Can You use One Scale Manufacturer Weight Indicator with Another Scale Manufacturer Scale Platform?

One subject that comes up every so often is the idea of using multiple brands of scale equipment in one scale system.  Can you do this?

The answer is yes (in most situations)

For most standard weighing scenarios you can use various scale manufacturers weighing equipment. So, for example, we can put a Rice Lake 480+ scale controller with an Ohaus scale platform (see picture).  Or we can put a Cardinal 210 weight indicator on a Rice Lake OTR Survivor truck scale.  

So, we can use one brand of scale digital weight indicator with another brand scale weight platform. And, we have done this. The one concern with this, is with certain systems, if you ever have any issues…. it could lead to finger pointing between the two manufacturers. We haven’t had a whole lot of that happen before, but in the right situation, it could occur. 

When Do You Have to Use Only One Brand of Scale Controller?

In scenarios where you have a digital scale, it usually is recommended or required to use the same brand of scale equipment. So, for example on a Cardinal Armor digital truck scale, we would use a Cardinal 225D weight indicator with digital load cell interface.

Can My Weighing Scale be Repaired?

A common question that many folks are curious about is, can my scale be repaired?  Or sometimes it’s framed by cost considerations, and then the question becomes, is it worth having my scale repaired? 

Most of the time the answer is yes to scale repairs. Your weighing scale can be repaired. If your weight scale or laboratory balance is broken, displaying error codes, or has a constant weight fluctuation, the scale likely needs to be repaired

However, one consideration that you need to determine is the cost factor. The cost to repair a scale can vary from less than $100 to much higher.  It’s a good idea to know up front what kind of expense is expected in your particular situation.

If your truck scale is broken and needs to be repaired, you will more than likely move forward with the repairs.  However, if you bought a cheap scale on the internet for less than $100 and it fails, you might throw it away and not repair it since the labor charge and replacement parts will be more than the cost of the scale. 

How Much Does it Cost to Calibrate a Scale?

If the scale is being calibrated on location, then most scale companies have an hourly rate that is charged for labor. Then, there is also a mileage charge which covers the cost of getting the scale test truck from the scale company to the customer and back.  

If the customer is bringing the scale(s) to the scale company, normally that would involve an hourly rate charge and no mileage charge.

Either way, our certified scale technicians will calibrate and repair your weighing equipment with accuracy and efficiency using our state certified test weights.

can my scale be repaired

Do Scales Stop Working after a while?

Weighing equipment that we offer is designed to work for many years, ideally. However, occasionally electronics will fail. That’s why it’s good to work with an experienced scale company like Central Carolina Scale. We’ve been recommending weighing solutions to customers for decades and we have great knowledge about the best and most reliable weighing equipment brands available.    

Why did my scale stop working?

So your scale has stopped working.  Why did that happen?  The answer to this question can vary. Sometimes lightening can cause problems. Sometimes it’s simply the age of the scale equipment. Other times, perhaps the equipment was overloaded. Maybe one of your employees did something to break the scale (and now nobody knows what happened).  Finally, sometimes equipment just fails. 

No one can prevent failures all the time but this is a good reason to have a service agreement with CCS. Our experienced scale tech’s will see your scale equipment on a regular basis and can make any recommendations or fixes as needed.  You also save money on service rates too.  

The modern industrial scale lineup that we offer are great products. But, like just about everything else they are not bullet proof. They will eventually fail. However, the good news is that you have a trusted industrial scale repair / calibration company in central North Carolina who can handle these scale repairs.

Our factory trained scale technicians are good at scale repair and troubleshooting and since we stock replacement load cells and scale parts for many of the items we sell, we can get you back to weighing quickly.

 

How to use Counting Scale (Instructions)

A parts counting scale is an amazing item.  The amount of time savings that one of these devices provides end users is truly remarkable.  Most of the time when folks are using a counting scale, they have the instructions or they just know how to use the scale, since they’ve been using the scale for many years.

