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November 2002

Process Industry Practices


Process Control

PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria
PURPOSE AND USE OF PROCESS INDUSTRY PRACTICES

In an effort to minimize the cost of process industry facilities, this Practice has
been prepared from the technical requirements in the existing standards of major
industrial users, contractors, or standards organizations. By harmonizing these
technical requirements into a single set of Practices, administrative, application, and
engineering costs to both the purchaser and the manufacturer should be reduced. While
this Practice is expected to incorporate the majority of requirements of most users,
individual applications may involve requirements that will be appended to and take
precedence over this Practice. Determinations concerning fitness for purpose and
particular matters or application of the Practice to particular project or engineering
situations should not be made solely on information contained in these materials. The
use of trade names from time to time should not be viewed as an expression of
preference but rather recognized as normal usage in the trade. Other brands having the
same specifications are equally correct and may be substituted for those named. All
Practices or guidelines are intended to be consistent with applicable laws and
regulations including OSHA requirements. To the extent these Practices or guidelines
should conflict with OSHA or other applicable laws or regulations, such laws or
regulations must be followed. Consult an appropriate professional before applying or
acting on any material contained in or suggested by the Practice.

This Practice is subject to revision at any time by the responsible Function Team and
will be reviewed every 5 years. This Practice will be revised, reaffirmed, or withdrawn.
Information on whether this Practice has been revised may be found at www.pip.org.

Process Industry Practices (PIP), Construction Industry Institute, The


University of Texas at Austin, 3925 West Braker Lane (R4500), Austin,
Texas 78759. PIP member companies and subscribers may copy this Practice
for their internal use. Changes, overlays, addenda, or modifications of any
kind are not permitted within any PIP Practice without the express written
authorization of PIP.

PIP will not consider requests for interpretations (inquiries) for this Practice.

Not printed with State funds


November 2002

Process Industry Practices


Process Control

PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria
Table of Contents
7.1 Calibration.......................................... 8
1. Introduction .................................. 2 7.2 Maintenance ...................................... 8
1.1 Purpose ............................................. 2
1.2 Scope................................................. 2

2. References ................................... 2
2.1 Process Industry Practices ................ 2

3. Definitions .................................... 2

4. Design Criteria for Static


Weighing Systems...................... 3
4.1 System Accuracy ............................... 3
4.2 Load Transducers.............................. 4
4.3 Excitation/Summing Units.................. 5
4.4 Signal-Processing Units..................... 5
4.5 Vessel Design.................................... 5
4.6 Structural Design ............................... 7
4.7 Piping Design..................................... 7
4.8 Electrical Design ................................ 7
4.9 Calibration.......................................... 8

5. Design Criteria for Continuous


Weighing Systems...................... 8

6. Design Criteria for Weighing


Scales .......................................... 8

7. Calibration and Maintenance ...... 8

Process Industry Practices Page 1 of 8


PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria November 2002

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose
This Practice provides criteria for the equipment selection, system design, and
installation of weight measurement devices.

1.2 Scope
This Practice specifies requirements for design and installation of static, continuous, and
scale weighing systems. Static weighing systems use load cells or load beams to measure
weight. Continuous weighing systems and weighing scales are typically packaged units.
This Practice does not offer criteria for mechanical weight scales, hydraulic load cells, or
pneumatic load cell technology.

2. References
Applicable requirements in the latest edition, revision, or addendum of the following codes,
standards, and references shall be considered an integral part of this Practice. Requirements
modified by this Practice, owners referenced drawings, or a purchase order shall take
precedence over published specifications.

