How To Calibrate Weighing Scales: Top Tips To Remember

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Weighing scales play an integral role in our daily lives. But of what use is a weighing scale if it provides inaccurate measurement? This is why it is important to know how to calibrate weighing scales to make full use of these tools.

These days, there are different kinds of weighing scale out on the market. There are those that make use of high-technology such as WiFi-connected bathroom scales or extra-precise ones that are often used for research, to name some.

A Quick Glance at Weighing Scale’s History

Weighing scales were far from sophisticated in the olden days when humankind started using the tool. The use of scales started way back in the Before Christ or BC era. Trading was already a primary occupation in those days, and men needed to measure a variety of things for bartering.

History records would show that the oldest weighing scale discovered goes back to the year 2000 BC. It was a balance type of weighing scale with two plates at both ends that are attached to a beam on top with a central pole securing it. Weight-set rocks are placed on one plate while the object being measured sits on the other plate until an equilibrium is reached.

This type of weighing scale worked accurately but is also prone to manipulation. Even historical records show the most famous cheating incident involving a weighing scale was in 390 BC after Celt Chief Brennus captured Rome and sought for a ransom of 1000 gold.

The weighing scale did not improve greatly in the following years to come as it was only in the late 18th century when technology was used to alter the tool. In 1770, during the industrial era, an English balance maker, Richard Salter, invented the spring scale. As the name suggests, the weight of an object is obtained by measuring the tension or pressure on the spring.

With the advancement of technology, weighing scales these days have improved tremendously compared to those of the ancient times. However, even modern ones have to be appropriately calibrated for them to measure weight accurately.

Why Calibration Is Necessary

It is important to keep the balance of any scale. Otherwise, there is no point in weighing any object if the balance is not calibrated. One cannot get the accurate weight with an uncalibrated weighing scale.

Plus, there is the question of how long the digital weighing scale will last if it is constantly left in an uncalibrated state. The scale will become a lot less reliable in the future if left neglected and this is why it is recommended to check the calibration now and then.

The Benefits of Calibration

There is no doubt that there are many advantages in keeping the scale calibrated at all times. If you are a business owner who uses a weighing scale for your operations, it is essential to ensure that the scale is accurate. Keeping a precise scale equals cost saving as it allows business owners or even homemakers to make right decisions when it comes to their purchases or business. Knowing the correct weight keep rework or even waste at bay.

If you are using a scale to keep tabs on your weight, then an accurate scale would give a fair assessment whether the weight loss journey or program you are in is effective or not.

Many businesses require weighing of the final product as part of the production process. Products with incorrect weight may lead to product recall thus costing the company a lot of money. Plus, using uncalibrated weighing scales may lead to failure of any audits being done for the business.

Periodic calibration is also necessary to determine whether the scale is still working correctly or not. It is easy to detect a detective scale if there is regular calibration as a scale that fails to read the weight despite calibration correctly means that it is already defective.

Calibration vs. Adjustment

Many people use the words “calibration” and “adjustment” interchangeably. Unfortunately, the two terms are not synonyms.

According to International Vocabulary of Metrology or VIM, calibration is defined as “Operation that, under specified conditions, in a first step, establishes a relation between the quantity values with measurement uncertainties provided by measurement standards and corresponding indications with associated measurement uncertainties and, in a second step, uses this information to establish a relation for obtaining a measurement result from an indication.”

Simply put, the process of calibration of scale is about how it behaves; whether the tool performs according to the standard against which it is set.

On the other hand, an adjustment is defined by the VIM as “Set of operations carried out on a measuring system so that it provides prescribed indications corresponding to given values of a quantity to be measured.”

In other words, adjustment pertains to the changes in the behavior of the scale or the modification.

How To Calibrate Weighing Scale: Keep the Manual

There are different makers or brands of weighing scales on the market, and their products vary greatly, too. It is then essential to keep the manual that came with the one that was bought.

Many people do not realize the value of keeping the manual or knowing how to obtain one. The product manual, regardless of the tool or product bought, is an integral piece as it shows everything that one needs to know about the tool or device, including weighing scales.

It goes without saying that the manuals must be read before using the scale. The same literature must be consulted when one needs to calibrate the said tool as there might be special instructions on how to do the calibration for that particular scale.

