In ancient times, basic scales were used to help merchants or traders accurately determine the weight of goods and currency. Although the technology in scales has changed, these tools remain just as essential today as they were 1,000 years ago.
In the modern world, scales play a critical role in everything from medical research, physician care, and pharmacology to industrial fields like manufacturing and shipping. Due to being more sophisticated, modern scales are sensitive pieces of equipment that require constant maintenance and recalibration to work properly.
Read on to learn more about the fundamentals of scale maintenance and routine calibrations so you can avoid problems with faulty measurements.
Why Scale Preventative Maintenance and Routine Calibrations Are Important
After they are initially calibrated, both electronic and mechanical scales will gradually become less precise. Unless scales are recalibrated on a regular schedule, deviations in accuracy can continue to worsen, which can have major ramifications for the businesses or organizations that use them.
Here are the three main reasons why you should calibrate your scales consistently. Doing so:
1. Ensures Accuracy
The primary reason for calibrating a scale is to maintain its ability to provide an accurate weight reading. This accuracy is essential for physicians, lab technicians, pharmacists, and other professionals who rely on exact measurements in their daily work.
If you follow a predetermined scale calibration routine, problems with weight deviations may be minimized or altogether eliminated.
2. Saves Money
In business environments, a calibrated and well-maintained scale can help reduce shipping costs, which can have a positive impact on your bottom line. In addition, regular scale maintenance will help to lengthen the lifespan of your scales, which can alleviate surprise expenses associated with repairing or replacing your equipment. Over the course of months and years, these savings can add up to a considerable sum of money that can then be reinvested into the growth and long-term stabilization of your business.
3. Helps Prevent Legal Issues
Inaccurate weight readings can come with major legal consequences for a variety of industries. For industrial manufacturers who must follow strict compliance and quality control standards, a dysfunctional scale can result in a costly halt to operations or even lawsuits from customers. Medical professionals who use faulty scales may also record incorrect weights, which can lead to misdiagnosis or improper treatments that could be held as grounds for legal action.
Common Symptoms of a Poorly Calibrated Scale or Balance
A scale or balance that isn’t calibrated properly won’t always show obvious indications that something is wrong. That being said, there are several tell-tale signs that it’s time to calibrate your scale or balance.
Here are a few of the issues commonly seen in faulty weighing devices:
Weight Measurements Fluctuate
A scale that requires calibration will sometimes show a variance between weight readings of the same object. If you suspect a scale is not indicating the correct weight, you can check the accuracy by testing the weight on another device that’s already calibrated. While slight weight deviations are acceptable in some industries, any inconsistencies should be cause for concern.
There Are Visible Signs of Damage
Scales that have seen regular use for years or have not been properly maintained may show visible indications of wear and tear. You may notice physical damage to the exterior of the scale or discoloration caused by corrosion, grime, or debris. If you inspect the scale internally, you may also notice issues like moisture or dirt collecting on the load cells, which can inhibit the scale’s ability to provide an accurate reading.
The Scale Won’t Display a Zero Reading
Another common problem with inaccurate scales is the inability to reach a zero reading even when no weight is applied to the device. Be aware that the tare button on electronic scales is only meant to account for the weight of a container placed on the weighing plate and will not address issues with a scale that won’t display a zero reading to begin with.
To fix this issue, professional calibration is usually required.
Essential Tips for Routine Scale Maintenance
The accuracy and expected service life of scales can be extended by performing simple routine maintenance. How often your scales should be inspected or serviced will depend on your environment and the frequency of use.
Follow these simple scale preventative maintenance tips to keep your equipment in good shape.
Keep Your Scale Clean
It’s important to keep your scale or balance clean by closely following the procedures provided by the manufacturer. When cleaning lab scales, balances other highly sensitive weighing devices, be careful not to allow moisture anywhere near the internal components. Instead, use alcohol wipes or cleaning substances made specifically for the type of scale you’re using.
Conduct a Visual Inspection of the Scale Weekly or Even Daily
It’s good practice to visually inspect scales before using them. Check for any obvious signs of damage to the weighing pan or other external parts that could contribute to inaccurate readings. You’ll also want to verify that the scale rests upon a flat surface like linoleum or tile flooring and not a pliable material like carpet.
Always Calibrate Scales After Moving Them
Bear in mind that moving a scale from one location to another can affect calibration. Any jostling of sensitive internal parts of a scale may result in weight deviation. In addition, moving a scale to another area may interfere with its ability to give a consistent reading. If you must move a scale, be sure to recalibrate it.
Schedule Your Routine Scale Maintenance with A Trusted Company
At American Scale, we understand the importance of consistent accuracy when it comes to maintaining and calibrating your scales or balances. We understand how detrimental production downtime can be for any business operation. That’s why we offer 24/7 emergency service to repair or calibrate your scale the moment you need assistance.
American Scale is an accredited full-service regional distributor and scale maintenance provider, with highly qualified service technicians and over 30 years of experience. We follow guidelines from Handbook 44 and everything is traceable to the National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). We offer scheduled scale routine maintenance, inspections and calibrations for anywhere within roughly two hours of Louisville, KY.
American Scale’s preventative maintenance programs help you save money in the long run because problems are caught early before recalibration or issues become necessary. Contact American Scale today to learn how we can help you can extend the lifetime of your scale and keep your production running smoothly.