2.1 Process Industry Practices (PIP)


PIP PCEWE001 - Weighing Systems Guidelines
PIP PCSPS001 - Packaged Equipment Instrumentation Specification
PIP PCSPS010 - Small General Purpose Packaged Equipment Instrumentation
Specification

3. Definitions
accuracy: The degree of agreement between the result of a measurement and the true value

capacity: The heaviest specified load that can be applied to the load-receiving element

check rod: Backup structural member that holds a vessel in check to prevent gross tipping or
wobbling (also referred to as the safety check rod)

cosine error: An error with the load cell caused by tilting of the support plane where the signal
decreases by 1/cos A (A = the tilt angle)

dead load: The fixed weight of the weighing vessel, support structure, and objects fixed to the
vessel when the weighing vessel is empty (also called tare weight)

deflection: The change in total dimension along the primary axis of the load cell or support
member between no load and full load conditions

gross weight: The sum of the dead load and live load

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PIP PCCWE001
November 2002 Weighing Systems Criteria

live load: Material in or on the load-receiving element of a scale beyond that required to maintain
the zero-load balance

load beam: A cantilevered bending arm that produces an output signal proportional to the gross
weight applied

load cell: A compression or tension device that produces an output signal proportional to the
gross weight applied

stay rod: Primary lateral restraint intended to rigidly constrain a vessel

strain gauge: A metallic or semiconductor material of small cross-sectional area that is bonded to
a surface and elongates or contracts with that surface. This deformation results in a change in its
electrical resistance, providing a weight measurement.

tare weight: The weight of an empty container or the allowance or deduction from gross weight
made on account thereof

total weight capacity: The total weight capacity of the weighing system needed to support the
gross weight of the weighing system

4. Design Criteria for Static Weighing Systems


The accuracy and optimum performance of a static weighing system depends on the electronic
instrumentation, vessel design, support structure, piping details, and lateral restraint systems. The
weighing system installation shall be designed to prevent personnel from inadvertently
interfering with the operation of the weighing system. Careful attention must be given to the
foundations, structural supports, piping, and mechanical details to ensure proper operation of the
weighing system. Vendor installation instructions and details shall be followed in conjunction
with safe design practices to ensure that the weighing system operates properly and within
accuracy specifications.

4.1 System Accuracy


The owner shall specify the required accuracies for the weighing system. The weighing
system manufacturer shall provide the stated system accuracies to the owner. The live
load/gross weight and live load/total weight capacity ratios shall be calculated by the
weighing system manufacturer and provided to the owner to determine whether the
accuracy specifications are met.
Comment: It is important that the required accuracies are clearly stated. The overall
system accuracy is typically lower than the measurement accuracy
because load cell accuracy is based on the total weight capacity.
Therefore the live load/total weight capacity ratio is important.
4.1.1 High-Accuracy Systems (0.05% to 0.25%)
High-accuracy systems shall meet the following conditions:
4.1.1.1 The weighing vessel shall be fully supported by load transducers.
4.1.1.2 Load transducers must be supported by a rigid structure.

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PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria November 2002

4.1.1.3 Precision load transducers with full temperature compensation shall be


used.
4.1.1.4 Load transducers shall be protected from heated process vessels to
protect the transducers from heat related damage.
4.1.1.5 Mechanical restrictions from attached piping and lateral restraints shall
be avoided. Highly flexible piping and attachments shall be used.
4.1.1.6 Rigid conduit shall not be connected directly to the load transducers.
Flexible conduit shall be used to eliminate side forces from reaching the
load transducers.
4.1.1.7 Hot gas and steam-heating schemes that produce variable buoyancy
should be avoided.
4.1.2 Low-Accuracy Systems (>0.25%)
Low-accuracy systems shall meet the following conditions:
4.1.2.1 The weighing vessel can be partly supported by load transducers. The
contents of the weighing vessel must be self-leveling, and the vessel
must not have partitions, so that the load fraction carried by the
transducers remains unchanged. Vessels that cannot meet either
requirement must be fully supported by transducers, independent of the
required accuracy.
4.1.2.2 Load transducers must be supported by a rigid structure.
4.1.2.3 General purpose load transducers without temperature compensation are
acceptable.
4.1.2.4 Load transducers shall be protected from heated process vessels to
protect the transducers from heat-related damage.
4.1.2.5 Mechanical restrictions from attached piping and lateral restraints shall
be avoided. Highly flexible piping and attachments shall be used.
4.1.2.6 Rigid conduit shall not be connected directly to the load transducers.
Flexible conduit shall be used to eliminate side forces from reaching the
load transducers.

