tank & hopper vs. Process Load Cells
Tank & Hopper Scales (Stationary Weighing)
For large, stationary applications, beam load cells are used because they’re generally lower capacity, cheaper, and some are inherently impervious to dust and fluids. However, if excessive vibrations in the ground or winds against the vessel cause the application to become dynamic, high-capacity button load cells will be used.
Process Load Cells (Dynamic Weighing)
There are many options for different types of dynamic applications depending on the nature of the load shift. Button, digital canister, and s-type load cells are used in these applications because of the range of possible configurations and options. Though not inherently impervious, they come in hygienic and various washdown options.
Choosing a Manufacturer
Tanks are heavy and moving them is expensive and time-consuming. We nearly always recommend the highest quality load cells for these applications because, once they’ve needed repair, cheaper load cells will have cost you more than the most expensive.
For most applications this points to Minebea, which is one of the highest quality manufacturers in the industry. For simple or short-term applications, we have a “house brand” (Coti Global). Most scale companies you may be surprised to see absent from this comparison actually use these two manufacturers as well. In fact, many big brands in the space aren’t competitors at all, they merely position themselves to look it.
The three main factors to consider are lifespan, movement and weight of the equipment being weighed, and whether the equipment should stand on [compression] load cells as normal or should be hung from the ceiling or a mezzanine [on tension load cells]. The answer to the latter usually depends on whether there will be significant vibrations in the floor beneath the equipment.
If the goal is simply to get a rough bead on the fill level of a vessel, we recommend level indicators instead of load cells.
For heavy, dynamic, and permanent applications
15 Year Warranty
Minebea is the leader in dynamic weighing and tank, hopper, and vessel scales because of their manufacturing practices. The most relevant practices for these applications include:
- Use of high-quality alloys which have passed standards similar to those in the U.S.
- Sample and product testing at various stages of production – This allows them to both ensure quality and diagnose problems in the case of an unexpected failure. Should this happen, they can test samples of material used to understand the issue.
- Filling load cells with inert gasses to protect against oxidation
- Product engineering to 250% tolerance. This means that if they’ve rated a load cell for 10,000 lbs, they’ve engineered it to withstand 25,000.
- ISO-Rated, universal language programming. This means their data is traceable and widely understood, making for simpler diagnostics.
Coti Global is a foreign manufacturer that commoditizes patented products when said patents expire. Their goal is to compete on price and they do this well. Their products are manufactured to spec and can generally be trusted, but they do occasionally experience quality variances in both their inputs and outputs. This being said, they are fair in their dealings and their products meet the requirements they claim to meet.
Still have questions?
Many factors will interact to determine which options are best. Just fill out the form to the best of your ability and we’ll identify your best options.