We strongly suggest not to throw the hard copy of the manual. But if you already threw it out, make sure that you know where and how to get it. The product manual of many tools is found on the internet, too. Just make sure to that you obtain the correct manual from the web.

Warm It Up First

Many people are eager or are in a hurry to get their tasks done including calibrating their weighing scales. However, this will not work well when you need to calibrate this measuring tool.

Just like cars, digital scales must first be warmed up before fixing them. Turn on the device and wait for a few minutes before starting the calibrationdo not rush to start calibrating. This is a necessary step in calibrating the scale and failure to warm it up may result in more harm to the tool.

Prepare the Weights

Many experts would advise that proper weights are used during the calibration process. For example, dumbbells are great objects for the calibration process. In the event that dumbbells are unavailable, then other items found nearby that have been accurately measured would suffice. These items could be packed and unopened like flour, sugar or rice. It is essential that the weights to be used for the calibration have been accurately measured to ensure precision of the weighing scale after the calibration is done.

Begin with The Calibration

Find the calibration button of the digital weighing scale. If this is the first time you are doing it and cannot seem to recognize the correct button, then you can consult the manual on where to locate it. Normally, a calibration button would have any of these prints: “Mode,” “Cal,” “Function,” or “Cal Mode.”

Press the calibration button and wait for the display to show either of the following: “Cal,” “000,” or “0”. The scale then is already in calibration mode.

Do The Calibration Test

Once the scale is in calibration mode, you can start doing the calibration test. Gather the weights you intend to use. It is best if the masses to be used have a combined total of 30 pounds.

Place the weights properly on the scale ensuring that all objects, if there are a couple of them, are sitting in the center of the scale. This means that no weight being used are hovering towards the edge of the tool and are not wobbling on the scale. Failure to do so would result in an imprecise reading of the weights.

The Calibration

Wait and allow the scale to measure the weights placed—the waiting time is not that long as it only takes around five seconds to weigh. You then just simply have to push the calibration button to end the calibration process.

Check the display monitor as it should show either of the following: “Cal,” “End,” or “Calibrate.” The digital scales out on the market these days frequently reset automatically once the calibration is done. However, if this is not how your digital weighing scale works, just turn off the device for at least two minutes.

Double Checking

To double-check whether the entire calibration worked, remove all the weights from the scale. Find another object to weigh. Just like the calibration process, it is important to find an object with a known weight.

Weigh the object by placing it on the surface of the scale and look at the display to know the weight. The calibration worked If the reading is correct. If not, then start the entire process of calibrating again.

Maintenance Tips for Weighing Scales

Aside from knowing how to calibrate weighing scales, it is also important to learn these maintenance tips to ensure that the tool lasts a long period of time. Scales are often exposed to many harmful elements primarily if they are used for businesses. For example, a weighing scale owned by a manufacturing company is usually prone to many harmful agents like dust, chemical or moisture to name a few. Plus, a frequently used scale may also be constantly being transferred from one location to another.

As such, it is important to keep in mind the environment that the weighing scale will be placed in before purchasing one. It is also essential to think carefully about where to place the device to ensure that it is not thoroughly exposed to harmful elements like dust.

The room temperature must also be considered as placing the scale in a really cold place might lead to the formation of the moisture within the tool. In fact, the temperature could be viewed as the enemy of any weighing scale as extreme temperature could cause its breakdown. This is particularly true for the very sensitive ones.

Cleaning the weighing scale is important just like any other tool or device as accumulated dust is no good for it. In cleaning the scale, make sure to follow the instructions found in the manual. Some manufacturers advise users to use only soap and water in cleaning the scales as other cleaning materials found on the market may cause more harm than good.

Service and repair are essential, too if we are talking about prolonging the life of any scale. For example, if moisture has already set in the scale, then it is best to call the help of a professional to have it checked.

Meanwhile, if the calibration process keeps on failing, then it is best to have the scale serviced by the manufacturer if it is still under warranty. If getting the services of the manufacturer is already out of the question, then it is best to choose a reliable repair service company to check out the scale for defects.

Do not entrust the object to just anyone as the scales these days are technologically advanced, which means that obtaining the services of any repairman available on the block may not be able to repair the defects.

Calibrating a weighing scale is no rocket science. One only needs to follow the steps above or to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to calibrate a scale successfully. Paying attention to the details of the calibration process and following the steps carefully are vital to ensuring that the weighing scale remains balanced and functional for a long time.

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