4.2 Load Transducers


Load cells can be used in tension or compression applications, and load beams can be
used only in compression applications. The owner shall specify and approve the type of
load transducer and specify whether it is to be mounted in tension or compression. The
following conditions shall be met whether a tension or compression system is specified.
4.2.1 Load Capacity
The load capacity of the weighing system shall be calculated to ensure proper
sizing of the weighing system equipment. The dead load, live load, and gross
weight must be determined. All structure, equipment, and piping attached to the
vessel being measured must be considered in the dead load.

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PIP PCCWE001
November 2002 Weighing Systems Criteria

4.2.2 Load Transducer Capacity


Load transducer capacity shall be determined as follows:
4.2.2.1 Estimate the dead load of the system, the weight of the empty vessel plus
attached piping, equipment, insulation, and vessel heating fluids.
4.2.2.2 Determine the maximum live load, which is the weight of the vessel
contents.
4.2.2.3 Determine the total gross weight of the vessel by summing the dead load
and live load values.
4.2.2.4 Divide the gross weight by the number of vessel support (this includes
supports and load transducers), and multiply by 1.25 to yield the
minimum load transducer capacity:
Capacity = 1.25 K (gross weight/number of supports)
K = dynamic load factor = 1
The 1.25 factor is an allowance for low gross weight estimates and
unequal load distribution on the load transducers. The dynamic load
factor, K, should be changed to 1.25 for installations with dynamic
loads, (e.g., vessels loaded with crane buckets or vessels with horizontal
agitators).

4.3 Excitation/Summing Units


The electronic excitation/summing unit shall be located where it is easily accessible for
maintenance.

4.4 Signal-Processing Units


The signal-processing unit can have many different features, functions, and options. The
owner shall specify and approve the signal-processing unit.
4.4.1 The electronics must withstand 100% of gross overload with no more than 0.1%
permanent zero shift.
4.4.2 Outputs shall be provided as specified by the owner and be within the specified
accuracy (i.e., analog, serial, parallel, or bus technology).
4.4.3 The signal-processing unit shall be located with easy access for operation,
calibration, and maintenance. The wiring between the excitation/summing unit
and the signal-processing unit shall be kept within the manufacturers
recommendation.
4.4.4 Printers, indicators, and other external devices shall be specified and approved
by the owner.

4.5 Vessel Design


The weighing vessel contains the material being weighed. This vessel must be installed
properly to ensure that the weighing system will work within the design specifications.
The owner shall approve the structure design and mounting of the weighing vessel.

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PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria November 2002

4.5.1 Vessel Mounting


4.5.1.1 The vessel must be installed so that the force is evenly distributed to the
load transducers.
Comment: If the force is not evenly distributed among the load
transducers, then one or more of the transducer can be
overloaded and cause damage to the transducer.
4.5.1.2 The vessel shall be supported so that it does not tilt or lean when a live
load is introduced.
4.5.1.3 Vessels located outside shall be protected from wind, snow, ice, and
other unpredictable forces that can add dead load to the weighing
system.
Comment: Consider a shelter for vessels when system accuracy
greater than 0.25% is required.
4.5.1.4 If the vessel is insulated and located outdoors, the insulation shall be
protected from absorbing rain and moisture.
4.5.2 Staying and Restraint Systems
Staying and restraint systems shall be designed to prevent or reduce disturbances
caused by wind, seismic loading, vibration, and other unpredictable forces. The
staying and restraint systems must allow free vertical motion, limit angular or
horizontal motion, and keep the load from moving off its support.
4.5.2.1 Staying and restraint systems shall be considered for all weighing
systems that use load cells.
4.5.2.2 Weighing systems that use load beams do not need staying or restraint
systems.
Comment: Some load beam installations may require staying and
restraint if the vessel is extremely tall, such as a silo.
4.5.2.3 Stay rods shall be installed on all vessels that have agitators or vibrators.
Stay rods are an active part of the weighing system and must be level to
ensure linear response with deflection.
4.5.2.4 Safety check rods shall be considered for extreme cases of high wind.
Check rods are passive mechanical parts, adding only tare weight to the
vessel.
4.5.3 Vessel Support Brackets
4.5.3.1 The support brackets shall be designed and located to make the vessel
inherently stable.
4.5.3.2 The angular deformation of the support bracket shall be less than
0.5 degree under gross weight.
4.5.3.3 Some means to jack up the vessel shall be provided to accommodate
installation and maintenance of the load transducers.

