Should I buy a truck scale with weigh bar sensors? The Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® was designed to overcome the shortcomings of the traditional strain gauge load cell and to provide the end user with a rugged, highly reliable and linear load sensing device at reasonable cost.
More than twenty years of extensive use in industrial, farm and transportation applications has demonstrated that the Weigh Bar has met these requirements. The unique, robust design of the Weigh Bar is the primary reason for this success.
The Weigh Bar has proven itself over the past 20 years to be one of the world’s most robust weight transducers manufactured today with over 500,000 installations world-wide.
The IP67 Weigh Bar design provides inherent strength and overload protection, while also providing accuracy and high reliability. A significant contributor for this is the positioning of the gauges on the outside of the Weigh Bar. More robust than a shear beam load cell for a given output – a shear beam load cell will reach its peak fatigue point much sooner than a Weigh Bar.
The unique design of the Weigh Bar allows simple calculations to be made by the indicator, eliminating several types of errors:
• End Loading – When an end load is applied to the Weigh Bar, it is subjected to a uniform compressive strain throughout its length – all sensors detect the same strain. • Torsion Effects – When torque is applied to the Weigh Bar, a uniform torsional shear strain is developed through the length of the bar – both sensors detect the same strain. • Side Loading – When a side load is applied to the Weigh Bar, it acts as a beam, but at a 90-degree angle. When this occurs, the neutral axis of the beam (the point in the beam where neither tension or compression occur) falls directly under the center of the strain gauges. No apparent strain is seen by the gauges. • Vibration –The fine grain structure of aircraft quality steel is resistant to vibration fatigue and induced error. The strain gauges and adhesive used are also vibration and fatigue proven.
Load Cells – The Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® Weight Sensor
The exclusive Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® is an extremely rugged, highly reliable, load sensing device. Over several decades, the Weigh Bar® has built a reputation for precision, reliability and durability that no other load cell can match.
Weigh Bar – Reduced cost of ownership
Precision machined from aircraft quality, alloy steel, the Weigh Bar® offers excellent repeatability and long-term durability, reducing cost of ownership and need for load cell replacement.
Rugged Weight Sensors
With up to ten times more steel content than shear beams or compression cells, it absorbs impact to minimize peak forces and is virtually fatigue-proof. The Weigh Bar® is proven to resist electrical surges and is protected by a limited warranty that includes coverage against lightning damage.
Accurate Weigh Bar
The sensor’s design automatically cancels the effects of side loading, end loading and twisting, resulting in quick, accurate readings which are achieved regardless of temperature change, vibration, and shock loads on the scale.
Sealed “Load Cell”
The standard alloy steel Weigh Bar® is well protected against harsh environments by an exclusive 5-layer, sealing process. For the most challenging locations hermetically sealed stainless steel weigh bars are available.
Scales are an essential tool for your business. Over time, scales can be subjected to wear or exposure to damaging elements, leading to errors and losses in accuracy. These malfunctions can result in further issues down the line with your shipments and products and should be addressed as soon as possible. Scale calibration is the process of restoring your scale’s accuracy through recording, testing, and maintenance.
The calibration process starts with a standardized weight being placed on your scale. This is repeated several times in order to make an accurate record of your scale’s performance. The reading your scale gives will determine whether it matches the known weight, is within the calibration tolerance range, or so inaccurate that it immediately needs repairs. The calibration tolerance range is a measure of a scale’s ability to accurately measure weight within commercial guidelines. This differs slightly from the instrument range of the scale and is designed to give it optimal performance during regular use.
Why Does My Scale Need to be Calibrated?
Outside of wear or potential damage, there are other reasons why you may need your scale calibrated. If your scale has been in use for a long time, checkups are a healthy way of preserving its function for an even longer period. Scale measurements are also affected by travel and altitude, providing slight variations depending on where the scale was made or if it was used before reaching you. What is known as factory calibration is not as reliable as it seems! Having your scale calibrated by a trusted local professional is key to ensuring consistent performance. A licensed professional is the only way to have your scale pass state inspection and keep its registration, a requirement for commercial work in many states.
There are a few things to consider when deciding how often to get your scale calibrated. The manufacturer’s guide is the first place you should look. All scales come with a suggested calibration frequency that is worth taking note of. How often you use your scale is another factor. Consistent use of any scale will cause inaccuracies, so you may need to have it calibrated more often if it used day in and day out. If the scale is used in an environment that may cause damage it may require even more care. Areas that can cause malfunctioning include those that are dust-filled, electrically charged, or prone to oil spills. Lastly, if your work or business requires highly accurate measurements it may be worth investing in the optimal care of your equipment. Keeping your scale in top form can prevent costly mistakes and setbacks in the future.
