Scale Options – Communication Methods
Most of the scales provided by Arlyn Scales can be equipped with a myriad of scale options designed to communicate with the customer’s devices. These devices may include Personal Computers (PCs), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), Cloud Solutions and Database Frameworks. Some of these options include USB Communication, RS-232, RS-422, RS-485, Ethernet and Wireless TCP/IP, Setpoints, Analog Output 4-20mA, User Management, and Custom Field Support as well as common industrial protocols such as Modbus. Options below suffixed with ‘**’ are only available on scales equipped with Arlyn UpScale Touchscreen Indicator.
As more and more environments become wired for the Internet, we’ve developed scales to match. You can now monitor and control your Arlyn Scales over your local network. Simply plug the scale into the network and connect to it using our Remote Indicator software. Weights can be recorded, sorted, grouped and analyzed from your workstation PC. It is also possible to set up your network so that you can access the scale from anywhere in the world over the Internet. We also offer a Wireless Ethernet option.
Wi-Fi (Wireless TCP/IP) **
Wireless TCP/IP connectivity is also available on scales equipped with the Arlyn UpScale Touchscreen Indicator.
The Setpoint output provides some simple Batching and PLC type functions. You may set up to 8 target weights at a time, and use these targets to turn other equipment on and off. Feeders, mixers, motors, valves, solenoids and other devices may be controlled using solid-state relays that are operated by the setpoint outputs. The most common use is automated filling and mixing operations. Through the use of the setup menu, formulas can be input to control how those output lines behave based on the weight applied to the scale platform. Many different formulas may be saved in the scale memory, and recalled when needed.
Enhanced Setpoint Functionality **
- Email on Target Weights – Not only does the Arlyn UpScale Display Indicator provide general Setpoint functionality (actuating outputs based on target weights), it also allows you to email weight print frames when a target weight is reached. For example, if you want to be notified when a cylinder of Helium gas you were weighing on the scale reaches 30lbs, then you can configure the Setpoint function on the scale to email you when the scale reading reaches 30lbs.
- Print on Target Weights – You can also configure the Setpoint function to output weight print frames when it reaches a target weight. This can be done through RS232, USB, Ethernet, Wireless TCP/IP, etc. This function is only available with the Setpoint option in conjunction with any of the digital print outputs. Please see the Arlyn UpScale manual for further details.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) is the most common interface on today’s PCs. This option, in combination with Arlyn’s free USB Remote Software allows scale data to be sent to an Excel spreadsheet or Access database file on the PC. The PC can also control the scale’s operation. A utility is also available to send weight data from the scale directly into any Windows application software.
Many situations require scales to send data directly into programs running on a PC. This usually requires the PC to run wedge software in the background, such as WinWedge. There are several disadvantages to this method.
- Majority of the wedge software available today are only compatible with Windows OS.
- They are expensive and have exorbitant upfront costs. As of this writing WinWedge Standard costs $300.
- It is cumbersome to run additional complicated software in the background when the intent is just to send data into an application. This is especially troublesome if there are IT rules and limitations for installing software.
Here at Arlyn Scales, we have solved these issues by providing an option to equip the scale to act as a keyboard wedge directly without the need to install complicated software. Simply plug the scale to your PC the same way you would plug a keyboard using USB and press the PRINT key on the scale. The scale will send data directly into the program running on your PC, such as Excel, Word, Databases or even Web pages, as long as the cursor is placed in that location.
Best of all, this feature will work on any platform including Windows, Linux, Apple (iOS, Mac) and Android devices. Once again, no software needs to be installed.
RS-232 is a standard communications protocol used mainly to transmit data from one piece of computerized equipment to another. In the digital scale world, RS232 is used to communicate with printers, programmable logic controllers and computers. Arlyn’s RS232 Option is a bi-directional interface that allows the Scale Indicator to not only send data, but also receive commands from computers and the like. This allows full remote capability. Consult our Options Manual for full details.
Included in the scale’s operating software is a print frame definition editor that allows for customized outputs like complex printed labels.
RS-422 & RS-485
Need a robust, long distance network protocol to connect several scales and a personal computer? RS-485 is another communication system built into Arlyn Scales. It differs from RS-232 and USB by the distance over which it can successfully transmit and receive – 4000 feet. RS-485 is a “multi-drop” protocol, meaning that several scales can share a single line, forming a network. We also sell an RS-485 to USB interface allowing you to log data and directly control up to ten scales from a single PC. Arlyn also offers RS-422 for full duplex communication.
