temperature decrease or deflection of the vessel's construction due to loading. Further, for high outdoor vessel, an overturn protection has to be incorporated within the mount. All mounts/load cells must be placed on the same Vessel Weighing horizontal level.

SSB load cell + mount


SSB load cell + mount CSP load cell + mount

The manner in which the load is transmitted through a load cell has a major impact on the accuracy and repeatability that can be achieved from the system. As a result, the clamp earthing electrode of the welding apparatus in the mounting system around the load cell is of paramount very neighborhood of the weld to avoid a current path Load cells should be protected against direct sunlight or dripping liquids by protective importance. through the load aggressive cells. Further, connect a flexible cupper 2 lead ofin at a least 16 mm cross section between the vessel and screens. Prevent the load cells from being submerged; i.e. pit. The load should always be transmitted vertically through foundation over each cell. Avoid electric after installation oftested the load cells. If welding is load necessary and the load cells the load cell in the welding way which it was designed and not be removed then disconnect individual load cell cable from the indicator or measuring to can measure force. Load cell supports have toeach be designed External Connections avoiding the following to the earthing load cell: electrode of the welding apparatus instrument. Placeeffects the clamp in the very neighbourhood

CSP load cell + mount removed then disconnect each individual loadcell cell cable 5(9)103 load + from the indicator or measuring instrument. Place the mount

DESB load cell + mount

of the weld to avoid a current path through the load cells. Further, connect flexible cupper leadshould of From an accuracy point ofa view, a weighing system Lateral forces 2 free from its surroundings. foundation over each load However cell. in most industrial at least 16 mm cross section between the vessel and be Bending moments
Torsion moments Off center loading to the load cell applications a contact between the weighing object and its surroundings is present. Examples are; pipes, tubes, pneumatic/hydraulic hoses, electrical cables, bellows and constrainers.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

These effects may be caused by expansion of the vessel due to temperature decrease or deflection of the vessel's Usually the weight of pipes or cables can be treated as a construction due to loading. Further, for high outdoor part of the dead load of the vessel. If the influence of pipes vessel, anan overturn protection has to be incorporated cables be is not constant, non-repeatability hysteresis From accuracy point of view, a weighing system or should free from its surroundings.and However within the mount. All mounts/load cells must be placed on can be introduced, e.g. a pipe with changing contents most industrial the weighing object and its surroundings is thein same horizontal level. applications a contact betweenor stiff pipes (1), thermal expansion of the vessel (2) or a present. Examples are; pipes, tubes, pneumatic/hydraulic hoses, electrical cables, bellows friction-effect created in the clamping points (3). and Load cells should be protected against direct sunlight or constrainers. dripping aggressive liquids by protective screens. Prevent When one of these situations is likely to be present, it is weight of pipes or as a part offirst theto dead loadthe of error the vessel. If the theUsually load cellsthe from being submerged; i.e.cables in a pit.can be treated recommended calculate and to relate this to the required system's accuracy, before any (expensive) influence of pipes or cables is not constant, non-repeatability and hysteresis can be introduced, e.g. Avoid electric welding after installation of the load cells. solutions are considered. a pipe with changing contents stiff pipes (1), thermal expansion of the vessel (2) or a frictionIf welding is necessary and the loador cells can not be

EXTERNAL CONNECTIONS

effect created in the clamping points (3).

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VPG-06
VPG Transducers Vessel Weighing
0.2 l 8.0

1. The Stiffness of Pipes

The influence on span (e) can now 0.5 be lcalculated by: 6.0 e=(Ct /Cs)*100%
l
1.0 l 5.0 l 4.8 3.4

The stiffness of the pipes in relation to the stiffness of the weighing system plays an important role in theAerror development. The stiffness of the 1 weighing system (Cs ) can be calculated by: Cs =(n*E max*g) / f n E max f g The number of load cells

The error which is caused by the stiffness of the pipes is a 0.2 l calibration 7.1 2 typical span-error and can be reduced by the procedure. However, no stable values B stiffness of the pipes are 0.5 l 4.3 and can change during operation. 1.0 l 1.8 Example:
5.0 l 0.06

A vessel is supported by four load cells, with a capacity of The individual load cell capacity 2 t and The influence on span (e) can now be calculated by:a deflection of 0.5 mm.
2

The deflection of the load cell gravitation ( approximately 9.8 m/s )

e=(C t/Cs)*100% vertical plane as in the opposite drawing.

Two pipes are connected to the vessel, one bend in the

The are made steel with an inner diameter The error which is caused by the stiffness ofpipes the pipes is a of typical span-error and can be of The stiffness of the pipes Ct can be calculated by the sum 30 mm and an outer diameter of 40 mm. reduced by the calibration procedure. However, stiffness of the pipes are no stable values and of the stiffness of each individual pipe Ca: K D d l E Ca=(0.05*K*E*(D4 -d 4)) / l3

can change during operation. Example:

vessel is supported by four load cells ClampingA factor


Outer diameter of pipe

type SSB, with a capacity of 2 t and a deflection of 0.5 mm. Inner diameter pipeare connected to the vessel, Two of pipes Length ofone pipebend in the vertical plane as in the opposite drawing. Elasticity The modulus, pipes are made of steel with an inner 2 diameter ofE 30 andN/mm an outer diameter for steel: = mm 210.000 2 of 40 for copper: mm. E = 110.000 N/mm
for aluminium:

The stiffness Cs of the weighing system equals: The stiffness Cs of the weighing system equals:

E = 70.000 N/mm2

Cs=(4*2000*9.8) / 0.5=156800N/mm Cs=(4*2000*9.8) / 0.5=156800N/mm The clamping factor K equals K=12 for a pipe clamped rigidly at both ends. The following K-values below are The stiffness C a1 of the pipe, bend in the vertical plane valid for a pipe with constant diameter, bend in the vertical The stiffness Ca1 of the pipe, bend in the vertical plane equals: equals: plane (1) and in the horizontal plane (2) clamped rigidly at 4 4 =(0.05*8*210000*(40 Ca1 -304)) / 40003=2.30N/mm both ends. C =(0.05*8*210000*(40 -304)) / 40003=2.30N/mm
a1

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

The stiffness Ca2 of the straight pipe equals:


l
0.2 l Ca2=(0.05*12*210000*(404-304)) / 15003=65.33N/mm A B 0.21 0.5 l 8.0

be calculated:
1

6.0 8.0 The total stiffness Ct of the pipes equals Ca1 + Ca2 = 67.33 N/mm. The influence on span (e) can now 1.0 l 4.8 0.51 6.0

A 2

1.01 5.0 l

3.4 4.8 0.2 l 0.21 0.5 l 3.4 7.1 7.1 4.3

e=(67.63/156800)*100%=0.043% 5.01
B

0.51 4.3 1.0 l 1.8 1.01 1.8 5.0 l 0.06 5.01 temperature 0.06 The height of the clamping point of the pipe can change with any change in ambient by

2. THERMAL EXPANSION

The influence onnon-reproducibility. span (e) can now be calculated by:


Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011

expansion of the vessel. Stiff pipes will try to counteract this movement, causing a zero-shift and
For technical support, contact in Americas lc.usa@vishaypg.com, in Europe lc.eur@vishaypg.com, in China lc.prc@vishaypg.com, L=Lo+T* in Taiwan lc.roc@vishaypg.com e=(C t/C s)*100% www.vpgtransducers.com 5

The error to the system can be calculated by:

The error which is caused by thermal expansion is a typical zero-error. Weighing systems without VPG Transducers connections to the outer world are not affected by temperature effects, provided that a well designed mounting system is used. Load cells are manufactured to operate within a certain temperature range, normally from -40 to Vessel Weighing +80 C. A load cell is compensated for a part of this temperature range to operate within specifications, normally -10 to +40 C. Shields or insulation paths must be established to keep the load cell within the operating range and for high accuracy systems within the compensated The stiffness Ca2 of the straight pipe equals: temperature range. Example: The total stiffness C t of the pipes equals C a1 + C a2 = 67.33 N/mm. The inf luence oncells, span ( e) can now be A vessel is supported on four load by a supporting structure made calculated: of steel. The scale capacity equals 10 tons. The vessel is made e=(67.63/156800)*100%=0.043% of aluminium. A pipe with a stiffness Ca of 75N/mm is connected to the vessel. The critical dimensions are indicated in the figure2. opposite. During the day the ambient temperature decreases Thermal Expansion from 15 to 25 C. The height of the clamping point of the pipe can change The
with any change in ambient tempera ture by expansion of the vessel. Stiff pipes will try to counteract movement, height of the supporting structure will this decrease with: causing a zero-shift and non-reproduc ibility. -5 L=Lo+T* L Lo Ca2=(0.05*12*210000*(404 -304)) / 15003=65.33N/mm

VPG-06

e=(F/scale capacity*g)*100%

L=3000*(25-15)*1.2*10 =0.35mm

The height of the will decrease with: The change in vessel height can be calculated by: L=3000*(25-15)*2.4*10-5=0.72mm The height of the clamping point of the pipe will change with 0.35 T in ambient temperature: T To (K) of the pipe The vessel is made of aluminium. A pipe with a stiffness + 0.72 = 1.07Change mm. This will cause a reaction force of:
Original length (mm) C a of 75N/mm is connected to the vessel. The critical dimensions are indicated in the figure opposite. During the -5 F=1.07*75=80.25N for steel = 1.2*10 day the ambi ent temperature decreases from 15 to 25C. for copper = 1.7*10 -5 The height of the supporting structure will decrease with: -5 aluminium = the 2.4*10 error to thefor system, caused by temperature decrease will be: L=3000*(25-15)*1.2*10 -5=0.35mm The reaction force of the pipe can be calculated by: The height of the vessel will decrease with: e=((80.25/(10000*9.8)*100%=0.08% F=L*Ca L=3000*(25-15)*2.4*10 -5=0.72mm F Reaction force of the pipe The height of the clamping point of the pipe will change Change in length (mm)

Linear expansion (K-1),

The

Ca Stiffness of the pipe 3. FRICTION-EFFECTS The error to the system can be calculated by:

with 0.35 + 0.72 = 1.07 mm. This will cause a reaction force of the pipe of: F=1.07*75=80.25N

Friction-effects created in the clamping points are leading to an undefined error, causing non e=(F/scale capacity*g)*100% The error to the system, caused by the temperature repeatability and hysteresis. Pipe supports, especially the first supports away from the vessel should A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E
The error which is caused by thermal expansion is a typical zero-error. Weighing systems without connections to the outer world are not affected by temperature effects, provided that a well designed mounting system is used. decrease will be: e=((80.25/(10000*9.8)*100%=0.08%

Load cells are manufactured to operate within a certain temperature range, normally from -40 to +80C. A load cell is compensated for a part of this temperature range to operate within specifications, normally -10 to +40C. Shields or insulation paths must be established to keep the load cell within the operating range and for high accuracy systems within the compensated temperature range. Example: A vessel is supported on four load cells, by a supporting struc ture made of steel. The scale capacity equals 10 tons.
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3. Friction-Effects
Friction-effects created in the clamping points are leading to an undefined error, causing non-repeatability and hysteresis. Pipe supports, especially the first supports away from the vessel should be attached to the same structure as to which the vessel is supported.

