Bolt-on strain gauge sensors are extremely versatile for industrial applications. The following article outlines some of the diverse applications for which these sensors are suitable.
Bolt-on strain gauge sensors measure changes in the stress levels of vessel or structure supports, producing an electrical output proportional to the change in weight. Designed to easily fit numerous applications in harsh environments, they eliminate the need for complicated and costly installation works and provide accurate and reliable results for many years.
Legislation, performance and safety
Current stringent legislation and a rise in demand for high-performance vehicles in many industries - including automotive, agricultural, marine and mining, to name just a few - and compliance with safety standards is driving manufacturers to look for accurate and reliable weighing data.
For over 25 years Datum Electronics has been designing and manufacturing strain gauge-based load monitoring sensors and instrumentation and can supply sensor designs to meet customer requirements. Working in partnership with established manufacturers across many industries, the company produces at its headquarters thousands of bolt-on sensors every year.
Bolt-on strain gauge sensors are robust, resistant to dust and water, suitable for harsh environments and can endure high stresses. Unlike other strain measurement, load and weighing systems, they are easy to install without soldering or wiring, and are designed to fit a wide range of applications.
On-board heavy vehicle weighing systems
Overweight trucks are a hazard and affect road safety as well as vehicle safety. To prevent road incidents in the past, trucks used to be weighted on static scales. For that reason, they had to stop and wait to be weighed sometimes for over 30 minutes. Recent European regulations have addressed this issue, making on-board weigh (or weigh-in-motion) systems a real priority for heavy vehicle manufacturers.
Datum bolt-on sensors are compact, can be temperature-compensated (optionally) and designed to be easily installed. These strain gauge bolt-on sensors are usually mounted on each group of a vehicle's bridge or an axle, acting as a weighing scales and providing reliable and accurate data to a vehicle's system as live data available continuously.
A conventional weighing system for a silo, hopper or tank can be quite expensive and is not for everybody. However, a simple bolt-on sensor is cost-effective and causes minimal disruption and downtime.
Datum's Series 460 strain gauge bolt-on sensors are bolted to a silo's leg or skirt with little change to its structure and therefore its integrity. When supports are minutely deformed due to load changes, the strains are experienced by the strain gauges, which give an output signal proportional to the load; this signal is transmitted to the customer's system or interface of choice.
Prompted by recent EU legislation, vessel condition monitoring is becoming increasingly critical in the maritime industry. For example, to enhance safety and increase operational efficiency of ships carrying cargo, IMO highly recommended fitting hull stress monitoring systems on vessels of 20,000 dwt and above.
Strain gauge bolt-on sensors measure hull loading levels to show early signs of damage or degradation, thereby significantly reducing the cost of repair and maintenance. This simple, easy-to-fit hull stress monitoring sensor is designed to provide vessel operators with real-time information on the stress the ship's hull experiences during loading and unloading operations.
Increasing safety and avoiding unscheduled downtime are crucial issues in today's competitive mining industry. One of the critical areas of focus is the reliability of conveying systems. These conveyor and truck/trolley systems are usually subjected to medium to extreme vibration and stress levels. Having a dedicated condition monitoring system can give confidence that heavy rotating machinery is operating correctly at various speeds and loads without malfunctions.
Bolt-on sensors can be placed along the belt conveyor system and on trolley systems to deliver continuous real-time data to mining operations personnel to reduce the impact on product and maintenance costs.
Underwater strain measurement
Offshore structures (pipelines, dams, bridges, tunnels, etc) and offshore energy-related structures (wind farms and other energy harvesting constructions) can suffer from scouring and cracks that can compromise the integrity of the structure. As inspection, maintenance and repair of underwater structures are very costly, offshore structural monitoring has become an essential part of a variety of underwater applications to prevent avoidable failures.
Bolt-on strain measurement sensors can be installed on the structures underwater and do not require any welding or drilling. These sensors offer high strain resolutions, provide real-time information and can survive high sea water pressure, thereby presenting an excellent durable and reliable option for underwater conditions.