All You Want to Know About a Pallet Scale

In today’s entry we focus on pallet scales and discuss some of the most popular questions that we receive regarding these items. One challenge that sometimes exists with pallet scales is the naming of the actual scale. 

Customers refer to them as everything from pallet scales to floor scales to platform scales to warehouse scales. They are even called freight scales or shipping scales by some customers. And sometimes customers refer to a pallet jack scale as a pallet scale.  So it can be confusing for both the customer and the scale technician!

What is a pallet scale?

A pallet scale is usually defined as a platform scale that is large enough to weigh a standard wooden pallet.  The size is normally 48″ x 48″ approximately.  The capacity is usually 5000 pounds. 

4x4 or 5x5 pallet scale

Are pallet scales accurate?

Yes a pallet scale is accurate. A standard industrial style pallet scale is accurate to within 0.1 of one percent. So if you were to place 5000 pounds on the scale, the weighing instrument would display a reading of +/- 5 pounds from 5000.  This is sometimes related to the question, how accurate is a floor scale?  It basically means the same thing.

How much does a freight scale cost?

A typical “freight scale can cost anywhere from $900 to $2800. That’s a wide range but it often depends on who manufacturers the weight indicator and who manufacturers the scale platform. If you’re using a freight scale to weigh an occasional pallet, a lower priced scale might work fine. However, if you’re weighing heavy totes all day long, we recommend you purchase one of the heavy duty scales that are more expensive.

How do you use a pallet scale?

Normally the way that customers use a pallet scale is by simply driving their forklift to the pallet scale and gently setting the pallet down on the scale platform. The pallet weight will then display on the scale controller.

How do you calibrate a pallet scale?

To calibrate a pallet scale you will need to have at least 10% of the capacity available in test weights, a copy of the digital weight indicator technical manual, and ideally a licensed scale technician.

What type of scales are the most accurate?

The most accurate scales are typically laboratory balances and pharmaceutical grade scales. See our balances section on our website or our Sartorius  & Minebea Intec products.

 

How much does 1 empty pallet weigh?

One empty wooden pallet typically weighs around 45 pounds but that number can vary greatly depending how sturdy the pallet was constructed. This sometimes referred to as how much does a 4 foot pallet weigh? This basically is the same question, just re-worded.

Can you use a regular scale as a shipping scale?

You can use a regular scale as a shipping scale as long as the item you’re weighing is able to be accurately weighed. You really need to define what a “regular scale” actually means. If you’re weighing a box that weighs 20 pounds and your “regular scale” only has a 10 pound capacity, that will not work.  Also if you’re weighing a box that is odd shaped like say an umbrella for example, that could possibly hang over the side of a small “regular scale” and touch the desk. If that happens, your weight of the package won’t be correct.

nci shipping scales by Avery Weigh-Tronix

What kind of scale do I need to weigh packages?

The scale you need to weigh packages ideally can be interfaced to your shipping software. If that happens, it will make shipping easier for you because the weight will populate automatically right into the software. You also need to look at the capacity and platform dimensions to make sure those match up with what you are consistently weighing. Most standard shipping scales that we offer have a 150 pound capacity and the platform dimensions are around 12″ x 14″.  Other sizes and capacities are available.  Same is true with pallet scales.  4×4 5000 pound is the standard but we have all kinds of freight scales available from 3×3 to 4×6 to 5×7.  

high quality scales and weighing equipment

Can I use any scale for shipping?

You can use just about any scale you want for shipping but it often makes more sense to use the correct scale for your application. If you’re shipping pallets via LTL truck, you need to use a 5×5 pallet scale with 5000 pound capacity. If you’re shipping boxes for UPS or FedEx pickup then you need to use a shipping scale that connects to your shipping software like UPS Worldship for example. You’re also going to have to come up with a reliable way to measure the dimensions of the box or pallet as well.

Which pallet scale do you recommend?

The pallet scale that we recommend for you will vary depending on your weighing application. For example, if you are a metal recycling center and you are using your platform scales on a regular basis and putting large amounts of weight on the scale, then we recommend a heavy duty pallet scale. Rice Lake Roughdeck, B-Tek Clydesdale would be a couple of the better choices.  

