5 questions about scales in the recycling industry

Rice Lake Weighing Systems’ Tim Donahue explains what to consider when purchasing a scale for a recycling 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 recycling processing facilities. The processes of individual facilities will help operators choose 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 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 means legally items can be sold and services can be billed based on weight. To be legal for trade, the scale must have certificates of conformance from governing bodies and be placed into service by a certified scale technician. This enforces market fairness guidelines on providing accurate measurements, which are adopted by federal, state and local jurisdictions. Not all scales are legal for trade, so make sure you select an appropriate scale if you’re 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 might need additional connectivity options for further process 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. Every day, you should thoroughly clear debris from around and under your scale to prevent load cell interference and inaccurate weight readings. You should also 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 company’s scales. Some systems may 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 to work with, consider how physically 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 to your operation.

Find a distributor who works with scale manufacturers that have a reputation for going above and beyond to support their customers, ensuring that every product need is addressed.

October 2022
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