Do You Need Your Scale Calibrated?If you would like to know more about scale calibration or looking to purchase a scale of your own, Central Carolina Scale has what you are looking for. We have an extensive lineup of both commercial and industrial scales at the best prices. We also offer rentals, repairs, and certified calibration performed by our expert team. Contact us at (919) 776-7737 to request a quote today.
A lot of customers are curious about this question… how long should a truck scale last? Or perhaps it’s phrased like this… how do I know when my truck scale needs to be replaced?
The vast majority of truck scales are located outside. This means the scales have the hot sun blazing down on them all summer (every year). Then, they have the piles of snow on them in the winter (every year). In between all the hot and cold extremes, they have all the rain that you typically see fairly often.
So, with all the weather conditions, that means a truck scale must be able to withstand all the environmental challenges while working reliably and accurately…. For years and years! And, be able to handle 80,000 lb vehicles everyday!
So, how long can I expect my truck scale to last?
That’s a really good question and it’s a question that has a variety of answers.
Depending on the environment and application, most truck scale owners can typically expect a truck scale to last anywhere from 15-30 years.
If your location consistently has over 250 trucks a day going over the scale (or you project it will eventually have that kind of truck traffic) then you will need to choose a truck scale built for that kind of traffic. Choosing an “economy” or standard duty truck scale in that situation may be cost effective now… but will most likely lead you to have a shorter truck scale life and force you into looking for scale replacements or weighbridge repairs sooner than you would prefer.
Sometimes spending an extra few thousand dollars up front will allow you to purchase a heavier duty “HD” scale that will last you significantly longer than the “SD” model. What’s an extra few thousand dollars when you average it out over twenty-five or thirty years of use? Especially if the extra cost helps you gain an extra five or ten years of scale use?
Can I Repair My Truck Scale Instead of Buying a New One?
This is a good question and a common question that a lot of people ask when they have an old truck scale. In most cases, the answer is yes. Depending on the age of the truck scale and severity of the issues, repairing a truck scale can certainly work and be a cost savings.
However, once a truck scale has been in service for over 20 years or so… repairs may not be the best choice. Often you will hear people refer to the scale repairs as “band-aids”. We understand what they’re referring to, but the truth is that truck scale repairs on a 20+ year old scale weighbridge are just that, repairs…
A “band-aid” is supposed to heal your wound and help you get back to 100%. A “band-aid” on a 30 year old truck scale is not going to “heal” the scale. It is simply designed to get a few more years out of the scale before the scale will need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, truck scales that have been repaired often don’t last as long as you would like. One of the reasons is simply the age of the steel and the components. Often the areas that were repaired may be ok after the repair, but then the other areas that were doing ok before the repair, are now starting to fail.
When you think of a truck scale overhaul, the Truck Scale components can usually be replaced… things like load cells, junction boxes, summing boards, etc…, but the core weighbridge construction and integrity are sometimes challenging to rebuild in a cost effective & timely manner…. especially in a scale that’s 25 or 30 years old… or older.
It’s also important to look at the actual repair costs. Sure it can be overwhelming when you see a $50,000 quote for a new truck scale. However, if you attempt to repair and put “band-aids” on a 25 year old truck scale, how much money is that going to cost? Between materials and labor, we’ve seen these repair costs rise above $3000. Plus there is down time where the scale can’t be used.
And even after the scale is repaired, there really is no guarantee or warranty that the scale is going to last X number of additional years. So, in this example, you could spend several thousand dollars on scale repairs that may get you a few more years of service…. or, that $3000 could be used to help pay for a new truck scale.
Planning for Buying a Replacement Truck Scale on Your Terms
Here is one other scenario that we would like you to think about. Let’s say you have a 25 year old truck scale. It has some weighbridge issues and probably should be replaced. But, you and the scale company talk and decide that some weighbridge repairs could likely be made that might give the scale a little more life. Keep in mind at the same time this talk is taking place, new truck scales are readily available with a short 1 to 2 week lead time for fast delivery.
Well, the truck scale repairs take place and it turns out that you did in fact get an extra year of use out of the scale. Unfortunately, the scale now has more weighbridge issues and repairs will likely not make much sense at this point. And, as often happens, the scale failure has just happened right in the middle of your busiest time of the year! And, now it looks like the lead time on truck scales is closer to 14 weeks and there is a 8% steel surcharge now in place.
