Green Manufacturing of Industrial Scales

cylinder-scale-2It has become important for all manufacturing industries to minimize their impact on the environment. This, of course, holds true for companies that are involved in manufacturing all different types of industrial scales. These include large floor scales that are used to weigh pallets, totes and tanks. Also included are platform scales and drum scales for weighing incoming packages and outgoing shipments. While they are much smaller, even bench scales, parts counting scales and laboratory scales fall within this classification.

Starting with an economic perspective, there are many direct costs related to poor management of environmental issues. Obtaining materials and shipping partially complete or fully complete products require the use of transportation systems. As the cost of fuel has increased, it has become more important to minimize the amount of transportation required. For example, manufacturing the housing for a digital scale may start with purchasing and receiving by truck, the metal parts used for fabrication. Some of these parts may then need to be shipped to a welding shop. After welding, they would then be shipped back to the manufacturing facility. After assembly of components, the unit might have to be shipped to a painting facility, and again returned. After electronics are assembled into the scale, it may be calibrated, packaged and shipped to a distributor. A final step could be shipping on to the final customer. As alternative scenario is that presented by Arlyn Scales. Their industrial scales are designed for accuracy, ruggedness and ease of use. For purposes of manufacturing their platform scales, aluminum plate and channel, stainless steel bar stock and plastic injection molded housings are ordered from suppliers and shipped to their factory. The aluminum is machined in house to the required sizes, and then welded together in the factory welding facility. The stainless steel bar stock is also processed in the factory machine shop. It is first cut to near final size, and then machined using CNC milling machines into the shapes required for manufacturing load cells. Strain gages are applied to the cells by factory technicians. These load cells are then calibrated and sealed. They are attached to the welded platform. Because of the materials used, no paints are required. Circuit boards are final assembled and programmed in the electronics area of the factory, and then installed in the digital scale. This is followed by final calibration, and packaging. Arlyn Scales sells their industrial scales factory direct to their customers. So the scales may be shipped directly to the end user. A significant amount of shipping and handling is avoided. Not only does this reduce costs, but in protects the environment by requiring much less fuel to be burned and pollutants to be released in the transportation process. Most industrial scales require their platforms to be painted. Besides being costly, painting procedures can release pollutants into the environment. Again, Arlyn Scales avoids many of these problems in the platform scales, and drum scales. These industrial scales are designed with diamond tread aluminum platforms and welded aluminum frames. There is no need to paint these surfaces. In those applications where there may be corrosive materials, the scales may be constructed from stainless steel. Once again, there is no need to paint the electronic scales. Even within the machining process, there may be a number of steps taken that will lower the impact on the environment. Coolants are used to remove heat and flush away metal chips from the load cell when it is being cut. While oil based coolants have been used for many years, water based products can be just as effective without generating as much waste that must eventually be disposed. Even this type of coolant may be further processed to remove trace oil and other wastes, so that it has to be replaced less often. This also contributes to a greener industrial scale. Packaging materials will usually end up in a waste stream after the digital scale has been received by the end user. The type of packaging used can have a large impact on the nature of this waste. Plastic packaging materials are difficult to properly dispose of. Natural fiber and cardboard are much less of a problem. Typical Styrofoam packaging peanuts can also be an issue. Natural starch based materials are preferable.