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The Technology Behind Truck Weigh Stations

 

Truck weigh stations are obviously used to weigh trucks – hence the name – but most people don’t know why trucks need to be weighed. And even fewer know how weigh stations operate. Here is a brief look at three different truck weigh station systems and why they are necessary.

 

What are Weigh Stations For?

Weigh stations are primarily used by the United States to collect taxes on transported goods. The amount of taxes owed is determined by the weight. The stations are also used to determine whether trucks are within a particular road system’s safety guidelines. Most private vehicles are exempt from weigh stations, while commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds, or having three or more axles, are required to pay fuel taxes.

 

Load Cell Systems

The most popular weigh station system is the load cell system. It is comprised of steel or concrete, and has multiple strain gauges embedded within. These gauges transmit electric currents to a junction box, which measures the variance in the current and calculates the weight on the scale.

 

Bending Plate Systems

The bending plate system uses metal plates with attached strain gauges. When weight is applied to the scale, the strain gauges measure the amount of stress on the plates and calculate the amount of weight the scale is supporting.

 

Piezoelectric Systems

These systems use a number of piezoelectric sensors embedded in conducting material. Weight is applied to the scale and the pressure changes the amount of electrical charge in the conductors. Sensors then measure the change in voltage and calculate the weight of the load.

 

As always, if you have any questions related to this material, our support staff at Cooper Instruments is available to help. Contact them by calling (800) 344-3921 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

COOPER INSTRUMENTS & SYSTEMS ANNOUNCES ONLINE ORDERING

 

August 5, 2014

Warrenton, VA

 

Cooper Instruments & Systems proudly announces the launch of their new eCommerce online ordering system. Recognizing the needs and wishes of both their domestic and international clientele, Cooper Instruments has implemented 24/7 online ordering of their wide selection of load cells, pressure transducers, digital instrumentation and related force measurement equipment.

 

“We are excited to be offering online ordering to our customers,” said Rex Cooper, President and CEO of Cooper Instruments. He continued, “We understand that eCommerce has become the preferred method of purchasing for many organizations. We hope that our customers find this service to be a valuable addition to the many other services Cooper Instruments can offer.”

 

Cooper went on to say that the company encourages its customers to share feedback regarding their experience the new online ordering system and added that, as always, the company’s sales team continues to be available by phone to help with orders at 800-344-3921.

 

Cooper Instruments & Systems is a worldwide leading supplier of force and pressure measurement instrumentation, sensor systems and custom calibration services. Since opening for business in 1988, their products and systems have been used extensively around the globe.

 

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For more information about Cooper Instruments & Systems, please contact Rex Cooper at (800) 344-3921 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

As always, if you have any questions related to this material, our support staff at Cooper Instruments is available to help. Contact them by calling (800) 344-3921 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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Our last installment mentioned that Secretary Hoover wanted to reduce industrial waste and use resources more efficiently. A report by the Federated American Engineering Societies in the 1920s had concluded that between 25-50% of production costs could be eliminated by eliminating waste (including, in some cases, wasteful labor practices). Hoover’s aims at achieving waste reduction affected the Bureau directly on two fronts: 1) that material waste reduction would be achieved by setting standards of quality, simplifying grades and reducing unnecessary variety; and 2) that labor waste reduction would be achieved by scientific development of better processes and methods and invention of labor-saving devices.

 

“The crusade for standardization” became a phrase used to express the objectives of standardizing materials and business practices, reducing extraneous variety, and producing quality specifications. Independent of, but in close connection with the Bureau, the actual authority regarding industry standards was the American Engineering Standards Committee or AESC (later renamed the American Standards Association). The year 1927 saw the first publication of the Bureau’s “Standards Yearbook” which provided fundamental information on standardization which by then, it claimed, affected “every phase of design, production, and utilization." Industrialized countries around the world underwent their own “crusades for standardization” during the same period, as the phenomenon was not contained to the US, though with the distinction that in the US it was driven largely by industry as a matter of increasing profit, whereas abroad it was more likely to be a government initiative.

 

As we have seen earlier, establishing quality standards for government purchasing was one of the Bureau’s former tasks, though for a long time, each department or agency had its own purchasing department and its own quality standards. With the establishment in 1921 of the Bureau of the Budget came the creation of the Federal Specifications Board which bound all Federal purchasing to Bureau quality standards.

 

The general procedure, then, was for the Bureau to conduct research and recommend a standard, which was then conveyed to the AESC. From there, the draft of the Federal specification was disseminated to industry representatives who, in turn, provided feedback until a standard was approved. In this way, the Bureau prepared 72 specifications between 1921 and 1924 and 150 new specifications between 1925 and 1928.