This scenario that we just mentioned above is all to real and can very well take place. Sometimes if your scale has lasted for two or three decades, it can be a smart move on your part to setup the replacement purchase on your watch (before the scale actually “breaks”). Maybe you talk with your scale company and decide the next time there is an incentive offered, you’re ready to purchase. This can be a wise decision because we all know that no one wants to be in a situation with a broken scale that must be replaced and then be facing extended downtime and a 14 week lead time before your scale can ship.
There are a variety of options in the truck scale market today and, to the casual observer, initial acquisition price may be the only differentiator. However, manufacturers promising great bargains are able to do so only because they’ve cut corners at some stage of the process—design, materials, components, finish or all of the above. While the price may seem attractive now, the eventual failure of a lower quality truck scale could mean a higher total cost of ownership from extensive downtime, increased maintenance costs, lost revenue and premature replacement.
One other note to mention on the subject of money would be taxes and leasing. This article is not going to be in depth on either of those subjects but if you purchase a new truck scale there can be tax advantages (see IRS section 179). We also have leasing programs which can make it easier to afford a larger purchase like a truck scale.
One other thing we wanted to mention on this subject is the overall trend for truck scale pricing. Generally speaking, the price for new truck scales is not going to get any less expensive in 2021 and beyond. In fact, at the time of this article in early 2021, we have received word from at least (3) truck scale manufacturers that there will likely be surcharges very shortly due to steel prices. (So if you’re in the market for a new scale, it might be time to act now!)
Believe it or not, the goal of this article is not to be completely gloom & doom about repairing a truck scale weighbridge. There are certainly situations where a truck scale overhaul makes sense. Most of the time, it makes more sense to upgrade components and less sense to try and do major weighbridge structural repair.
However, if you’re in the market for refurbishing a truck scale or purchasing a new truck scale… we encourage you to look at the entire picture and get a true understanding of the costs involved and the expected lifespan with each scenario. The fact is that many truck scale manufacturers are getting really good at building their truck scales to fit existing foundations. This can help to lower costs and lessen the down time when you’ll be without a scale.
Truck scales are important to the daily operations of the facilities that use them. That means that selecting a truck scale is an important decision. Whatever scale you choose (or have chosen), will likely be your scale of choice for possibly two or three decades! Often, a little extra thought or cost up front, can pay off down the road with a durable truck scale that can provide decades of service with proper scale maintenance.
If you have questions or would like to obtain a truck scale quote, please complete our RFQ form on our website or you can call our heavy capacity scales team at (919) 776-7737.
Cardinal Scale Manufacturing tank mount scales come in a wide range of varieties and uses. Cardinal Scale’s load cell kits are used in a variety of industries ranging from agricultural needs to suspension hoppers in industrial to hydraulic kits that are utilized for tank and hopper weighing. All of Cardinal Scale’s load cell kits are constructed with durable, heavy-duty steel and come in groups of 3 or 4 or 6 or more load cells and stands.
The load cell kits come in electronic, digital, and hydraulic load cell varieties to fit any industrial weighing application. The overall weight capacities per load cell kit can vary greatly, ranging from just a few thousand pounds to 800,000 pounds! Cardinal Scale’s new DC Series Digital load cell kits even feature new technology that has erased much of cumbersome wiring and the junction box for easier transmission of load cell data. Cardinal Scale features load cell kits can be used in suspension, compression, and shear load cell applications for vessel weighing.
Cardinal Scale Manufacturing DB-SP CenterPoint load cell heavy-capacity mounting kits utilize the time-tested and reliably-proven model DB double-ended stainless steel load cells for mixing tanks that feature a center load design. The stands are available in either stainless steel or mild steel powder-painted industrial tan and they bolt directly to the floor and tank. The DB-SP’s environmentally-sealed load cells are NTEP, OIML, and VCAP certified for quality and accuracy. They provide superior performance in a wide range of process control and vessel weighing applications weighing tanks, bins, hoppers, silos, and mixers.
Standard system capacities range from 60,000 lb (27,000 kg) up to 300,000 lb (136,000 kg). The bolt-in-place mounting assembly with articulating top plate makes them ideal for indoor or outdoor weighing applications. Available in three or four-legged mounting assemblies, the DB-SP CenterPoint load cell kits are perfect for mixing, blending, batching, inventory control, and general weighing. Combine them with one of Cardinal’s state-of-the-art 200 series weight indicators for a complete digital weighing system.
The DB-SP stands are engineered for superior serviceability and easy load cell replacement by simply applying a jack under the stand, removing the cotter pins, and swapping out the load cell. The easy load cell removal minimizes maintenance costs. The kits are ideal for new installations or conversions. Each kit, available from Central Carolina Scale, includes the mounting stands, stainless steel load cells, cables, and NEMA 4 junction box. Cardinal Scale’s load cell production facility is VCAP and ISO certified for quality and precision standards offering dependable accuracy for each and every load cell manufactured.