Regarding parts counting, we’ve written about how to buy a counting scale. But what happens if you don’t know how to actually use a counting scale?  What if you can’t find any instructions or user manual?  Well, we will try to assist you below.

how to use counting scale instructions

Simple Parts Counting Using an Electronic Scale

First, the basic way to use a counting scale for inventory is to first, make sure the scale is on 0.00.  Then count out a small sample of whatever it is that you’re trying to count. Let’s say (10) pieces. 

Remember, all the pieces have to be the same.  You can’t count resistors and bolts at the same time. 

So, you’ve counted out your (10) pieces, now look for a button on the scale that says “Sample”.  This can be very simple or this can be quite difficult depending on who manufactured the scale.  You may have to experiment to figure out which button is actually the sample key. Some scales will actually have Sample written on the button. But, we’ve seen “sample” buttons that actually said everything from “Smpl” to “Sample Set” to “PWT”.

Also, some scales can differ with the timing of whether you place the (10) pieces on the scale and then press the Sample button or do you press the Sample button first and then place your (10) pieces on the scale.  

Once you’ve figured this out and the sample works, then you should be able to place the rest of your items on the scale and get the complete count.  

We hope this helps you with how to use a counting scale. We also suggest contacting our customer service team who might be able to get you a user manual or assist you with your parts counting needs. We’ve also put together a counting scale buying guide to make purchasing a little easier.

How to tell if a Pallet Scale needs Calibration

We recommend having your pallet scale checked on a regular basis.  That is a service that we provide all the time. We have state certified scale technicians and our test weights are certified each year at the state lab.  

But let’s say that you are a new company or perhaps you are one of those rare companies that chooses to not have your scales checked on a regular basis.  How can you tell if your floor scale needs to be calibrated or not?

does my pallet scale need to be calibrated?

There are some obvious examples such as your scale displaying error codes or it’s just not working at all.  But often times the scale will work and display weights, the question is… are those weights accurate?

It’s always a good idea to have some type of check weight available at your location to verify your scale weight.  This usually is not a real certified weight. It could be a large container or some type of item that generally weighs the same all the time.  Having an item like this handy can help you to see if your scales are accurate and within tolerance, need to be calibrated, or if something has gone wrong and need troubleshooting, repaired, and then calibrated.

What if Your Pallet Scale Needs to be Calibrated?

If your scale is inaccurate, then it’s time to call your scale company and have them check the scale with certified test weights.  The scale tech can then adjust the scale and calibrate it if needed.  If you have other scales at your facility, it might be wise to have all of them checked on the same trip for efficiency.  You can call our service department at (919) 776-7737 or you can fill out the RFQ form on our website or email us as well.  

Why Does the Number on the Scale Fluctuate So Much?

From a scale company perspective, when we hear the question, why does the number on the scale fluctuate so much?  There are several answers below that could be true.  

When we define the word fluctuate, the definition is: rise and fall irregularly in number or amount. Sometimes the word fluctuation can be used interchangeably with bouncing or changing.

weight fluctuation

From a healthcare scale or bathroom scale perspective:  It is normal to see your body weight vary daily. It could be various reasons such as food or water intake. Maybe a new diet. 

In the scenarios that we see more often as an Industrial Scale Company, when we’re asked why does the number on the scale fluctuate so much?  The answers below are usually true.

Often with industrial scales a customer places an object on the scale and it is a certain weight. There is usually little to no fluctuation.  If the scale does fluctuate more than a couple graduations, then it likely means that some component in the scale is not working correctly (main board, load cell, etc…) or it could mean that the scale needs to be re-calibrated.

With commercial scales or industrial scales, if you place an object or weight on the scale, there should be little to no fluctuation.  If the weight is bouncing around, then you likely have a problem of some type.  Sometimes it can be something as simple as wind or water.  If you’ve ever tried to weigh trucks on a 70 foot long truck scale on a windy day, you have likely seen truck weights fluctuating. Once the wind subsides, the weigh fluctuation should as well. As for water, if a junction box has water inside, that can cause fluctuations. Dry out the j-box and often the weight stabilizes.

Weighing Scales for Commercial Fishing

Accuracy is Important

Commercial fishing is considered one of the most dangerous occupations, where normal working conditions include storms, fog, wind and tumultuous waters.

