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.

The Importance of Animal Scale Calibration

Veterinary clinics and Animal hospitals throughout the triangle area of North Carolina count on Central Carolina Scale to check and calibrate their vet scales on a regular basis. Our state certified scale technicians use certified calibration weights which are ideal weights to use when calibrating animal scales. They ensure your scale is properly calibrated and ready for the requirements of weighing in a wide range of animal care settings.

Weights for Animal Scale Calibration

Consumer weights such as barbells or similar items may not provide an accurate weight to calibrate your scale. For example, a 5-pound consumer weight, such as a barbell, may actually weigh between 4.75 and 5.25 pounds. Compare that to our certified calibration weights which have a manufactured and adjusted tolerance of +/-230 milligrams! Our scale tech’s use a certified calibration weight to ensure your scale is calibrated correctly and presents accurate weighments for proper animal care.

equine weighing scale

Our scale technicians use certified calibration weights ensure the scale is properly calibrated and ready to weigh a wide range of animal needs.

Animal patients can be unpredictable, especially if they are nervous or anxious at veterinary clinics. You may want to look for scales that have a low profile so animals aren’t taking large steps on or off the scale. Some scales may have optional mats to increase animal comfort as they step onto the weighing platform. The scales you use should also be durable and easy to clean. Hard, nonporous ABS plastic surfaces provide an easy-to-clean weighing platform that can withstand claws and accidents.

Functions such as weight recall, tare and movement compensation technology allow operators to record and verify accurate weights for every patient. Movement compensation technology in scales recognizes when a patient is moving or shaking on the weighing platform and accounts for that movement in the final weight display. You may want to consider these scale functions as well as automatic shut-off for long battery life as you search for a scale to meet the needs of your specific practice.

Standardizing the units of measure at your clinic and using scales that allow you to lock the units of measure can help you prevent potentially fatal errors. Some animal scales are able to lock units of measure, meaning the scale won’t accidentally be switched from pounds to kilograms, or vice versa. If a scale is unknowingly changed from kilograms to pounds, medication can be given in dangerously high amounts.

Recently we announced the availability of the new Rice Lake RoughDeck® EQ equine scale. Durability and repeatability are additional factors that should be considered when choosing large animal scales. A weighing system may be accurate when initially installed but fall out of tolerance as it is used. After all, horses are not always well-behaved during the weighing process—especially when they are not feeling well.

Selecting a scale that can handle reluctant patients’ antics, including hoof stomps, and still deliver consistent, stable weights is key for long-term use. Hermetically sealed load cells are ideal so the system can be washed down without damage. Regular inspections and calibrations should also be performed by a local, authorized scale service technician.

For more information on our cattle scales and related animal weighing products or scale calibration services, please call us at (919) 776-7737.

Belt Scales for Recycling Centers

The main components of belt scales are weigh frames that have load cells and idlers or rollers to support the conveyor belt. Conveyor belt speed is measured with an encoder or tracking wheel mounted on the return belt. Weight and speed are combined in the weight processor, or integrator, to determine the product flow in kilograms or tons per hour.

belt scale

While weigh frames and sensors have not changed much since the 90’s, weight processors have advanced with more communication options. Weight indicators and scale controllers can communicate with PLCs through Profibus, Profinet, Ethernet and similar systems, while USB, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® allow weight information to be sent to peripheral equipment such as printers and computers.

Material Handling with Belt Scales at Recycling Facilities

The recycling industry is unique and requires specialized equipment. Due to the nature of material in recycling, conveyor belts are built to be enclosed to keep spindle and dust contained to the belt. In this case, it’s necessary to use a belt weigh frame that can be positioned outside of the belt to simplify scale maintenance. Belt scales used in recycling measure and register the main and waste flows separately.

 

Maintenance Needs for Belt Scales

When belt scales are being used in Legal for Trade applications, or anytime materials are sold based on weight, it is critical to ensure the scale is properly calibrated. The belt scale and conveyor must have Legal for Trade approval with routine inspections and calibrations to ensure accuracy.

