Floor Scale with Ramp VS. Floor Scale in a Pit

Today, we’re going to talk about the advantages of buying a pallet scale with a ramp vs. installing a pallet scale into your concrete floor.

Maybe you would like a more portable floor scale that sits above ground with a ramp beside it. Or perhaps you would rather just have an in ground style floor scale and not have to deal with ramps.

We’re going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of industrial scales, while helping you make a more informed buying decision.

A floor scale is a type of scale that can be used directly on the warehouse floor. A typical floor scale usually has a 4 inch height and the vast majority of platform scales are usually 4×4 or 5×5 dimensions. Great for weighing most pallets and in many situations, your scale company can ship your floor scales direct to you, either from the scale company or the scale manufacturer.

 

When buying a 5000lb floor scale these days, most folks tend to choose an above ground scale. If they plan on rolling a pallet jack onto the warehouse scale, they typically buy a ramp for this scale. This is generally the most cost effective weighing solution.

Basically, besides cost, there are two main reasons why you would choose one version of a industrial floor scale over the other. The #1 reason is the amount of space, the floor scale and any ramps would occupy and the #2 reason is the ease of loading products onto the scale.

Pit Type Floor Scale Advantages & Disadvantages

Several years ago, placing a floor scale into a pit was fairly common. This was mainly due to a couple of factors. Floor scales had taller profile heights and construction costs. So, putting it in a pit was less expensive. While today’s floor scales have a lower profile design, which usually eliminates the need for a pit. There are a few applications where a pit scale still makes sense.

For example, a company that needs a 4×4 floor scale with ramps on both sides, A typical ramp is 48 inches in length on each side. This type of floor scale setup will take up to 12 ft in length. That’s a lot of space that your scale and ramps would occupy. When the scale footprint needs to be smaller, putting scales into a pit might be the right decision when placing this scale into a pit. The ramps are not needed. This eliminates 4ft of ramping on each side of the scale.

Another reason for placing a floor scale into a pit is the ease of getting the product onto the scale. Because the scale is set in a pit, the transition from the floor surface to the scale is seamless. Imagine having to push a loaded pallet jack onto an above ground scale several times per day. Having a pit type scale makes this process much easier vs one with ramps.

Pallet Scale with Ramp

Floor Scale with Ramp Advantages & Disadvantages

Today’s floor scales are built to have a low profile height, usually around 4 inches. When space isn’t an issue, having a floor scale with ramps may make sense. Having a longer ramp makes loading products with a pallet jack much easier.

Another reason many people choose to use an above ground pallet scale with ramp is that this setup is fairly portable. It can be moved to different parts of a warehouse or factory if needed. In our example, we’ve been mentioning ramps. However, ramps aren’t required with an above ground floor scale. You can also drive your forklift to the scale and set pallets on the scale. So, standard pallet weighing while loading and unloading the scale with a forklift is the most portable and cost effective solution.

IMPORTANT POINT REGARDING SCALE REPLACEMENT

Another variable to consider, is the potential to outgrow the size of your in-ground floor scale. An above ground floor scale can be easily replaced — without needing to backfill a 4×4 or 5×5 hole in your concrete floor!

Hopefully this information helps you make the correct decision when deciding where to put your next floor scale. Be sure to contact our sales team for buying advice and product recommendations.  

What Does a Counting Scale Do?

When you’re seeking solutions for increased efficiency and productivity. A counting scale can be a great choice. But, what exactly does a counting scale do?

We’re going to take a look at what a counting scale actually does

First, let’s define what a counting scale is. Counting scales are used for counting the same items, like bolts for example. As for how to use a counting scale, when a group of identical items are placed on the platform of a parts counting scale, the scale can determine the average piece weight and the scale display shows how many pieces are on the platform. Consider the human effort involved to count small items like screws or washers.

With a counting scale, this task requires just a few seconds of time. This leads to highly accurate parts counting results. Compare this to counting parts out by hand, which is virtually guaranteed to include human error. Remember when you were a child sitting on the floor counting pennies? It took time, and then even more time when you lost count and had to start over again! Consider a counting scale the industrial solution for saving time while providing extremely efficient counting accuracy.