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Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011

Care should be paid to less obvious sources of deflection which are often ignored, such as be attached to the same structure as to which the vessel is supported. deflection of the floor or roof and

VPG-06
VPG Transducers

COMPENSATORS

two weighing vessels with pipe connections. When theless influence of pipes Care should be paid to obvious sources of exceed the allowed error ch the vessel is supported. deflection which are often ignored, such as considered: deflection of the floor or roof and

Vessel Weighing
then the following solutions should be

COMPENSATORS Decrease the length of pipe(s).

by thermal

Design the clamping to be less rigid. WhenIntroduce the influence of pipes in exceed the allowed error then the following solutions should be compensators the pipe. considered: All piping tends to sag from its theoretical design position due to its own dead weight. This effect Decrease will decrease with the the length length of ofpipe(s). the pipe. It is therefore important to check all piping runs between T = F T6 F Design the clamping to be less rigid. the vessel and the first pipe support for adequate clearance. Large horizontal side forces may arise by thermal sources of compensators inof the pipe. two weighing vessels withIntroduce pipe connections. linear expansion rigidly clamped pipes. such as All piping tends to sag or from its theoretical design position due to its own dead weight. This effect Flexible piping devices compensators should be selected based on their flexibility and their will decrease with the length of the pipe. It is therefore important to check all piping runs between process chemistry suitability i.e. High or low pressure systems, temperature, aggressive chemicals. the vessel and the first pipe support for adequate clearance. Flexible devices of non-metallic materials offer more flexibility in less space and with less vibration Care should be paid to less obvious sources two weighing vessels horizontal side forces may transmission than the metal counterparts. These benefits plus, variously,Large increased wear, corrosion of deflection which are often ignored, such with pipe connections. arise by ther mal linear expansion Flexible piping devices or compensators should be selected based on their flexibility and and their and fatigue resistance makes non-metallic materials highly attractive when the process pressure as deflection of the floor or roof and... of rigidly clamped pipes. process chemistry suitability i.e.met. High or low pressure systems, temperature, aggressive chemicals. temperature requirements can be Flexible devices of non-metallic offerT more less space and with less vibration When large displacements must bematerials accommodated with low force,in consider using two compensators 6 Fflexibility ns. the length ofimportant the pipe. It is therefore important to check all Compensators Large horizontal side forces arise by metal thermal than the counterparts. These plus, variously, increased wear, systems corrosion intransmission series or may a bent U-shape flexible hose. This is benefits particularly for low capacity piping runs between the vessel and the first pipe support linear expansion of rigidly clamped pipes. forces and fatigue resistance makes non-metallic materials highly attractive when the process pressure and were even small piping will disturb weigh stability. When the influence of pipes exceed the allowed error then system for adequate clearance. temperature requirements can be compensators met. the following should be considered: Do not solutions stretch or compress excessively to compensate for initial piping Flexible piping devices or compensators should be selected When large displacements must be accommodated with low force, using two compensators at fitup, to prevent their stiffness characteristics from consider being altered. misalignments Decrease the length of pipe(s). based on their f lexibility and their process chemistry in series or a bent U-shape flexible hose. This is particularly low systems, capacity systems suitability i.e. important High or low for pressure temperature, Design the clamping to be less rigid. were even small piping forces will disturb weigh system stability. aggressive chemicals. Introduce compensators in the pipe. not stretch or its compress compensators excessively to compensate for initialoffer piping Flexible devices of non-metallic materials more All Do piping tends to sag from theoretical design position T 6 F misalignments at fitup, to prevent their stiffness characteristics from being altered. flexibility in less space and with less vibration transmission due to its own dead weight. This effect will decrease with

Elbow

Stub

Flexible piping devices

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Elbow Stub Flexible piping devices Elbow Stub Flexible piping devices When multiple pipes are connected to a weighing vessel, then the connections should be made symmetrical if possible.

When multiple pipes are connected to a weighing vessel, then the connections should be made symmetrical if possible.