We hope this entry about pallet scales and shipping and freight weighing has been helpful. Many times customers contact us and they kind of know what they’re looking for but they just need a slight push in the proper direction.  To discuss your application with us call (919) 776-7737 or fill out the RFQ form on our website.

How to Measure a Box for UPS

In the title we mentioned UPS but this could be true for FedEx and probably even USPS. Back in the good ole days, you simply placed your box on the scale, entered the address info, and then pressed a button and magically a label appeared and then you placed it on the box and you were done.  

Shipping a Box in 1992 vs 2023

Well, shipping a box is a little different now. You still have to do most of the things listed above but nowadays you also have to somehow measure your box as well.  Several years ago most all of the major carriers decided dimensional measurement and weighing made more sense than just weighing alone. It makes sense to maximize how many boxes can fit in the various vehicles and charge customers accordingly.  

But, using dimensioning does add another step in your shipping process. That’ probably not a big deal if you’re only shipping a few boxes a day. In fact, if you’re only shipping a few boxes a day, we suggest you purchase our measuring yard stick below and keep it near your shipping table. However, it will need to be “reloaded” from time to time (ha ha)

dimensional measuring yard stick

But seriously, what if you’re shipping 25 boxes a day? Can you afford to have someone type in the measurements for 25 boxes?  What about if you’re shipping over a hundred boxes a day?  That can take quite a bit of extra time to grab a tape measure for every box. And of course you’re also having to rely on your measure person and hope that they read the measuring tape correctly AND they type the correct numbers into the shipping software. Because if they don’t, you can be sure the shipping companies are checking and will bill you accordingly on your next statement. So how exactly do you measure a box for UPS?  Please see below.

How To Correctly Measure a Package According to UPS

  • Determine Length, Width and Height
    The longest side of your package is your length.
  • Round Up
    Round to the nearest whole number when taking your measurements. For example, 1 to 1.49 will be considered 1, and 1.5 to 1.99 will be considered 2.
  • Keep Measurements Handy
    You’ll need these when you create your shipment.

Speed up your Shipping Process

So, what are some of the solutions you can explore to speed up your shipping and accurately measure your boxes? We’ve talked about this in the past as well but there are several ideas to consider.  First, if you’re shipping A LOT of boxes every day, you probably should go ahead and purchase one of our dimensional weighing systems. That would be a great way to increase efficiency, accuracy and compliance. Yes, they do have some up front costs but dim weight systems can significantly speed up your shipping process. And, in some cases, even provide pictures and proof that you can use with the freight companies if you ever have any disputes.

Other ideas to consider include saving your most popular boxes in your shipping software.  For example, in UPS Worldship you can save your boxes in the package type editor. Basically you enter the boxes and the dimensions one time and save them for future use. Then you simply choose them from a drop down menu when you are shipping out a certain box.  Another idea you could try that’s fast, but not quite as accurate, is to look at the dims that are often stamped on the bottom of the box. Often you can use that measurement and maybe add an inch to one of the numbers just to be safe.  

If you need some assistance on your shipping process, be sure to contact us and we would be glad to assist. We have sold hundreds and hundreds of shipping scales over the years and we know what equipment to recommend for many situations.  You can call our sales department (919) 776-7737 or you can fill out our RFQ form for assistance.

Help, My Scale isn’t Working…

In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at one of the subjects that we have discussed over the past few years several times….

Hey, my scale isn’t working. What should I do first? 

Obviously, it can be frustrating when a scale stops working or doesn’t work right out of the box. So what should you do when your scale isn’t working? Here is what we suggest.

First, slow down and take a moment and look over the scale. Make sure everything looks correct. Read over the operators manual (last resort, of course). Perhaps your issue is as simple as an overload stop, which is designed to protect load cells during shipping, has not been unscrewed. 

cheap floor scale

Depending on what type scale it is, there are a few things to look for. Make sure the power cord is securely plugged into the wall outlet. Is the scale level? If it’s a platform scale, is the cable connected from the digital display to the platform? Are there any cuts in the cable?