 

Together with other concerned parties, the Bureau published the “National directory of commodity specifications” in 1925, including 27,000 specifications for 6,650 commodities, which Secretary Hoover envisioned as a “Buyers’ Bible” to support industrial and Federal purchasing.

 

Of the various branches of the standardization initiative, the general public seemed most interested in the topic of simplification because it was easy to understand and often came with staggering statistics. For example, a Bureau report in 1921 showed excessive variety in style and material when there was no real demand for such variety and consumers would have been content with a more standardized selection. The same report found that this issue alone represented an annual 30% loss of American energy.

 

As its first two recommendations, the Bureau’s division of simplified practice reduced the available sizes of paving bricks from 66 to 7 and beds from 20+ varieties to 4 widths and one arbitrary length (we see the vestiges of this in our current twin/full/queen/king sizes). In cooperation with the Bureau, savings over $293 million were estimated in nine key industries within 5 years. A study in 1926 found compliance rates to the new standards to be at 79.5%, exceeding expectations, which had assumed that manufacturers and consumers would try to hold on to eliminated sizes/styles of product. The program continued to enjoy much success with manufacturers reporting savings and benefits seen in numerous facets of their operations. As such, Hoover created within the Bureau the division of trade standards to consolidate activities related to standards and publish specifications with industry-wide application.

 

While manufacturers accepted the reduction in variety and standardization of their products relatively readily, as they saw the results on their balance sheets, consumers continued to want that additional variety in some products. In an ironic example, the heads of the simplified practice division at Commerce requested typewriters for their division that were not of the manufacturer and type style used throughout the rest of the organization. Their request was denied on those grounds but they insisted until their purchase was approved, illustrating that limited variety does not always suit all needs or wants of the end user. As the country rebounded from the post-war depression, both industry and consumer became less compliant with Government simplification recommendations until the program was drastically cut, though not abandoned, when the Great Depression hit.

 

**The information presented here is drawn from “Measures For Progress: A History of The National Bureau of Standards” (Rexmond C. Cochrane)

 

As always, if you have any questions related to this material, our support staff at Cooper Instruments is available to help. Contact them by calling (800) 344-3921 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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Cooper Instruments & Systems is pleased to serve clients around the globe, from the United States to Europe and Asia. Growth projections in Asia mean that they will be able to offer high-standard products more easily in the future.

 

Warrenton, VA (SBWire) July 8, 2014 – The IMF’s growth projections of 5.4% for 2014 and 5.5% for 2015 for Asia are beneficial for Cooper Instruments & Systems, as they will bolster the company’s finances and allow them to provide superior service for their clients around the globe.

 

“We couldn’t be happier with the projections in Asia,” a representative from Cooper Instruments & Systems reported. “It seems like 2015 will be a very positive year for us as a company, and this means that we’ll be able to expand and enhance our operations for all of our clients, no matter where they are located.”

 

It’s not just the growth projections that are giving Cooper Instruments & Systems something to celebrate. It’s also that vehicle sales in vital markets like China are booming. As Cooper Instruments & Systems works extensively with auto manufacturers and the auto industry, this means business will be better than ever.

 

“It’s good to know that more people around the world are owning cars,” the Cooper Instruments & Systems representative went on to say. “It’s not just that it’s good for our business, though; it’s a sure sign that the economy as a whole is improving, since more and more people can afford to buy vehicles. It’s a win-win situation for everybody, as far as we’re concerned.”

 

China’s automotive market growth is particularly impressive, as in 2013 it was the first nation to report over 20 million automotive units sold.

 

“Even more impressive is that, even with these remarkable numbers coming out of China, it still remains a nation with low car ownership over all,” the Cooper Instruments & Systems representative said. “There is lots of room for growth.”

 

It is estimated that there are only 120 million vehicles in China, which is extremely low for a country that has nearly a billion and a half people. Only time will tell where the Asian market will go, but Cooper Instruments & Systems is looking forward to the future, and will continue to serve its clients, both new and old, with diligence and care.

 

About Cooper Instruments & Systems

Since 1988, Cooper Instruments & Systems has been a worldwide leading supplier of force and pressure instrumentation, sensor systems and custom calibration services. Cooper Instruments & Systems offers equipment such as load cells, torque cells, force and pressure sensors, torque gages, pressure transducers, pressure gages, digital instrumentation, hand-helds, test stands, custom test stands, and more. For more information, please visit CooperInstruments.com.

