The title of this blog post sounds simple enough, right? Many customers are interested in purchasing lots of different items that are made in America versus buying items made in China and other countries. But, I would like to ask you a question…
What exactly do you consider “Made in America”?
The reason I bring this up is that it’s really difficult to find certain types of scales that meet a certain definition.
According to the FTC, for most products there is no law requiring manufacturers and marketers to make a “Made in USA” claim. But if a business chooses to make the claim, the FTC’s Made in USA standard applies. Made in USA means that “all or virtually all” the product has been made in America. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any – or should contain only negligible – foreign content. The FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement and its business guide, Complying with the Made in USA Standard, spell out the details, with examples of situations when domestic origin claims would be accurate and when they would be inappropriate.
For simplicity, let’s look at an industrial floor scale as an example.
Ok so you’re looking to buy an American Made floor scale. Did you know that almost every floor scale that is built in the USA utilizes (4) load cells that were made in China? With that being the case, let’s say your floor scale was built in Rice Lake, Wisconsin but uses load cells from China. Do you still consider this scale an American Made item?
Did you also know that many of the junction boxes and summing boards are made overseas? Finally, did you know that the home run cable, the fifteen foot long cable that connects the scale to your digital weight indicator is probably constructed overseas? And, what about the steel used in the floor scale? Was it purchased domestically?
Sticking with the floor scale example, next area to consider is the digital weight indicator. Is it one hundred percent made in the USA? Were all the boards and components made in America? How about the display board? The plastic or stainless steel enclosure? Was the AC adapter made in the USA?
These are some interesting things to consider. I know of many people who can justify buying a scale that was constructed and calibrated in the USA but does utilize some Chinese components. However, there are some who absolutely want their products to be 100 % made in America. Are there any scales that can one hundred percent meet that?
From our standpoint as a distributor it can be quite tricky since we are not involved in the actual manufacturing process. We have had numerous scale manufacturers tell us over the years that they build Made in the USA weighing equipment and then over time they slowly start substituting Chinese parts or in some cases, send all the manufacturing over to China. Unless the scale manufacturer tells us, sometimes we are not even aware that anything has changed in the manufacturing process.
So if buying a Made in the USA scale is important to you, contact us and we can help you. Just be sure to specify to us up front how flexible you wish to be when it comes to things like Chinese components such as load cells being a part of the final product.
In our experiences, many customers may originally start a transaction as a “Made in the USA” fanatic but once they discover certain prices and lead times for domestic components, they become a fanatic of “Made in U.S. from Imported Parts” or “Assembled in U.S.A.”.