Believe it or not, turning an electronic scale off and waiting a couple of minutes, and then plugging the scale back into the wall will solve the problem more times than you think.

We work on a lot of commercial weighing scale systems, and they oftentimes are utilized in some rough environments. Unfortunately, dust, dirt and debris can build up in and around those industrial scales. When this happens, the scale may not read accurately or be able to settle on a certain weight amount. The display may show up and down weight fluctuations in the weight reading. or it might even display an error code on the weight indicator. So, if you are able to  check around or under your scale, that can be a good first step. Often if your scale is binding, you will see materials or dirt packed under the weigh bridge or near load cell stands.

We’ve seen floor scales that were pushed up against a wall and not weighing correctly. The solution was simply moving the scale away from the wall.

Hopefully something in the paragraphs above helped you out.  If not, your particular issue could be something else and you may have to get a factory trained scale technician to diagnose and fix. We recommend that you contact a local scale company who can diagnose the trouble. If you’re in Central North Carolina and need scale repair, please contact us by calling (919) 776-7737 or you can complete the form on our website. 

Unboxing the Challenges: Navigating the Dimensions of Shipping Boxes and Pallets

In today’s globalized world, shipping boxes and pallets have become an essential part of our daily lives. From online shopping to business logistics, these containers play a crucial role in moving goods from one place to another.

However, as convenience and efficiency have increased, so have the challenges faced by customers when dealing with freight companies. One of the most significant challenges is the shift towards using dimensional measurements in addition to weight when determining shipping costs. This article explores the various hurdles customers face daily, and how they can navigate through them to optimize their shipping experiences.

nci shipping scales by Avery Weigh-Tronix

The Dimensional Dilemma

Traditionally, shipping costs were determined solely based on weight. You placed your box on your Mettler Toledo BC60 and the weight displayed in your shipping software. It was easy! 

However, with advancements in technology and a growing focus on sustainability, freight companies have moved towards utilizing dimensional weight (DIM weight) calculations. DIM weight considers not only the actual weight of the package but also its dimensions to estimate the space it occupies in the carrier’s vehicle or aircraft. This means that even if a package is relatively light, its large size might result in higher shipping charges due to the wasted space it takes up in transit.

Customers are often caught unaware by this shift and may receive unexpected bills if they fail to measure their boxes accurately or overlook the significance of the dimensions. Furthermore, when shipping multiple items together, the combined dimensions can impact the total shipping cost significantly. If you’re shipping a decent amount of boxes or pallets each day, you’re going to get tired of taking out the tape measure or the yard stick.  You need a more automated solution for obtaining your dim weights.  

Automated Solutions

To ease the burden of manually calculating DIM weight and reduce the chances of human error, customers can leverage automation. Integrating shipping software that incorporates dimension measuring capabilities can streamline the entire process, providing real-time calculations and ensuring accurate billing.

Automated solutions can also help customers compare shipping rates between different carriers, allowing them to choose the most cost-effective option for their specific needs. This level of efficiency and transparency not only enhances customer satisfaction but also boosts overall productivity.

dim weight scale

How Dimensioners Benefit Shippers

When shippers use an automatic dimensioner, they experience fewer invoice corrections, which saves time and money. Shippers can also use a Transportation Management System (TMS) to provide an eBOL with accurate data from a Legal for Trade dimensioner and scale save on freight rates. A TMS offers the carrier data transparency before pickup to help with load planning.

Accurate weights and dimensions are essential to ensure your invoice will match the original carrier quote. Because LTL carriers also rely on Legal for Trade measurement systems, using freight dimensioning systems in your facility can help everyone ensure correct freight classification.

By choosing a dimensioning system that includes high-resolution cameras, you will have images of freight as it leaves your facility, documenting its condition and verifying it was properly packaged and wrapped. This will allow you to hold your LTL carriers accountable for any damage to your freight.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems developed iDimension® Flex Series automatic dimensioners to help shippers prevent invoice corrections. A Legal for Trade dimensioner and scale is the best way to safeguard against reweighs, reclasses and unexpected chargebacks from LTL carriers. The economical iDimension Flex is designed for shippers—it is affordable, easy to install and maintain, and has a full integration toolkit to connect with your network.

