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.