Avoid

Avoid

Avoid if possible

Avoid if possible

Correct installation
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Correct installation

Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011

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VPG-06
VPG Transducers Vessel Weighing
than the metal counterparts. These benefits plus, variously, increased wear, corrosion and fatigue resistance makes non-metallic materials highly attractive when the process pressure and temperature requirements can be met. When large displacements must be accommodated with low force, consider using two compensators in series or a bent U-shape flexible hose. This is particularly important for low capacity systems were even small piping forces will disturb weigh system stability. Do not stretch or compress compensators excessively to compensate for initial piping misalignments at fitup, to prevent their stiffness characteristics from being altered. When multiple pipes are connected to a weighing vessel, then the connections should be made symmetrical if possible. P D Over or under-pressure (N/m 2) Effective diameter of the bellow (m)

Example: A vessel is pressurized with 2 bar over-pressure and the pipe connection is made with a vertical bellow having an effective diameter of 150mm. The maximum disturbing force can be calculated by: F=(2*105**(150*10 -3)2 / 4=3534N The flexibility of the bellow will cause the indicator to bounce between the actual weight and the actual weight plus the maximum disturbing force. Gas pressure in a vertical pipe gives minor influence if the pipe is connected to the vessel with a stiff part as indicated in the last drawing of the previous page.

d the pipe connection is made with a vertical the compensators content of the vessel is under pressure n arise. If The should be gas located in and the pipe connection is made with a vertical compensator (bellow), a avoid these vertical thrust forces from varying vertical disturbance force can arise. The compensators processshould chemistry. A temporary over-pressure be located in horizontal piping runs adjacent to aterial. the weigh vessel to avoid these vertical thrust forces from
varying internal pressures associated with material flow and process chemistry. A temporary over-pressure can also be created by filling a vessel with a dusty material. The disturbing force can be calculated by: F=(P**D2) / 4

Pressurized Vessels

Restraining Devices
Load cells should be protected against side forces by the use of restraining devices. These assem blies are designed to allow ample vertical freedom for weight sensing, while simultaneously eliminating inaccuracies caused by side loading. Accuracy and reliability of systems not protected in this way would be greatly reduced in the presence of extraneous forces, which might even result in damaged to the load cell in extreme cases. Two types of restraining devices are used: Stay rods Limiting stops

D2) / 4

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

nd the ing an

D D

Most mounts offered by VPG Transducers are self-aligning with an in-build limiting stops. These mounts do not require further restraining devices in most applications. Stay rods must be used when a vibrator or mixer is used in the vessel!

Po + P P P o+

Po Po

Stay rods should not essentially transfer any forces to the container in the vertical direction, but have sufficient strength in the horizontal direction to be able to absorb the maximum horizontal forces arising. The length of the stay rods should be chosen as long as possible, as this has a favorable effect on reducing vertical forces. The arrangement of the stay rods depends on the plan view geometry of the structure. In most cases four stay rods give the best results. Figure 3 below represents a basic stay rod arrangement for a vessel under thermal expansion. More information about the arrangement of stay rods for specific applications is available on request.
Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011

ator to weight

e if the pipe is connected to the vessel with a us page. For technical support, contact in Americas lc.usa@vishaypg.com, www.vpgtransducers.com
8 in Europe lc.eur@vishaypg.com, in China lc.prc@vishaypg.com, in Taiwan lc.roc@vishaypg.com

Stay rods should not essentially transfer any forces to the container in the vertical direction, but have sufficient strength in the horizontal direction to be able to absorb the maximum horizontal VPG-06 forces arising. The length of the stay rods should be chosen as long as possible, as this has a favourable effect on reducing vertical forces. VPG Transducers The arrangement of the stay rods depends on the plan view geometry of the structure. In most cases four stay rods give the best results. Figure 3 below represents a basic stay rod arrangement for a Vessel Weighing vessel under thermal expansion. More information about the arrangement of stay rods for specific applications is available on request. Note:

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Placing stay rods as represented in figure 1 will cause high stresses in the stay rods and should be avoided. The arrangement in figure 2 will cause a rotation of the vessel. This configuration should be avoided if there are stiff connections to the vessel. Stay rods should be placed in a exactly horizontal level.

Note: Placing stay rods as represented in figure 1 will cause high stresses in the stay rods and should be avoided. The arrangement in figure 2 will cause a rotation of the vessel. This configuration should be avoided if there are stiff connections to the vessel. Stay rods should be placed in a exactly horizontal level.

This application note is written as a short guide in understanding the considerations which must be taken into account for vessel weighing. For more information we specially refer to the following application notes: Windforces Load cell cabling Shunt diode barriers Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Environmental Conditions

10/06-01/01 10/06-02/02 10/06-03/02 10/06-04/02 10/06-07/02

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Customer support:

Vishay Revere Transducers combines sixty years of load cell manufacturing with sixty years of application know how. For any further question, please contact our manufacturing operation or any one of our regional sales offices.
Document Number: 11873 Revision 07-Dec-2011 For technical support, contact in Americas lc.usa@vishaypg.com, in Europe lc.eur@vishaypg.com, in China lc.prc@vishaypg.com, in Taiwan lc.roc@vishaypg.com www.vpgtransducers.com 9

Vishay Revere Transducers B.V.

VPG TRANSDUCERS

Load Cells and Weigh Modules

Application Note VPG-03

Legal Metrology
Scope
This application note is meant to provide the user with a reasonably quick reference to a fairly complex subject; the load cell requirements for legal-for-trade non automatic weighing instruments, according to section 4.12 of OIML Recommendation R76 (EN45501). Every effort has been made to include most of the important topics and to enable the user to select load cells for a particular approved non automatic weighing instrument. The type of weighing instruments covered are: single range instruments, multiple range instruments and multi-interval instruments. The first pages cover the metrological terms used to describe load cell features according to OIML Recommendation R60. These terms are implemented in section 4.12, and should therefore be explained. The aim of such harmonization is to facilitate free trade and commerce between countries not only for measuring instruments, but for all commodities and services whose value is determined by measurements. OIML Recommendations and Documents relate to specific measuring instruments and technology. International Recommendations (OIML R) are model regulations generally establishing the metrological characteristics required of the measuring instruments concerned and specifying methods and equipment for checking their confor mity. OIML member states are expected to implement these Recommendations as far as possible.

