Across a range of industries, companies can lose thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars annually if scales are inaccurate. While scale calibration and maintenance costs can seem high, with an annual price tag of up to $1,000 to $3,000, the best scale calibration and maintenance programs more than pay for themselves by correcting costly inaccuracies. In fact, these programs can even help to ensure a complete ROI on the cost of the scale itself!
To be most effective, a scale maintenance program must have five key components: the use of a state-licensed service provider; conducting calibration using state-certified test weights with written calibration and test report for proof of accuracy; a thorough testing process; visual inspection services and minor repairs; and detailed reporting. By implementing scale maintenance programs with these five key components, scale owners can expect to keep costs down and profits up through scale accuracy and timely maintenance.
While some service providers require that any minor repairs and adjustments found to be necessary during the calibration be taken care of by a separate visit and charge, the most comprehensive programs by service providers enable technicians to make these repairs and adjustments as part of routine calibration visits. In addition, some providers offer on-line portals for 24/7/365 access to a repository of customer calibration reports.
Use a state-licensed service provider
It is important to understand that the state weights and measures organization is the only entity that can issue a scale certification. A commercial scale company cannot certify a scale – but it does have the authority to recalibrate and reinstate an inaccurate scale that has been “tagged-out” by the state – as long as the scale company is state-licensed and registered in good standing.
Conduct calibration using state-certified test weights
Calibration must be performed with state-certified test weights. An established scale service company typically has its entire inventory of test weights tested and certified annually, in accordance with state weights and measures standards.
Beware of service companies that test only a portion of their overall weight inventory each year. Though this may save costs for the service provider, it can cost you a lot in the long run if test weights are inaccurate during calibration. Here’s a tip: All certified test weights bear a stamp from the governing state weights and measures entity, and you can request a copy of the test weight certification from your scale service provider.
Make sure testing process is thorough
To test a weighing device properly, testers first have to determine the length of the platform and the total number of sections along that length. Each section contains a scale load point and therefore a load sensor. The accuracy of each of these load points is critical to overall accuracy, and so should be a focus of the testing process.
Incorporate visual inspection and repairs
A thorough scale maintenance program must include visual inspection, followed by any necessary repairs. A good service company should conduct a free visual inspection and have the ability to perform minor repairs while on-site for the maintenance visit. Most scale owners understand that it is better to repair and address issues when they are small, rather than wait until they are big and expensive.
A good scale maintenance program will provide thorough reporting. Each maintenance inspection should include a written report documenting test results, and including both before and after calibration, as well as a summary of finding and recommendations.