Not only do the fishermen themselves need to withstand these harsh environments, they also need equipment fit for severe working conditions.

Rice Lake delivers robust weighing equipment such as crane scales, floor scales, indicators and scale controllers and checkweighers to make the commercial fishing weighing process fast, easy, and more profitable for the commercial fishing industry.

cw-90x check weigh scale for commercial fishing

With multiple transactions occurring between vessels, tender boats and production facilities, accuracy is key. Rice Lake’s commercial fishing weight scales are designed to address the vigorous needs of the commercial fishing industry.

At the heart of the fishing operation are the MSI crane scales. Featuring marine grade, 356 alloy, anodized cast aluminum enclosures, both the MSI-4300 and MSI-9300 are ideal choices for medium to heavy capacity crane scale applications. Transfer fish from the fishing vessel to the tender boat’s cargo hold, even in harsh sea conditions.

The MSI-4260M Port-a-Weigh crane scale is the most robust scale on the market for marine and industrial weighing, able to capture weight with ± 0.1% accuracy with a standard 5000 lb capacity and designed with dockside weighing in mind.

An IP66 aluminum enclosure stands up to moisture in marine and washdown environments. Sensitive electronic components are sealed off and well-protected, including the MSI-4260M’s sleek and vibrant LCD display. Featuring programmable brightness control, the display ensures users have access to the weight data they need, in any light condition.

In highly regulated marine applications, meeting safety requirements is crucial. The NTEP-Certified MSI-4260M features a 200% Safe and 500% Ultimate Safety Factor, minimizing the risk of accidents from overloading. The MSI-4260M is built to perform reliably for every catch with extended battery life up to 1,000 hours. A brightly lit battery display indicates when the unit is at 25%, 50%, 75% and full power. Timed auto-off and auto-sleep modes conserve power when the unit is not in use, meaning users are never surprised by a dead battery.

 

On the tender boat, use the Rice Lake 920i® FlexWeigh to fill storage containers to a precise weight on demand. The 920i FlexWeigh can tare any freestanding container, start a fill on command and stop at a desired value. Stainless steel, NEMA Type 4X enclosures and rugged, customizable operation switches deliver industrial strength and dependability, day after day and year after year.

After fish are transferred from the tender boat to the fish processing facility, Rice Lake’s CW-90X checkweigher will help error-proof the production process with simple, easy-to-read over/under lights. The extra-strength keypad withstands sharp knife-point contacts as well as contaminants and liquids, making this checkweigher ideal for wet and dirty seafood processing plants.

The RoughDeck® HE hostile environment stainless steel floor scale is specifically designed for corrosion resistance and long life in demanding washdown applications. Use the RoughDeck to weigh large storage containers as they move throughout the processing plant. Pair it with Rice Lake’s 480 Legend™ Series digital weight indicator, featuring a NEMA Type 4X, stainless steel enclosure and advanced gasket system, to achieve a complete environmentally tough weighing solution.

Even after fish have been caught, transferred and processed, Rice Lake’s products can meet the needs of busy fish markets. For expensive product, accuracy down to the gram is essential. Equipped with a unique Mono-Metal Tuning Fork (MMTF) sensor, Rice Lake’s TP Series balance brings remarkable response time and exceptional stability to any setting. Its compact design is ideal for limited spaces and crowded fish markets.

From the ocean to the processing facility and on to a local market or grocery store, we have a wide variety of scales suited for the robust yet precise needs of the commercial fishing industry.

Is it Worth the Extra Cost to Galvanize Your Next Truck Scale?

Does it make sense for you to pay extra and purchase the option for galvanizing your truck scale? Honestly, I haven’t given galvanizing a whole lot of thought in the past since everyone is so focused on truck scale prices and lowering the upfront costs. However, if you could come up with a process (Galvanizing) that could extend the life of your investment, it could well be worth the extra cost up front.

Have you noticed that most outdoor light posts and highway guard rails have the same grey color?

Do you know why?

Most people don’t pay attention to this but if you’re familiar with the steel industry you know that preparation, coatings, and paint systems are the single most important factors to prolonging the life of steel.

The reason for this grey color is because these metal products have been galvanized.