Metrological Terms For Load Cells


The metrological terms most frequently used in the load cell field can be divided into two main categories; load related terms or accuracy related terms.

Standardized Metrology - OIML


The establishment of a worldwide standardized metrology or measurement system has two main functions. One related to scientif ic activities assuring world-wide consistency and repeatability of critical scientific units, while the other is concerned with legal metrology which is the name given to all applied metrology or measurement subjected to regulations by law or governmental degree. In most countries, legal metrology covers measurements in protection of individuals from a financial, health and environmental point of view. In order to harmonize and standardize on an international basis, a convention was held in Paris on October 12th, 1955, and the participating States (countries) agreed to set up an international organization of legal metrology - the OIML was born. Because the official language of the OIML was French, the name of the organization is Organisation Internationale de Metrologie Legale. The OIML is a worldwide inter-governmental organization whose main task is that of harmonizing the regulations and metrological controls applied by the Weights and Measures of its Member States. Because it is a Treaty Organization, membership of a country is subject to the signature of a convention through diplomatic channels. Once a member, a country has moral and ethical obligations to harmonize with the beliefs and output of the OIML.
Document Number: 11862 Revision 29-Nov-2011

1. Load Related Terms


Minimum dead load (Emin): The smallest value of a quantity (mass) which may be applied to a load cell without exceeding the maximum permissible error. Maximum capacity (Emax): The largest value of a quantity (mass) which may be applied to a load cell without exceeding the maximum permissible error. Load cell measuring range: The range of values of the measured quantity (mass) for which the result of measurement should not be affected by an error exceeding the maximum permissible error. Safe load limit: The maximum load that can be applied without producing a permanent shift in the performance characteristics beyond those specified. Ultimate load limit: The maximum load that can be applied without physical destruction of the load cell.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

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VPG-03
VPG Transducers Legal Metrology

No Load

E min

Maximum Measuring Range

E max

Safe Load

Ultimate Load

D min

Measuring Range

D max

The terms that appear above the central horizontal line are parameters that are fixed by the design of the load cell. The terms that appear below that line are parameters that are variable, depending on the conditions of use and the quality of the load cell as measured during tests.
0kg Maximum Measuring Range 500kg 750kg 1500kg

100kg

Measuring Range

400kg

As a specific example, an "S" type load cell with a capacity of 500 kg is used to weigh a hopper with a dead load of 100 kg (Dmin) and a live load of 300 kg (Dmax = Dmin + 300 = 400 kg). Emin =0% of Emax, the safe load limit is 150% of Emax and the ultimate load limit is 300% of Emax.

2. Accuracy Related Terms Load cell interval:


Part of the load cell measuring range into which that range is divided.

to 6000v. Class C load cells are suited for class weighing systems.

and

Minimum verification interval (vmin):


The smallest value of a quantity (mass) which may be applied to a load cell without exceeding the maximum permissible error. Specified as E max/ or as a percentage of the measuring range. The minimum verification interval is inextricably linked to the utilization of the load cell. The utilization can be defined as the minimum measuring range (MMR) for a particular load cell over which full specification will be maintained. The following formulas can be applied: MMR(kg) = vmin * nmax or MMR(%) = nmax * 100 / For example a 1t load cell, with vmin= E max/10000 has a minimum measuring range of 1000 * 4000 / 10000 = 400 kg or 4000 * 100 / 10000 = 40% The minimum measuring range can apply over any part of the measuring range between E min and E max. In practice, certain accuracy parameters (linearity, hysteresis) will improve when a smaller part of the load cell rated capacity is utilized. However, temperature effect on zero load output is a fixed error percentage of the rated output, and

Load cell verification interval (v):


The load cell interval, expressed in units of mass, used in the test of the load cell for accuracy classification

Number of verification intervals (n):


The number of verification intervals, used in the test of the load cell for accuracy classification.

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Accuracy class:
A class of load cells which are subjected to the same conditions of accuracy. Load cells are ranked, according to their overall perfor mance capabilities, into four classes whose designations are "Class A", "Class B", "Class C" and "Class D". A load cell is classified by the alphabetical classification and the maximum number of load cell intervals stated in units of 1000; for example C3 represents class C, 3000v. The number of verification intervals (n) into which the measuring range of a class C load cell can be divided is fixed between 500 and 10000. VPG Transducers offers a wide range of class C industrial load cells from 1000v

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Document Number: 11862 Revision 29-Nov-2011

VPG-03
VPG Transducers Legal Metrology
must be tightly controlled to achieve lower vmin values for a particular grade of load cells. The effect of the utilization factor on creep will depend on which part of the load cell range is being used for the scale. For example, creep will be more significant in a scale where its working range is at the top end of the load cell's rated capacity than when it is at the bottom. Load cells having a small value for vmin are most suitable for applications with a relatively high dead load. The above calculation applies to a single load cell when used on its own. The requirements for multiple load cell weighing instruments are specified further on.

Temperature effect on minimum dead load output:


The change in minimum dead load output due to a change in ambient temperature.

Temperature effect on sensitivity:


The change in sensitivity due to a change in ambient temperature.