Arlyn Scales now offers Modbus Communication Protocol for scales equipped with the Arlyn UpScale Touchscreen Indicator. Modbus is a data communications protocol originally published by Modicon (now Schneider Electric) in 1979 for use with its programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Modbus has become a de facto standard communication protocol and is now a commonly available means of connecting industrial electronic devices. For more information on how the Modbus Communication is utilized in our scales, visit the Software Downloads page to view the Modbus Documentation. More information can be found in the Arlyn UpScale Manual – Modbus Section.
Time and Date
This is an add-on option to all digital outputs such as RS232, USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi that gives it the capability to add time (12 or 24hr format), day of week and date to any print frame. The clock is set through the indicators menu system. An internal lithium battery will keep time for up to ten years, even if the power is removed from the scale. Please note: Time and Date is always included in USB Datalogging Option without additional purchase. It is also included when the scale is upgraded for Arlyn UpScale indicator display.
Analog Output 4-20mA, 0-5VDC or 1-5VDC
Analog Output is used to communicate with programmable logic controllers and chart recorders. Through the setup menu, full configuration is provided allowing you to set the start and ending currents or voltages. Analog Output is available in two configurations, Current and Voltage output.
Voltage Output = 0-5VDC, 1-5VDC scalable
Current Output = 4-20mA scalable
An internal six cell, rechargeable NiMH battery Pack and its associated peak detect charging circuit can be installed in the scale indicator for portable use. The scale can operate for over twenty hours on a single four hour peak charge.
USB Data Logging
Many of our customers need to record weights from our scales. Our data logging option enables your scale to record a weight along with time, data, group and item information. Data is saved on USB drive that can be removed from the scale and read on a personal computer using Microsoft Excel.
Enhanced Data Logging Functions **
In addition to performing basic Data Logging functions (such as recording weight and timestamp at certain intervals on a USB Flash Drive), the Arlyn UpScale Display Indicator also allows you to configure the data log file to be emailed to you. This could be done on demand at a click of a button, or automatically at a particular date and time. Datalog email functionality is only available when the Data Logging option is purchased together with Ethernet and/or Wifi. Please see the Arlyn UpScale manual for further details.
Import/Export Function Available with USB Data Logging **
The Arlyn UpScale indicator is a versatile scale display indicator that not only offers the most advanced, state-of-the-art Scale Display Technology in the industry, but it also offers a myriad of functions and usability to allow the most flexibility in system integration. One of the newest features added in the Arlyn UpScale indicator is the ability to import Sample (used for Parts Counting), Tare and Setpoint records from the customers’ existing database. The scale also provides the ability to export its current table of parts or tares so that it can be used in the customer’s data or just for backup purposes in case something happens to the scale. The Import/Export function is available in all Arlyn UpScale indicators equipped with USB Data Logging option.
For further information, please see the Product Manuals and Specifications page and look for Arlyn UpScale – Import/Export Function Addendum
Data Logging with Google Spreadsheet **
In addition to logging data locally (i.e. internal database and exported to USB stick), the Arlyn UpScale also features the ability to log data directly online, into a Google Spreadsheet. The logging of data can be observed almost in real time (allowing for a 2 second delay due to the time it takes for the data to be posted to the internet).
Any Google Spreadsheet can be used to implement this feature as long as edit permissions have been set appropriately. Use the steps below to create and configure a Google Spreadsheet to accept data. With live data logging, you are also able to analyze data as it comes in using a plethora of Google Spreadsheet tools available at your disposal. A demonstration of live Google Spreadsheet logging can be seen here:
For further information, please see the Product Manuals and Specifications page and look for Arlyn UpScale – Data Logging with Google Spreadsheets Addendum.
User Management & Time Tracking **
The Arlyn UpScale Indicator offers the ability to control access to your scale and record usage of the scale as well as allow basic operator time management (in conjunction with other options such as USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB Datalogging, etc.) For example, when printing out data from the scale, you can determine who was logged in to the scale when work was performed. This can be determined by the username and timestamp printed out on each weight line.
