View A Video on Scales - A Quick Introduction
Scales are weight measurement tools. They are used throughout
industrial, commercial and consumer products contexts. They can be used
to measure the weight of industrial ingredients and products, commercial
commodities, medical products, agricultural products and even people.
Whether the goal is to determine weight based on a quantity or the quantity from a weight, industrial scales are widely used in industry. From hospital and laboratory medical scales to roadside truck scales, weighing devices are present in the everyday function of not only industrial operations but commercial and consumer settings as well. The myriad use of scales warrants a wide assortment of designs. Platform scales, balance scales and hanging scales all employ different weighing techniques and technology to best determine the weight of an object. Within these groupings, scales display a wide range of capabilities as exemplified by floor scales and bench scales. Both are types of platform scales but with very different intents, purposes and capabilities. Hanging scales likewise vary, including enormous crane scales as well as pocket-sized luggage scales. Additional options include the use of digital scales, portable scales, electronic scales, counting scales as well as spring-loaded weighing scales. Scales include many specific devices, features and options, all of which must be carefully considered in order to select the proper mechanism for a given application.
The most important variable in any industrial, commercial or consumer weighing operation is the maximum weight that a scale must measure accurately. Scales range in their weighing capacities from a matter of grams to 80,000 pounds and even higher in some cases. As a scale capable of handling several tons of weight must inherently be large, they are not practical in some applications. Large scales such as these may themselves weigh several hundred pounds. Applications for these industrial scales include the weighing of freight, cargo, pallets and even the machinery itself. Just as these are not applicable in many smaller weighing operations, smaller bench scales are also not applicable in many industries. A bench scale, as the name implies, is a scale that is placed upon a bench, table or counter. Inherently smaller, these scales are used to weigh smaller objects or substances such as produce at a grocery store or pills in a pharmacy. In these settings it is not only the capacity of the scale that is of paramount value, but the accuracy. While these smaller scales may measure accurately down to the milligram, larger scales sometimes round to the nearest half pound. Again, the application should indicate which is preferred or required. A laboratory setting measuring gaseous materials, for example, would require an extremely precise scale with a digital read-out. To a truck scale, which may measure simply to the nearest tonnage, the amount of gas present within the cargo hold would remain indiscernible.
No matter the capacity or accuracy, nearly all scales are easily divided into two categories based on the implementation of the weighing device. Platform scales and hanging scales encompass virtually all other types of scales. A platform scale consists of a surface or scale pan upon which items and containers are placed. Some, as is the case with balance scales, contain multiple platforms, while others, such as floor and bench scales, have only one. In any event a system of levers, load cells or springs is arranged under the platform or pans to read the weight. Hanging scales, on the other hand, suspend the load from a hook or chain. Sensors above the object to be weighed read the measurements. Crane scales are the most common example of a hanging scale, though they are increasingly available in small and even pocket sizes for such varied uses as weighing luggage at the airport or for fishing.
Both types of scales use hydraulic, balance, springs, load cells or a combination to determine the weight of a given load. The specific style and system of individual weighing scales may vary considerably, but all commercially used and produced scales in the United States are subject to the standards established by the National Institute of Science and Technology to ensure the safety of workers and the accuracy of industries in which goods are sold by weight. Scales prevent both worker and machine overload as well as promote fair business practice. This is paramount considering the wide range of industries that make frequent use of industrial scales. Food service, retail, hospitality, agriculture, automotive, transport, aerospace, engineering, construction, marine, shipping and thousands of other industries use scales to ensure quality, accuracy and convenience in the delivery and supply of goods ranging from food and medicine to heavy equipment and even livestock.
are specifically created to weigh pets and livestock. Different scales
are designed to weigh different animals; for example, scale makers have
created a special apparatus for weighing eagles that keeps the eagle
more relaxed and comfortable, and thus provides a more accurate weight-reading
- Balance scales are weight measurement tools that involve the use of a beam balanced on a fulcrum.
- Bench scales are used in many industrial environments for a wide variety of applications,
including shipping and receiving. The scale's durability makes
it useful in weighing a wide variety of heavy objects.
- Counting scales are used to count coins and currency in industries, such as retail and
hospitality. Counting scales often contain a memory component that stores
the number and weight of various manufacturing parts.
- Crane scales are hanging scales that measure the weight and tension of heavy, lifted
objects and aid in the prevention of overload.
- Digital scales offer high precision by using complex systems, such as
load cell technology. Load cells translate the weight of an object into
electronic signals, which are conveyed to the user in digital form.
