Back in 1978 while the The Bee Gees were dominating the billboard charts and Sony was introducing the world’s first portable stereo – the Walkman, Arlyn Scales was just getting started.
Mechanical Scales Were the Status Quo
At that time, scales were completely mechanical. Platforms were supported by bearings, one in each corner of the scale. The bearings rested on pivots, which were supported by a single understructure device that utilized a lever system. The lever was attached to spring type dial or a counterbalanced arm.
Implemented the Industry’s First Fully Electronic System
One of our first innovations was to replace the standard mechanical system of the time with a fully electronic system that used one load cell in each corner of the scale and displayed measurements on a digital indicator. Maintenance became much more simple, since there were no more moving parts to repair and replace.
Eliminated the Largest Cause of Scale Failure
But an individual load cell has sensitivity characteristics that will differ from other load cells. This means the output signal varies a little from load cell to load cell. At the time, the solution was to use a summation board to connect the load cells, which could be manually adjusted with a screwdriver to calibrate the scale and make all of the output signals identical.
However, a summation board was one of the biggest causes of scale failure and caused a lot of issues for companies dealing with repairs and replacements. These boards used connectors, which were easily damaged by dirt, water, and other substances – not a really reliable product for industrial use.
Started Manufacturing Our Own Load Cells
So when we started manufacturing our own load cells, we decided to eliminate the summation board from our products to make them more durable. So instead of adjusting each load cell manually as it is installed in the scale, we’ll manufacture an entire batch of load cells (maybe 1,000 at a time) and measure the output signals of each. Then we group them in batches of four based on the identicalness of their outputs, which means they’re matched before they’re ever installed. This speeds up our process and makes our scales more accurate.
Load Cells for Specific Types of Scales
And because we started manufacturing our own load cells, we were able to eliminate a lot of the costs associated with buying them from other manufacturers. It also meant we were able to design load cells for specific types of scales. The first benefit we were able to offer was a platform scale with a significantly lower profile than other scales being offered at the time. This allowed operators to load and unload the scale much more quickly and efficiently.
Switching to Stainless Steel Load Cells
During that time, we were approached by a company that makes gas cabinets for the semiconductor industry. They said they needed a rugged cylinder scale that had a lower profile than their current scale. So we designed a load cell using stainless steel, which allowed us to offer a much more rugged scale at an even lower profile than we had already created. Once we saw how beneficial this design was, we began to use stainless steel with all of our load cells.
Custom Scale Design for OEM Companies
The success of our gas cabinet scales inspired us to start offering custom design and development for OEM customers, which resulted in scales specifically used for agriculture, liquid dispensing, plastic batching, and a whole lot more.
Developing a New Scale Technology
For the most recent 10 years, we worked to develop a new weighing technology called surface acoustic wave, or SAW, which was the first new major weighing technology to appear in the last 40 years. It’s 10 to 20 times more accurate than standard strain gage scales and offers ultra precision for industries that need really fine resolutions at higher capacities.
Advancing With the Times
As the 80s and 90s came and went, computers became more and more popular – especially in the industrial sector. Communication between production equipment and computer systems became (and continues to become) much more important. We’ve kept ahead of these advancements by developing a wide range of communication options for our scales from older analog outputs like 4 – 20 ma to USB, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi.
What the Future Holds
Our history is one of advancement and innovation, but so is our future. We’re currently working on projects that will allow us to upgrade the accuracy of our scales even further, improve the user interface of our digital indicators, and advance system communication with SAW technology, Android interfaces and Cloud systems.
If you’d like to discover how Arlyn Scales can improve your weighing technology, contact us today! We can answer any questions you may have and help guide you to a scale that meets both your needs and your budget.