Combined error:
The approach taken by R60 recognizes that several load cell errors must be considered together when fitting load cell performance characteristics to the error envelope permitted. It is possible to have low non-linearity and hysteresis and moderate temperature errors or, conversely, to have moderate non-linearity and hysteresis errors and low temperature errors. Thus, it is not considered appropriate to specify individual error limits for given characteristics (non-linearity, hysteresis and temperature effect on sensitivity), but rather to consider the total error envelope allowed for a load cell as the limiting factor. The use of an error envelope concept allows balancing individual contributions to the total error of measurement while still achieving the intended result.

Non-linearity:
The deviation of the increasing load cell calibration curve from a straight line which passes through minimum load output and the load cell output at 75% of the measuring range, at 20C.

Hysteresis error:
The difference between load cell output readings for the same applied load, one reading obtained by increasing the load from minimum load and the other by decreasing the load from maximum load.

Maximum permissible load cell errors


The maximum permissible load cell errors for each accuracy class, the indicated load cell output having been adjusted to zero at minimum dead load, are related to the maximum number of verif ication intervals. The table below shows the error limits as represented on the VPG Transducers datasheets. "Temperature effect on Sensitivity" and" Combined error" are combined in such a way that the load cells meet the OIML R60 tolerance envelope. S equals Rated Output and corresponds directly with E max. C2
0.0230 0.0100 0.0250 0.0245 0.0053 0.0060

Creep:
The change in load cell output occurring with time while under constant load (> 90% of the load cell capacity) and with all environmental conditions and other variables also remaining constant.

Minimum dead load output return:


The difference in load cell output at minimum dead load, measured before and after load application. Accuracy Designation
Combined Error Non-Repeatability Minimum Dead Load Output Return Creep Error (30 minutes) Creep Error (20-30 minutes) Temperature Effect on Sensitivity %S %S %S %S %S %S/5C

C1
0.0300 0.0200 0.0500 0.0490 0.0105 0.0085

C3
0.0200 0.0100 0.0167 0.0245 0.0053 0.0055

C4
0.0150 0.0090 0.0125 0.0184 0.0039 0.0045

C5
0.0100 0.0070 0.0100 0.0147 0.0032 0.0035

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Note: OIML recommendation R60 specifies the maximum permissible errors in terms of verification intervals or minimum verification intervals. The maximum permissible errors for combined error are similar to those of non automatic weighing instruments, when a factor of 0.7 (pi-factor) is used. A copy of the recommendation is available on request.

Document Number: 11862 Revision 29-Nov-2011

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VPG-03
VPG Transducers Legal Metrology
EN 45501, Requirements For Load Cells
Section 4.12 of EN 45501 (OIML R76) requires that load cells have been tested in conformity with International Recommendation OIML R60. These load cells can be applied in three groups of weighing instruments: 1. Single interval instruments: Instrument having one weighing range. 2. Multiple range instruments: Instrument having two or more weighing ranges with different maximum capacities and different scale intervals for the same load receptor, each range extending from zero to its maximum capacity. 3. Multi-interval instruments: Instrument having one weighing range which is divided into partial weighing ranges, each with different scale intervals, with the weig h i ng range deter m i ned automatical ly according to the load applied, both on increasing and decreasing loads. The most important metrological terms for weighing instruments are:

Number of verification scale intervals (n):


Quotient of the maximum capacity and the verification scale interval, for a single-interval instrument: n = Max / e

1. Requirements For Single Interval Instruments


1.1  The maximum capacity of the load cell shall satisfy the condition:
E max Q * Max * R / N

Where: Emax: maximum capacity of the load cell N: Number of load cells R: Reduction ratio Q: Correction factor The correction factor Q > 1 considers the possible effects of eccentric loading, dead load of the load receptor (scale), initial zero setting range and non uniform distribution of the load. To be precise: the total capacity of all load cells should be larger or equal to the maximum capacity of the scale, the dead weight of the construction and the overall effect on zero-setting and zero-tracking devices. The overall effect of zero-setting and zero-tracking devices shall be not more than 4% and of the initial zero-setting device not more than 20%, of the maximum capacity. Further to this, the following eccentric loading conditions should be considered: On an instrument with a load receptor having n points of support, with n4, the fraction 1/(n-1) of the sum of the maximum capacity and the maximum additive tare effect shall be applied to each point of support. On an instrument with a load receptor subject to minimal off-center loading (e.g. tank, hopper) a test load corresponding to one-tenth of the sum of the maximum capacity and the maximum additive tare effect shall be applied to each point of support. If the above considerations are applied on a platform scale with a capacity of 1500 kg and a dead load of 100 kg, the individual load cell capacity if four load cells are used can be calculated by:  Eccentricity behavior tested with 1/(n-1) * Max = 1/3* 1500 = 500 kg  Dead load weight distribution equals 100/n = 100/4 = 25 kg

Reduction ratio:
The reduction ratio of a load transmitting device is given by: R=FM / FL Where:  FM is the load acting on the load measuring device (total number of load cells).  FL is the load acting on the load receptor (scale).

Maximum capacity (Max):


Maximum weighing capacity, not taking into account the additive tare capacity.

Minimum capacity (Min):

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

Value of the load below which the weighing results may be subject to an excessive relative error.

Actual scale interval (d):


Value expressed in units of mass of: The difference between the values corresponding to two consecutive scale marks, for analogue indication,or The difference between two consecutive indicated values, for digital indication.