Cardinal’s CenterPoint Tank/Hopper Scales utilize double-ended shear beam stainless steel load cells with center load design. The bolt-in-place mounting assembly with articulating top plate makes them ideal for indoor or outdoor weighing applications.
Available in three or four legged mounting assemblies with mild or stainless steel stands and self-checking sliding pin design, the CenterPoint tank mount scales are perfect for mixing, blending, batching, inventory control, and general weighing. Combine them with one of Cardinal’s state-of-the-art weight indicators for a complete digital weighing system. Capacities range from 7,500 to 200,000 lbs.
Cardinal Scale’s THBC electronic load cell kits are ideal for weighing tanks, hoppers, mixers, and conveyors. These self-checking load cell kits are available with mild steel or stainless steel stands, system capacities ranging from 7,500 lb (3,400 kg) up to 200,000 lb (90,700 kg), and stainless steel waterproof load cells.
The THBC kits are ideal for medium-to-heavy capacity tank and hopper weighing, new or existing installations, and accommodate multi-legged tanks with up to 10 legs. They offer an easy-to-install, low-profile, bolt-down design. Each kit comes complete with 3 or 4 stainless steel load cells, self-checking load cell stands, load cell cable, and a stainless steel junction box. Special self-centering load buttons protect against offset side loads.
The rugged, environmentally-sealed SB series shear beam load cells, also manufactured by Cardinal Scale, are NTEP, OIML, and VCAP certified.
Cardinal Scale Manufacturing digital weight indicators are one of the most vital pieces of equipment available in the company’s extensive product line. These valuable implements can couple with virtually any scale or weighing equipment to provide easy, digital viewing in almost any setting, indoors or outdoors. Each indicator is developed with the highest durability, data integration, and resolution in mind.
Cardinal Scale’s weight indicators service a wide range of industries, from food service and medical to industrial and agricultural weighing applications. Cardinal Scale’s indicators range from waterproof, color-changing displays to full-fledged programmable indicators that can be remotely controlled. Cardinal Scale’s indicators feature stainless steel enclosures, polycarbonate enclosures, or ABS enclosures to protect vital circuitry from the elements and in washdown applications.
These indicators can be gimbal-mounted, panel-mounted, DIN-rail mounted, or placed within unattended weight kiosks. From commercial foodservice product and patient weighing to truck or rail scale weighing, Cardinal Scale has a digital weight indicator for your weighing job.
There’s no need to wait on a slow boat from overseas causing months of delays when you can get tank mount scales shipped from Cardinal Scale’s factory in Webb City, MO. Please give us a call (919) 776-7737 or complete our Request a Quote form today, so we can help with your tank mount scale needs.
Today, most large vehicle scales are installed with above ground or concrete pit foundations. Depending on state or regional requirements, scales can also be installed in a shallow pit, as opposed to the deep pit required by older mechanical scales.
A pit installation requires less space than an above ground scale since longer approaches are generally required for aboveground configurations. However, pit-styles require sump pumps and drains, and are generally more vulnerable to corrosion due to potential standing water.
PROPER SITE PLANNING FOR TRUCK SCALE FOUNDATION
Before we talk about truck scale foundations, it’s important to think about the overall site to make sure we find the perfect location to actually locate the foundation.
To ensure the longest lifespan and best performance for your truck scale, proper site planning is essential. Your truck scale supplier will help you select the best site, considering the traffic flow of your operation, the best location for a foundation, electrical and conduit requirements, soil conditions and drainage, ease of maintenance and accessory locations.
Before purchasing your new truck scale, it may be helpful to draw out a flow map of your current operations and determine if there are any areas for improvement. It is also important to consider future site use when planning. If you expand your site in the future, will the traffic flow and truck scale location still allow for easy operation?
Creating an efficient traffic flow is important to keep operations running smoothly. Be sure there is adequate room around the scale to perform maintenance and to accommodate driver safety. Is there often a waiting line to use your truck scale? Consider the amount of space needed to accommodate a line of trucks, if needed.
Plot out traffic patterns on your flow map, marking where trucks enter the site, load and/or unload material, and exit the site. Make sure there is plenty of room for drivers to maneuver. Take a test drive with a full-size truck around your plotted traffic flow to test for any tight spots or potential safety issues. Note any special filling or dumping that must take place on site to accommodate for the space needed.
