Accurately measuring mass is essential for scientists and lab technicians in a wide array of industries. For accurate results, it’s important to have the right tools, such as a lab balance, for measuring the mass of an object.
In this blog post, we will provide an informative guide on how to use analytical balances and which features and functions to look for when selecting one. We’ll also cover the installation process from unpacking—to calibration.
Read on to be well-equipped with knowledge on how to properly use and care for your analytical balance so you can start getting accurate measurements today.
Overview of an Analytical Balance
An analytical balance is an essential tool for any laboratory setting. It is a precision instrument designed to accurately measure mass, and it is used extensively in the pharmaceutical, chemical, medical, and educational industries.
The weighing mechanism on an analytical balance is highly sensitive and can be accurate to a fraction of a milligram! It works by using electromagnetic force to counteract the weight of the substance being measured, resulting in highly accurate readings for things like determining the purity of a substance, the concentration of a solution, or the dosage of a medication.
They make it easy to weigh out ingredients for various experiments or processes, as well as measure small amounts of substances like powders or liquids. Plus, they come in a variety of sizes and capacities so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly.
In short, if you’re looking for reliable results in your laboratory setting, an analytical balance is the way to go!
Features to Look for When Selecting an Analytical Balance
When selecting an analytical balance, it is important to consider the features and functions that are necessary for your application. Be sure to look at these 5 things, along with any other capabilities the device offers.
The readability of an analytical balance is important. Look for a model that has a high resolution model and a fast weighing time. Most analytical balances have a high speed response and a high precision weighing resolution of 0.1 mg.
Additionally, weighing capacity should also be considered as this can vary widely from model to model—be sure the model you choose has a minimum weight and a maximum weight that works for the items you’ll be putting on the scale. Analytical balances are only capable of weighing lightweight objects. Weighing anything above the maximum weight limit could cause damage.
Linearity measures how closely the weight readings on the display match actual weights placed on the platform; and repeatability is how consistent those readings will remain throughout a series of measurements. Lastly, tare allows you to subtract previously weighed items from current measurements so they don’t affect results.
In addition to these important specifications, added features such as a compact design, separate weighing unit and display unit, self-check and clearing functions, response speed settings, data memory, and a power off functions are all added attributes that improve productivity when using the device.
Once you have selected an analytical balance, unpack the product carefully and follow the manufacturer’s provided instructions.
4 Steps to Properly Set Up Your Analytical Balance
If you’ve acquired an analytical balance, it’s time to get it set up. First things first—grab the product manual. It is packed with visuals and tips to help guide you through the setup process. Here are four essential steps to get your balance up and running so you can start the precision weighing process.
1. Choose the Right Location for Your Analytical Balance
Any movement or vibration can affect the readings of your balance, so take precautions to ensure a stable environment when choosing the location of your new equipment.
Three of the most common factors that can affect the accuracy of an analytical balance are temperature, air currents and vibrations.
The first step when selecting the location for your balance is to consider the room temperature stability.
Even in a temperature controlled room, some things are out of your control. Walls and floors tend to go below normal room temperature in winter months and windows are constantly subjected to the temperature variations from inside and outside air. This is why it’s crucial to select a spot near the wall that is nowhere near a glass window or within any direct sunlight.
Additionally, make sure that the area where the analytical balance is placed is free from vibrations, such as people walking through, or, areas where heavy objects are moved around. It is best to avoid areas near doorways, main walking routes or in the central area of a large room as the floor tends to shake more in these heavy traffic zones. The most ideal location is against a wall that has another room on the other side.
To prevent air currents from affecting your results, place the analytical balance away from air vents, fans, and open windows. Also consider turning off any other devices that create air movement around the room when the device is in use. If these are unavoidable, place a shield, partition, or other type of barrier around the analytical balance to limit the flow of air.
The table the analytical balance sits on should have a solid, level surface with good heat capacity. It’s best to position the equipment close to a wall and as low to the ground as possible. Then pull the balance out a couple of centimeters to avoid the vibrations or temperature changes that come from the wall.