Verification scale interval (e):


Value, expressed in units of mass, used for the classification and verification of an instrument.*
being a positive or negative whole number or equal to zero.

* Note: "e" equals "d" in the majority of digital weighing instruments. A scale interval should be numbered in the form 1 * 10k, 2 * 10k or 5 * 10k, k
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 Zero-setting/tracking: (24% of 1500)/n = 360/4 = 90 kg  Hence, the load cell capacity (E max) should at least be 500 + 25 + 90 = 615 kg The SSB load cell has a rated output of 2mV/V. The output per verification scale interval at an excitation voltage of 10V for the example above will be: 10 * 2 * 1500 * 1000 / (4 * 1000 * 3000) =2.5 V The graph below represents the minimum value for e, in relation to the load cell capacity (E max) when the instrument is constructed with four load cells (Reduction ratio R = 1).
1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2 e (kg) 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
= 20 00

1.2  The maximum number of load cell intervals shall satisfy the condition:
nlc n For each load cell, the maximum number of load cell intervals nlc shall not be less than the number of verification scale intervals n of the instrument, e.g. a 3000d class weighing instrument should have at least class C3 load cells.

33

10 00 0

13

50

83

0
00 0

15

1.3  The minimum load cell verification interval shall satisfy the condition:
vmin e * R / N The minimum load cell verification interval vmin shall not be greater than the verification scale interval e multiplied by the reduction ratio R of the load transmitting device and divided by the square root of the number N of load cells. This formula can be rewritten as: e vmin * N / R For example, a platfor m scale with a capacity of 1500 kg is built with four load cells, type SSB-C3-1t, with vmin =E max/8333. 1) The load cell capacity is in agreement with point 1.1 (see calculation example). 2) The maximum number of scale intervals should be smaller or equal to the maximum number of load cell verification intervals. Hence, the maximum number of scale intervals is 3000. 3) By applying the formula given at point 1.3, the minimum value for e can be calculated: e vmin* N / R, e 1000 * 2 / 8333 * 1 e 0.240 => e = 0.5 kg It is important to verify the output per scale division with the required minimum signal level for the measuring device to ensure compatibility. The output per scale division (in V) can be calculated by: Where: UE: Excitation voltage S: Rated output load cell N: Number of load cells n: Number of scale divisions UE * S * Max * 1000 / (N * E max * n)

280

00

Emax (t)

2. Requirements for Multiple Range Instruments


On multiple range instruments, each range is treated basically as an instrument with one range. Switching while the instrument is loaded, from one weighing range to another is only allowed if the verification scale interval increases. Furthermore, it is not allowed to enter a lower range after a tare setting, or by using a preset tare value. An example of a multiple range instrument with three ranges is given in the diagram below:
0.5

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

(kg) 0.2 0.1

400

800

1000 (kg)

e1 e2 e3

Max1 Max2 Max3

Document Number: 11862 Revision 29-Nov-2011

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The requirements for load cells are: 2.1  The maximum capacity shall satisfy the condition: E max Q * Maxr * R / N 2.2  The maximum number of load cell intervals shall satisfy the condition: nlc n 2.3  The minimum load cell verification interval shall satisfy the condition: vmin e1 * R / N 2.4  The minimum dead load output return of the load cell shall satisfy the condition: DR e1 * R / N Or, where DR is not know (specifically specified on the R60-certificate) the following acceptable solution should be satisfied: nlc 0.4 * Maxr / e1 Where: ni: the number of verification scale intervals for range i (i= 1, 2, etc.) Maxr: the maximum capacity of the highest weighing range e1: the verification scale interval of the smallest weighing range For example, a platfor m scale with a capacity of 1000 kg is built with four load cells, 0.5t, with vmin = E max / 13500. 1) The eccentricity behavior will be tested with: Maxr / (n - 1) = (1/3) * 1000 325 kg This is well below the capacity of the load cell, hence, acceptable. 2) The number of scale verification intervals should be smaller than or equal to 4000. 3) The minimum scale verification interval can be calculated by: e1 vmin * N / R, e1 500 * 2 / 13500 e1 0.074 kg Hence, e1 will be 0.1 kg 4) As there is no value specified for the DR in the certificate, the use of the following formula is acceptable: nlc 0.4 * Maxr / e1, nlc 0.4 * 1000 / 0.1 nlc 4000 Hence, the following ranges are allowed to use:
e1 Max1 Max2 Max3

These values are used in the diagram on the previous page.

Multiple range instruments shall satisfy the following conditions:


On a multiple range instrument the deviation on returning to zero from Max1 shall not exceed 0.5 e1. Furthermore, after returning to zero from any load greater than Max1 and immediately after switching to the lowest weighing range, the indication near zero shall not vary by more than e1 during the following 5 minutes. Zero setting in any weighing range shall be effective also in the greater weighing ranges, if switching to a greater weighing range is possible while the instrument is loaded. The tare operation shall be effective also in the greater weighing ranges, if switching to a greater weighing range is possible while the instrument is loaded. A preset tare value may only be transferred from one weighing range to another one with a larger verification scale interval but shall then be rounded to the latter.

MR-load cells
Load cells suitable for multiple range instruments should preferably have a high value (E max / v min). VPG has distinguished special MR versions in the latest certificates.