Generally, any metal made to be outside in the elements is commonly coated with a zinc finish through a process called galvanization.

Did you know that galvanizing has been around for over 200 years?

It flat out works, but is it worth it?

What is Galvanizing?

Hot dip galvanizing is the process of immersing raw steel into a liquid zinc “bath.” In order to provide the most effective galvanizing, steel must not be previously treated and prepared properly to ensure that zinc finds its way into the pores of the steel. The first five steps of the galvanizing process are related to cleaning and removing any impurities before the final zinc bath.

How Expensive is Galvanizing?

The better question is how expensive is it NOT to galvanize? In 2017 the NACE estimated the cost of corrosion to be $2.5 trillion! It estimated that by implementing early corrosion control practices, such as galvanizing, between $300 and $800 billion could be saved, annually!

While we can see this is a large sum of money globally, exactly how does this apply to your scale?

galvanized platform scale

Scale Applications

If you plan to buy a scale and run ten trucks over it each day in the warmer parts of the United States, you don’t need to read any further – galvanizing is probably not for you.

However, if you operate in an area where snow or saltwater are factors, then you should seriously consider a galvanized scale. If your scale comes in contact with caustic materials or it sits in water and grime, then you should definitely consider a galvanized scale!

Replacing something prematurely is never anything someone looks forward to, but consider the cost of prematurely replacing a truck scale – EXPENSIVE!

Cranes, downtime, steel repairs, etc.… not to mention the headache of dealing with the whole project. The price of galvanizing will far outweigh the cost and hassle of having to replace a truck scale prematurely.

Galvanized steel corrodes at a rate of 1/30 of bare steel in the same environment. If your current scale is corroding rapidly and you could likely obtain 30% more life from a galvanized scale, you should consider making the additional investment.

What does galvanizing my truck scale really cost?

While zinc fluctuates in price, you can typically expect to spend ~ 30% more for a galvanized scale vs. a painted scale. This price typically includes the galvanizing, handling of the scale and shipping it to and from the galvanizer and back to the factory.

Because this is a specialized process, scale manufacturers and many steel producers do not galvanize their own products, so the extra handling will have to be considered.

After galvanizing, the scale is returned to the manufacturer for inspection where the steel is inspected to ensure the heat of the galvanizing process did not warp any beams or effect any welds. Holes and open areas on the scale also need to be checked to make sure they aren’t plugged. If there are any issues, they can be remedied by the scale manufacturer before shipment.

Galvanizing your truck scale is always an option that should be considered based on the factors mentioned above. Considering that most static steel structures in harsh environments are galvanized, it’s compelling to believe that a wear surface exposed to harsh environments should be treated the same way. If you need any assistance deciding if galvanizing is right for you, the experts at Central Carolina Scale will be happy to assist.

Truck Scale Options & Accessories You Should Consider

Purchasing a truck scale can be a challenging project.

There are numerous options to consider. Much like choosing options for a car, your truck scale can be customized to fit your specific needs and requirements.

Listed below are a number of standard options to consider when ordering your new truck scale.

Sight Rail / Guide Rail for Truck Scale

Sight rail is an extremely common option to include with a truck scale purchase. The pipe rail is used as a visual guide to help vehicle drivers stay centered as they enter onto the scale. For most commercial and industrial truck scale installations, standard 8” tall sight rail is a common choice.

truck scale side rail

For most aggregate and mining type operations, 24” tall double pipe sight rail is required for safety. The sight rail assemblies are bolted to the weighbridge so they can be added in the future or easily replaced if damaged by a vehicle.

Sight rails can be customized with handrails or gaps in specific locations along the scale length to avoid hopper supports or other structures very close to the scale weighbridge.

Scoreboard for Truck Scale

Large, bright outdoor mounted weight displays are known as scoreboards. A scoreboard is placed near a truck scale within the driver’s sight so they can verify the scale reads zero prior to entering and verify gross vehicle weight prior to exiting the scale platform. Scoreboards are available in a wide array of digit sizes with 4” being the most popular.