 

Nearly every industry manager knows that maintaining accurate inventory counts and stock management can lead to more efficient order processing and hopefully increase profits. For example, your scale can check the quantity of parts in a carton of 500 pieces in just seconds without the potential of human error. Maybe you have a box of 10,000 parts that requires packaging into 50 piece packages. This task can be accomplished with what’s called check counting. The function is as simple as the user watching the scale to see when the predetermined count has been reached.

what does a counting scale do

Choosing the Correct Counting Scales for Small Parts

Let’s mention some factors that you need to consider when purchasing a counting scale. First, think about the average weight of the items being counted. This is one of the biggest mistakes counting scale buyers make. If you’re looking to count really tiny o-rings or resistors, then you probably shouldn’t buy a large 200-lb counting scale. A 10-lb capacity might make more sense. Make sure that you choose a capacity and a readability that can accommodate the items that you are counting, how large is the largest box that you will place on the electronic counting scale? Choose a platform that can accommodate that.

Options & Accessories for Digital Counting Scales

What are your connectivity needs? Do you need a label printer? Do you need battery power, so you can carry the scale around to different locations?  Or do you need to add a large industrial floor scale for weighing and counting larger quantities? Finally, don’t be afraid to work together with us to determine what model of counting scale is best for your particular situation. You can complete our RFQ form on our site or call us (919) 776-7737 

Should I Buy a 4×4 or 5×5 Scale for Weighing a Pallet?

Today we attempt to answer the question that many a purchasing agent or warehouse manager has surely pondered….

Should I buy a 4×4 or a 5×5 floor scale?

Have you ever gone looking for a simple floor scale to weigh pallets? Only to be confused by whether you need a 5×5 or a 4×4 model. You’re not alone. There are many before you that have had the same question or something similar. It may have been about low price floor scales online or possibly about pallet scale calibration or scale troubleshooting. These are all platform scale subjects we have covered many times on this website. But getting back to the main point, should you buy a platform scale that’s 48″ x 48″ or 60″ x 60″?

This article is meant to provide a brief comparison while giving you confidence to make the correct decision when shopping for a standard industrial floor scale. While the 4×4 floor scale is actually the most common scale purchased, the 5×5 has a slight advantage of being able to, accommodate the full length of a pallet jack without fear of rolling off the back of the scale.

 

Which Scale is Better for me?  5×5 or 4×4

As we say, with truck scales, trucks aren’t getting any shorter, and pallets, by the same token, aren’t getting any smaller. So, if you have the room in your warehouse, then you should strongly consider the 5×5 pallet scale. With the exception of the additional surface area and the additional cost of the 5×5 floor scale. These two scales are identical from most manufacturers. One exception would be since the 4×4 floor scales are often mass produced, Manufacturers may try to use a thinner deck plate that is more widely available. This naturally makes the mass produced scale less durable and exposed to more deflection of the weighbridge and that could possibly lead to more inconsistent weights and possibly even a shorter lifespan. Although they are less common, another consideration that might make sense for you would be a 5×4 scale.

4x4 or 5x5 pallet scale

4 Foot Long Scale Ramp is Recommended for a Pallet Jack

And don’t forget if you’re looking to roll a pallet jack onto the scale, then you will need to have enough space for a ramp for pallet jack use. Most scale manufacturers recommend a four foot long ramp. So you will want to make sure you have the floor space for a 5×5 scale and a 5×4 ramp as well. You might also want to check out our entry about scale with a ramp vs. in floor scale.  

We hope this entry has helped you out. If you need assistance or you’re looking to get some product and price information, please fill out our RFQ form on our site or you can call us at (919) 776-7737.

Truck Scale Basics & Terminology You Need to Know

We’re going to try & help you understand all the truck scale terminology that you need to know. Especially if you’re new to truck scales.

So let’s say your business has decided to purchase a truck scale in order to determine accurate and reliable vehicle weight for your application. That’s great! Understanding fundamental truck scale basics will help you know which questions to ask your local scale distributor to ensure you purchase the truck scale style that fits your needs with the options and accessories that can enhance your application.

 

Whether monitoring a vehicle’s weight for safety guidelines or to complete business transactions, you should know what the info determined by a truck scale means to your business.

For example:

Gross weight is the total weight of the vehicle and loaded product.
Tare weight is the weight of only the vehicle.
Net weight is the weight of only the loaded product.

how accurate are truck scales

Today, most 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 above ground configurations. However, pit-styles require sump pumps and drains, and are generally more vulnerable to corrosion due to potential standing water.

The truck scale’s driving surface is called the weighbridge. Weighbridges are composed of steel or concrete decks, and are typically manufactured in modular designs that are connected together during installation.

weight indicator

The indicator, also called a controller, or terminal, can display basic weight functions, as well as serve as the command center for a weighing system with truck in & out programs to control the entire truck scale system, including any remote displays and ticket printers.

