Using Scales to Weigh Industrial Hemp

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago, according to Wikipedia

Below are a few popular questions and answers regarding industrial hemp. You can see the complete question and answer article by viewing the state website.

What kind of plant is industrial hemp?
Industrial hemp is a small seeded, dicot, dioecious, photoperiodic plant. This means that it is a broadleaf and not a grass. There are male and female plants. The plants flower based on a day length trigger.

These plant characteristics will present production and cultivation challenges for North Carolina. The small seed is very sensitive to planting depth, and establishing an acceptable stand will require close attention to a shallow planting depth, firm seedbed and avoiding flooding conditions. The seedling is also small and not very competitive with weeds until the crop is established and canopy closure occurs. There are no labeled pesticides for use on industrial hemp at this time.

How is industrial hemp cultivated?
Industrial hemp is generally grown for; seed, fiber, or floral materials. Each is produced is in a slightly different way. For seed production, plants would generally be seeded at a high plant population similar to a small grain crop. Reported seeding rates are 25 to 40 pounds of seed per acre planted with a grain drill. For fiber, high seeding rates are generally recommended. The reason for high seeding rates and plant population is to limit lateral branching and facilitate harvest. Production of floral materials varies widely from greenhouse production to wider row spacings, which would resemble tobacco or horticultural crop production. Floral buds are harvested, so production systems that promote lateral branching and more numerous flowers per plant would be desirable. Harvesting methods vary.

What are the market opportunities for industrial hemp?
Similar to the limited research for production, little information exists at this time for the market opportunities to potential North Carolina growers. Growers are urged to proceed with caution and closely examine potential market opportunities.

What is hemp used for?
Hemp fibers have been used to manufacture hundreds of products that include fiber for injected/molded composite materials, twine, paper, construction materials, carpeting, clothing, and animal bedding.

Seeds have been used in making industrial oils, cosmetics and other personal care products, and medicines. Hemp seed or oil can be found in cooking oil, salad dressings, pasta, and snack products. 

Can I grow hemp in my backyard?
No. Under state and federal laws, industrial hemp growers must be issued a license to participate in the industrial hemp pilot program. The Industrial Hemp Commission is responsible for developing rules and regulations for participating in the program.

What is the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana?
Marijuana and industrial hemp are different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L. Marijuana typically contains 3 to 15 percent THC on a dry-weight basis, while industrial hemp contains less than 1 percent (Blade, 1998; Vantreese, 1998). Most developed countries that permit hemp cultivation require use of varieties with less than 0.3 percent THC. 

Industrial hemp can be grown as a fiber and/or seed crop. Grown for fiber, it is planted in dense stands to maximize stalk production. Grown for seed or for seed and fiber, plants are spaced farther apart to encourage branching and seed production. Marijuana varieties are grown for their leaves and flower buds, and therefore are grown under low-density conditions to maximize branching. 

Authorized research purposes
As part of the industrial hemp research program directly managed by a State land grant
university, a licensed grower may engage in any of the following research activities:

(1) Studying and investigating marketplace opportunities for hemp products to
increase the job base in the State by means of employment related to the
production of industrial hemp.

(2) Studying and investigating methods of industrial hemp cultivation that are best
suited to soil conservation and restoration.

(3) Overseeing and analyzing the growth of industrial hemp by licensed growers
for agronomy research and analysis of required soils, growing conditions, and
harvest methods relating to the production of various varieties of industrial
hemp that may be suitable for various commercial hemp products.

(4) Conducting seed research on various types of industrial hemp that are best
suited to be grown in North Carolina, including seed availability, creation of
North Carolina hybrid types, and in-the-ground variety trials and seed
production. The Commission may establish a program to recognize certain
industrial hemp seeds as being North Carolina varieties of hemp seed.

(5) Studying the economic feasibility of developing an industrial hemp market in
various types of industrial hemp that can be grown in the State, including by
commercial marketing and sale of industrial hemp.

(6) Reporting on the estimated value-added benefits, including environmental
benefits, to North Carolina businesses of an industrial hemp market of North
Carolina-grown industrial hemp varieties.

(7) Studying the agronomy research being conducted worldwide relating to
industrial hemp varieties, production, and use.

(8) Researching and promoting on the world market industrial hemp and hemp seed
that can be grown in the State.

(9) Promoting research into the development of industrial hemp and commercial
markets for North Carolina industrial hemp and hemp products.

(10) Studying the feasibility of attracting federal or private funding for the North
Carolina industrial hemp research program.