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PIP PCCWE001
November 2002 Weighing Systems Criteria

4.5.3.4 The brackets shall be positioned so that the load transducers are
assessable for installation and maintenance.
4.5.4 Process Heating Systems
Steam or heated gas shall not be used in a jacketed vessel if hot oil or water can
be used instead.
4.5.5 Vessels with Agitators
The agitator motor shall be mounted on the vessel to provide the most uniform
weight distribution to the load transducers.
4.5.6 Lifting Lugs for Calibration Weights
Lifting lugs shall be provided on vessels that require periodic dead weight
calibration.

4.6 Structural Design


Structural supports and restraint systems shall be provided to stabilize the weight vessel
and load cells. Unnecessary movement or vibration in weighing vessels will cause
inaccurate measurements.
4.6.1 The support structure must be rigid.
4.6.2 Vessel support structures shall deflect uniformly and not deflect more than
0.5 degree to prevent cosine error from occurring.
4.6.3 The vessel plane must not tilt more than 0.5 degree from no load to full load.
4.6.4 The support structure shall be designed so that it is not affected by varying loads,
interaction with adjacent vessels, or movement of interconnected members.

4.7 Piping Design


Piping attached to weighing vessels will cause nonlinearity in the weight measurement.
Piping designs shall be laid out so that all loads induced are repeatable and predictable.
4.7.1 All piping connections to vessels supported on load transducers shall be
examined during the design stage to determine whether the pipes will add any
appreciable or nonrepeatable loads to the cell system.
4.7.2 Flexible piping connections shall be used on all piping unless specifically
prohibited by job specifications.
4.7.3 The preferred piping connections to/from the vessel shall be horizontal.
4.7.4 Sufficient clearance shall be allowed around all piping and electrical conduits
that connect to a weighing vessel to reduce or eliminate nonlinear mechanical
restrictions.

4.8 Electrical Design


4.8.1 All electrical equipment must meet electrical area classification.
4.8.2 Flexible conduit shall be used at the electrical connection to each load transducer
and on any electrical item attached to the weighing vessel.

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PIP PCCWE001
Weighing Systems Criteria November 2002

4.8.3 The load transducer cables between the transducers and the summing box shall
be the same length. Depending on wiring codes, excess cable shall be coiled
either inside or outside the summing box.
4.8.4 The weighing vessel must be grounded directly to the structure or grounding
grid. The load transducers must not be in the ground path.

4.9 Calibration
The owner shall specify the calibration method that will be usedeither electronic
substitution, dead weight, or other method.

5. Design Criteria for Continuous Weighing Systems


Continuous weighing systems include loss-in-weight feeders and belt/gravimetric feeders.
Continuous weighing systems are purchased as complete units, designed and built by a
manufacturer. The site installation of the equipment shall be in accordance with the
manufacturers instructions. The structure, piping, and electrical connections shall be connected
to the feeder equipment as specified by the manufacturer.

6. Design Criteria for Weighing Scales


Weighing scales are used to measure the weight of a single object (e.g., decktop scales, loading
dock scales, truck scales, railcar scales). Weighing scales are purchased as complete units
designed and built by a manufacturer and can be portable or permanently installed.
Portable units are not considered in this Practice. Permanent installation of weighing scales shall
be in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

7. Calibration and Maintenance

7.1 Calibration
Calibration can be done with either precise dead weights, hydraulic means, or simulated
electrical signal. The support system and load transducers shall be designed to
accommodate the calibration method.

7.2 Maintenance
The weight measurement system shall be designed and installed for ease of calibration
and maintenance.

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