Load cells are vital to truck scale performance. There are various types of load cells, but they all basically have the same function—to accurately measure weight on the scale. All load cells take an analog measurement, and then that signal is converted to a digital output either at the load cell, junction box, or in the scale indicator. Load cells are typically constructed of steel and are integrated within the weighbridge, usually at the corners of each module.

A junction box properly manages multiple load cells. By matching the signal of each load cell and summing them into a signal that’s sent to the indicator, junction boxes equalize the system for accurate and reliable weight readouts.

Handwriting a ticket for each weighment is time consuming and tedious, and also leaves room for human error. Ticketing kiosks, scale data management software, and/or ticket printers eliminate those problems. Most states also require ticket printers and Remote Displays.

We’re going to wrap up our entry on truck scale basics and terminology.  I hope we made all this truck scale jargon a little easier to understand for those of you in the market for a truck scale. If you need some truck scale buying advice or scale recommendations, we are just a phone call or email away.  

Load Cell Wiring & Adjusting / Trimming / Summing Overview

The Basics of Load Cell Wiring and Trimming Load cell wiring and trimming are critical to a weighing system’s accuracy and should always be performed by trained scale technicians.

However, general load cell wiring knowledge can help you better understand how your weighing system works and how potential errors occur.

Load cell cables typically have four or six wires. Both versions have positive and negative signal and excitation lines, though a six-wire cable also has positive and negative sense lines. Sense lines are linked to the sense connections of the system’s indicator, sometimes through a junction box, allowing the indicator to sense a load cell’s actual voltage. If there is a voltage drop between the indicator and load cell, the sense lines send that information to the indicator, which automatically adjusts voltage. This compensates for the loss of voltage or amplifies the return signal to compensate for loss of power to the load cell.

truck scale load cell

Load Cell Color Codes

Load cell wires are color coded to help ensure proper connections. Different load cell brands use different color codes, which is why there are load cell wiring guides available for scale technicians to use during installations.

Adjusting / Trimming / Summing Load Cells

Load cell trimming is sometimes called load cell summing because it involves tying or summing multiple load cell output signals together. This happens in a junction box, also known as a summing box, which sends one system signal to the weight indicator. It’s necessary to trim load cells in a multi-cell system when the weight distribution to each load cell isn’t equal.

For example, in vessel loading processes, the presence of agitators or the type of material, such as powder, can affect how material and weight are distributed to each load cell. Additionally, it’s nearly impossible to make every load cell exactly alike. Tolerances in the manufacturing process allow for some variation in individual load cell specifications, which, if trimming isn’t applied, doesn’t allow for the accuracy necessary for most applications.

Signal trimming is the most common and popular type of load cell trimming because it is the easiest to use. Signal trimming is compatible with nearly all indicators and is relatively unaffected by temperature changes or excessive system vibrations. It involves adding a relatively high parallel resistance between the signal of each load cell, which creates a leakage path that diverts some of the available load cell signal away from the indicator. More load cell signal will be available to the indicator as parallel resistance increases.

Be sure to visit Central Carolina Scale.com often for all your weighing related needs.

Cheap Floor Scales vs. Industrial Floor Scales

It may be tempting to save a few dollars by purchasing an inexpensive floor scale imported from overseas. After all, the capacity and size may appear to be the same as the more expensive brand and the pictures of the products look virtually identical! So, what is it that really separates the Expensive Floor Scale and makes it better than the Less Expensive Floor Scale?

Imported Floor Scales Worth the Hassle?

This is something we’ve discussed before actually. We’ve seen just about every possible brand of platform scale over the years.  Some of the scales shipped over from China are decent. Some aren’t as good.  Some of the weight indicators are not very user friendly or reliable.

cheap floor scale

When it comes to floor scales, we generally rank them in different levels of floor scale quality.  For example, top of the line would be the B-Tek Clydesdale or Rice Lake Roughdeck.  Second level might be the Pennsylvania 6600 or Digi Summit 3000. Third level might be a Brecknell floor scale.  Lowest level would be brands & models that we won’t mention…

Do I Need Legal for Trade?

First thing that you want to determine is NTEP legal for trade status. You will need to determine if your floor scale needs to be legal for trade. Some cheap floor scales you find on the internet are not legal for trade. It’s almost always a good idea to buy a legal for trade floor scale. In our opinion, it’s a good idea to purchase a platform scale that is capable of earning a Certificate of Conformance (CoC#).  

