Monitoring and Controlling Spillway Lift Gates

Load cells are used in spillway gates to measure the force or load acting on the gate. The accuracy of these measurements is essential for managing water flow in spillways, dams, and similar water management structures. A load cell’s measurement data helps to monitor and control the position and stress on the gate to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Civil engineers and equipment manufacturers need immediate data to modernize vital infrastructure worldwide. A spillway gate’s exact capacity and dimensions may require a custom measurement solution to integrate the sensor into the design. Retrofitting spillways with advanced sensor technologies is essential to maintain gates, improve lift and closure, protect the environment, and safeguard people.

When selecting load cells for lift gates in spillways, it’s essential to consider factors such as the load range, accuracy, environmental conditions such as exposure to water and temperature variations, and the communication and control system. The load cells should be robust and designed to withstand the harsh conditions typically found in spillways.

Types of Interface Products Used for Spillway Lift Gates

  • LowProfile Load Cells are ideal for high accuracy and fatigue testing.
  • Mini Load Cells are best when space limitation for the sensor or a small measurement capacity fits the requirements.
  • Load Washer Load Cells are often used for structural monitoring and are easy to implement with a thru-hole design.
  • Multi-axis sensors are used with more than one axis of continuous measurement if necessary, or the project requires more data than a single sensor can produce.
  • Load Pins and Load Shackles are ruggedized and provide easy installation to existing equipment, such as gates.
  • Data Acquisition Systems can graph, log, and store data for continuous analysis and for creating safety systems.
  • Indicators Instruments enable the operator to have real-time analysis of measurement data.
  • Portable Instrumentation Modules are helpful when operators move around a site or need cableless devices.
  • Wireless Telemetry Systems are growing in popularity due to the cable-free options.
  • Submersible Load Cells are essential for some projects due to the exposure to moisture and various environmental conditions.
  • Enclosures are helpful to protect the sensor and instrumentation. They also provide mobility options for different types of project requirements.

How it Works: Load Cells Used for Monitoring and Controlling Spillway Gates

Load cells are positioned at various points on the gate structure to measure the force or load acting on the gate. This data helps determine the weight of water pressing against the gate, which is crucial for managing water flow. Load cells can monitor the load on a spillway lift gate during operation to ensure that the gate is not overloaded.

The load cell is connected to a data acquisition system or a controller for real-time monitoring and analysis. This system collects data from the load cells, which can be used to calculate the pressure exerted on the gate by the water.

The load cell data can be used to control the position of the gate. By continuously monitoring the load, the gate can be adjusted to maintain a particular load or to keep the gate at a specific position. This is important for controlling the water flow through the spillway.

Using Interface instrumentation solutions, the measurement data can trigger alarms if the load exceeds safe limits. This can alert operators to potential issues or dangerous conditions that must be addressed due to environmental factors or flood controls.

Interface’s Log100 Software is designed to map, record, and analyze the output data. It is valuable for assessing the gate’s performance and making necessary adjustments to ensure its longevity and reliability.

Controlling the Position of a Spillway Lift Gate

A civil engineering firm needs to control the position of a spillway lift gate to maintain a specific water level of a reservoir and control the water flow through the spillway. They desire a feedback control loop system for continuous monitoring.

Interface recommends using Interface’s 3-Axis Multi-Axis Sensor Load Cell to measure the force required to lift the gate and adjust the gate’s position to maintain the desired load. The Interface BX6 Data Acquisition System is programmed to maintain a constant load on the gate, ensuring that the water level in the reservoir remains constant, even as the inflow of water changes. The load cell can also measure the force required to lift the gate and predict the future position of the gate. The gate is then adjusted to ensure it reaches the desired position at the chosen time, with the ability to release a certain amount of water from the reservoir. This would help control the water flow downstream and prevent flooding.

The type of load cell and instrumentation selected for any spillway lift gate will depend on the application requirements. If you have questions about the type of measurement solution best suited for your project or design, please contact our application engineers.