In fact, some state’s Weight & Measures departments mandate the use of a scoreboard next to a truck scale. Scoreboards can be hard wired to the scale weight indicator located in the scale house / office or connected wirelessly. Another useful feature that can be built into the scoreboard enclosure is a red/green signal that can be used for traffic flow control.

Truck Scale Printer

Another popular option to consider for your truck scale is a ticket printer.  We have several to choose from and they allow you to print out the gross, tare, and net weights of the trucks that you are weighing.

Intercom Systems for a Truck Scale

Intercom systems allows office persons to communicate directly with a truck driver while on the scale. Systems range from simple hard-wired systems with outdoor PA horns to powerful wireless VHF radio-based systems that can be run by D-Cell batteries, AC line power or solar power.

For a more sophisticated system, Voice Over IP (VOIP) indoor and outdoor stations can be integrated into existing on-site phone system.

Manholes for a Truck Scale Weighbridge

Truck scales installed flush with grade are typically placed in a 48” deep concrete “pit” foundation. To access the inside of the pit area under the scale, 24” x 24” manhole access covers are built into the scale weighbridge. The manhole covers are removable by hand and allow for entry below the scale. Pit foundations will commonly have drains or sump pumps that will need to be serviced.

Riser Blocks for under a Truck Scale

In some industries and geographic locations, under scale clearance is very important for ensuring a truck scale remains operational for long periods of time.

Aggregate and mining type applications may want increased under scale clearance to prevent build-up of materials under the scale. The build-up may cause the scale to get bound up or impede accurate weighing, especially in cold weather climates.

The extra under scale clearance allows for easier / faster cleanout of built-up debris. The extra clearance is also good for on-scale filling applications such as asphalt where spills and over-fills are possible. Snow and ice in some areas warrant the use of riser blocks to reduce the possibility of winter scale freeze-ups.

Catwalk / Stairs for Truck Scale

Catwalk can be added to any truck scale weighbridge. Catwalk can be as small as 60” in length all the way up to the full length of the truck scale on one or both sides of the platform. Catwalk can attach to the side of the scale hanging on the sight rail or be mounted on the ground next to the scale. Catwalk is a way to safely enter or exit a scale platform with stairs and handrail features.

The number of options and variations for truck scale accessories can be overwhelming. If you have questions about which option(s) would best suit you and your truck scale, give us a call at (919) 776-7737.

Top Choices for IBC Container Scale Weighing Solutions

You will often see an intermediate bulk container (IBC) tote bin or tank in various locations around industrial settings. And, in a lot of cases, customers are looking for IBC Tote scale options which would allow them to weigh those tanks and keep track of what is inside.

Before we get too far along, what exactly is an IBC container

Intermediate bulk containers (also known as IBC tank, IBC tote, IBC, or pallet tank) are industrial-grade containers engineered for the mass handling, transport, and storage of liquids.

Rigid intermediate bulk containers are stackable, reusable, versatile containers with an integrated pallet base mount that provides forklift and/or pallet jack maneuverability.

These containers can be made from metal, plastic, or a composite construction of the two materials. Rigid IBC design types are manufactured across a volume range that is in between that of standard shipping drums and intermodal tank containers, hence the title “intermediate“ bulk container. IBC tank capacities generally used are often 1,040 and 1,250 litres (275 and 330 US gal). 

As a distributor of Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) tote scales, there are several ways that you could go about weighing your IBC tank. A tote load cell setup could be used to weigh the ibc tote where you basically build a scale using a load cell kit.  The more popular approach would be to actually use an industrial floor scale where you could place the industrial platform scale under the tote in order to weigh the 275 gallon water tank. 

ibc tote scale

Every few months we get asked if anyone uses a 5×5 platform scale for weighing totes?  A customer typically sees a scale online with 10,000 lb capacity and 5×5 size for sale. Adding a scale like that would eliminate guessing on how much product is left in the tote.

