Tension Meters Information

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Tension meters are instruments that measure tension in cable, fiber, belts and webs, or sheets. Cable or fiber meters are designed to measure tension of circular cross-section elements. Strap or belt meters are designed for elements whose thickness is less than their width. Web or sheet tensiometers are used for very wide, relatively thin sheets and webs. Contact styles engage the element to be measured over rollers, and noncontact types calculate tension based on the frequency of an excited response. They are used to monitor and control tension in power transmission belts, cables, and fibers in a variety of manufacturing processes in industries such as paper and textile manufacturing.

Performance Specifications

Important performance specifications to consider when specifying tension meters include tension range and accuracy. The tension range is the minimum and maximum values of tension to be measured in pounds. The accuracy is the required accuracy of tension readings, specified as a percent of full scale.  Applications for tension meters are commonly hand held or portable and fixtured in place or permanent for long running use. Some tension meters can also measure dimensional parameters of diameter or width.


Tension meters can be configured as non-contact or frequency, in-line, single roller, multiple rollers, sensor pair, and roller with integrated sensors.  A non-contact or frequency tension meter has a sensor that reads frequency of an excited belt to calculate belt tension.  An in-line tension meter is a cable tensiometer in which the tension cable passes through meter.  In a single roller tension meter the cable or sheet wraps around one roller only.  In a multiple roller tension meter the cable or sheet wraps around multiple rollers.  A sensor pair tension meter is a device that consists of a pair of sensors to be located on either side of roller / roll (e.g., may require idler roll).  A tension meter that is a roller with an integrated sensor is a device that is placed into the web process as a roller (typically supported at both ends).

Common Features

Features common to tension meters include hazardous applications, built in alarms, controller functions, pushbutton system calibration, temperature compensation, and data storage features. User interface options include analog or digital local interfaces, computer interfaces including serial and parallel and application software. Display types are commonly analog, digital and video. Some tension meters have no integral displays. Output options for tension meters include analog voltages, analog current, frequency and switch or alarm signals.