New Additions to Interface Product Catalog

Every month our team at Interface adds new technologies and solutions to our extensive product catalog.  This year, we’ve added several new force measurement devices and supporting instrumentation to use in test & measurement projects, as well to create complete systems.  The following highlight some of these new additions.


The following products are the latest additions to our robust line of standard load cells and torque transducers offerings, along with several new instrumentation options available for pairing with different sensor models.


AT105 Contactless Force Torque Transducer

Highly accurate and maintenance free, contactless, rotating, torque force sensor with digital signal transmission from rotor to stator.

AT104 Compact Size Force/Torque TransducerAT104 Compact Size Force Torque Transducer

Reliable and durable reaction torque force sensor that is ideal for testing in small places, it is non-rotating, often used with a very short axial length.


IPCD Pressure Compensated Downhole Load Cell

Superior to hydraulically compensated wet load cells provides high accuracy, is maintenance free and pressure compensated up to 20,000 PSI and temperature compensated up to 350°F.

MBS Parallelogram Load Cell

The mini load cell is made of lightweight aluminum construction is available is capacities from 2.2 to 100 lbf (9.8 to 445 N).

WSSB Welded Stainless Steel IP68 Environment Protected S-Beam

Ideal for measuring both tension and compressive forces has standard metric threads at each end of the load cell designed to accept standard spherical seating rod-end bearings.


9840TQ mV/V Input Torque Transducer Indicator

Provides a TEDS template 33 & 40 (3-point linearization) and is plug and play ready. It is IEEE1451.4 compliant with read and write capability with lbf-ft, lbf-in, N-m and mV/V measurement units.

BSC1 Single Channel PC Interface Module & Bridge Amplifier

A single channel 2.5 analog output, up to 10 mV/V input, 15-pin connector and USB powered and has graphing and logging software.

BSC2 Dual Channel PC Interface Module

Model offers 2-channels USB output, up to 10 mV/V input with two M12 connectors. It is USB powered and incudes graphing and logging software.

BX6-BT Portable 6-Channel High Speed Bluetooth Data Logger

A multi-channel amplifier with Bluetooth connection and data logger functions, which offers exceptionally many features in the smallest dimensions.

INF1-Ethernet TCP IP Single Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator

INF1 has a six-digit red LED display (8 mm height), space-saving compact design and four buttons for the system calibration.

INF4-EtherCat Two, Three, and Four Sensor Weight Transmitter and Indicator

INF4has a six-digit display in a compact design with four buttons for the system calibration, and a six indicator LED.

JB1100 4-Channel Advanced Signal Conditioning Transmitter Indicator and Junction Box

This is a multi-functional, compact 4-channel instrumentation solution ideal for PLC systems requiring weight data from load cells.

VSC2 Rugged Compact Vehicle Powered Signal Conditioner

This new model is a high accuracy precision differential amplifier designed for use in harsh environments with low thermal error and an operating range from -40 to +125 C.

When reviewing your options for instrumentation based on features such as type of output, required channels, added software, programmability, speed, logging and graphing capabilities, TEDS ready, and enclosures, be sure to utilize our new Instrumentation Selection Guide.

If you have technical questions or need assistance in choosing the right load cell or instrumentation, please contact our experts.  We are here to assist you.

Introducing New Interface Instrumentation Selection Guide

Interface offers a diverse selection of instrumentation to use with all types of test and measurement programs.  As the options grow, we created a new online resource to assist in selecting the right type of instrumentation based on the sensor characteristics and the requirements for how you will use and report the outputs.

Interface’s new Instrumentation Selection Guide provides an easy and quick evaluation of various models that can be used with load cells, torque transducers and multi-axis sensors. The guide highlights Interface’s range of analog instrumentation and digital instrumentation types including indicators, signal conditioners, combination models, interface modules, DAQ systems as well as accessories.

This new Interface resource enables you to quickly evaluate the instrumentation models based on features and capabilities, including output, number of channels, software, programmability, speed, logging and graphing, resolutions, TEDS ready, and enclosure options.