Quality Scale Components Make a Difference

Next, compare the electronic components that make up the scale There are typically four load cells in each floor scale, one in each corner. Some lower-quality floor scales use load cells that you cannot replace just one of the cells. When checking for causes of scale weight error, if one goes bad, all four need to be replaced!  Some manufacturers also use cheap load cells that are sourced overseas and have little if any documentation. It is important to use quality components to ensure longevity and accurate weighing. Some of the load cell brands we recommend include Revere Transducers and Rice Lake Weighing Systems among others.

Next, is the Junction Box with Summing Board. Does the scale you are considering have a junction box with summing board inside? The purpose of the junction box is so you can adjust the output of the loadcells so the scale weighs the same regardless of where the load is placed on the scale platform. If a loadcell needs to be replaced the junction box allows you to easily remove the bad cell and replace it with the new one and wire it back into the scale without having to unwire and re-solder all the cells back together. Some cheap platform scales just tie the wires together and eliminate the junction box in their design. We do not recommend this and it makes replacing a load cell and/or troubleshooting difficult.

Heavy Duty Steel Platforms Can Last for Many Years

Maybe equally as important as the scale components is the build of the scale itself — The steel weighbridge. Pay attention to the shipping weight of the scale. The heavier the scale typically means the better build quality.

platform scale

Thicker deck plate and substructure is an important key to giving the load cells the structure they need to perform properly. If the floor scale is flexing and bending, the scale will not last and it will cause inconsistent weights. Thin, short welds are also a sign of mass-produced low-quality scales. These welds could break over time and cause inconsistent weights and/or significant down-time.

Weight Displays are an Important Part of the Scale System

The last item, and possibly most important to consider, is the indicator that comes with the floor scale. Is an indicator included in the price? If it is, there are a few questions to ask. Is the indicator calibrated to the scale base? Does the indicator include a user manual that is easy to read and understand? Do you need a certificate of calibration with certified weights for your ISO program? Do you need a full numeric keypad to enter a tare weight? Do you want to tie your scale into a computer or printer?

These are all common issues people come across when purchasing a cheap floor scale online. And, many times this leads them to spending significantly more money with their local service company to get their scale up to the actual functionality they need.

In our experience, customers usually experience a better overall scale buying experience by contacting an experienced scale sales person first. Price and budget can certainly be an important component.  But, scale construction, quality components and more can also be considered as well. By working together with a scale company, you get the type of industrial floor scale that you actually need. You also get any custom features that you may require.

As always, Central Carolina Scale would like you to make the most informed decision possible to help your business. We are here to help you with any questions you may have to help guide your decision.

How Accurate are Truck Scales?

Maybe you were driving by a weigh station and saw a bunch of semi-trucks in line waiting to drive over the scale or perhaps your company owns a 70 foot long truck scale. Or, maybe you are curious about buying a truck scale to weigh your vehicles.  Either way, you’ve probably wondered at some point just how accurate are truck scales?

how accurate are truck scales

Truck Scale Accuracy

The truck scales that we offer are designed to meet NTEP Certification per Handbook 44 and they are NTEP Class IIIL. The scales are typically listed as 120,000 x 20 lb for example. The 120,000 lb is the max capacity of the scale and the 20 lb is the increment amount (graduation) that the scale displays weight in.

The scale is tested from zero to at least 12.5 % of scale capacity using known test weights and then to at least 25 % of scale capacity using either a substitution or strain load test that utilizes known test weights of at least 12.5 % of scale capacity. Whenever practical, a strain load test should be conducted to the used capacity of the scale. When a strain load test is conducted, the tolerances apply only to the test weights or substitution test loads.

Methods of Adjusting the Truck Scale

From time to time, truck scales will become inaccurate and need to be tested, adjusted, and calibrated. In most truck scales, individual load cells are adjusted and scale sections are adjusted by potentiometers in junction boxes. There may be as many as three truck scale junction boxes, usually located inside the truck scale weighbridge. The overall span adjustment for the scale system is usually done through the vehicle scale weight indicator.

So, How Accurate are Truck Scales?

Ok, so what is the actual answer to the question, how accurate are truck scales? The tolerance that we adhere to for accuracy is 0.1 of one percent of the applied weight. For example, if we place 25,000 pounds of weight on the scale, we are allowed +/- 25 pounds. Please see our entry on truck scale basics for more truck scale fundamentals. 

 

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.