If you live in a big city and you commute to and from work by car, you are probably sick and tired of the congested traffic. Some people will even leave hours earlier than necessary in the morning to avoid rush hour, and will put in an extra hour at work to avoid hitting it on the way home. Cities are constantly trying to improve road conditions, road capacity, and expand in ways to accommodate the growing number of residents. Have you ever noticed driving over a cable stretched across the road? These cables are fed to signal conditioners that are in turn powered by cells such as the THB series Load Cell. This little component has many uses, and in this case, it is used to provide data to cities to make improvements.
We have all heard the expression ‘if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you”. Well billionaire Matty Moroun purchased the Ambassador Bridge—the only road connection from Michigan to Canada via Detroit / Windsor. Load cells help play a vital role in providing bridge data. For private owners, getting data from their bridges if of great important and urgency, as it will help them protect their investment. In an article published by Forbes, the article addresses some controversy over private bridge ownership. It also claims that the Ambassador Bridge is outdated. The author writes that at 75 years old, the Ambassador is out-of-date. The article continues to address that its four lanes are too narrow and its approach too steep, but none of the 130 other crossings to Canada is so perfectly placed. Recently, Canada has expressed interest in building a new bridge to help “bridge” commerce between the two countries, and Morous has spent millions of his own money to try to stop it.
For years, Mouron has relied on load cells working in harmony with signal conditioners to help him make his business decisions. The signal conditioner is primarily used for data acquisition. Here’s how it works: sensor signals are normalized and filtered to levels acceptable for analog-to-digital conversion so computer devices can read them. Getting data on bridge traffic is vital for many reasons. Firstly, it helps engineers better gauge when to conduct bridge maintenance, like making reinforcements or replacing parts. Secondly, it is useful for measuring the amount of traffic that comes in. Owning a bridge isn’t cheap; it costs a great deal of money just to keep one up to code. Knowing if traffic is increasing or decreasing, and when peak hours of traffic come in, will provide data useful to determining toll charges. But as things seem to look for now, Canada may be in the market for acquiring some load cells to measure road traffic on their bridge of the future!
The Little device with a big impact
These load cells are made with great care and integrity. They are manufactured from heat-treated 17-4 ph stainless steel, and are therefore safe from almost any environment. However, because they are made of stainless steel, you will naturally want to take good care of them. For example, keep them out of moist environments where rust may be a threat. If you are looking to purchase load cells for any number of wide jobs they can perform, be sure to purchase ones that are constructed with these materials that meet the highest standards.
Image source: http://thestar.blogs.com/.a/