Choosing the correct weigh frame for your conveyor is the first step to ensuring accuracy with your belt scale. You may want to consult with a belt scale expert to find the option that meets your requirements for precision. Additionally, the conveyor must be maintained and an automatic tension device, such as a ratchet, must be present with the conveyor belt.

Belt scales are calibrated and inspected for accuracy when the system is installed. Typically, this is done by weighing a truck loaded with material on a truck scale and comparing that load with the total from the belt scale.

Expert Scale Support

Central Carolina Scale can offer advice on choosing the right belt scale for your needs as well as offer on-site support during installation and maintenance. Learn more by visiting our RFQ form on our website.

Understanding the “True Cost” of a Truck Scale

truck scales

There’s no question that truck scales are a significant investment for just about any company.

Although a lower-cost truck scale may seem like a more enticing option, the hardware price is only one element of the total cost of a scale.

If you are a potential buyer, then you should be aware of the ways truck scale design, construction techniques, steel content, quality and installation all contribute to the initial price of the scale.

The purchase price is just one element of the total cost of ownership for any truck scale.

You should also understand how maintenance fees will impact the scale value.

Truck scales that require frequent or extensive maintenance can lead to a higher total cost even if their purchase price was lower.

You can use the resources below to help understand every element of truck scale pricing.

Article: What Impacts the Price of a Truck Scale?

Calculator: Total Cost of Ownership

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about explaining truck scale pricing or about additional information or price quotes on the Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® line of truck scales.  Call (919) 776-7737 for more information.

Upcoming Changes to NIST Handbook 105-1 Requirements for Class F Calibration Weights

Beginning January 1, 2020, Class F calibration weights will no longer be sold for legal metrology use. According to the newly updated NIST Handbook 105-1 (2019), new weights for use as field standards placed into service for weights and measures use after this date must comply with all of the requirements of NIST Handbook 105-1 (2019).

In order to update our Class F inventory to bring it more in line with ASTM and OIML tolerances, all Rice Lake NIST Class F weights will become ASTM Class 5 weights. Part numbers and pricing will remain the same, but the tolerance will be tighter.

nist class f test weight

Note that existing NIST Class F calibration weights in the field are grandfathered in and may continue to be used for legal metrology use, but they must meet NIST Handbook 105-1 (1990) requirements. Although the new revision does supersede the 1990 version, it makes clear that existing Class F weights may continue to be used.

While existing NIST Class F calibration weights may be reclassified to one of the new specifications if all specifications and tolerances fully comply with the alternative standard, the NIST Office of Weights and Measures strongly recommends that you do not reclassify existing Class F weights due to the difficulty of performing compliance evaluation.

This change is taking place to accommodate for the increasing accuracy of weighing devices used for legal metrology. Class F weights are no longer sufficient for the calibration, inspection, or sealing of weighing devices used for the jewelry, marijuana and pharmaceutical industries. Similarly, hydrogen for hydrogen vehicles is being sold by weight, which demands a high level of accuracy.

We are here to help guide customers to select the right calibration weight for each application; however, selection is ultimately based on the customer’s unique needs and requests.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about the NIST Class F legal metrology change in Handbook 105-1 or questions regarding where to buy calibration weights. Call (919) 776-7737 

Upgrade to Rice Lake Advanced Weight Transmitter

Rice Lake Weighing SCT-1100 and SCT-2200 signal conditioning weight transmitter is a small, DIN-mounted indicator featuring theoretical or weight calibration and an easy-to-navigate menu.

SCT-1100/2200 Advanced Series Signal Conditioning Weight Transmitters

Theoretical calibration: Enter deadload or capture zero with theoretical calibration, which is ideal for use in environments where traditional calibration isn’t practical.

Quick-start setup menu: For a quick setup, this feature prompts you through basic configuration and calibration, analog setup and inputs/outputs.

Rice Lake scale tools: Rice Lake Tools is a user-friendly PC application that allows users to calibrate the scale and upload, download and save parameters.

weight transmitter

Additional Benefits of the SCT-2200 When Using a Fieldbus Protocol

Hub mode: With hub mode, 16 units are able to be connected to just one protocol module, making installation easier and cutting costs.