The iDimension Flex is designed to fit nearly any shipping environment. It can be installed as a free-standing unit or suspended from the ceiling and mounted over a shipping scale, conveyor or pallet stretch wrapper. With the iDimension Flex, you can easily organize your shipping department to weigh, wrap and dimension freight in one efficient step. The iDimension Flex accurately measures your outbound freight, simplifying eBOL processes and increasing the trust LTL carriers have in your measurements.

Accurate Measuring – A Necessity

To overcome the dimensional measurement challenge, customers must prioritize accurate measuring of their shipping boxes and pallets. Investing in a reliable measuring tool, such as a tape measure or a dimensional weight calculator, can save them from unnecessary expenses. It is vital to measure the length, width, and height of the package, ensuring accuracy to the nearest inch or centimeter.

Some freight companies may also apply additional surcharges if the dimensions are not provided correctly, leading to further complications and financial strain for the customer. Hence, attentiveness to accurate measurements is crucial in avoiding billing disputes and promoting transparent shipping practices.

Packaging Optimization

Aside from accurate measurements, optimizing packaging is another way to navigate the challenges presented by dimensional weight. Selecting appropriate box sizes, eliminating excess void fill materials, and securing the contents efficiently can significantly impact DIM weight calculations.

Customers should consider using custom-sized boxes that snugly fit their products, reducing the amount of empty space within the package. Additionally, choosing lightweight but sturdy packaging materials can also help strike a balance between protection and weight reduction.

This is something we have worked on over the past few years and it has absolutely saved us (and our customers) money.

Collaboration and Communication

To enhance the shipping process, customers must establish clear lines of communication with their freight companies. Inquiring about their dimensional weight calculation methods, applicable surcharges, and any other cost-related factors will enable customers to make informed decisions and prevent unwelcome surprises in the final billing.

Additionally, maintaining open channels of communication allows customers to negotiate better shipping terms, especially for regular or bulk shipments. Building a healthy partnership with the freight company can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, fostering a smoother shipping experience overall.

Education and Awareness

An essential aspect of overcoming the challenges of shipping boxes and pallets is fostering education and awareness among customers. Many individuals and businesses are still unfamiliar with the concept of DIM weight and its implications. Providing relevant information and resources on websites, customer portals, and through customer service representatives can empower clients to take the necessary steps to optimize their shipping processes.

Freight companies can also conduct workshops, webinars, or tutorials to educate their customers on best practices for measuring, packing, and shipping items. In the long run, informed customers will not only benefit from cost savings but also contribute to sustainability efforts by reducing the carbon footprint associated with shipping inefficiencies.

As a society, we probably ship more boxes and pallets than ever before. It’s important to find various ways to reduce the cost of moving these boxes from point A to point B.  By embracing accurate measuring techniques, optimizing packaging, fostering communication, educating themselves, and adopting automated solutions, customers can navigate these challenges effectively. In doing so, they can not only reduce unnecessary expenses and billing disputes but also contribute to a more sustainable and efficient shipping industry.

Best Shipping Scale for Small Business Needs

In today’s article we take a look at what we think is the best shipping scale for small business locations around the country. And really this scale is a great choice for just about any size business that ships boxes via UPS or Fed Ex each day.

What is the Best Shipping Scale for Small Business?

So what is the best shipping scale for a small business? Well, if you’re basing it entirely on the price, the answer is probably some plastic scale that you’ve seen on the office supply store shelf. But if you’re looking at such as durability, legal for trade quality, and the ability to connect the scale to your shipping software, then the chances are you might choose a different scale.

Based on our many years of using and selling this scale, in our opinion, the Mettler Toledo BC60 is the best shipping scale for small business usage. The shipping scale has become one of the standard accessories that you see in shipping departments all over the country.

best shipping scale for small business Continue reading

Advantages of using a Pallet Jack with Built In Scale in Warehouse

Pallet jacks with built-in scales have become increasingly popular in warehouse and industrial settings over the years. Pallet truck scales offer several advantages over traditional floor scales. Here are some benefits of using a pallet jack with a built-in scale versus using a stationary floor scale.