Custom Fields **
The Custom Fields Feature allows our customers to define and extend data fields to be printed or recorded from the scale that are not part of the weight data matrix. The scale can print out or record a range of metrological data available at its arsenal. For example, it can print out current weight, net weight, gross weight, tare weight, tare weight description, time, date, weight number, unit, piece count, sample piece description, etc. Notice that all the data listed here are related to weight in some way or the other. But suppose you deal with fruits as your trade. How do you print or record what fruit was being weighed at the time in addition to the weight recorded? How do you choose the color of the fruit being weighed? What if you wanted to print or record whether the fruit was ‘Organic’ or ‘GMO’? The Custom Field Feature allows to print or record additional information about the weight being measured. All Arlyn UpScale Indicators have this feature as standard – no additional purchase required (except for the output option itself).
Barcode Scanning & Printing **
The Barcode Feature, exclusively provided on scales upgraded with the Arlyn UpScale Indicators, provides our customers with the ability perform barcode functions without the need for dedicated barcode equipment
Customers can use the Barcode Feature to scan barcodes using the supplied handheld scanner or the indicator’s built-in camera system You don’t need additional hardware (such as a barcode scanner) to perform this function. The Barcode Scanning feature is useful in Parts Counting. You can quickly search for a part definition on the scale to activated it for counting without going through a series of steps in the indicator menu system. The Barcode Scanning feature is also useful for searching and activating tares of your containers without going through the indicator menu system. This allows for quick and easy changing of containers on the scale when needed.
The Barcode Feature option also includes Barcode Printing. Barcode Printing is only supported with our 58mm Bluetooth and USB Thermal Printers. It is also supported using our select Star Micronics TSP Series label printers.
Flow Rate **
Flow Rate Measurement Program allows customers to measure the continuous flow of fluids from containers/cylinders sitting on the scale. This option allows access for customers to set special parameter settings like Specific Gravity to allow for measurements in gallons. It also allows customers to set monitoring alerts such as High/Low Flow Alarms and No Flow Alarms so that they can keep track of critical Flow events. Available on Arlyn UpScale indicators Only. Consult our Flow Rate Manual for Arlyn UpScale. The Flow Rate function includes hardware outputs (i.e. Setpoints) to be used with Relays. A separate purchase for Setpoints option is not required. However, Relays need to be purchased if needed.
Checkweighing is a process that allows a scale operator to quickly determine of a weight placed on the scale meets the desired weight specification of a product. The scale can be configured to determine a certain weight range is within viability and therefore perform multiple functions as a result such as
- Show indicators such as “Hi”, “Lo” or “OK” on the screen that immediately informs the operator about the nature of the item being weighed.
Perform Setpoint functions (like turning on a Valve or trickle feed) so as to automatically add or remove product depending on the checkweigh results.
The scale can also store multiple Checkweighing configurations or “Definitions” which can be easily retrieved and activated either through manual entry or (if equipped) using a Barcode Scanner.
3rd-Party Scale Integration**
Given that most scales do not have features as the ones offered by the Arlyn UpScale Touchscreen indicator, the 3rd-party Integration system allows for the Arlyn UpScale indicator to be plugged into any existing scale from other manufacturers (3rd-party scales), tap into their data stream protocol, and display their weight on the UpScale.
In addition to displaying the weight, the Arlyn UpScale will also pass the weight through its feature modules, so the weights are processed as if it came from an Arlyn Scale.
For example, there are no scales sold by our competitors that have the ability to log data directly on to a Google Spreadsheet on the internet. But our Arlyn UpScale Indicator is able to do this through the Data Logging with Google Spreadsheet feature. The UpScale as well as the 3rd-party scales need to be configured to talk to each other, but once they are properly set, the experience becomes seamless.
Some of the advantages of this system are:
- You can easily expand the functionalities while keeping your existing scale setup.
- If any of the scales offered by Arlyn Scales do not suite you but you would like to have many of the unique features outlined in Section 2 above, you can still purchase scales from other manufactures and use the Arlyn UpScale to take advantage of its features.
For more information on this feature, refer to the Arlyn UpScale 3rd-Party Integration Manual.
AxChange – Live Weight Monitoring and Logging **
AxChange Monitoring allows you to monitor weights on multiple scales at your location. Being a cloud application, AxChange can be accessed on any device including your PC, iOS and Android devices. With real time weight tracking, customized alerts and hierarchical access control, AxChange can solve many issues brought about by weight application especially in a remote driven world.
For more information on AxChange, visit www.arlynscales.com/axchange-monitoring
** Options only available with scales equipped with Arlyn UpScale Touchscreen Indicator.