If your organization uses heavy-duty scales, then you need to make sure they are always producing accurate information. Companies often try, but no one as of yet has created the perfect scale – the laws of physics, which include the expansion, and failing of metal over time, plus other factors such as environmental conditions, means that no scale will remain perfectly accurate forever.
The key to maintaining accuracy is calibration. Calibration is a simple and relatively painless process in which an item of known weight is placed on a scale to see whether the reading given is within tolerance. If you keep your scales calibrated, then your readings will remain accurate. Inaccurate scales could hinder your business and over time, you may find yourself losing a significant amount of money.
Calibration Tips to Keep in Mind For Your Organization
Here are 3 calibration tips that will help keep your scales accurate.
Tip #1 – Calibrate new scales before you use them
If you purchase a new scale, the chances are it will come assigned with ‘factory calibration’. You may think that this means that the scales have automatically been calibrated to be as accurate as possible before they are sent to you. This is partially true – no reputable heavy-duty scale manufacturer would allow their scales to leave their factories uncalibrated – but ‘factory calibration’ means they have been calibrated for the factory in which they were produced.
Scales work differently in different environments. If you are based in Alaska and you order scales that are manufactured in Florida, then they may not be accurate for your facility. Before you put these scales into your production process they will need to be properly calibrated at the facility in which they will be used.
Tip #2 – Calibrate your heavy-duty scales in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines
We’re all guilty of ignoring a manufacturer’s guidance about how we maintain something that we buy, but when it comes to heavy-duty scales you cannot afford to ignore the advice that you are given. If you charge by weight then without calibration you could be under-charging or over-charging your customers. You may end up losing money, or losing customers.
The guidelines given are only half the story, though. You may use your scale dozens of times a day, or you may use them three or four times a week. You need to come up with a suitable calibration schedule.
As a rule of thumb, your operatives should perform a simple calibration test first thing in the morning, and an extensive calibration procedure either once a month or once a quarter. The simple calibration test is designed to find faults – if a fault goes unnoticed then you could send out dozens of shipments or products that have been inaccurately weighed and lose hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
For the best and most accurate results, a company that specializes in such a task should carry out your external calibration procedure. This way you have the best chance of keeping your scales accurate.
Tip #3 – Don’t strive too hard to be one hundred percent accurate
In truth, even the best scales only give an estimate of an item’s weight. This is because there are so many external factors, such as the current climate within the area in which they are used, or the position of the item on the load cells, or the interpretation of figures by a specific operative.
As long as your scales are ‘within tolerance’ then anything you weigh will be deemed accurate enough. Your specific tolerance is dependent upon the average weight of the items that you weigh. For example, if you weigh items that are commonly over one hundred pounds in weight, it does not matter as much if your scale is off by a few ounces or so. The same item can weigh differently on successive days even if unchanged, so there is no point striving for perfection, as that will be a waste of time and effort.
You do though need to take into account your legal responsibilities. In most business walks of life there is such a thing as ‘legal for trade’ when it comes to scale calibration. This is a legal stipulation that dictates that all items that are sold by weight must adhere to acceptable levels of accuracy. It is designed to stop unscrupulous firms from repeatedly over-charging for underweight items.
If this applies to you and you are unsure as to the legal tolerances accepted in your sector then you will need to contact the National Institute of Standards and Technology who will advise you.
Here at Arlyn Scales, we consider it our duty to provide you with scales that will maintain their accuracy and therefore will not need to be calibrated on a frustratingly frequent basis. If you would like to know more, please call us at (800) 645-4301, or use the online contact form that’s available on our website.