(11) Studying the use of industrial hemp in new energy technologies, including
electricity generation, biofuels, or other forms of energy resources; the growth
of industrial hemp on reclaimed mine sites; the use of hemp seed oil in the
production of fuels; and the production costs, environmental issues, and costs
and benefits involved with the use of industrial hemp for energy.

ntep legal for trade platform scales

So you may be asking, what interest does CCS have in this product? Turns out, we have had numerous farmers contact us looking for weight scales used in the harvesting of industrial hemp in central North Carolina. Contact us today (919) 776-7737 and let us help you be more efficient and accurate in your processing. 

Benefits of Cardinal Digital Truck Scales

Cardinal Armor series Smartcell digital truck scales have several distinct benefits to you, the customer. First there is the heavy duty weighbridge design the Cardinal Armor digital truck scale uses. For example, the steel deck has (12) 12 inch eye beams across the scale but most important is there’s no moving parts under the scale.

ADVANTAGES OF A DIGITAL TRUCK SCALE

With a traditional truck scale, when it comes to debris build-up under the scale, that you typically see in landfills, quarries, sand and gravel businesses; all of that debris can cause problems under the scale and cause binding. Then you will be forced to have folks out there power washing the truck scale, trying to get the scale to work properly because safe linkage systems or load cells that are mounted to piers; the debris impedes on that critical weighing process.

This can often lead to down time for cleaning and can also lead to your scale being rejected when being tested by the State weights and measures inspector.

Another key element of the Cardinal Armor digital truck scale is simple connections which can also lead to limited downtime. Most important there is no power running to the scale other than the home run cable, that’s very important. Do you know what lightning, rain, and snow can do over time to the junction boxes of a traditional truck scale? There’s over a hundred and eight connection points in many standard analog truck scales.

digital truck scales

But, with the armor digital system, there’s ten. There’s five wires that plug into the terminal connector to go to the first load cell and there’s five that you simply wire into the weight indicator in fact Cardinal chooses 225 and the 825 as indicators of choice but most important for you; you want limited downtime for the life of the truck scale. Continue reading

Inspecting and Testing Heavy Duty Truck Scales

At Central Carolina Scale in addition to selling and installing truck scales; we also check, test, adjust, and calibrate truck scales just about every working day of the year. We have factory trained technicians who can troubleshoot even the smallest problem areas like a load cell that might be creeping. We also have certified test weights and a weight cart which allows us to provide the highest level of truck scale service available in North Carolina. When we’re finished doing our scale check, we supply the customer with documentation that shows before and after readings and how much weight we tested the scale with, etc…

However, in quite a few cases, where money changes hands based on scale weight, the state of North Carolina will also check the customer’s truck scale to make sure it is weighing correctly and performing within legal for trade tolerances. The blog post linked below is a field trip that describes a state test in more detail.

The Standards Division checks any scales where “money changes hands.” This would include scales at grocery stores, livestock scales, buffets, agricultural-supply centers, highway patrol weigh stations and scrap metal facilities. Scales are checked on an annual basis or by complaint. The only exception is stockyards, which are checked twice a year.

When consumers bring unwanted appliances, metal debris or even old vehicles to a scrap metal facility the items are generally weighed on a truck scale. At some facilities, this scale can record up to 100,000 pounds of weight. The entire weight of the vehicle, trailer and scrap metal is recorded on the scale. After unloading inside the facility, the consumer then drives the emptied vehicle and trailer back over a scale at the exit and this weight is recorded. The consumer is paid for the difference of the two weights. Depending on the amount of scrap brought in, the amount could be a couple of hundred dollars.
weight cart testing scales

To check a heavy truck scale, Inspector Glenn Farmer uses a six-wheeled, gas-powered, steel test cart. A hydraulic arm is used to fill the cart with certified 1,000-pound and 500-pound weights. For the test, he uses a known weight (the cart plus added weight) and test different quadrants of the scale. A five-section scale would have 18 different test points. There are two different types of truck scales, mechanical and load. To test a mechanical scale, Farmer must move his cart side to side to record weight. To check the accuracy of a load scale, he moves the cart down the center of the scale.

The Standards Division uses National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines to determine tolerance levels on the scales. A tolerance level is the amount of weight a scale is allowed to vary. For a scale that can measure more than 25,000 pounds of weight, the tolerance level would be 60 pounds. A scale that does not pass inspection must be pulled out of service until the facility fixes the problem. “Many times the issue is debris buildup in the crevices of the scale,” Farmer said. “Pine straw, cans and other debris can cause the scale not to weigh correctly.

Our advice to the company is to power wash or use an air hose to clean the area around the scale.” If the scale is still recording incorrect weights after cleaning, the facility may call a scale calibration company to fix the problem. Some facilities will have a representative from their scale company go along with the standards inspector on the day of their inspection. This means that most problems can be fixed immediately, and the facility doesn’t have to endure a prolonged shutdown of a scale if problems are found.

