Information is probably the most important industrial asset. Of course, there are many different kinds of information. Marketing information helps companies determine what kinds of products they should design, where they should be sold, and to what types of organizations or people.
Technical information is necessary for being able to design the desired products, for knowing how to manufacture them, and for making them rugged and reliable. Financial information is required to understand if a product can be manufactured in a profitable manner and if it can compete in the market. It is also important to see if it meets the cost expectations of the customer within the actual manufacturing process.
Information often takes the form of measurement data. This may be the number of items, as with inventory control, or pressure, temperature data, or weight data. Of course, it is important for all of this data to be as accurate as possible, but it is just as important to get this data to the people who need to use it, or to the equipment that controls it.
Communicating Data From Scale To Computer
Electronic scales are instruments that are often called upon to transmit the measurement data. These electronic scales are used in many different applications. They are designed to match the specific industrial requirement.
Parts counting scales are used for inventory control and package filling by count. Bench scales can weigh incoming and outgoing packages, monitor the weight remaining in a container, or dispense liquids from a tank. Platform scales, drum scales, and floor scales can weigh larger packages, pallets, totes, or tanks.
Crane scales weigh suspended loads. Corrosion-resistant scales are used in similar applications to platform scales or floor scales but are chosen if the environment includes acids or other caustics. All of these digital scales can display the weight of items on the scale platform.
High-quality scales, such as those manufactured by Arlyn Scales, use stainless steel load sensors for the best accuracy and ruggedness. Large LCD indicators show the weight in an easy-to-view format. A variety of front panel features allow the weight to be shown in different units, such as pounds or kilograms.
Scale Data Transmission Output Options
Transmitting data from the scale to different kinds of process equipment is an important task. Data transmission to chart recorders will keep a record of weight over a period of time. Printers can make hard copy records or the scale data, and can also print shipping labels and other types of output.
An industrial standard known as RS-232 has been used for many years. A variety of printers are available that can directly accept this format. This provides a very simple means of obtaining printed information at the electronic scale’s location.
Whereas most computers have previously had the ability to directly receive serial RS-232 data, more modern systems do not provide this as a standard. But often, adaptors are available for this purpose. Computers, of course, will collect weight data in a number of different formats, including Excel spreadsheets and Access database tables.
Virtually all computers provide a number of Universal Serial Bus or USB ports. Some of the more advanced industrial scales, such as those provided by Arlyn Scales, offer digital outputs based around USB. Generally, though, USB connections have somewhat limited distance parameters.
If a computer is not available at the location of the scale, some scales allow a USB memory stick to be plugged directly into the digital indicator. After the data has been collected, the memory stick may be taken to any computer and downloaded.
Weight information is occasionally required in analog format. There is often a choice of the voltage output of 0 – 5 volts or a current output of 4 – 20 ma. PLC devices can accept weight from the industrial scale and use it to control other devices and systems.
Both PLC devices and chart recorders often require an analog signal. The accuracy of the analog signal, though, can be lower than that of the digital scale. Care must be taken to make sure that interference does not further degrade the signal.
Digital transmission of data has become much more common. Another format that is convenient for data transmission is Ethernet. This has the added advantage of being ubiquitous throughout many industrial environments.
Modbus is a very popular communication protocol. It was originally envisioned as a method for devices to connect with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). That remains an important function but has also evolved into a somewhat general-purpose method for different industrial devices to talk to one another.
Cloud-Based Data Transmission
A new level of flexibility has been achieved with the ability to transmit scale data via the cloud. Arlyn’s AxChange cloud application allows remote monitoring on any Arlyn scale that has internet access through either an Ethernet connection or through Wi fi. Multiple scales can connect from a single location or from multiple locations.
Industrial Uses Of Data Collecting Scales
While there are an extensive number of reasons why industrial data may be collected from scales, one of the most compelling is to monitor the amount of material that may be remaining in a tank or other container. These can be in applications ranging from a semiconductor fab, or a municipal water treatment plant, or a pharmaceutical laboratory. Having too little, or for that matter, too much material can be problematic.
A number of different chemicals are used to keep water safe and healthy. These can include chlorine or chlorine dioxide, used as disinfectants. An algicide prevents the growth of unwanted algae in the water. Fluoride may be added to reduce tooth decay.
These tanks of chemicals are often placed on top of scales and a worker visits them on some regularly scheduled basis, and notes which tanks need to be replenished. These results are called into a central office. With the advent of AxChange, the tank contents can be monitored from a central office.
Let Arlyn Scales Guide You
Communicating scale data has become imperative in the industrial space. Arlyn’s combination of a wide range of industry-leading scales, along with available software data collection tools has propelled them to the lead as a provider of high-quality equipment. Let them help you propel your weighing requirements.