Choosing a Truck Scale Foundation Type
Even the toughest scales are put at risk with a poor foundation… Many factors, such as the slope of the site and soil conditions, must be considered prior to construction. The ground must also be free of any settling prior to scale installation. If the foundation is not properly constructed according to the certified drawing provided by your truck scale manufacturer, your truck scale foundation could shift, causing the scale to be outside acceptable calibration tolerance.
Concrete curing periods can vary depending on the type of concrete being used. Work with your scale supplier to integrate the foundation and approach design into your installation and site plan. Your scale supplier should also be able to recommend local contractors with truck scale foundation experience. Of course all of these decisions will be factors in the overall truck scale installation costs.
Above Ground Foundation or Pit Foundation
Until the early 1970s, all truck scales were mechanical and installed in expensive concrete pits. Today, most scales are installed above ground or in concrete pits with floor foundations. With the benefit of new modular construction, scales can also be installed in a shallow pit, as opposed to the deep pit required by older mechanical scales.
One of the biggest reasons for choosing a pit-type installation is space—or lack of it. A pit installation requires less space than an aboveground installation since longer approaches are generally required for aboveground foundations. However, pit-type scales require sump pumps and drains, and are more vulnerable to accelerated rust and corrosion due to the potential of standing water in the pit.
Truck Scale Foundation Designs
Deep Pier Foundation Typical for colder climates such as those found in northern areas of North America, the deep pier foundation places part of the foundation below the frost line to eliminate the negative effects that freeze-thaw conditions can have on foundations. Discuss with your scale supplier if a deep pier foundation meets your application requirements, or if a deep pier or other specific foundation design is required by your state and region. Similar to isolated pier foundations, the deep pier foundation also requires 2,500-3,000 PSF soil bearing pressure.
Shallow Pier Foundation Shallow pier foundations are a cost-effective solution for truck scale sites with adequate soil compaction and a warmer climate that will not encounter frost line issues. Discuss with your scale supplier if a shallow pier foundation is best suited for your application and meets state and regional requirements.
Floating Slab Foundation A full slab foundation is a continuous or monolithic pour of concrete that runs the entire length of the weighbridge. This is the second most cost-effective type of foundation and is designed for ground that has a soil bearing pressure of at least 1,500 PSF. Discuss with your scale supplier if a floating slab foundation is ideal for your application and location, as well as meets state and regional requirements.
Pit Foundation The pit foundation is available in numerous depths, from two to six feet. Your pit depth should best fit your needs as well as adhere to all federal, state and local requirements.
Drainage Away From Truck Scale
One other thing to think about with truck scale foundations is water drainage and avoiding buildup that can collect under the truck scale or excessive water standing in the pit. Efficient water drainage around the foundation is key to preserve scale components. The installation site should have adequate runoff, allowing water to easily drain away from the scale. Areas with heavy rain and melting snow should take extra consideration when planning site drainage.
We sincerely hope that the information contained in this article assists you in your truck scale buying journey. If you need a truck scale quote or purchasing advice, please contact our truck scale sales department by calling (919) 776-7737 or you can complete the Request a Quote form on our website at your convenience.
One of the things that we try really hard to do is provide our customers with as much value as possible. How do we do that? We do this in many ways through things like factory training, sales training, and product research. One other thing we do quite often is constantly strive to find quality products that are affordable for customers.
However, one of the really challenging things we have to deal with is striking the balance between quality and accurate products. Or, unfortunately, in some instances, good products versus junk.
Unfortunately, the line between a good product and a not-so-good product is getting finer and finer…
I was reminded of this challenge over the past couple of weeks. Recently, I had a line of imported scales from China presented to me that seemed to have a lot of promise. The price was attractive and the visual look of the scales was appealing. However, once I evaluated these items, it quickly became apparent, that although these scales would please everybody’s demand for a low price… they would not meet our standards for accuracy or the demands of our customers.
If you’re an end user, then you face a similar challenge. Perhaps you’re in the market for a counting scale. With minimal internet research, you can find prices on parts counting scales from $100 and up! Of course, the hundred dollar scale is 99% plastic and 1% aluminum and certainly not what we would recommend for anyone looking for a durable and relatively long lasting scale.
The same thing can be said for many types of scales…
Farmers or Market Sellers searching for price computing scales are often easily fooled by the $60 produce scales they may see on popular auction sites only to find out later, (when their state inspector shuts them down), that what they really needed is what’s called a NTEP Legal for Trade certified price computing scale, which is more expensive.
Perhaps it’s a floor scale that you need to weigh pallets each day. Although many floor scales look similar in pictures online, these “pallet scales” feature various components, such as digital indicators & strain gauge load cells, which can vary greatly in quality. The product construction and durability can also vary quite a bit depending on who actually manufacturers the scale platform and how much engineering truly went into constructing it.
