5 Best Practices for Calibrating Scales
Industrial and commercial scales are used across a wide variety of industries. Yamato provides commercial weighing solutions for a variety of markets—whether your business needs to weigh a 200-pound quarter cow or sort through and weigh smaller, granulated products such as coffee or detergent, you will at some point need to calibrate and re-calibrate whatever kind of scale you are utilizing for your operation. Most corporations provide workers with in-house scale calibration guidelines; however, smaller up-and-coming companies might not have established specific guidelines to ensure that scales are churning out proper, accurate readings on a consistent basis. Listed in the section below are a couple of straightforward tips you can follow to ensure that your scales provide accurate results every time.
1. Make Sure All Parts of the Scale Are Properly Assembled and Clean
This may seem like an obvious tip, but many scale-reading errors can occur if you do not make sure that your scale is in top working condition. If your operation uses a scale such as the Alpha Advanced Series commercial combination scale, you will notice that several parts must work together to produce an accurate reading. Before you proceed to the later steps in the calibration process, it is important to double-check to make sure that all pieces of the scale are secured in their rightful place, and that debris from your product is cleared out from all parts of the scale. Once your scale is debris-free and assembled properly, you will be able to move on to the more technical aspects of accurate scale calibration.
2. Use State-Certified Test Weights
Not all weights are created equal—unfortunately, some producers of test weights adhere to their own internal rules and regulations. When looking for a state-certified test weight, look for products reviewed and approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or the ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials) non-profit organization. Agencies such as the NIST and ASTM test products in accordance with rigorous state guidelines. Companies that produce state-certified weights remove the guesswork from your calibration processes and ensure that your calibrations produce the most accurate readings possible. Accurate readings from certified weights, ultimately, enable your operation to maximize efficiency and cut down on waste that might otherwise occur due to faulty, inaccurate scales.
3. Conduct an Eccentricity Test and a Repeatability Test
With the pre-calibration checks out of the way, you are now prepared to calibrate your scale. If you are using a product such as the Yamato SMN Series mechanical scale, you can conduct an eccentricity test to make sure that your scale reads accurately across its entire platform. To conduct an eccentricity test, divide the scale platform into at least four separate regions (think of your standard cartesian plane). First, place a state-certified weight in the middle of the scale and record the reading. Repeat this process in each quadrant/region and take note of the scale reading. Are your results consistent in each region? Are there any irregularities? Once you have noted the readings in all of your quadrants/regions, repeat the test at least three times, and make sure that the conditions are exactly the same all three times. Again, record all readings and take note of irregularities between readings. After you have completed three rounds of testing, you will have a better understanding of your scale’s readings.
4. Document Your Findings and Set Up a Calibration Schedule
Keeping an official record of your readings is critically important. Not only does proper documentation decrease redundancies in your operation—it allows other workers to notice irregularities in scale readings. For instance, if someone suspects that a reading is off, the worker can consult the calibration log to see when the last round of calibration occurred. Furthermore, if the logs reveal that the calibration of your scale begins to diminish at a faster and faster rate, you will be able to spot a problem sooner than later, and you can then draft a plan of action for identifying and correcting the problem with your scale.
5. If All Else Fails, Consult an Expert
If your business depends on portioning, sorting, and weighing, the importance of scale calibration can’t be understated. Many businesses struggle with managing spoilage and shrink, and a faulty scale can make this problem much worse. Fortunately, Yamato provides customer product testing and training for a variety of industries. Our friendly experts are equipped with the tools and knowledge necessary to address your business’ specific needs. Whether you have a question about how your scale works, or if you have a concern about your scale’s readings, we can help solve your problems and set you up for success.
Calibrating and re-calibrating an industrial or commercial scale can seem like a difficult task, and your business’ profits rely on consistent and accurate readings. If your business is in need of a state-of-the-art industrial scale or hands-on scale calibration training from a group of industry leaders, contact Yamato today to schedule a consultation to see our products and services in action!