The Importance of Load Cells in Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry relies heavily on load cells for safe and efficient operations. From offshore platforms to drilling equipment, they provide valuable data to improve operations, increase production, and ensure the safety of workers.  Interface load cells are used in many facets of oil and gas, including to ensure safe lifting, enhance equipment integrity, provide accurate measurements in field operations, and even assist with optimal storage tank management.

Interface stands out by offering ruggedized, high-accuracy load cells specifically designed for the oil and gas sector’s demanding environments. Interface helps the energy market with force measurement solutions specially developed for harsh conditions, with sensors that can withstand up to 30,000 psi and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interface Oil and Gas Applications

Load cell technology is used in various oil and gas applications, including:

Downhole and Vertical Drilling

  • Dry Load Cell Replacements for Wet Load Cells
  • Drill String Weight and Tension Monitoring
  • Oil Recovery
  • Wellbore Perforation Equipment
  • Wireless Drilling Systems and Rig Management

Flow Management

  • Monitoring Pipeline Tension
  • Pipeline Stress Monitoring
  • Mooring and Riser Systems

Wellhead and Production Operations

  • Tank and Silo Weighing
  • Cementing Tools
  • Wireline Tools
  • Crane and Lifting Equipment
  • Mixing and Separation Systems
  • Offshore Equipment

Crude Oil Barrel Weighing Solution

A weighing system is needed to measure mass amounts of crude oil. Interface’s solution is to secure four SSB Sealed Beam Load Cells at the bottom of a metal platform. The load cells measure the force applied by the weight of the barrels of crude oil. All four SSBs are connected to a JB104SS 4-Channel Stainless Steel Junction Box which is connected to the 480 Bidirectional Weight Indicator to display the accurate weight results.

Power Tong Measurement System

As with many oil and gas applications, the demand for digital or recorded traceability is ever-increasing. A force and torque measurement system is needed to ensure there is an appropriate amount of torque applied to a power tong during the tightening and loosening of shaft connections during the drilling process. Interface’s WMCFP Overload Protected Sealed Stainless Steel Miniature Load Cell with Female Threads is attached to the hydraulic actuator that controls the clamping force of the tong on the drill string, thus increasing accuracy over hydraulic measurements. The 2400 Standard Stainless Steel High Capacity Universal Load Cell is attached to the hydraulic actuator that controls the bottom tong’s clamping force on the drill string. Interface’s force sensors accurately monitor the motor of the power tong’s tightening mechanism, ensuring it tightens during operation at the right amount of force. It also successfully measured the force of the hydraulic actuator controlling the tong’s clamping force.

Interface prioritizes customization to meet specific client requirements. This may involve incorporating client-specific mechanical details or defining products tailor-made for existing drilling systems and production equipment. An example of customization is Interface’s LowProfile™ series load cells, which helped an oil company improve recovery operations by providing accurate readings during an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project. When oil is extracted from the ground, a refinement process removes sediments and other impurities. After the filtering process, the crude oil needs to be weighed before it can be redistributed.

Challenges of Downhole Force Measurement

The downhole environment presents unique challenges for load cells. Downhole temperatures can exceed the typical rating of “high temperature” load cells.  Interface offers solutions that can withstand up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Downhole pressure can be extreme, making sealing a load cell difficult. Interface’s solutions address this with innovative designs.

Interface’s Dry Load Cell Technology

A significant contribution by Interface is their dry load cell technology. Interface has been building custom downhole load cells in the oil and gas industry for several decades. Unlike traditional “wet” load cells that fail after a year or two due to harsh downhole environments, Interface’s dry cells offer several advantages:

  • Extended lifespan: They can last ten years or more.
  • Reduced maintenance: Eliminates the need for frequent O-ring replacements.
  • Improved accuracy: Provides consistent measurement feedback.

Interface’s IPCD Pressure Compensated Downhole Load Cell is a superior solution for oil and gas. is a prime example of this technology.  Our innovative dry cell technology addresses the challenges of “wet” load cells, which struggle with extended use in deep wells with extreme pressures, temperatures, and caustic environments. As noted in our application note, Downhole Force Measurement, the customer can control pumping forces on the tool string with incredible accuracy. Regulating this process ensured service success without the risk of the tool pump shutting down and avoiding a devastating and expensive fishing operation.

Each one has been customized to the customer’s preferences. Interface leverages experience, engineering design, and production skills to provide a standard model solution. It should be noted that there is still an option to modify the IPCD Load Cell and customize it to adapt to customer hardware. Download the Interface technical review in our Interface Pressure Compensated Downhole Load Cell White Paper.

The Benefits of Interface Load Cell Solutions for Oil and Gas

By implementing Interface load cell technology, oil and gas companies can benefit from:

  • Reduced costs: Lower maintenance requirements and extended lifespans lead to overall cost savings.
  • Improved safety: Accurate measurements ensure safe operation and prevent equipment failure.
  • Enhanced efficiency: Real-time data allows for informed decisions and optimizes drilling operations.

Interface is a global leader in force measurement solutions, offering over 35,000 products. It is committed to continuously developing cost-effective and durable solutions. We work with engineers and oil and gas industry leads to integrate our sensor technologies into their tools, equipment, and production solutions. Oil and gas companies can ensure safe, efficient, and cost-effective operations by leveraging Interface’s expertise in load cell technology. Contact Interface Application Engineers to explore options for your exact requirements.