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Top 10 Questions When Buying a Scale

You might think that it makes sense to go to your favorite search engine and find the best price for the type of scale you are looking for. This may not yield the best or least expensive result. You may end up with a good price on a scale, but find that the scale is not optimal for your application.

Industrial scales or commercial scales promoted on the internet are often inexpensive for a reason, and that reason is often not obvious except to a professional in the scale industry. Put our certified and experienced measuring systems experts to work for you. We specialize in providing you with the right scale at the right price. Call us toll free to get answers to all your weighing and counting scale questions at 800-696-8282 (direct: 781-993-9035).

Some important questions to consider when buying a scale:

1. What weight capacity scale do you need?
It is better to get a scale that has a greater weight capacity than the items you plan to weigh. In rough applications, a low capacity scale will cause long-term scale durability problems. Heavy duty scales require stable foundations. Accurate scales that weigh micrograms require air flow shielding.

2. What style scale do you need?
Do you need a floor scale, a table or bench scale, a scale mounted on a movable cart, a crane scale, a scale under the legs of a tank, a truck scale, forklift scale, pallet scale, hand held scale, or a scale in a pit?

3. Platform considerations?
What scale platform length and width do you need? Would a conveyor help to move products onto the scale platform? Is scale platform height important? Sometimes an ultra-low profile scale might cost more but make it a lot easier for the operators to get product on and off the scale. Will side loads be applied to the scale platform? Will weight loads be evenly distributed or concentrated in one area of the scale platform?

4. How accurate must your scale be?
Often the accuracy of the scale is not as good as the graduation size (the smallest unit of measurement) on the scale indicator. For example a scale that can read to 0.1 grams may only be accurate to 0.3 grams. It is difficult to find the true accuracy of a scale on the internet. Cost usually goes up, sometimes dramatically, with finer graduation size.

5. Where will the weight indicator be placed for best use?
Should weight indicator be a column-mounted scale indicator, a wall mounted scale indicator, a scale indicator attached to the platform or on top of a pedestal in front of the platform or to the rear of the scale platform?

6. What features does the scale indicator need?
Do you need push button zero, push button tare, specific units of measures such as grams, or combination pounds and ounces, a numeric keyboard for entering known tare weights or id fields, time and date, or special fields to be printed on a label, or maybe a display that can show information and prompt the operator for inputting data, or perhaps a weighing system database to store the weight and related data.

7. Legal-for-trade?
In most jurisdictions you need an NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program) approved scale if you are buying or selling products by weight over the scale, particularly if you are dealing with the public. This includes weight loss clinics that charge by the weight lost, restaurants that charge so much per pound for children’s meals, and laundries that charge by the pound. There are many others. If you purchase a non-approved scale, even if it weighs correctly, it will not be sealed and you cannot sell/buy on it. NTEP approved scales have been submitted for testing and found to maintain accuracy over time, temperature, and other conditions, and are more difficult to use in a way that will cheat a customer.

8. Environmental factors?
Is the scale washed down or subjected to high humidity? Is the scale used outdoors or near salt water? Are corrosive agents used on or near the scale or the scale platform? Is the environment that of an office, manufacturing, warehouse, production floor, laboratory, clean room, or point of sale? Are there drafts blowing from fans or equipment, vibrations from equipment, wood floors, or metal grate mezzanines involved. Is it used in a hazardous environment? If so what group, class, zone, and division? Battery operation does not mean that a scale is safe in hazardous environments. Scales must be certified by an agency such as Factory Mutual for the rating of the hazardous area involved.

9. Portability?
Does the portable scale need battery operation (rechargeable or throwaway?) Does the scale need wheels to roll around on? Does your warehouse scale need forklift channels to aid in moving? Should the scale indicator be attached to the scale platform so that only one piece needs to be moved instead of the scale indicator and platform moving separately. Is physical weight of the scale itself important?

10. Does the Scale Solve My Problem?
This is the most important question every customer needs to ask. Even if the scale is the perfect scale to weigh the product that needs to be weighed, sometimes a scale alone does not solve the problem and is not the most cost effective solution. Sometimes what looks like a perfect scale can increase labor costs or contribute to inaccuracies in inventory control. We are experts at solving weighing and counting scale problems. Our experience can help you save money by increasing the accuracy of your measurements and streamlining your workflow.

    We sell, rent, repair, calibrate, and perform preventive maintenance on industrial, commercial, laboratory, mail, medical scales and scale systems and have field service and sales personnel for on-site repairs and consultation in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
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