- Electronic scales are weighing devices that are electronically motorized and use electrical currents, charges and signals to accurately and precisely calculate the dynamic or static load of an object or substance.
measure liquids and gases in a variety of industrial applications. The
size, shape and purpose of these scales range from large filling scales
- used to measure bulk material, such as sand and gravel -
to small gas cylinder filling scales used to measure gases like hydrogen
and to create gaseous mixtures.
- Floor scales are general-purpose scales used in industry operations, such as in shipping
and receiving. Floor scales are useful in weighing heavy objects such
as drums and objects that require the use of equipment, like dollies
or carts, for transportation.
- Industrial scales encompass a broad spectrum of weighing devices capable of measuring the weight of heavy loads with high accuracy for applications in which this measurement is relevant to commerce and safe business practice.
are sensitive lab instruments often found in organizations in the medical
and scientific communities. Lab scales can measure one-millionth of
a gram and are capable of measuring small particles, such as dust or
do not require a power source, and objects are either weighed by a balancing
instrument, as in the case of beam scales,
or by a mechanical lever or spring. The mechanical spring flattens as
an object exerts pressure upon it, and the spring's deformation,
which depends upon the weight applied, determines the weight reading
- Medical scales are used to measure weight in hospitals, doctors' offices and other medical settings.
- Platform scales encompass a wide range of weighing devices that use one or more plates to calculate the static and dynamic load of objects or substances in a number of industrial, commercial and residential applications.
- Portable scales can be moved from one place to another.
provide a convenient way for customers and employees to measure the
portion size of various goods.
are powered by energy from the sun. The sun's power is converted
into electricity through silicon semiconductors, called solar cells,
and the cell's absorption of light particles releases energy from
- Truck scales are heavy-duty scales used to measure vehicles like rigs or tankers.
Although the use of load cells
remains a common weight-sensing technique for vehicles, truck scales
also use bending-plate and piezoelectric weighing systems.
provide a convenient way to measure an assortment of objects ranging
from grocery store items to animal carcasses.
- The part of the scale that operates the measuring cell and circuits
in an electronic system.
- The mechanism in a
scale used to determine the weight of an object.
- The counting, weighing
and preparation of industrial components.
- The method
of weighing an object on metal plates by determining the amount of force
applied to the plates.
- The process of
testing a scale to ensure accurate weight readings.
- The amount
of error between what an object's weight on a scale appears to be
and what the true mass of the object is.
- A device that
monitors the weight of objects, as in a production line.
- Expresses the weight
of an object in various formats, including dial, analog, digital and balance
- The change in a load
- The process
of weighing an object many times but getting a different reading for
it each time.
- A tool that uses
the signal from a junction box to display the weight of an object in a
- A term for the
number displayed that will vary randomly and sporadically rather than
- A tool that uses
the electronic signal from a load cell to determine the weight of an object.
Semi-conductors that provide the display on digital scales and produce
light through their reaction to electrical current. When electrical current
is supplied in a particular manner, the diodes illuminate in numerical
The display provided on digital scales. LCDs block light through the reaction
of liquid crystals to electric current; thus, the area in which the light
is blocked is darkened, and when electrical current is strategically applied,
the darkened areas form numbers, which represent the weight reading.
- The applied weight of
an object to a load cell.
A mechanism that reflects the weight of an object in the form of an
- The use of
load cells to measure an object.
- A transducer used
in determining the weight of an object.
- The part of the scale that actually senses
the weight and converts in into an electrical signal.
- The electronic signal
produced when weight is applied to a load cell.
- The use
of sensors to determine the weight of an object.
- A structure on which
the weight of a heavy object is distributed in order to achieve an accurate
weight reading of the object.
- A mechanism that rotates
- The ability
of a scale to produce the same reading for an object weighed multiple
- The smallest amount
of weight that a scale can detect.
- Holes into which
a scale is anchored.
- The change in a structure's
size after weight is applied to the structure.
- A tool used to
measure the change in size of a structure after weight has been applied
to the structure.
- A tool that converts energy into a different form.
- A machine that
consists of metal plates implanted into the ground. This is used to measure
the weight of heavy objects, such as vehicles.
- The use of
sensors to determine a vehicle's weight while the vehicle is in
motion. As the vehicle moves over the scale, the sensors establish the
amount of force applied to each axle and calculate the total force applied.
- An instrument
that converts an item, such as a container, into a scale by measuring
the capacity of the container.
- The amount of gravity
exerted upon an object.