Web server: A web server provides calibration, zero and tare functions as well as remote weight viewability through PC control. The server can be used to access all units in the hub.

Calibration from a PLC: Using a protocol for calibration eliminates the need to physically access the SCT. Zero capture, span capture and linear points can be performed using the protocol.

You can read more about Rice Lake’s SCT-1100, SCT-2200 and other din mountable weight transmitters online at Central Carolina Scale.com. Please complete our Request a Quote form if you’re interested in receiving a quote or additional information about these weight transmitters. 

How to Create a Remote Scale System

A remote scale system uses two weight indicators to allow users to access scale functions without having physical access to the primary indicator, or “local” indicator. Historically, to create a remote scale system, a technician needed to add a second weight indicator to a scale and run the load cell signal to both indicators. Only one indicator supplied the scale with excitation; each unit was calibrated independently and operated as a separate system.

Today, however, creating a remote scale system has never been easier, thanks to remote indicator capabilities. To form a remote solution, a scale is paired with two digital weight indicators: a primary indicator, or “local” indicator, and a secondary “remote” indicator. The local weight indicator, connected to the scale, transmits a string of weight data to the remote weight indicator, which displays the weight with limited independence. This forms what is known as a remote scale, or secondary scale.

When weighing functions occur in more than one area, a remote scale can prove useful—in some cases, it may even be essential. Remote scales are ideal for environments such as a scale house and a front office, or a control room and a process floor.

Remote scales provide numerous benefits, including:

Access to weight data from a distance
Ability to perform scale functions without having physical access to the local indicator

Despite the advantages of remote scales, it is important to consider that some functionality may be limited. Before implementing a remote scale system, take note of the following:

A key press on the remote indicator will initiate basic weighing functions like zero and tare, performed by the local indicator. Not all functions may be supported or initiated from the remote indicator to the local indicator, such as keyed tares or setpoint values.
Printing at the remote location may or may not be supported by the remote indicator. Some remote indicators have printing capabilities, but others simply forward the command to the local indicator.

When it comes to printing with remote indicators, consider whether a tare weight is included with the transmitted weight from the local indicator. Typically, only gross or net weight is transmitted to the remote indicator, so a ticket that shows gross, tare and net information may need to be printed by the local indicator.
Databases are almost always resident in only the local indicator. Remotely accessing a database may be prevented for a number of reasons. If specific records are entered during the transaction, those will need to be entered at the local indicator.

Another method of setting up a remote scale is using a scale webserver. A scale webserver is a server that allows a local indicator to communicate scale data that can be read on a network, through a PC or a handheld device. Typically, weighing functions can be performed at these remote locations, just like at the local indicator.

Whether you opt to form a remote scale system using local/remote indicators or a webserver, remote scales can streamline your process and increase accessibility. Central Carolina Scale offers a variety of weighing solutions. Optimize efficiency in your process with a Rice Lake indicator. Call our sales team at (919) 776-7737 to request a quote today.

Impacts That Factor in the Price of a Truck Scale?

A couple of years ago we discussed the ever popular how much does a truck scale cost? Today, we answer a similar question. What factors impact the price of a truck scale?

When purchasing a large piece of equipment, such as a truck scale, it can be hard to look past the price tag. However, to ensure you are investing in quality equipment that will last your business a generation or more, it is important to understand the factors impacting total purchase price. Elements such as design, craftsmanship, components and foundation of a truck scale all impact the final purchase price.

Truck Scale Design

Although the weighbridge (the structural body of a truck scale) can have varying designs depending on the manufacturer, it performs the same basic function across all brands and models: weighing trucks. Manufacturers who use a wide flange I-beam weighbridge design often have a higher steel content in their truck scales than manufacturers who utilize bent plate or steel tubing designs.

The number and size of beams in a weighbridge can also impact steel content. Designs that place larger beams closer together offer more support for vehicles than designs with smaller beams placed further apart. The support from larger beams means the deck won’t bend as easily, so the truck scale will provide accurate weighments for a longer time.

