Even today, agriculture is an important source of income and the world’s largest business. One-third of the economically active population obtains its livelihood from agriculture especially in remote parts of the world. The agricultural industry relies on scales as part and parcel of that enterprise, employing scales for everything from livestock to grain and feed commodities, and containers to crates. Scales are essential to the industry’s bottom line as well, where precision and accuracy guarantee standards of reliability as well as safety.
For this reason there is a wide variety of applications related to produce and livestock agricultural weighing.
- Crop production applications include the use of scales for the formulation of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and hybrid seed production.
- Livestock applications include the formulation of feed and check-weighing animals for the rate of gain on different types of feed.
- Produce scales tend towards seasonal use. During harvest and transportation periods, there may be heavy use, while the other 35 weeks of the year there may be more moderate usage — perhaps not more than 20-30 trucks per day.
In addition, produce sales are located in a truck, so it is easier to control exactly where the load is placed. At the end of the cycle, scales are used in retail and wholesale buying and shipping of the final product.
One scale basic to the agricultural industry, aside from the floor scale, is the platform scale, which can be customized to suit specific agricultural industry needs. A platform scale has a basic build but superior standards in design, materials, and application can really distinguish the quality of a scale when it comes to selecting a scale that actually meets your needs. A checklist of qualities in construction, operation and cost facilitates choosing a great platform scale.
Though outwardly simple in design, platform scales are actually quite sophisticated weighing instruments in practice. The design functions primarily as a two-part system consisting of the weighing platform and the display. The most essential parts of the platform scale are the load cells, which are essential in determining the accuracy and repeatability of the scale. We have also developed optional features and specific modifications and capabilities to support your specific agricultural industry need as well.
The most basic quality of any industrial scale is its ability to produce repeated reading accuracy under any conditions. Quality construction and innovation in design determine accuracy. An industrial-scale production company that displays a history of quality, technological advancement and cost-effectiveness will save you time and make it worth your attention and investment.
What Makes the Best Platform Scale
The general build and design of a scale platform include load cells, which are constructed to detect and weigh what is placed on the platform scale and register weight with repeatable accuracy. The best platforms must take into consideration all the challenges in real-time loading. For example, livestock that will not stand still on a scale platform and large uneven bulky loads that are prone to frequent shock loading. Any platform scale based on even force pressure on the scale is going to fail.
Arlyn Scales are industry-ready in every way. An Arlyn Scale platform scale uses four load cells embedded and protectively machine pocketed in each corner of the frame to ensure an even balance and accurate readings whether the load is centered on the scale or not.
Every Arlyn Scales’ load cell is constructed of a specialized stainless steel alloy built to eliminate reading inaccuracies and output signal shifts. The stainless steel construction is premier and durable in challenging environments and lasts longer, resulting in fewer replacement costs.
No Summation Board
One of the key advantages regarding Arlyn Scales’ load cells is that we manufacture them ourselves and have found a way to eliminate the summation board. The industry standard is to use a summation board and manually make adjustments until the output signals from all the load cells are identical.
Instead, we manufacture load cells in bulk and measure the output signal of each load cell, organizing them in groups of four based on their identical outputs. This is a great time-saver, and eliminating the summation board also eliminates one of the main causes of scale failure.
Connectors and adjustment knobs on the summation board are prone to environmental damage and are one of the least reliable scale components. Summation board failure is a common occurrence that translates to downtime, halts in production and dealer repair. Arlyn Scales are thus more accurate, more reliable and better built for productivity in every way.
Our platform scales, as a standard, come with aluminum construction, which is designed to protect the load cells and support heavy loads. However, we also offer these scales with stainless steel construction for superior corrosion resistance. Our optional three-part epoxy with mica particles also provides extra protection against corrosion and abrasion resistance, unlike other companies who use cheap paint that does not protect the scale from rust once it’s scratched off. Our epoxy inhibits rust from forming in any scratches while preventing its spread to other parts of the scale, increasing the longevity of the scale.
Due to the cyclical nature of agricultural scale use, an inferior scale will almost always fail during heavy usage – just when it is needed the most. This often results in users repairing rather than replacing the scale due to time constraints. These emergency repairs are often more costly because of overtime labor and air freight rush for parts needed to get the scale back up and running as soon as possible. Often the failing scale is then replaced in the off-season — which means all the money spent getting the scale repaired is wasted.
Many users think of scales as a commodity which may result in purchasing the scale based on the cheapest quote. Such a scale is made as cheaply as possible without taking long term precautions to avoid deflection in the platform. The inexpensive scale will perform adequately when first placed in service, but the platform will weaken with every weighing until it suffers from metal fatigue and has to be replaced. Another frequent mistake made when cost is the primary selection factor is choosing a pit scale built with very little rebar — such a scale will fail quickly because of low strength.
Weighing Operations Will Be More Involved In Tracking Products
Weighing operations are increasingly becoming more involved in tracking products through the food chain. For crops, users will have to know if the product was genetically modified, treated with any herbicides or insecticides, and stored properly to prevent damage. Livestock applications will be involved in tracking the animal from birth to slaughter, and determining if the animal crossed any borders, or came from an area where the disease was present.
Another interesting trend that will affect weighing applications is the increase of higher resolutions. The National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) allows 10,000 divisions but users will look for 20 or even 50,000 divisions. This is in response to advancements in technology requiring tighter inventory control of expensive ingredients added to inexpensive bulk commodities.
Arlyn Scales offers advanced technologies to store, transmit and analyze weight data. These connectivity options include:
Ethernet, which enables a scale to be monitored and controlled using a local network either as a plug in or wireless connection (Remote Indicator Software). Weights can be recorded, sorted, grouped, and analyzed remotely from a workstation PC.
USB interface with our free USB Remote Software interfacing with Windows Excel and databases and any windows application on a PC.
Datalogging enables the use of a flash drive for weight data storage and retrieval, which permits mobile work and work in the field.
Set Point allows the user to enter up to eight weight values into the scale, enabling automatic filling and PLC functions. The set point automatically monitors designated weight value, sending a signal to either turn-off or turn on the equipment. This includes multiple differing target weights.
Arlyn Scales First
Consolidate your time and effort and invest in an Arlyn Scale. Our 30-year presence in the business has built our reputation as a leader in rugged, dependable and high precision industrial scales. We have outlasted most and surpassed the rest.
Longevity is a certain sign of quality assurance and we offer the very best in quality materials as well as patented engineered technology at a reasonable cost. We design and fabricate all our subassemblies, resisting the trend to buy cheap and declining to buy foreign products or materials and rebrand.
We develop our products locally, which keeps us cost-effective. By eliminating the middleman and shipping factory direct to our customers, we ensure that you pay only for the product and never for the mark-up. This allows us to offer high-quality products at competitive prices.
We ship fast from our warehouses and specialize in developing custom scales to suit your exact requirements. Our formula is quality combined with high standard design and innovation that delivers the most accurate and rugged inventory available.
We’re Here to Help
There are significant consequences if the right scale is not selected. If the weights generated by the scale are not reliable, they are useless. Aside from simple aggravation and inconvenience, if the scale is broken or condemned by the state, arrangements must be made to use another scale. It may lead to distrust, with users thinking they may be cheated by inaccurate weights. The inaccurate scale must be replaced by an accurate one, resulting in additional costs.
If you’re a business in the agricultural industry and you’re having difficulty selecting which scale would meet your needs, we’d love to help you! Just fill out our online form to discuss your options.
If you’d like to browse our selection of platform scales, please visit our platform scales page.