3. Requirements for Multi-Interval Instruments


A multi-interval weighing instrument has one weighing range, which is divided into partial weighing ranges, each with different scale intervals. The weighing range is determined automatically according to the load applied, both on increasing and decreasing loads. A multi-interval instrument offers the end-user more flexibility with its partial weighing ranges in comparison to multiple range instruments. It is possible to enter a lower partial range after a tare setting or by using a preset tarevalue. An example of a multi-interval weighing instrument with two partial ranges is given in the following diagram:

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

0.5

(kg) 0.2 0.1

400

800

1000 (kg)

0 - 400 kg with e = 0.1 kg (4000 divisions) 0 - 800 kg with e = 0.2 kg (4000 divisions) 0 - 1000 kg with e = 0.5 kg (2000 divisions)
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e2 e3

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The requirements for load cells are: 3.1 The maximum capacity shall satisfy the condition: E max Q * Maxr * R / N 3.2 The maximum number of load cell intervals shall satisfy the condition: nlc n 3.3 The minimum load cell verification interval shall satisfy the condition: vmin e1 * R / N 3.4 The minimum dead load output return of the load cell shall satisfy the condition: DR 0.5 * e1 * R / N Or, where DR is not know (specifically specified on the R60-certificate) the following acceptable solution should be satisfied: nlc Maxr / e1 Where: ni: the number of verification scale intervals for partial range i (i = 1, 2, etc.) Maxr: the maximum capacity of the highest partial weighing range e1: the verification scale interval of the smallest partial weighing range 2) The number of scale verification intervals for each partial range should be smaller or equal to 3000. 3) The minimum scale verification interval can be calculated by: e1 vmin * N / R, e1 3500 * 2 / 7000 e1 1 kg Hence, e1 should be greater or equal to 1.0 kg 4) DR is specified as 2E max /7 500, hence the following formula should be applied: DR 0.5 * e1*R / N, 1750 / 7500 0.5 * e1*1 / 4 e1 1.87 => e1 = 2 kg Hence, the following partial ranges are allowed to be used: 0 - 6000 kg with e1 = 2 kg (3000 divisions) 6000 - 10000 kg with e2 = 5 kg (2000 divisions) These values are used in the diagram on the previous page. The error envelope for the above mentioned scale will be: 0 e1 - 500 e1 ~ 0 - 1000 kg max. error, 0.5 e1 ~ 1 kg 500 e1 - 2000 e1 ~1000 - 4000 kg max. error, 1.0 e1 ~ 2 kg 2000 e1 - 3000 e1~ 4000 - 6000 kg max. error, 1.5 e1 ~ 3 kg 1200 e2 - 2000 e2 ~ 6000 - 10000 kg max. error, 1.0 e2 ~ 5 kg

MI-load cells
VPG Transducers model RLC has two versions, specially certified for multi-interval instruments. These versions are coded RLC-C3MI6 or RLC-C3MI7.5. Specifications: C3MI6DR = 2E max / 6000vmin = E max / 7000 C3MI7.5DR = 2E max / 7500vmin = E max / 7000

5 (kg) 3 2 1 0 -1 -2 -3 1000 4000 6000 10000 (kg)

For example, a platform scale with a capacity of 10t is built with four load cells type RLC-C3MI7.5-3.5t, with vmin = E max/ 7000 and DR = 2E max / 7500. 1) The eccentricity behavior will be tested with: Maxr / (n - 1) = 10000 / 3 3250 kg This is well below the capacity of the load cell, hence, acceptable. Load cell capacity Emax (kg)
500 1000 2000 3500 5000
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A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

-5

By applying formula 3.3 and 3.4, the following values for e1 can be obtained: Recommended capacity Maxr (kg) 3LD-hopper
1000 2500 5000 8000 12000

type C3MI6; 2 EMAX/6000 e1 (kg) 3LC


0.5 0.5 1 2 5

type C3MI7.7; 2 EMAX/7500 e1 (kg) 3LC


0.2 0.5 1 2 2

e1 (kg) 4LC
0.5 1 2 5 5

e1 (kg) 4LC
0.5 1 2 2 5

4LC-platform
1000 2500 5000 10000 12500
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As a second example, a hopper with a capacity of 5000 kg is built with three load cells type RLC-C3MI6-2t, with vmin =E max / 7000. The smallest verification scale interval (e1) can be obtained from the table above and equals 1 kg. Hence, the following ranges are allowed to be used: 0 - 3000 kg with e = 1 kg (3000 divisions) 3000 - 5000 kg with e = 2 kg (1000 divisions) shall be rounded to the scale interval of the instrument for the same net weight value. It should be realized that the field of application for multiinterval weighing instruments has become smaller by the introduction of more accurate load cells and more sensitive measuring devices (indicators). The hopper-application on the previous page could for example also be served with three load cells type RLCC5-2t. However the advantage of multi-interval instruments are a stronger signal per division (V/d) and larger error limits at the high end of the measuring range (of particular interest at applications with the presents of force-shunts, i.e. hoppers).

Multi-interval instruments shall satisfy the following conditions:


On a multi-interval instrument, the deviation on returning to zero as soon as the indication has stabilized, after the removal of any load which has remained on the instrument for one half hour, shall not exceed 0.5 e1. The maximum preset tare value shall not be greater than Max1 and the indicated or printed calculated net value

A PPL I CAT I O N N OT E

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Document Number: 11862 Revision 29-Nov-2011