5 questions about scales in the waste industry

Rice Lake Weighing Systems’ Tim Donahue explains what to consider when purchasing a scale for a waste processing facility.

1. What should you consider when purchasing a scale system?

Tim Donahue
Rice Lake Weighing Systems
Senior Manager of Product Management

Many different scales can be used in waste processing facilities. The processes of individual facilities will help operators chose a solution that withstands corrosive materials, boosts efficiency and satisfies all weight monitoring requirements.

Bench and floor scales are ideal for weighing bundled or palletized items. These types of scales are available in many standard sizes and capacities, but some manufacturers also create custom scales for unique requirements.

Whether you choose truck scales, onboard vehicle scales or portable scales to weigh truckloads depends on your processes. If every vehicle in your fleet returns to the same location after retrieving material, a truck scale installation would be ideal. However, if your fleet travels farther and collects material at various sites, onboard weighing could be better. Portable vehicle scales are perfect for temporary work sites.

2. What is a legal-for-trade scale?

Using a legal-for-trade scale in your business means items can be sold and services can be billed legally based on weight.

To be legal for trade, the scale must have certificates of conformance from governing bodies and must be placed into service by a certified scale technician. These practices enforce market fairness guidelines for providing accurate measurements, which are adopted by federal, state and local jurisdictions.

Not all scales are legal for trade, however, so make sure you select an appropriate scale if your company is selling or billing based on weight.

3. How do you choose a digital weight indicator?

Many digital weight indicators are available to pair with your scale. You should consider what actions you’ll take with the weight data, including recording the weight or controlling an operation.

Most digital weight indicators connect to ticket printers, but you may need additional connectivity options for further integration and data access.

4. How can you ensure your scale system stays operational?

Choosing a system with features designed to ensure longevity is important, but all scales require regular maintenance to remain operational.

Daily, you should thoroughly clear debris from around and under your scale to prevent load cell interference and inaccurate weight readings. You also should inspect cables for damage that could cause errors. Some manufacturers offer advanced monitoring and diagnostic platforms that alert operators to potential system errors.

At least yearly, a certified scale technician should inspect and calibrate your scales. Some systems could require more frequent maintenance based on use or regional requirements, but annual maintenance is essential to ensure your scale functions properly.

5. What should you look for in scale distributors?

When choosing a scale distributor, consider how close they are to your business. If a scale system malfunctions, you want to know a certified technician will be at your facility within hours, minimizing downtime. Find a distributor who works with manufacturers with a reputation for going above and beyond to support customers, ensuring every product need is met.

July August 2022
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