Crane Scales Buying Advice & Recommendations

Crane scales, which are sometimes referred to as hanging scales or by the general term of overhead weighing, are basically scales that are designed to weigh items that are lifted by the hook on the bottom of the scale. Today we want to look at the basics of crane scales and look at some of the important features to consider before purchasing a new crane scale. Basically, we would like to provide you with some crane scales buying advice & recommendations out of the kindness of our heart. And, maybe to get a sale or two out of it as well. : ) 

Crane Scales 101

In most situations a crane scale will be safely mounted to some type of hook or device that is suspended. It could be lifting equipment or steel beams, hoists, etc… This will allow the weighing of heavy objects while they are suspended in the air. Sometimes it can actually be easier to weigh an odd size object using a crane scale than it would be to weigh on a traditional floor scale for example. This can be especially true if trying to weigh an object that is very large or heavy and just doesn’t match up well with traditional floor scales like you would use to weigh a pallet

ntep crane scale

Crane scales that we offer typically use a strain gauge load cell, which converts mechanical force into electrical signals. The scale then displays the weight on the digital weight display, usually in either a RED led reading or a backlit gray LCD readout. Power is typically provided by standard 120 VAC and often includes a rechargeable battery for weighing in various situations. Some crane scales may also include things like a remote weight readout, wireless connectivity, and NTEP legal for trade status. 

How Crane Scales are used in the Real World

We have sold hundreds of crane scales over the years. The top brands of crane scales typically include Intercomp, CAS, MSI, and a few others. The crane scales we sell are used across numerous industries that are looking for heavy-capacity weighing. Some examples might include: Foundry, Mining, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Logistics, Construction and Engineering, & Commercial Fishing. 

Top 5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Crane Scale

So, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably in the market for a crane scale? That’s great. At CCS we have been selling crane scales long before many of the current online scale sellers ever came into existence. Based on our years of experience, there are five important things to consider when looking to purchase a digital crane scale.

Crane Scale Weight Capacity and Readability

First thing to mention is the max capacity and readability of the scale. Anytime you’re looking to purchase a weight scale it’s a good idea to know the approximate maximum amount of weight you are going to be looking to weigh. Likewise, how low do you want the scale to display weight readings? 

The higher your max capacity is, the larger your weighing increments or graduations are going to be. For example, if you have a 1000 pound capacity scale, the readability increments would typically be 0.5 lb… aka a half pound. 

However, if you have a 10,000 pound capacity crane scale, the readability increments becomes 5 lb. And when you’re dealing with overhead weighing applications, it’s usually a good idea to choose a scale with a capacity a little higher than you originally anticipated for safety sake and to make sure you don’t overload the scale.


Crane Scale Enclosures

Depending on the environment that you intend on using the crane scale, you want to make sure you choose a scale with the proper construction. If you’re using the scale in a washdown type environment, you will want a crane scale with an IP rating of IP65 or greater in most cases. IP ratings refer to dust and water ingress. Another subject to lookup: What are heat resistant crane scales?

For hazardous environments, you will want to look at our intrinsically safe crane scale from MSI. In fact, we have an entire line of intrinsically safe scales from A&D, Doran, and Rice Lake. These hazardous area scales are typically FM approved and designed for particular locations by division and group. You often see this in manufacturing and industrial applications such as chemical manufacturing.

crane scale with lcd display

Crane Scale with LCD display

Crane Scale Display Readouts

Number three on our list of crane scale buying factors is the digital display. This is one subject that a lot of customers don’t think about until it’s too late. Typically a crane scale that’s indoors will work just fine with a RED led display. However, if the crane scale is taken outside, the LED display tends to get washed out in sunlight. So, for outdoor settings a LCD display might be preferred.

You also might need to think about a remote control or remote display. Sometimes if a crane scale is mounted really high in the air, it can very hard to read the scale display on the front of the crane scale. A wireless remote display can assist you with this situation. To enhance visibility and display weight measurements in other locations, consider the option for wireless remote displays. In some applications remote displays can also double as a scale controller too, allowing wireless operation of the crane scale as well.

crane scale with red led display

Red LED scale display

Crane Scale Battery and Power Choices

The power source of your crane scale is important to consider as well. Many crane scales offer a rechargeable battery. In our opinion, many times it’s also a good idea to have a second rechargeable battery and an external battery charger. 

Crane Scale Safety

Number five is cost. There is no question that many customers focus on price when it comes to buying electronic weighing scales online. And, in a lot of situations that’s fine to put some emphasis on price. 

However, when you are dealing with overhead weighing applications, do you really want to rely on that imported electronic crane scale that you bought on some website? Imagine you wondering what exactly was involved in the QC process, as you watch this no-name crane scale lifting thousands of pounds up in the air. 