Remember—When it comes to precision measurements, these small details can be the difference between accurate measurements or costly, inaccurate results. So it’s important to follow these guidelines as closely as possible when determining the work space for your balance.
2. Unpack and Power
Unpacking and installing an analytical balance doesn’t have to be a challenging task. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can quickly and easily get your analytical balance up and running. Here are five tips to ensure a successful installation:
- Carefully unpack the analytical balance and inspect it for any signs of damage. If you find any damage, contact your supplier immediately.
- Place the analytical balance on a flat, level surface in a draft-free area to ensure accuracy when taking measurements. Make sure the surface is free from vibration or electrical interference that could affect results.
- Connect the analytical balance to a power source using the power adapter that came with your device.
- Turn on the analytical balance and allow it to warm up for 5-10 minutes before taking measurements or calibrating it for use. This will help ensure accuracy when taking readings later on.
- Finally, make sure you read through all of the user manuals that came with your device before attempting to use it so you understand how it works best and how to get accurate readings every time!
Once you’ve found the right location for your analytical balance, you need to make sure the balance is level.
In most cases, the surface the balance is placed on will likely have imperfections beyond your control. To compensate for this, most analytical balance models will have adjustable feet as well as a level indicator that shows you when the equipment is properly placed.
When starting the leveling process it’s recommended to position the adjustable feet at the lowest setting and then adjust the feet counterclockwise to lower the height and clockwise to raise the height. Do this until the level indicator shows that the position is level both vertically and horizontally.
If the area is not level, the analytical balance will not be able to accurately measure the weight of a sample, so this is a critical step that should be taken with care and close consideration.
After you have unpacked and correctly leveled your analytical balance, the next step is to calibrate it. You will need to use certified calibration weights to ensure that the balance is reading accurately.
To perform this task, first read any instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding the calibration procedures. Then place a calibration weight on the weighing platform of the analytical balance and note the reading on the display. If the reading is accurate then you are ready to measure samples; if not, consult the guide book on next steps.
If you have taken all the proper measures and your scale is still not showing accurate results, you may need to contact customer service for assistance.
Once your analytical balance is calibrated you will need to store the calibration weights in a safe place away from dust or debris.
To ensure continued accuracy, regular testing of the analytical balance is recommended to ensure it is functioning correctly. This includes calibrating the balance to check its accuracy and sensitivity. It’s also important to check that all components are in good working order and there are no signs of wear and tear on moving parts.
Consulting a professional to have regularly scheduled calibration testing performed is the best way to keep your balance in top condition and catch any necessary resets or repairs to avoid worse damage.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Analytical Balance
Keeping a clean and well maintained analytical balance is essential. To make sure your balance functions properly, it should be cleaned regularly with a soft cloth and mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as these can damage the delicate parts of the balance and always remove any dust or debris from the weighing pan before each use.
Storing Your Analytical Balance
When not in use, you need to store this precious equipment in the right place with the proper conditions. When you’re ready to store it, disconnect the power source and put a cover over it. Store the equipment in a non-humid, clean, dry place that is away from the main traffic spots where people are coming and going.
Get Accurate Results with a Properly Installed Analytical Balance
Proper setup of your analytical balance can mean the difference between accurate and inaccurate results. With proper care, installation, use and maintenance, you can ensure that your analytical balance will perform its best for a long time.
To get the most accurate results, remember the key steps discussed in this article.
Select a location that is free from drafts or vibrations as these can affect readings. After unpacking, and leveling the balance, calibrating it with certified calibration weights is essential.
Ongoing calibration testing and regular cleaning and maintenance is necessary to secure accuracy for the long haul..
At American Scale, we offer a wide variety of analytical balances to meet all your needs. Our knowledgeable team is here to help guide you through the selection process and provide support for any questions or issues you may be experiencing with your device.
We also offer scale and balance calibration services to keep your investment performing at its best. Contact us today to learn more about our line of balances and our calibration services.