This was a nice write up about testing scales and how important it is to keep your scales weighing accurately. It’s always a good idea to keep your scales clean and weighing as accurate as possible, year round. One easy way to do that is to contact us at (919) 776-7737 and set up a maintenance schedule for your scales. You’ll save money and you will have accurate scales with the regular scale checks.

Are You Paying For Your Frozen Yogurt Cup too?

Believe it or not, spring and summer will be here before you know it and we’ll all be looking to cool down at a frozen yogurt shop.Today, many of these frozen yogurt shoppes allow the consumer to dispense as much frozen yogurt the customer wants. The yogurt is priced at around fifty cents per ounce. So if you want different flavors or a cup that is filled sky high you are able to do that. However, the real question is are you paying for just the yogurt and toppings that you consume or are you also paying for the cup that the yogurt is placed in?

Many yogurt shops determine price based on the weight of the yogurt and toppings, but they are required to subtract the weight of the cup or package first (which is called the tare weight). According to Jerry Butler, NCDA & CS Weight and Measures program manager, not every shop is aware of that. Butler heads a team of 24 inspectors whose job is to inspect scales in the state, and he guesses that they’ve inspected around a hundred or so yogurt shops so far. Of those, he estimates about 75 percent have not been using their scales properly. “Say you’re a family of four,” Butler says, “you could be paying up to a dollar extra just for the weight of the cups. So it’s important that the shops know how to use their scales.”

Now that the NCDA & CS inspectors have discovered that yogurt shops use scales, they’re keeping an eye out for them as they drive to other jobs. If they see a frozen yogurt shop while they’re out, they’ll step inside to inspect it. Most shops that have been violating are quick to correct their mistakes, which were usually made in ignorance, Butler says. A second offense would result in a notice of violation, and a third offender must pay a penalty of up to $5,000. So what can frozen yogurt eaters do to make sure they’re getting the most yogurt for their buck? “The bottom line is: the consumer needs to look and ask,” Butler says. “Make sure that the yogurt shop employee uses the tare. And if they’re not, the consumer needs to call me.”

Fortunately we have electronic scales available that make this process fairly easy to accommodate. Contact the sales staff today (919) 776-7737 and they will be happy to provide you prices for the scales that will work best to accommodate weighing frozen yogurt by the ounce and using the tare feature to subtract out the weight of the cup.

scale for weighing frozen yogurt by the ounce

We have standard legal for trade counter top scales. We have point of sale scales that can connect to your cash register. Finally, we have price computing scales that can display the weight and price on both the front of the scale and the back of the scale.

New ZQ375 Light Stack Available from Avery Weigh-Tronix

Avery Weigh-Tronix checkweighers feature stainless steel enclosures and are sealed up to IP69K, for washdown situations. These checkweighers are ideally suited for food and beverage applications, as well as pharmaceuticals, transportation and many others. With easy to use operator interfaces, users can clearly see the target level, speeding up operation without jeopardizing accuracy. These checkweighers offer multi-connectivity and can be can connected with existing data systems for automatic reporting.

Great News! Fully wash down compact light stack options ideal for the ZQ375 Checkweigher are now available!

That’s 3 extra light stack options that could be easily used on the current Avery Weigh-Tronix ZQ375 Checkweigher.

These new light stacks offer a more cost effective solution that can easy be installed to any new or existing ZM or ZQ375 Checkweigher indicator or indicator and base combination with no extra fabrication modifications required.

weigh-tronix checkweigh scale light stack

This new compact light stack easily mounts directly to the side of the indicator using the same side stud as uses to clamp the indicator to the column or stand with no extra fixings required. Ideal when the ZQ375 indicator needs to be mounted away from the weight platform.

These IP67 light stacks are available in 3 versions all with audible alarms
3 lights (red / green / yellow)
2 lights (red / Green)
1 light (red)

Avery Weigh-Tronix part numbers
AWT05-508943   IP67 side mounted compact (Red, Green, Yellow) light stack + audible alarm
AWT05-508944   IP67 side mounted compact (Red, Yellow) light stack + audible alarm
AWT05-508945   IP67 side mounted compact (Red) light stack + audible alarm

The Avery Weigh-Tronix ZQ375 series checkweighers are ideal heavy-washdown scales built to meet stringent food hygiene requirements. Certified by NSF to NSF/ANSI Standard 3-A, the ZQ375 Checkweigher has been specifically designed to meet the stringent hygiene requirements of the food processing industry. IP69K rated for heavy washdown environments.

The ZQ375 checkweigher features a highly visible, low power draw IBN display, which offers ease of viewing in all lighting conditions. Its large, nine segment digits and coloured multi-segmented under/overweight graph give the operator a fast visual indication of weight which is user friendly, yet highly accurate.

