Pros and Cons of Digital Platform Scales

platform-scale-2TDigital platform scales have onboard electronic intelligence, highly accurate load cells, LCD displays, and in the case of Arlyn Scales, networking capabilities. These features offer many advantages over mechanical scales and only one minor disadvantage.

Two Kinds of Platform Scales: Mechanical and Digital

Mechanical platform scales have no onboard intelligence and relatively crude load measurement schemes. The measurement readout is often a dial or gauge with coarse increments, and even if the scale operator is very careful, the accuracy is not sufficient for most modern applications.

The digital platform scale eliminates the disadvantages of the mechanical platform scale but is dependent on a power source. Additionally, the digital platform scale allows applications that were not at all possible with the mechanical platform scale.

Working with Mechanical Platform Scales

With a mechanical platform scale, the operator must be close to the scale to read the dial or gauge and errors in reading can easily occur. The operator then must write down the scale reading and perform math for subtracting tare weight, calculating parts count, and possibly converting weight units to volume units, for example pounds to gallons. Another kind of conversion might be from pounds to kilograms and vice versa. The chance for human error is high and the work tedium adds to the problem.

Working with Digital Platform Scales

Working with a digital platform scale greatly reduces or completely eliminates the chance for human error. The scale has a high degree of accuracy from the use of electronic load cells, and the scale readout can be displayed on a large LCD screen. Onboard intelligence can perform all required math functions, and the data from the scale can be fed into a computer or onto a storage device for storage and further analysis.

Control of the digital platform scale can be done locally through a color touch screen or remotely through a computer connected to the scale. The operator does not necessarily have to be close to the scale. Digital platform scales have other significant advantages as well that will likely change the way you think of scales in production environments.

The Pros of Digital Platform Scales

Digital platform scales are so much superior to mechanical platform scales that only two questions need to be answered when choosing between them: How accurate does the measurement need to be, and how much automation is desired? A need for high accuracy will be answered by a digital platform scale, as will a requirement for automated production. You can choose ultra precision with our internationally patented SAW technology, which is only available from Arlyn Scales, and you can set your sights on as much automation as current technology offers.

Networking Scales

The support of networked digital platform scales brings in possibilities not otherwise available. Up to 10 scales can be connected using the RS-485 ports in a production field of up to 4,000 feet. Arlyn Scales supports set point and up to 8 solid-state relays per scale that can control other production equipment based on weight readings. This has proven valuable in many production environments, such as pharmaceuticals, mixing paint, and metallurgy.

Direct PC Connection

A simpler situation can be accomplished using the RS-232 port for connecting to a PC. This port is bi-directional, so the operator can control the scale while collecting data from it. Free software supplied by Arlyn Scales can take the data and put it into Excel spreadsheets or Access databases.

Internet Connection

These scales also support wired or wireless Ethernet, which means your scales can be controlled from the Internet. This also means that scale measurements can be fed to any kind of computer, from a tablet on up to a scientific supercomputer. Since the network here is the worldwide web, the scales and computers can be located anywhere that Internet connections are available.

Battery Operation

We know many of our clients use their platform scales in the field where no power is available, which is why we offer battery-driven scales with rechargeable battery packs. You can collect data from the scale via the USB port and a flash memory card, after which you can load the data into most modern computers via their USB ports.

The Cons of Digital Platform Scales

Only one disadvantage exists for the digital platform scale: it needs electricity to run. The load cells themselves require electricity, which makes manual operation impossible. Nevertheless, the rechargeable batteries solve this problem for Arlyn Scales.

When digital platform scales are used in production environments, uninterrupted power supplies (UPSs) may be available. This is common practice for datacenters and hospitals where even a brief power outage is unacceptable.

The Next Big Thing

The choice between digital and mechanical platform scales depends on how much accuracy you need and/or how much automation. Perhaps you have thought of ways that your production will benefit from the use of digital platform scales, or how much easier life will be with the high accuracy and the elimination of human error.

Digital platform scales may be just what your business needs to increase production, in which case you should contact Arlyn Scales. You can either fill out the form on our Contact Us page or give us a call at (800) 645-4301 to speak with one of our representatives about your individual needs.

Be sure to ask about scale finishes and materials as well, because Arlyn Scales offers several options, including high corrosion resistance. If ultra-high accuracy is your requirement, ask about SAW, a new kind of load cell transducer technology only available from Arlyn Scales.

Custom Scales

Finally, if any of the regular options does not fit your exacting needs, you can ask Arlyn Scales to build custom scales that do. As a factory-direct business, we’re able to offer cost-effective solutions, so get in touch today!