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summary of mini-load cells

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  • summary of mini-load cells

    Dear colleagues:

    A few weeks ago I posted a message requesting information on mini load
    cells. The response was magnificent. Below is my original message and a
    summary of the responses. Thanks to all those who replied.


    Nancy Laurie
    Laboratory Manager
    Human Performance Laboratory
    University of Massachusetts
    Amherst, MA 01003

    >Dear colleagues:
    >I would like to measure force (Fz, Fy and Fx) at the interface between
    >hammer handle and the palm. I have heard about mini load cells that
    >could possibly be used for this application. Does anyone know who makes

    >this type of equipment? I welcome any comments, suggestions or ideas
    >you may have on approaching this problem. I will post a summary of the


    We use a three-axis force/torque sensor from ATI Industrial Automation
    called the NANO 17. It has performed very well and ATI is a pleasure to
    deal with.

    ATI Industrial Automation
    Garner, NC, USA
    919 772 0115

    Warren Grill
    Omega (1-800-TC-OMEGA) carries subminiature load cells, as does Sensotec

    (800-848-6564). I'm looking forward to your summary however, as any
    options that are less expensive than these (the cells tend to be pretty
    steep) would be marvelous.

    Adam Arabian
    Masters Student
    Michigan State University Dpt. of Mechanical Engineering


    I'd suggest contacting Novel Electronics in St Paul, MN. Ask Susan or
    about the glove their company has come up with. At present it is a
    measurement device but they have been working on seperating the
    force vectors.

    Their number is 651-221-0505

    Good Luck,


    Nancy E. Laurie,

    A collaborated study at University of Washington, Seattle, between the

    Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Surgery, is
    including measurements of multi-axis forces/torque signature (Fx, Fy,
    Fz, Tx, Ty, Tz) at the interface between the surgeon hand and an
    endoscopic tool during minimally invasive surgery. This measurements
    are performed by using ATI force/torque mini sensor
    ( which is inserted into the outer tube of the
    endoscope tool. An alternative sensor for your application might be a
    sensor capable of measuring the same thing, which is manufactured by
    JR3 (
    You may visit the BioRobotics Lab Web site for learning more about
    this study

    Good Luck

    Jacob Rosen


    check PCB Piezotronics.


    Hey Nancy,

    I would contact Microstrain up in Vermont. We are using mini strain
    gauges that are smaller than half a penny. They are really good
    technically and if you need a name, look for Steve Arms. Good luck...

    Andrew Mahar

    You can use transducers going directly to the APAS system and you will
    the forces, EMG and Kinematics all synchronized.
    See at:


    Dear Laurie:

    I don't know anything about the cells, but could you please post the
    to your question?


    Beverly Burke RN
    Movement Systems

    Certified Movement Analyst
    Certified Industrial Ergonomist


    Standard disclaimers apply.

    Check out Assurance Technologies
    ( They make a
    force transducer called the Nano that's about the diameter of a dime and

    about 1 cm thick. The only problem with it is that it's about US$6000!


    Tony Hodgson
    UBC Mechanical Engineering


    AMTI and Bertec are the only ones I know of who make 3 axis force load
    cells, but these things are huge 1.4 Kg. But they may be able to advise
    on where to go for small ones.

    Kistler and Sensotec also do very small load cells but I haven't found
    anything with 3 axis (compression only)

    This web address can do a product search based on your spec. Try it out
    see what it comes up with. If nothing else it is a good source of
    and addresses.

    Let me know if you find anything,
    Nicola Taylor
    Institute of Materials Research and Engineering
    Block S7, Level 3
    National University of Singapore
    10, Kent Ridge Crescent
    Singapore 119260
    Tel: (65) 874 8197
    Fax65) 872 0785

    Dear Nancy Laurie,

    Consult the following site :

    PCB Piezotronics Inc.

    I don't know if this product will be adapted for your project, but
    you get some additional information with this company.
    Good luck in your work.