Increased Efficiency

Pallet jacks with built-in scales are designed to save time and improve efficiency. With a built-in scale, you can weigh and move pallets in a single step, eliminating the need for multiple trips to find the nearest floor scale in a busy freight and logistics center. This can reduce the time and labor required to move and weigh pallets, which can increase productivity and reduce labor costs.

pallet jack with built in scale

Portability

Pallet jacks with built-in scales are highly portable and can be easily moved around a warehouse or facility. This allows you to weigh pallets at the location where they are loaded, reducing the need to move the pallets to a central location for weighing. This can save time and reduce the risk of damage to the pallets during transportation.

Reduced Floor Space Requirements

A pallet jack scale requires less floor space compared to a floor scale. Floor scales can take up a significant amount of floor space and require a dedicated area for weighing. This becomes even more obvious if you need to add a ramp or ramps to the floor scale!  In contrast, a pallet jack with a built-in scale can be used in the same space as a regular pallet jack, making it an ideal solution for facilities with limited floor space.

Reduced Equipment Costs

Using a pallet jack with a built-in scale can theoretically reduce equipment costs in the long run. Instead of purchasing separate equipment for moving and weighing pallets, you can invest in a single pallet jack with a built-in scale. This can save money on equipment purchases, maintenance, and repairs.

Improved Safety

Using a pallet jack with a built-in scale can also improve safety in the workplace. Floor scales can be difficult to access and require workers to bend down and lift heavy objects, which can lead to injuries. In contrast, a pallet jack with a built-in scale is designed to be ergonomic and easy to use, reducing the risk of injury to workers.

Final Thoughts

Pallet jack scales can certainly be a good option for some customers. The same is true for customers looking at forklift scales. In most businesses, it’s a good idea to utilize several of these products together to make sure you have a backup, just in case a scale has failed or is down for routine maintenance. For example, you have a pallet jack scale and you have a floor scale with ramp.

A pallet jack with a built-in scale offers several benefits over traditional floor scales. These benefits include increased efficiency, portability, reduced floor space requirements, possible reduced equipment costs, and improved safety. If you are looking to improve the efficiency and accuracy of weighing pallets in your facility, a pallet jack with a built-in scale may be the ideal solution for your needs. Be sure to contact our sales office by calling (919) 776-7737 or click the RFQ button on our website to get in touch with us.

What Makes a Weighing Scale Better Quality than Another?

We get this question all the time and it’s a fair question. What makes one weighing scale better quality than another? Sure, it can be worded a little differently like why is one scale priced so much higher than the other, even though they look identical?  The answers can vary from scale type to scale type.

Why Does One Scale Cost So Much More Than Another?  

So why does one scale cost so much more than another?  Here are a few reasons.

  • The country the scale was manufactured in
  • The quality of the components inside the scale
  • The construction of the scale itself
  • A lithium ion battery vs. a lead acid battery
  • IP68 enclosure vs. IP65 enclosure
  • Stainless Steel enclosure vs. painted steel or plastic enclosure
  • The warranty of the item
  • The reputation of the scale manufacturer 

Probably no better example exists on this subject than floor scales. We have floor scales that we offer that basically look very similar to one another that are essentially $2000 different on price. How do you explain that difference?  Well, let’s try to do just that below.

industrial floor scaleOur industrial floor scale is a 4×4 with 5000 LB capacity. NTEP approved. Stainless Weight Indicator with battery.  It weighs approximately 300 pounds.

light industrial floor scale

Our light industrial floor scale is a 4×4 with 5000 LB capacity. NTEP approved. Stainless Weight Indicator with battery.  It weighs approximately 220 pounds.  

Essentially, that eighty pound difference in the physical weight of the scale platform is one big reason there’s approximately $2000 difference in price.

So, is the more expensive scale worth it?  The answer is…. it depends on your weighing application.

If you are a metal recycler for example, then you likely want good quality scales that are built tough and can handle the daily abuse that weighing equipment is going to take in that environment. The last thing you want in that environment is a scale platform that can’t handle the thousands of pounds of weight. So in this example, yes the additional cost is likely worth it when you average out the years of service the scale will provide.

