Each weight sensor is designed to deflect under load in a controlled manner. Engineers optimize this deflection to maximize sensor sensitivity while ensuring that the structure operates within its “elastic” region. Once the load is removed, the metal structure deflected with its elastic region will return to its initial state. Structures that exceed this elastic region are called “overloaded”.
Overloaded sensors undergo “plastic deformation,” in which the structure deforms permanently and does not return to its initial state. Once plastic deformation occurs, the sensor will no longer provide a linear output proportional to the applied load. In most cases, it is permanently and irreversibly damaged.
“Overload protection” is a design feature that mechanically limits the total deflection of the sensor below its critical load limit, thereby protecting the sensor from unexpectedly high static or dynamic loads that would otherwise cause plastic deformation.