To better understand the cost of the truck scale steel content, divide the cost of the scale by its shipping weight to get the price per pound of the scale. This can be used to compare the price per pound of similar scales from different manufacturers. You may find the scale with higher steel content actually costs less on a price-per-pound basis.

Value in Scale Quality

Quality craftsmanship also contributes to a truck scale’s integrity. Purchasing from a company that invests in engineering and manufacturing ensures that there is a highly skilled team behind each and every truck scale.

The components that make up a truck scale are just as important as the team behind it. Companies who take the time to source high-quality load cells, steel, cables and other components often have a higher quality product.

Truck Scale Installation

The installation of the truck scale will also impact the final price. Installation includes excavation, the cost to pour the concrete foundation, off-loading and positioning the scale, installing electronic components and performing the initial calibration of the scale.

The truck scale installation should be performed by professional scale technicians who have experience working with scales from the manufacturer you chose. This expert installation will ensure proper scale operation and reliable weighments over the life of the scale.

A truck scale is a significant investment, and design, quality and installation all impact the final price of a truck scale. Choosing a truck scale with a heavy-duty design, superior engineering and components backed by industry experts gives you a scale that will last for a generation or more.

For more information on purchasing a truck scale, please contact the Central Carolina Scale heavy capacity sales department by calling (919) 776-7737.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems Expands Alabama Truck Scale Manufacturing Capability

Rice Lake Weighing Systems, maker of the popular Survivor line of truck scales, has been manufacturing a portion of those scales in Alabama for many years. However, due to increased demand, an additional manufacturing facility in Jasper, Alabama has been acquired which will allow Rice Lake to expand manufacturing capabilities. In an effort to expand manufacturing capacity and provide additional support to their customers, Rice Lake is expanding their presence in Walker County with the purchase of an additional manufacturing building located in Bevill industrial park.

This additional facility will increase manufacturing capacity for the company, where employees will produce Rice Lake SURVIVOR® truck scales among other product lines as production comes online. Rice Lake Weighing Systems is looking forward to the facility becoming operational as soon as possible by hiring skilled employees and procuring advanced manufacturing equipment.

President of Rice Lake Weighing Systems, Mark Johnson, Jr. remarks about the company’s increased manufacturing in Alabama, “Rice Lake Weighing Systems plans to maintain production at our existing facility in Curry and we will be hiring additional staff for the new Jasper location.”

rice lake survivor truck scale

Rice Lake Scale and previously as Powell All Steel Scales, has enjoyed more than 30 years of manufacturing in Jasper, Alabama and is grateful and proud of the Jasper community and those who have helped the company succeed.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems is a family-owned, ISO 9001 certified corporation, and has been manufacturing and distributing weight-related products and supplies since 1946. Today, Rice Lake Weighing Systems is a global leader in measurement and automated process control with a dealer network covering over 85 countries. Headquartered in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, Rice Lake Weighing Systems has additional facilities in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Customers interested in purchasing Rice Lake scales and weighing equipment can contact authorized distributor, Central Carolina Scale located in Sanford, North Carolina.

You can call the sales department at (919) 776-7737. Central Carolina Scale has sold and installed numerous Rice Lake scales and weighing systems. The company also provides calibration services for Rice Lake products as well.

Answering Your Questions About Truck Scale Load Cells & Mounting Systems

The majority of this article is provided by Rice Lake Weighing Systems. We have also added a few insights and thoughts of our own as well.

What is a Load Cell?

A load cell, also commonly referred to as a transducer, converts a mechanical force into an electrical signal. Basically, the load cell bends slightly when weight is applied.

In a compression mounted load cell where the load cell is beneath the weighing vessel, like a truck scale, the load cell compresses when a load is applied. This would apply to scales like the Cardinal PRC which has the SCA load cells.

The load cell produces an analog output signal that is proportional to the applied weight or force. The load cell transmits this signal to a digital weight indicator that converts the signal into a digital weight measurement.

When an application requires multiple load cells, each load cell should measure the same proportion of the total load. So in a four load cell system, each load cell should measure exactly one quarter of the load.