Start using this new featured guide by visiting Instrumentation Selection Guide.

This new tool was recently featured in our ForceLeaders webinar Advancements in Instrumentation.  During this recorded event, we provided a series of analog and digital instrumentation products ranging from easy to use four channel SI-USB4 USB Interface Modules to the more advanced BX8 DAQ Systems: BX8-AS Interface BlueDaq Series Data Acquisition SystemBX8-HD15 Interface BlueDaq Series Data Acquisition System and the BX8-HD44 Interface BlueDaq Series Data Acquisition System. The specialized BX8 instrumentation products are designed for 8-channel synchronized sampling with two pulse encoder channels, ideal for internal calculations of axis load values for Interface’s popular 6-Axis Multi-Axis Sensors. Another new instrumentation solution featured in webinar is the BX6-BT Portable 6-Channel High Speed Bluetooth Data Logger, which has fewer channels; however, is portable and great solution for advanced testing labs that are using multi-axis sensors.

These new products, along with the vast catalog of Interface instrumentation options can be found in our references below and by using the featured Instrumentation Selection Guide.

Additional References for Choosing Interface Instrumentation Products

More Support Resources for Interface Instrumentation

If you need assistance in exploring sensors you intend to use with the instrumentation, contact our Application Engineers.

Recap of Inventive Multi-Axis and Instrumentation Webinar

Interface’s resident solutions experts Keith Skidmore and Ken Bishop detailed a series of multi-axis products and advanced instrumentation options in our latest ForceLeaders webinar. They topics discussed during this recorded event included detailed features and benefits of the line of 3-Axis and 6-Axis Multi-Axis Sensors available from Interface. In summary, if you are looking for more data, to maximize your return on testing investments and need a compact solution compared to using multiple single load cells, multi-axis load cells may be the right solution for your application or testing project.

Pairing your sensor with right type of instrumentation that is best suited for the device and your data requirements is an important consideration.  During event, Keith shares why the BX8 Data Acquisition System and Amplifier provides 8-channel synchronized sampling and internal calculation of axis load values for 6-axis sensors. The BX8 provides high-speed synchronous sampling that is critical for dynamic measurements. It is high resolution and low noise and comes with our BlueDAQ software for data viewing and analysis. There is an option to also use BlueDAQ PRO! with MathScript. Multiple BX8 can be synchronized for use with 12-channel 6-axis sensors and force plates, which are discussed later during the event. For large capacity 6-axis sensors, you can also use two BX8’s to create a 72-coeffecient matrix. Watch the event to learn more and read about 6-Axis and BX8 powerful measurement solution.

In contrast to the BX8, Keith details the Interface BSC4 and shares important features that make it a good instrumentation choice to use with our model 3A, 3AR 3-Axis load cells. It can be used with up to four mV/V or VDC output sensors. It is a compact and convenient instrumentation option, compared to using multiple single-channel amplifiers. Our BSC4D comes with BlueDAQ software and is LabView compatible. Learn more about 3-Axis and BSC4.

You will also get the first look at our latest instrumentation solution, the BX6-BT Wireless 6-Axis Data Logger.  This new product is miniature in size, offers 7-channels with Bluetooth functionality. It logs to micro-SD card and is BlueDAQ compatible. It also does matrix math.

Further in the webinar, get the latest tips on mounting multi-axis sensors and using mounting plates and why we are seeing more use cases for Interface custom force plates. You don’t want to miss out on these important set-up instructions, frequently asked questions, and tips for ensuring you don’t compromise accuracy and reliability in your testing.

Watch the webinar and you’ll also learn about applications that use multi-axis and advanced instrumentation, including for structural testing, friction testing, seat testing and special condition calibration. We will be posting addition blogs from the learnings of this in-depth expert discussion, including top 10 FAQs, calibrating multi-axis sensors and the future of test and measurement using multi-axis load cells.