Data Collection for Industrial Scales

digital-scale-indicator-2Weight data is used throughout many aspects of the manufacturing process. A pallet scale or a floor scale is used to weigh large items, such as totes or pallets, that are transported by truck, rail or air. Platform scales can be used for a similar purpose, usually with boxes, cartons, pails, or other types of containers. While they have a smaller capacity, they can also provide greater accuracy. Bench scales weigh smaller packages that are often shipped by parcel shipping companies.

Inventory of parts is often obtained using parts counting scales. If the parts in question are generally equal to each other in weight, this type of digital scale is ideal for determining the weight of a single piece, and therefore the total number of pieces on the platform. Depending on the weight of an individual piece, and the total weight capacity that is needed, a standard scale, or a precision scale, or in the most exacting situations, an ultra precision scale will be chosen. Drum scales are used to fill drums and tanks with different types of chemicals, or other types of liquids or powders. The filling operations can be manual, or with the appropriate use of programmed setpoints, can become semi-automatic or fully automatic. Similarly, this type of electronic scale is also used to dispense materials into the process. In this case, the setpoints can be used for automatic operation, and can also be used to set alarms when the contents in the drum fall below their targeted levels. Cylinder scales may perform a similar function, but are usually employed for weighing cylinders of liquefied gases. In all of these cases, it is often desired to record the weight values that have been obtained from the industrial scale. One method to accomplish this is to have he scale operator simply write down the values as the items are weighed. This has the disadvantages of requiring a person’s time to do so, being open to inaccuracies, and often requiring the values to later be transcribed into some other area, or entered into a computerized database or spreadsheet. Furthermore, it is all too easy to lose this data before it is properly archived. Arlyn Scales offers an optional electronic data recorder for their full line of industrial scales. These include large floor scales, bench scales, parts counting scales, drum scales, cylinder scales, platform scales, wheelchair scales, and precision scales. The digital indicators are provided with a USB connector that will accept a USB flash memory stick. Weight values can be entered into the memory whenever the scale operator pushes the appropriate key on the indicator. Or it can be programmed to record weights at specific time intervals. A time and date stamp can be included with the weight data, so the exact weight is known for specific times. Large capacity USB memory devices are available at very low cost. It becomes quite feasible to store tens of thousands of weight readings on a single memory stick. Whenever it is needed, the data stick may be removed from the digital scale and attached to either a local laptop computer, or any other standard pc. The data is formatted in a manner that can be easily loaded into a spreadsheet or a computer database. From within these programs, it becomes very straightforward to print the weight data, if needed, or provide hourly, daily or weekly totals. Custom database programs may further analyze the weight data to obtain the required information. In some cases, the data is recorded to simply provide a record of weight readings. In this case, the memory sticks may simply be used until they are full, and then stored for their records. If it is necessary to collect weight data in real time, Arlyn Scales provides a number of different options for connecting their industrial scales directly into a computer system. A standard RS-232 connection, along with a small software utility, can connect the electronic scale to the computer. If there are a number of scales in question, an RS-485 network can be used to connect all of the scales together. A simple RS-485 to USB converter is then employed to attach the scale network into the computer. Yet another option is to provide an Ethernet connection on the scale. By connecting the scale into a Local Area Network, the weight data may be read on any computer within the network. Alternatively, with the proper security measures, the industrial scale may be connected into the Internet, with the data then available from another internet connected device.