We basically offer high capacity weighing solutions for applications requiring frequent loading and unloading of IBC Totes and Carboys. An IBC Tote / Tank Scale is designed for weighing tote bins and carboys. We can provide industrial floor scales with various platform sizes (48″ x 48″, 60″ x 60″, 72″ x 72″ and more) and various capacities (2000 lb, 5000 lb, & 10,000 lb). We even have “U” shaped scales which can sometimes make adding a tank and removing a tank easier.

ibc tank scales

Some customers just put one of these IBC tote scales on their water truck and use a chemical pump. They zero the scale and you can get accurate weighing. You will want to make sure the scale is secure on the truck deck or bed and secure the tote on the scale.

Painted Steel scale platforms are typical with diamond tread plate.  Stainless steel is also available. Weight indicators are available with 4-20 mA analog output and/or optional setpoint relays. Other options might include battery power, stainless steel enclosure, LCD or LED displays etc…

We can also quote you for intrinsically safe options if needed for weighing chemicals such as ammonia, fluoride, phosphate, polymers, sodium aluminate, sodium bisulfate, sodium hydroxide, and other liquids.

Tote or container scale choices have to be well designed and rugged for frequent on and off loading. Most scale platforms we offer for this type of application would have four load cells and adjustable feet. In addition to selling the scale equipment, we also have a highly qualified, factory trained scale repair department who can troubleshoot and fix any scale error you may have.

This scale base is available in standard sizes ranging from 24″ x 24″ to 72″ x 72″ (many other sizes available). There are various digital weight indicators available as well. Some popular choices are the Pennsylvania 7600E, Rice Lake 682 Plus, and Rice Lake 480 Plus. For more info please contact us for a quote by completing our Request for Quote form.

Best Commercial Bakery Scales

Over the years we have worked with numerous commercial bakeries and related businesses with their portion weighing needs.  Accuracy is very important for their food recipe and quality control and overall consistency. Many of these businesses use our scale calibration and repair services on a regular basis to keep their scales running year round.

What Kind of Scale do Professional Bakers & Chefs Use?

This is a good question. Basically there are a couple of ways that bakery customers often approach obtaining commercial bakery scales. One way is to buy high quality scales that are more expensive. A few examples might include the stainless steel Doran 7000XL bench scale or perhaps the Avery Weigh-Tronix ZQ375 checkweigher.

Both of these are washdown safe, aka waterproof scales and the thinking is that these industrial scales are built tougher and will provide more years of service in return for the investment that you’re making. In fact, we know of a famous pizza chain that uses the Doran 7000XL bench scales for preparing their pizzas and keeping track of ingredient portions. The result that we’ve noticed many times is a consistent pizza every time you order.

doran 7000xl commercial bakery scale

The other way to approach buying scales for a commercial bakery is to buy the cheapest scales and then when they break (notice we didn’t say “if” they break) you’ll throw those out and buy more new cheap scales.  

Which way is better? 

As a scale supplier for over forty years, we have seen both strategies utilized and in our experience, most of the time, you come out ahead buying a quality scale that is built for the application that you intend to use it for.

One thing is also worth mentioning and that is to educate your workers about the scale. So many times workers don’t understand or realize the cost of the scale and that the scale is not impervious to damage. Most every digital scale on the market doesn’t do well when it’s dropped from the counter onto a concrete floor or carried around the kitchen by the cable or have a heavy item dropped or slammed onto the weighing platter.

Assuming your employees use the scale properly, sure, you may have to get your replacement Doran Scale load cell installed or perhaps a load cell cable somehow gets cut or ripped out of the scale. But in most cases, those items can be repaired and you’re not having to purchase new equipment all the time.

What are Scales Used for in the Professional Kitchen?

Most of the time bakery scales are used for portion control and quality control purposes. Ingredients can be very expensive and customers expect consistency every time they order your product. 

What is the Best Food Scale on the Market?

The best commercial food scale on the market is probably the Doran 7000XL stainless steel bench scale. Professional bakers have used this commercial scale for many years. If you’re talking about small portion control scales or kitchen scales, then you might want to see the Doran 550 series counter top scales. 

We encourage you to contact us to discuss your needs and what you are looking for with a digital scale. We can tell you what the best kitchen scale is in our opinion, but if you let us know exactly how you’re going to be using the scale, what features you need/want and your budget, we can provide you with our recommendation. Call us (919) 776-7737 or fill out the RFQ form on our website to get started.