 

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While there are different kinds of electrical circuits that load cells use, the most common configuration is known as the Wheatstone Bridge. One of our earlier blog posts (found here) discussed the Wheatstone bridge in detail. The Wheatstone Bridge configuration is the most popular, but there are a number of lesser-known bridges used in load cells as well. Most of these are simply alterations of the standard design, but they offer alternatives for different levels of resistance. Here is a look at some of the other popular bridge configurations:

 

Carey Foster Bridge. The Carey Foster Bridge is an electrical circuit that can be used to measure low resistances, or small differences between two larger resistances. It follows the same basic principles as the Wheatstone Bridge, but has a higher level of sensitivity.

 

Kelvin Bridge. The Kelvin Bridge is useful for measuring low values of resistance in industrial applications. This is a capability the Wheatstone Bridge does not have.

 

Kevin-Varley Divider. The Kevin-Varley Divider configuration is used to divide voltages and generate precise output data. It’s essentially a precise digital to analog converter.

 

Maxwell Bridge. The Maxwell Bridge is an AC bridge, meaning it has a balance detector and four arms. This configuration is useful for measuring the wide range of audio frequencies.

 

At Cooper Instruments & Systems, we offer a number of different load cells for various applications. Our load cells are made from quality materials for durability and reliability. Contact us today to find out how we can provide load cells for your business.

 

In 1921 and 1922, the Bureau went through some profound staffing changes, with 3 of its division chiefs dying in a span of 10 months. All 3 had been with the Bureau from the beginning, and its head, Dr. Stratton, had a bond with them that was not present with more recently acquired staff. Between losing his closest staff members and the fact that he was underpaid (he would have made at least 4 times more in the private sector), Stratton’s days at the Bureau were also numbered. The Bureau’s strongest champion, the man who had shaped it since its founding and seen it grow to more than 60 times its original size, left his position to assume the presidency at MIT beginning on January 1, 1923.

 

Secretary Hoover called attention in his press release on Stratton’s resignation to the fact the Government salaries were not competitive enough to keep qualified scientific men in Government positions. Hoover also named Stratton to the Bureau’s Visiting Committee, which meant that his influence was still felt there after his departure. Stratton also continued to be available for consulting with his successor Dr. Burgess, and during his tenure at MIT, he oversaw a reorganization that in many ways resembled the organization of the Bureau.

 

After rather lengthy debate, George Burgess, chief of the metallurgy division, was named successor to Stratton. Like his predecessor, Burgess would champion the link between the scientific study of the Bureau and industry, but unlike Stratton, Burgess was less involved in the day-to-day functions of the Bureau across the spectrum. He delegated authority, in contrast to Stratton’s autocratic nature, but he was accessible to any who sought his guidance. Under Burgess, the Bureau’s growth slowed as he was content to continue with work begun under Stratton, but let the dust settle for a while before taking on too many new tasks.

 

Some of the most important work conducted during the 1920’s was the Bureau’s continued work on establishing constants for different substances. The Bureau was especially concerned with temperature tables for different materials and greatly improved the data available for things like boiling and freezing points. They also collaborated on a new International Practical Temperature Scale. During this time the Bureau also investigated, in far greater detail than anyone ever had before, the specific characteristics of chemical elements, both alone and in combination with other elements by using spectroscopic test methods.

 

The Bureau’s involvement in the field of atomic physics began with a guest researcher from the University of Minnesota who introduced the concept of spectral analysis of metal vapor atoms. What began as an unfunded research hobby of two researchers in the optics division became the Bureau’s atomic physics section in 1922. The majority of the Bureau, however, continued to be consumed with industrial research.

 

Following the war, the country experienced a period of depression with the slowing down of industry. At the time, Herbert Hoover, who strongly supported the Bureau’s work and saw its value in restoring the economy, was Secretary of Commerce. The war had produced a housing shortage so when it became apparent that new home construction would be instrumental to job creation and industry revival, Hoover tasked the Bureau with researching the standardization of building materials and reviewing building codes. Hoover also established within the Bureau a division of simplified practice, whose purpose was to eliminate waste in industry by encouraging more conservative use of materials and more streamlined practices.

 

Bureau publications during the course of this housing stimulus included “Recommended minimum requirements for small dwelling construction,” “How to own your home,” and primers on plumbing, zoning, building codes and city planning. Bureau investigations also concluded that it wasn’t really necessary to have the customary winter slow-down in construction. The housing construction program lasted 8 years, from 1921-1929 and averaged 750,000 homes annually, which dramatically exceeded the need at the program’s inception. With a surplus of homes available, the Bureau’s building division saw staffing cuts from 36 to 2 by the time the Great Depression was in full force in 1933.

 

**The information presented here is drawn from “Measures For Progress: A History of The National Bureau of Standards” (Rexmond C. Cochrane)

 

As always, if you have any questions related to this material, our support staff at Cooper Instruments is available to help. Contact them by calling (800) 344-3921 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

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