So how do you find a weighing scale that meets your budget and is built to last?
These days it’s easier than ever to just buy everything you need without the help of anyone. Just point and click. But many times when you do that, you could be missing out. How does the old saying go? You don’t know what you don’t know…
I recommend contacting your local scale company or a scale company that you have done business with and trust. (Hopefully, we’re included in that choice!) It really does make the process of buying scales much easier when you have a good working relationship with your scale company.
As you work with your scale company representative, they will become a trusted partner in your business. Your scale sales person knows what you’re weighing and the weighing needs of your business. All you need to do is mention what you’re looking to do and what type of weighing device you think that you’ll need.
Pricing and Quotes
Over the years I have seen some really nice scales and I have seen some really bad scales too! I suggest working together with your trusted scale supplier to find products that will meet your requirements while staying within your budget.
The product and sourcing experience that your scale dealer has is invaluable. Don’t forget, in addition to working with you, we also work with hundreds of other customers helping them to find the perfect weighing equipment for their needs. So that product experience and knowledge that we gain can then be applied to your scale search as well.
I also recommend working with a scale company who’s willing to offer various brands of scales as opposed to a dealer who just pushes one brand of scales for everything…
It’s very common for us to recommend different brands for various types of scales. For example, we might suggest CAS retail scales, B-Tek floor scales, Avery Weigh-Tronix counting scales and Cardinal truck scales.
In other words, we base our product recommendations largely off past success and not because we’re trying reach some kind of sales quota.
We realize that customers want to find a great deal on whatever it is that they need to purchase. It can be anything from scales to copy paper… everyone wants to find a cheaper alternative that is just as good as what you’ve been using.
Unfortunately, as many of us have found out, often a product is cheaper for certain reasons. Let us help you make intelligent scale purchases for your business. We can help you save money while still buying quality scales and weighing equipment. We’re just a phone call away (919) 776-7737. If you prefer, you can also email us or complete our Request a Quote form and someone from our staff will get back to you in a timely manner.
There are many reasons to use digital scales when brewing beer.
It can be for a microbrewery or an international brand. Consistency is first and foremost.
If you created a beer with a special taste, you want to make sure you can recreate that taste in every bottle. If ingredients are not measured properly, the taste can be unpleasant, and the alcohol content (typically referred to as alcohol by volume or ABV) can change.
Specific quantities can allow even new employees who are not familiar with a recipe to recreate the product with ease. A formula can also be tweaked more easily. Weight quantities also make recording easier. Recipes should always be written down with the exact amounts used during brewing. That helps ensure good batches get reproduced, and it can also allow brewers to find out why a recipe did not work.
Measuring ingredients can also help minimize waste by ensuring the right amount of ingredients are used in correct proportions. For home and microbreweries, it can be particularly tricky to scale the right amount of yeast for a first batch, so precision is very important. Even small batches can be ruined by imprecise recipes, which spills all the ingredients, time, money and effort down the drain.
Scales can also help during the carbonation process, depending on your method of choice. Carbonation can be added to beer in two ways: natural carbonation or forced carbonation. Natural carbonation results during the fermentation process of beer; when yeast digests sugar, alcohol and CO2 are the byproducts. This means brewers must carefully measure the sugar and yeast in order to create the proper amount of carbonation.
Forced carbonation is putting beer (post fermentation) in a container and pumping it with CO2 directly. Nowadays, this is the preferred method, particularly for large quantities.
It takes less time to carbonate a batch and forced carbonation allows beer to sit longer, but naturally carbonated beer is smoother and is considered more flavorful. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and equipment availability.
Scales are also used during bottling and to fill cans or kegs. Before fermentation, wort (unfermented beer) is made by boiling the ingredients together. Because some of the water can boil away, it’s important to add more water as need during the fermentation process. Monitoring a keg’s weight can help brewers ensure there is always enough water, and that the beer is not losing carbonation.
The weight of bottles (and their thickness) can also help ensure that carbonation, when combined with temperature and agitation, does not create too much pressure, which could break the glass bottles.
Why measure by weight and not by volume?
Using volume might seem more intuitive since beer is liquid. However, measuring by volume is not as accurate as measuring by mass. The shape of ingredients can dictate how much fits in a cup, while density and temperature can affect a liquid’s volume. Beer goes through numerous processes that can affect volume, including boiling, fermentation, and carbonation. Mass does not have to take these factors into account. That additional precision can improve the beer’s taste and help brewers tweak their recipe to perfection.
