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Wireless digital load cells

The joint project aims to develop an innovative high precision wireless digital load cell. Ascell will develop the mechanical and analogue parts of the load cell. Apyoka, with assistance from ascell, will develop the digital part. Apyoka will develop the wireless parts of the loads cell.

The project is a joint venture between Ascell Sensor S.L., and Apyoka Systems Ltd. to develop a wireless, high resolution, low power digital load cell, primarily for applications in truck scales. In this project Ascell will develop the mechanics and analog parts of a low power load cell while Apyoka will develop the digital part of the load cell as well as the wireless communication. Ascell develops, manufactures and markets load cell for truck scales and complete truck scale systems and has acquired vast knowledge and expertise in all aspects of this field. Apyoka is a subsidiary of three companies that each has high skills in technological and business areas that are required to make the present project a success. Apyoka will have full access to use these skills as described bellow, during the R&D and commercialization stages: Most of the load cells sold today are still analog. Digital load cells have considerable advantages over analog ones and although the migration from analog to digital takes time, mainly due to higher cost of purchase, migration is happening and it is very clear that digital load cells will eventually dominate the market. Apyoka is an expert in digital load cells technology. In order to obtain the maximal advantages from digital load cell, it would be desirable to eliminate the need for cables connecting the load cells to the signal processing unit. According to Ascell's experience a wireless digital load cell will lower the cost of installation, maintenance and repair operations. Moreover, it will eliminate another major source of problems that are caused when moisture damages contacts in junction boxes in cable load cells based weighbridges. The inevitable solution to this problem is to communicate the signal from the load cell to the processing unit via wireless communication. However, some considerable technological constraints stand on the way to implement wireless communication in truck scales and other similar applications. Wireless load cells must use batteries, and these batteries should survive at least one year between replacement, and preferably much longer than that. This demand introduces strict restrictions on power consumption and, accordingly, on the transmitting power. The wireless communication of a truck scale load cell functions in a hard environment and yet needs to be very reliable. Normally, achieving reliability would require a higher transmitting power and higher power consumption. In order to conciliate between the two opposing demands, a highly advanced RF technology must be developed, with sophisticated protocols and algorithms that compensate for communication problems and errors. Such technologies can be found mainly in military systems, at very high prices. Very few companies have the expertise to develop such solutions for industrial applications at a reasonable cost. This is why very few wireless load cells exist in the market, and all of them are based on shelf wireless modules that were not developed for this purpose, do not meet legal requirements that apply to trade applications and have various other disadvantages. Arazim, another founding partner in Apyoka has such expertise and will make it available to Apyoka in order to develop the wireless communication. Along with the wireless communication, the current drainage of the load cell itself needs to be minimized. Developing a high impedance low power consumption load cell is a technological challenge and will be the responsibility of Ascell that has the required expertise to do it. One further market demand is that the load cells will provide a resolution of 4500 divisions (C4.5), as compared to 3000 divisions (C3) in most common load cells today. C4.5 and even C6 load cells exist in the market but are very expensive because of the need to linearize the output of the strain gage (the load cell's sensor) in many more points and at the same time, compensate the temperature changes and other factors. The combined expertise of Ascell and Apyoka will be utilized to overcome this technological challenge. Each of the companies will retain ownership of what it will have developed. Ascell will own the know how of the mechanics and linear parts of the load cell, that it will develop and will also have the right to make use of the digital parts - manufacture and use it in its own products. Apyoka will manufacture the wireless units for Ascell , and Ascell will manufacture the complete load cell for all the markets in the world. Digital wireless load cells can also offer important advantages to users of weighing systems in other market segments, such as: #SILO AND TANKS WEIGHINH #INDUSTRIAL WEIGHING #AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL WEIGHING # Inventory management in automatic warehouses. The items that will be developed in this project meet the needs of the above market segments.
Acronym: 
WiDLC
Project ID: 
7 640
Start date: 
01-05-2012
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
900 000.00€
Technological Area: 
ELECTRONICS, IT AND TELECOMS TECHNOLOGY
Market Area: 
COMPUTER RELATED

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