    Best Regards,

    Wagner de Godoy
    Gait Laboratory
    AACD -

    NK Biotechnology in Minneapolis/St.Paul area of Minnesota makes a 3 DOF
    load cell 1" diam used for patellofemoral forces in TKA studies in the
    past. It would probably require modification for your application, but
    the performance of the device, based on previous experience, would be
    good and be NIST traceable.

    Good Luck.

    Steven E. Irby Telephone: (507)284-1423
    Biomechanics Laboratory FAX: (507)284-5392
    Mayo Clinic
    Guggenheim 128
    200 First Street SW
    Rochester, MN, 55905


    There has been some work at the University of Kent here in the UK on
    piezoelectric transducers for the measurement of vertical and shear
    forces between the
    skin and the insoles of shoes. The URL is

    Good luck!


    Dr Andrew New
    Department of Design & Engineering
    School of Design & Communication Systems
    Anglia Polytechnic University
    Essex CM1 1LL
    Tel 01245 493131 x 3316
    Fax 01245 252646
    World Wide Web


    I know Jesus Dapena did some work in the early 80's looking at the
    force developed in the hammer cable. Whether he approached the force
    deeloped in the handle problem I don't know, but he may be worth a

    Best of luck,

    Calvin Morriss
    UK Athletics Biomechanics Coordinator
    Manchester Metropolitan University
    Crewe and Alsager Faculty
    S-O-T. ST7 2HL
    0161 247 5573 (w)
    0956 922 832 (m)
    0161 247 6375 (f)

    Dear Nancy,

    We are currently developing a triaxial force transducer. This
    measures 1x1x0.3 cm and should be able to measure hammer handle-palm
    forces. We have some experience with Mr Paul McArthur, plastic
    surgeon at the Morriston Hospital, Swansea, using similar vertical
    force transducers for monitoring hand grip forces before and after
    reconstructive surgery.

    The transducer development is being carried out under sponsorhip from
    Kistler Instruments. It is also possible that they migh have a
    commercial transducer that could meet your need.

    Thus the application of thetransducer is stil a d R&D issue rather
    than a commercial buy.

    If you think that what we are doing might be of long term interest
    please let me know.


    Matthew Pepper

    Dr Matthew Pepper
    Electronic Engineering Department
    University of Kent
    Canterbury CT2 7NT

    Tel: 01227 823450 (direct Line)
    01227 764000 Ext 3450
    Fax 01227 456084

    Dear Nancy,

    I hope you received Dr. pepper's email by now .
    You can have a look at this WEB page where the tri-axial
    transducer charactristics are explained.

    M A Razian

    Medical Elec. Lab.
    University of Kent

    A flexible, capacitive sensor grid is available from novel, a german
    company (, US rep is Susan Diekrager at 651-221-0505).
    mainly sell insole sensor grids and seating mats for measuring in-shoe
    plantar forces and seating pressure, respectively, but you could easily
    obtain a sensor grid from them that could be wrapped around a hammer
    handle. At one point, they were also working on a pressure-sensitive
    The catch is that you only get normal forces. Your other choice is to
    instrument the hammer or the subject with discrete sensors, but this
    significantly alter the surface interface. The nice thing about the
    sensors is that they form a smooth wrap around the handle, minimizing
    changes to the grip surface.

    Good luck.

    -- Jeff

    Hello Laurie:
    My suggestion would be to use a steel handled hammer
    with a small (1") section of the handle near the
    hand grip that has been reduced to a square
    approx 3/8" to 1/2" on each side(depending on the
    amount of force you intend to measure). Then by
    applying strain gages directly to this area in the
    proper orientation you can use slight flextion of
    the hammer handle itself to measure the Forces Fx Fy Fz.
    Find someone familier with applying strain gages
    and get them to help you select the gages and mount them.
    Cliff Beckett

    Our pliance system can be used for instrumenting a hammer. The flexible

    sensor matrix measures pressure distribution while gripping. If you
    like additional information please check out our web site (
    or call (651 221-0505)


    Please visit novel on the web!!

    Kevin Ford, M.S.
    Biomechanics Research
    novel electronics, inc.

    964 Grand Avenue
    St. Paul, MN 55105

    phone (651) 221-0505
    fax (651) 221-0404

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