Plus with the optional light stack, scale operators can easily see when items are under weight, over weight or within tolerance.

This checkweigher is legal for trade, making it suitable for use in commercial applications where product is sold by weight. It is available in a range of sizes and capacities from 6lb to 500lbs (3kg to 200kg).

The ZQ375 Checkweigher provides you with the information you need through Wireless, USB or Ethernet to maximize performance and profitability.

Contact the sales team today at (919) 776-7737 or complete our online Request a Quote.

Why should I buy a scale that is “Legal-for-Trade” when I don’t intend to use it in a Commercial Weighing application?

There are a number of questions we get from time to time regarding legal for trade scales. Often, especially with floor scales we are asked “why should I buy a scale that is “Legal-for-Trade” when I don’t intend to use it in a commercial weighing setting”?

Defining a commercial weighing application can sometimes be a little tricky. Scales can be moved around and get used for things that maybe you didn’t originally intend.

Basically, an NTEP approved device is required any time money changes hands based on a scale’s reading. We sometimes call this legal for trade scales or we might call it NTEP certified equipment.

Freight scales, for example, must be NTEP approved. For these situations government requires that a scale must pass tests put forth by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). These regulations are meant to protect the consumer.

But if I were in the market for a scale, in most cases, I would want to choose a scale that was at least capable of passing NTEP testing and receiving an NTEP certificate.

If you think about it, we use a scale because we want to know an exact weight (as accurately as possible) and have trust in the information we view on the scale display.

NTEP approved floor scale

When selecting a scale to weigh your produce, or packages, would you choose one that’s been tested and approved by an independent third party as accurate, or would you rather have a scale that’s never been tested at all by an independent group?

NTEP Certified Commercial Scale

In most cases I would choose the scale that has been tested and received a conformance certificate.

Sure there are some markets and applications where NTEP certified scales are not really necessary. But when you’re comparing a legal for trade scale side by side with one that is non-ntep, ask yourself or your scale sales person a question. Could this non-ntep scale have earned a NTEP certificate of conformance?

If the answer is yes you may be ok with purchasing a non-ntep scale. The non ntep scale probably costs less, but is the scale accurate and stable as well?  How will you know for sure the scale is accurate? And if you need to replace it sooner than expected, how much money did you ultimately really save buying a non legal for trade scale?

If the sales person says no, the scale probably would not be capable of earning a certificate of conformance, that would cause me re-evaluate the product and my products that I’m looking to purchase.

Ultimately, it’s up to you the end user to decide what direction you want to to.

Continue reading

Legal For Trade Price Computing Scales State Testing Info You Can Use

legal for trade price computing scaleEvery year dozens and dozens of our customers either purchase new retail scales or they have their current legal for trade scale calibrated or certified. These are typically scales they can use at places like the farmers market to sell their fruits and vegetables by the pound. Basically any device used where items are bought or sold by weight is typically required by most state’s laws to be inspected and certified. This would include a counter top scale at a farmer’s market (or mechanical hanging scale) that is used to weigh produce that customers want to buy. Of course, inspecting a retail scale is an advantage to both the farmer and the customer.

I’ve mentioned this in the past but if you are buying or selling your items based on weight, you want to make sure that you purchase a scale that has NTEP approval. The certificate of conformance or CoC# should be on the side of the scale. The article below is also a good resource.

Keep in mind that no device is perfect and must be adjusted periodically. It is also recommended that you do not buy cheap quality scales that will likely not last. There are regional inspectors located across the state that will coordinate with the marketer to complete the certification. The inspectors have a set of standard weights calibrated annually for correctness. They will use these weights to test the marketer’s scales. Once you scale has been inspected you need to recertify every two years.  If the scale is out of tolerance (deemed inaccurate) a scale repair service must fix the scale or a new unit must be purchased. Click here to read entire article. Continue reading

What does Class III refer to when discussing NTEP requirements?

Handbook 44 from NIST spells out rules and regulations for the weighing industry and separates weighing devices into five accuracy classes. Depending on the number and value of scale divisions, equipment can be either class I, II, III, IIIL, or IIII, with Class I having the highest precision. All Legal-for-Trade scales fall under one of these five classes.

Table 7a of Handbook 44 breaks down the description of each class. Class III states: “All commercial weighing not otherwise specified, grain test scales, retail precious metals and semi-precious gem weighing, animal scales, postal scales, vehicle on-board weighing systems with a capacity less than or equal to 30,000 lb, and scales used to determine laundry charges.”

What it’s saying basically is anything that doesn’t fall elsewhere would go here, providing the device meets the criteria for the quantity and size of divisions. Class III covers many different types of scales. It’s a bit of a catch-all. Produce scales would be one type of Class III application. While some jewelry scales are Class III if the Continue reading