Many load cells are proprietary to a specific manufacturer, and may require additional maintenance and costs of ownership. Carefully discuss with your scale supplier all options for load cell systems.

replacement rl75058-75k truck scale load cells

Analog Load Cells
The most common load cells on the market work on the strain gauge principle. All load cells need to convert their analog values to digital before the load’s weight reading can be displayed on an indicator.

Some load cells are directly cabled to the digital weight indicator where the translation occurs. Other cells are connected to summing junction boxes on the scale where the box sums analog readings from multiple load cells, converts it to a digital signal and sends that signal to the digital weight indicator.

Hydraulic Load Cells (pressure transmitters)
Unlike most other load cells, hydraulic load cells do not use strain gauges or internal circuitry. Instead, hydraulic load cells contain hydraulic fluid, and during compression, a change in pressure is created and transmitted via tubing to a summing system where the pressure is applied to an analog load cell to determine weight.

The advantages of the hydraulic load cell typically relate to being resistant to lightning damage. The disadvantage of this type of scale and replacement load cell is the cost.

Analog-to-Digital Load Cells
Some analog load cells perform the analog-to-digital signal conversion within the load cell housing. Although sometimes referred to as digital load cells, the cell still measures in analog. Making the conversion from an analog signal to a digital signal in the load cell allows the system to compare the output of individual load cells and perform a diagnostic analysis based on that information.

Some would say that because the conversion happens in the load cell, sensitive electronic components are increased throughout the scale system, making them susceptible to damage from vibration, moisture and increased solder joints.

Types of Load Cells Found in Truck Scales

Double Ended Shear Beam
This is the most widely used vehicle scale load cell configuration in North America. A double-ended shear beam load cell is a compression load cell that offers a large capacity range from 1,000 to 200,000 pounds.

The double-ended shear beam is secured at both ends with the load applied to the center of the load cell. As in all shear beam designs, the strain gauges are mounted on a thin web in the center of the cell’s machined cavity.

The load cell also has the advantages of being less expensive in high capacity applications than the canister load cell because it does not require checking, making it virtually a maintenance free solution.

Canister
A canister load cell is the oldest load cell type. Also a compression device, it is shaped like a vertical canister and can handle loads from 100 to 1,000,000 pounds.

It is either hermetically sealed or welded to protect the gauges. This load cell’s drawbacks include the fact that it requires checking — installing check or stay rods to hold the weighing vessel in place on the load cell’s top plate during weighing.

For these reasons, many canister load cells on the market today are used to replace older canister load cells on existing weighing systems.

Rocker Column
Some manufacturers prefer rocker column load cells because they are inexpensive. However, they require check rods and bumper bolts that require maintenance, increasing your cost of ownership. The cost saved by the manufacturer on the raw material is passed down the line to the end user in the form of additional maintenance.

Load Cells Are Usually Manufactured as either Alloy Steel or Stainless Steel 

Truck scale load cells are generally made of stainless steel or alloy steel, but most manufacturers offer a variety of load cell solutions that best fit your application needs.

Alloy Steel Load Cells
Load cells manufactured from tool alloy steel elements are by far the most popular cells in use today. The cost to performance ratio is better compared to either aluminum or stainless steel designs. The most popular alloys are 4330 and 4340 because they have low creep (the change in load cell output over time while under load) and low hysteresis (the difference between load cell output readings for the same applied load).

Stainless Steel Load Cells
Stainless steel cells are more expensive than tool alloy steel load cells. They are sometimes fitted with hermetically sealed web cavities, which make them an ideal choice for corrosive, high-moisture applications. Stainless steel load cells that are not hermetically sealed have little advantage over comparable cells constructed of tool alloy steel, other than a higher resistance to corrosion.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the different load cells found in the average truck scale. Since 1980 we have been providing customers throughout the central part of North Carolina with truck scale inspections, scale repair and calibration services. Our test weights and weight cart are certified by the state of North Carolina for accuracy. Our scale technicians are highly trained and knowledgeable when it comes to checking and installing various brands of truck scales.

If you need your existing scale checked or perhaps you’re in the market for a new truck scale, please give us a call today (919) 776-7737.