Even small balances can also measure a wider range. Take your usual measuring cups and spoons, where you often need multiple items to measure various ingredients. With a scale, you can simply put the ingredients in a container (tared, of course) and fill it until you have the right weight.
What kind of scale do you need for brewing?
You must establish your level of production, and the weight range you will need. If a brewery focuses on seasonal flavors or taste experiments, they will weigh smaller quantities than a brewery focusing on a single product.
Depending on the size of your operation, you’re most likely going to need more than one scale. Usually, micro or home breweries use a compact or precision balance to measure ingredients such as hops, spices, yeast and other fine items, and a bench or floor scale for batches, kegs, mass production and bottling.
The Pennsylvania Scale Company Wi-Fi option brings power and versatility wireless networking connections to the rugged and reliable count weigh bench scales and indicators. Wi-Fi 802.11b/g Transceiver Module at 2.4GHz provides a seamless integration into your existing wireless network, with no special requirements!
A Wi-Fi enabled counting or weighing scale system allows you to collect and analyze data from a workstation, production line, shipping/receiving station or stock room, providing valuable information to help management increase accuracy, productivity and reduce costs.
WiFi Features and Benefits for Scales
The Pennsylvania Scale Wi-Fi option keeps your data safe and secure with configurable network security protocols (WPA1, WPA Mixed & WPA 2) supported by the wireless ethernet standard.
Initial setup and troubleshooting are easy using the innovative and built in Webserver/soft AP mode. Simply enable the soft AP mode on the option, connect to the “WiFly” SSID and open the configuration web page to setup on the wireless networking protocols or for troubleshooting. Now Available as a factory installed option on any Pennsylvania Scale Indicator or Bench Scale.
For this months article, I wanted to take a few minutes and answer a few questions I found online while searching for a “durable pallet scale” on a popular ecommerce website.
For the record, at Central Carolina Scale, we recommend that you contact us (RFQ form, phone, or email) to discuss what scale features you need and what a realistic price you’re looking for and what we can offer.
However, in today’s ultra fast paced world, many customers would rather just buy the cheapest “durable pallet scale” that they can find by clicking a couple of buttons and adding to a shopping cart.
Below are a few answers to some of the questions that potential buyers asked.
Q: Will it work outdoors? A: The standard 4×4 pallet scale will not work in this environment. This assumes that you are using a low cost plastic weight indicator which is often what is used at this price level. Some folks mention placing indicators in bags or taking the indicator inside every night, which is not really the long term way to do this. If you’re looking for an outdoor solution, you really need a scale with good quality load cells, protective junction box, and a stainless steel IP66 or better weight indicator. Contact us (RFQ form or by phone) for more details.
Q: What kind of long term results can anyone provide me about this scale? A: Generally, our typical industrial pallet scales are built well and provide years of great service. A lot depends on how the scales are used and if they are abused. Where is starts getting dicey is when you start using cheaper quality products such as certain cheap plastic weight indicators and certain load cells that have no manufacturer label on them.
Q: Can I get the scale with a longer cord? A: This is an example where a little communication can go a long way. If you contact us before purchasing a pallet scale, we can typically customize certain things if needed. For example, if you need a longer cord between the scale platform and the digital weight indicator, we can typically do that ahead of time. If you wait and ask for that after the fact, now you run the risk of having to do another calibration since you’re changing cable lengths.
Q: Is the scale weatherproof? Can the platform be left outside? A: If you will contact us ahead of time, we can put together a quote for a pallet scale that you could leave outside if needed. We can also use a stainless steel IP68 weight indicator but we recommend trying to protect the digital weight readout in a covered area if you can.
I could go on and on with this but ultimately I hope you get the overall theme I’m trying to shed light on. The truth is, these days if you search hard enough, you can almost find any item online for just about any price you realistically want. Quality is often shaky however… But it often doesn’t matter to many of those sellers because as long as the scale performs well for a few weeks, they get a good star rating and all is well.
If you think about it, if a seller is offering a “durable 4×4 pallet scale” for some price below $500 with “Free Shipping” there’s some cheap products being peddled in order to accomplish this. Let’s unpack the costs on this deal for a minute.
Freight is usually at least $125 to $200 depending on where you’re shipping from/to. Let’s average it and say $162 for freight.
Weight indicator is at least $150.
Scale Platform is $188 in order to make this math add up.
Here’s where I get a little suspicious. This platform has (4) load cells inside. The standard load cell is at least $125 each. Well that’s $500 right there…. The scale is also going to include a junction box with a summing board inside. That’s another minimum of $80. How is this “durable pallet scale” able to be sold for ~ $188 as part of the package with indicator?