However, if you’re a shipping warehouse that weighs a few 800 pound pallets everyday, then you probably don’t need the more expensive scale. 

Ultimately, this is where discussing your particular weighing needs with your scale sales person is a smart thing. Give us a call or fill out the RFQ form on our website.  

Better Quality Weighing Equipment or Low Priced Scales? 

Really, there are numerous factors that can determine the overall quality of a weighing scale. Some of the most important factors include:

  1. Accuracy: A high-quality weighing scale should be able to accurately measure the weight of an object. This is often determined by the scale’s sensitivity and resolution. We recommend choosing NTEP approved weighing equipment for reputable scale manufacturers for the best results.

  2. Repeatability: A good weighing scale should be able to consistently produce the same weight reading for the same object. Often with lower quality items, this can become a problem.

  3. Construction: A good scale is designed to last for years of service. This is where you need to discuss your weighing needs with your sales person and determine if industrial or light industrial weighing equipment makes sense for you. 

  4. Resolution: The resolution of a scale refers to the smallest weight that the scale can measure. A scale with high resolution will be able to measure small weights more accurately than a scale with low resolution. This often comes into play with counting scales and lab balances.

  5. Stability: A high-quality scale should be stable and not drift or fluctuate over time. Once again better quality items tend to be more stable and consistent.

  6. Durability: A scale that is built to last will be of higher quality than one that is prone to breaking or malfunctioning. We recommend choosing reputable scale brands with a good reputation in the scale industry vs. cheap imported scales.

  7. Ease of use: A scale that is easy to use, with clear instructions and a user-friendly interface, will be better than one that is difficult to operate. Scales that are easy to use is a good thing. Don’t just think about you or the one employee who is using the scale. Also think about the person who has to fill in and learn how to use the scale.

  8. Customer support: A scale manufacturer that provides good customer support and stands behind their product is likely to offer higher quality products. We have several reputable scale manufacturers who offer quality weighing equipment that we’ve sold and serviced for many years.

Ultimately what it really comes down to in our opinion is communication between the buyer or procurement manager and the scale salesperson. That seems simple. But in today’s point and click and add to shopping cart world that we live in, it’s really important to be on the same page. When you ask the question what makes one weighing scale better quality than another, you need to discuss this subject with your scale sales person, who can assist you with appropriate product choices that will best fit what you’re trying to do.  

Dangers of Buying Certain “Cheap” Scales Online

The article below is courtesy of Mr. Boon Lim who has been involved in the weighing industry for many years. It really hammers home the points that we have been trying to discuss with customers for literally decades! 

There are differences in quality between certain brands of scales. We’ve discussed this numerous times over the years either here in our learning center or on our Youtube channel or perhaps via phone or email with you. A lot of times it’s a balancing act between value & accuracy. Many customers don’t have the budget or the requirements for the top of the line most expensive scale… but they also don’t need to buy the cheapest scale under the sun either. Let’s take a look at what Boon found when he purchased some of the cheapest scales available online. We hope you enjoy the article below.

Have you noticed a quality shift in the weighing industry? Quality standards have
decreased significantly on consumer scales with “assembly only” operations making big
waves in the scale community. Large sellers are dominating the online retail space for
consumers, and this is not any different for scales. Whether you support the
unstoppable rise of these ecommerce giants or not, there is no denying the profound
impact associated with their operation.

So, we bought some of the “Best Selling”, highly rated, affordable scales and balances to test the quality.

Yes, with 2-day free shipping too.

Our discoveries were astounding… Continue reading

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

Why use Digital Scales when Brewing Beer?

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 stationary pallet scale or a portable pallet jack scale for batches, kegs, mass production and bottling.

Some breweries also have scales to check grain deliveries and yeast brinks. Larger breweries often have platform scales for larger batches and shipping and can buy more expensive balances that include more features that can save them time.

For large amounts of shipping and receiving, pallet truck scales or pallet weighing beams offer maneuverability and heavy-duty weighing capacities.

For more information on choosing the right digital scales for your brewery call us at (919) 776-7737