Yes, we’re talking about that very same crane scale that doesn’t even have a brand name listed on it anywhere! Do yourself a favor, when it comes to crane scales and overhead weighing applications, we recommend that you stick with the reputable brand name choices like MSI and Intercomp

Final Thoughts on Overhead Weighing Equipment Sourcing

There are many different models of crane scales on the market today. We’ve seen many of them and we have our favorites. And our favorites are the ones that we’ve sold over the years that are designed to last and provide customers with accurate weights for many years of service.

s-beam load cell crane scale

We have sold everything from CAS Corporation Caston II crane scales to S-Beam load cells connected to a digital weight indicator. Basically, we have a proven selection of industrial crane scales that we recommend for customers.

Some of you are probably asking, how do YOU know which scales to recommend? Truthfully, we recommend crane scales based on what you tell us, our experience with the crane scales we sell, and our experience with the crane scale manufacturers that we deal with on a daily basis.

First thing we suggest is to contact our sales department. You can do that by email, phone or completing the RFQ form on our website. Tell us what you’re looking to weigh and a rough idea of what you think you will need for your overhead weighing application.

We can then work with you together selecting the right crane scale for your particular application. We recommend high quality and reliable crane scales from names you can trust like MSI, CAS, and Intercomp. We are a top scale distributor and service provider of heavy-capacity crane scales for all the scale brands mentioned above like CAS, MSI and Intercomp.

Hopefully we have provided you with some crane scales buying advice & recommendations. Do you need help choosing the right crane scale system? We’re just a phone call or email away. (919) 776-7737  Contact us today.

What Does 5000 x 1 Mean? Scale Capacity x Readability

We’re going to discuss something that many folks wonder about the first couple of times they are tasked with buying scales.

What Does it Mean when you see 5000 x 1 on a Scale?

If you’ve done any research at all online for scales, you’ve probably seen something written like 5000 x 1, or perhaps you’ve requested a quote and seen that number written. Either way, you may be wondering what these mean. 5000 x 1 lb, or it could be 60 x 0.02lb or it may have been 3000 g by 0.01g. 120,000 x 20 lb, 500 x 0.1 lb etc….

600 x 0.1 LB



But what exactly does that mean? It’s actually pretty simple.

In the case of 5000 x 1 lb, this means that the total weighing capacity of the scale is 5000 pounds and the scale increases or decreases in weight by 1 lb increments from zero all the way to 5000 lb.

Some people refer to the 1 lb in this example as the readability or the graduation size. In the 60 x 0.02 lb example, it would be as follows, 60 lb is the capacity and 0.02 lb is the graduation size that the scale increases or decreases by from zero all the way to 60 lb. Continue reading

Heat Resistant Crane Scales

Why do I need a heat resistant crane scale? 

Operations regularly exposed to extreme temperatures need equipment designed to withstand those extremes, including overhead weighing systems. Crane scales used in foundries or rubber processing facilities must be heat resistant to ensure proper operation and capture accurate weights.

heat resistant crane scale

What is a heat resistant crane scale?

Heat-resistant crane scales are constructed with heavy-duty enclosures to protect sensitive electronics. When preparing to purchase a heat-resistant crane scale, it’s important to consider the most extreme temperatures of your operation to ensure you select a scale designed to withstand those temperatures. Continue reading

Weighing Solutions for New SOLAS Requirements

Starting July 1, 2016 the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Treaty will require all ISO containers to have a verifiable gross mass entered into the ship’s manifest prior to loading. This international treaty amendment comes in the wake of several at-sea disasters resulting from overweight and improperly balanced containers; impacting the loading of all containers at all ports world-wide, container shippers are ultimately responsible for verifying and providing the gross mass number.

We have a wide variety of scale equipment from Rice Lake Weighing Systems to help you with compliance, offering several turnkey solutions that are straightforward and worry-free. The industry preferred and recommended method for verifying ISO containers mass is to weigh the entire container, once sealed, to provide a total verified mass, with the added benefit of relevant center of gravity and container balance data. Rice Lake offers several products that make this possible, including:

  • Twist lock sensors for crane spreaders and mobile equipment attachments
  • Load pin and load sensor solutions integrated into overhead cranes
  • Below-the-hook crane scale and tension link solutions
  • Forklift scales
  • Truck scales and rail scales
  • And much more

These products can integrate into existing port handling equipment and management systems, providing minimum interruption to operations and seamless merging of data.

Starting July 1, 2016, unverified containers cannot be legally loaded. Failure to comply will result in fines and penalties throughout the logistics chain as well as costly delays and interruptions. Don’t let this happen to you – contact us today to discuss options to ensure compliance with this new treaty amendment.

Why Buy MSI Crane Scales?

Measurement Systems International (MSI) is Rice Lake Weighing Systems premier brand of durable, safe and U.S.A. made high quality overhead weighing products. By manufacturing the best integrated system solutions for overhead weighing applications using the finest resources, MSI’s design engineered flexibility allows for a wide range of solutions for virtually any environment.

MSI products are made tough—delivering in-process weighing technology with products available for use in high-temperature, high-torque conditions.

Overhead weighing applications, remote locations and high-temperature environments require utmost attention to crane safety standards. MSI heat resistant crane scale product experts incorporate these standards into application solutions, assuring requirements are exceeded in hazardous overhead weighing environments.