And, this doesn’t take into account anything about “seller fees” or “credit card fees” which surely exist as well.
And of course, many of these offers provide a factory warranty and tech support.
Bottom line, if you purchase a scale like this, it might work for a few days, a few weeks or a few months… who knows? But the quality of the items is suspicious in order to meet that price. And often when quality is reduced in order to meet a certain price, then the durability often suffers.
We want you to purchase a 4×4 pallet scale from us. We sell quality products. We can’t match the pricing that you see above, and frankly, we don’t really want to match those prices because in order to match it, we know that we’d be cutting corners like crazy!
At CCS, we believe in providing customers with a quality item. We can certainly provide you with alternative choices in an attempt to meet a budget price. However, in a world where the line between value and junk is getting blurry… we try really hard to not sell “junk”.
#1 IMMUNITY TO LIGHTNING DAMAGE Unlike other load cell technologies including both digital and analog strain gauge load cells, hydraulic load cells are immune to damage resulting from lightning strikes or other electrical surges. Hydraulic load cells have neither strain gauges nor wiring like other load cell technologies thus making them unaffected by lightning strikes; one of the most common reasons for load cell failure.
#2 IMMUNITY TO WATER DAMAGE Hydraulic load cells are constructed using stainless steel components welded together then pressure tested to ensure there are no leaks. Keeping the hydraulic fluid inside the load cell also keeps water out. Hydraulic load cells will operate when continuously submerged in water for an extended period.
#3 OPERATES OVER A WIDE RANGE OF TEMPERATURES Hydraulic load cells are capable of operating over a wide range of temperatures. Using proprietary grades of aircraft hydraulic fluid, hydraulic load cells can and do operate at temperatures of –60 degrees C (-76 degrees F). A number of hydraulic vehicle scales are located across Canada.
#4 HYDRAULIC LOAD CELLS NOT SINGLE SOURCE COMPONENTS Unlike digital load cells, hydraulic load cells are currently available from at least two sources. Because there is no standard protocol for digital load cell outputs, you cannot replace a digital load cell with another digital load cell from a different manufacturer. Each manufacturer of digital load cells have their own proprietary output for the cell that works only with their weight indicators and other digital load cells.
#5 CAN OFFER SAME ADVANTAGES OF A DIGITAL LOAD CELL One advantage of a digital load cell is its ability to display weight data from each load cell in a multiple load cell scale (like a vehicle scale). Digital load cell systems can also alert the scale operator or service technician of a potential problem before the scale weights are affected. Hydraulic load cell systems are available with load cell system controllers that perform the same functions as found in digital load cell systems. These controllers digitize each hydraulic load cell output independently allowing the operator or technician to view the outputs of each load cell. Further, software is included to alert the operator when an excessive shift in the no-load output of one or more cells is detected prior to affecting the accuracy of the scale. Automatic calibration can be another feature of hydraulic load cell systems provided with a load cell controller.
#6 MEETS THE SAME LEGAL & METROLOGY PERFORMANCE STANDARDS The hydraulic load cells available in today’s scales have been thoroughly evaluated and have been found to be in compliance with NIST Handbook 44 requirements for Class IIIL multiple load cells with 10,000 divisions, just like their digital counterparts.
#7 HYDRAULIC LOAD CELLS HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF USE Hydraulic load cells have a long history of being used in scales; much longer than either the strain gauge load cell or digital load cell. They have not been as popular as the less expensive strain gauge versions of the load cell but, when the costs of ownership including cell damage, the hydraulic load cell is clearly less expensive to own.
#8 HYDRAULIC LOAD CELLS COME WITH A LIFETIME WARRANTY Most manufacturers of hydraulic load cells offer a lifetime warranty on their load cells against damage from voltage surges (lightning) and water damage; the two most common reasons for failure of strain gauge and digital load cells.
#9 SAFE FOR OPERATION IN THE MOST HAZARDOUS AREAS Because hydraulic load cells contain no electrical circuitry, there is no source of ignition when used in an explosive atmosphere. Hydraulic load cells are regularly used in hazardous areas where explosive materials are present. Fuel or other flammable materials leaking from a vehicle and collecting in the scale pit cannot be ignited by hydraulic load cells making them a safer alternative than strain gauge or digital load cell.
#10 HYDRAULIC CELLS OFFER LOWEST POSSIBLE MAINTENANCE COST A lifetime warranty on impervious, non-conductive environmentally-sealed stainless steel hydraulic load cell that are waterproof, shockproof, explosion-proof, and resistant to both caustic and corrosive environments means we are extremely confident in Cardinal hydraulic load cells.