What is a Tension-Compression Load Cell, and How Does It Work?

A Tension-Compression load cell is a transducer which is used to measure both compressive force & tensile force.

They are also referred to as S-type load cells as they look like the letter S.


They can be used in both mono-directional and bi-directional applications (that continually cycle between tension and compression). They are most commonly used in tank weighing and process weighing applications.
How Does a Tension-Compression Load Cell Work?
Tension-Compression load cells are mainly used to measure tensile forces, but also are suitable for compressive force measurement. The spring element is located in the centre beam of the load cell. This element is a piece of metal that is elastically deformed under load and recovers the moment when the load is removed. This deformation or strain is picked up by strain gauges bonded on the spring element and converted into an electrical signal. In Tension-Compression load cells, the spring element is deformed at both ends by compression or tension. In contrast to other load cells, S-type load cells can be calibrated in weight units and also in Newton, as they are widely used as force transducers.

Tension-Compression Load Cell Applications

The most common types of Tension-Compression load cell applications are:

  • Hanging container scales, Hopper Scales, and Crane Scales
  • Conveyor belt scales
  • Big bag weighing / filling equipment
  • Serves as force transducers in tensile strength and fatigue testing machines

Final Words

Now that you have got a basic idea about the Tension-Compression load cell, there are a few things you need to consider while purchasing it. Consider the rated output, percentage of accuracy requirement, operating temperature conditions, environmental protection (Ingress Protection rating), mounting options, certification needs and operation costs. To get the best cost-effective load cells or any other weighing system components like weighing assemblies or electronics accessories in the UK, contact Thames Side Sensors Ltd. They assure you excellent quality products at a reasonable price.


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