Since 1977, MSI has pioneered the weighing industry with a comprehensive line of niche technologies including combining strain gauge and microprocessor technologies into self-contained portable weighing equipment. Above all else, MSI products are committed to innovation and meticulous care in design, offering superior solutions to even the most demanding applications.

Rice Lake’s MSI line of quality industrial electronic scales, tension dynamometers, load monitoring instrumentation, RF wireless data acquisition and signal processing systems are sold throughout the world in virtually every industry; including aerospace, agriculture, aluminum, forestry, marine, medical, mining, nuclear, petrochemical, transportation, utility, iron and steel.

Best of all, you can get your information and competitive price quotes from the sales team at Central Carolina Scale. Just call the number listed on the site or complete the Request a Quote form on the website.

MSI Crane Scales

MSI’s Challenger and Port-A-Weigh crane scales have been a staple of the MSI line for decades, popular in industries ranging from petro-chemical and aerospace to agriculture, marine, metals and more. Recently MSI announced that they’ve enhanced functionality of both models to allow use with the new MSI-8000 RF Remote Display.

Adding MSI-8000 RF Remote Display compatibility is a major advantage for these field proven products. The MSI-8000 offers users the added advantage of seeing and controlling weight data wirelessly from a safe distance. The MSI-8000 has been industry tested for reliable use at distances up to 100 feet, and uses a rechargeable battery for a minimum 24 hours of continuous use.

In addition to remote-capability enhancement, the MSI-4260 electronics were completely refreshed from the ground up to include MSI’s exclusive ScaleCore™ technology, their most advanced weight-processor package, that offers improved speed and performance. MSI-4260 now also includes a more durable marine-strength bulkhead casting, and an upgraded display package for better visibility in low-light settings. An upgrade package is available to customers with original MSI-4260 and MSI-3460 equipment.

Fans of MSI’s Dyna-Link 2 Series Tension Dynamometers enthusiastically welcome the MSI-8000, a full-featured remote control and display for operating the dynamometer at safe and convenient distances. In uses like rigging a mobile construction crane, the Dyna-Link would likely be out of view or inaccessible. But the MSI-8000 allows users to see that weight data and control the scale wirelessly, where they haven’t been able to in the past.

Through MSI-8000’s ergonomic keypad and bold 5-digit LCD display, users have complete control over dynamometer function, programmability and operation. A rechargeable battery allows up to 24 hours of continuous, proven RF communication at distances up to 100 feet. The MSI-8000 currently syncs wirelessly with the latest generation of Dyna-Link 2, the MSI-7300, with future connectivity plans for other MSI crane scale products, including the MSI-3460 and MSI-4260 models. Users in the petro-chemical, energy, marine, aerospace, and test and measurement industries will appreciate MSI-8000’s heavy-duty, IP65 shock-resistant housing, as well as a standard RS-232 port that allows for advanced traceability and reporting.

Medical Scales

I took a tour recently of a local pediatrician office. Unlike the other people on the tour, I was actually sneaking a peek at what scales the doctor’s office had.  I was able to see a digital Detecto Medical scale along with a couple of digital baby scales. There was also a separate stand alone height rod in the weighing station for the kids.  All the weighing equipment seemed to be in good condition and it appeared that the scales had calibration stickers on them stating that the scales had been checked for accuracy on a consistent basis. Continue reading

Price versus quality

I had to write this entry based on the last couple of weeks.  We here at CCS always try to stay on top of the newest trends…especially when it comes to scales.  So I had a new lower priced import scale shipped in here so we could evaluate it.

Every distributor in all kinds of industries attempt to come up with lower priced Continue reading

I want an affordable hanging scale…

If you’re looking for an affordable, easy to use, well built mechanical hanging scale, then we think you’ll like this one. The Kilotech KHS C3 series is a high quality industrial hanging scale. Its sturdy, cast aluminium scratch resistant body and shatter resistant face cover makes it ideal for tough jobs of all kinds.

The heavy duty welded steel mounting shackle ring and pointed large “J” hook make this scale ideal for butchers and hunters. The single sided 7.5″ dual kg and lb dial is easy to read. It’s available in three different capacities.

Nice heavy duty crane scale now available

Chatillon DWT Digital Crane Scales — rugged, battery powered crane scales offer the latest in easy-to-use digital technology. DWT Series are highly accurate and display results in a large 1-inch LCD format for quick observation. Pushbutton controls on the scale front panel and optional handheld remote control simplifies operation, letting the user turn power on/off or reset the scale zero.

A patented electronic design creates exceptionally low power consumption allowing for up to one year of continuous use without having to change batteries (varies depending on use). An automatic shutoff feature further extends battery life by monitoring surrounding light conditions and turning the scale off if the ambient light prevents reading the display. Scale features automatic zero tracking to ensure proper weighing results during temperature changes or dust accumulation on the load receiving element. Scales are furnished with a fixed lifting eye and bottom safety swivel hook.