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Why should you get your scales calibrated regularly?


An OEM of weighing systems explains why having accurate scales on earthmoving and conveying plant and equipment is vital to an aggregates business, especially when meeting obligations under chain of responsibility.

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) advises that industrial scales should be calibrated every six to 12 months, depending on the stresses applied to the scale, or after major hydraulic work is completed on the scale. This is for maintaining accuracy, fairness, and to comply with regulations that could otherwise result in producers being penalised.

Maintaining accuracy 

No matter how robust an industrial scale is, over time it becomes less accurate from natural wear and tear. Maintaining accuracy is important for both trade and non-trade purposes, including adhering to the load bearing capacity of a machine, or ensuring there is enough of a certain material for a construction project.

When measuring large quantities of material, even a small discrepancy in the scale’s accuracy can result in large deficits or unnecessary surpluses in material being transported. Maintaining the accuracy of an earthmoving machine’s load bearing calculations is essential to preventing overloading-related accidents, or moving material in inefficiently small amounts. Scale inaccuracy often causes product quality to decrease.

In situations where there is an underlying problem beyond natural wear and tear causing scale inaccuracy, putting off scale calibration can cause unscheduled downtime and even risk product recalls.

Complying with trade measurement law

Trade measurement law requires “an unbroken chain of calibrations to primary measurement standards … to ensure that measurements are comparable to each other and give industry, researchers, regulators, and consumers confidence in the accuracy of measurement results.”

Australia’s trade measurement transactions are estimated to be worth more than $750 billion each year, so maintaining their accuracy has high monetary value. As a result, the NMI says instruments must be accurate at all times when used for trade.

The NMI enforces this broad law by sending trade measurement inspectors to conduct audits at places of business with industrial scales, requiring licensed manufacturers like Position Partners to help businesses use accurate measuring instruments, and requiring industrial scales be reverified after repair or adjustment.

If for no other reason, calibrating and re-calibrating industrial scales for accuracy keeps your business within the law.

Fairness for all parties

Where measuring amounts of material to determine how much a vendor is charging a customer – whether that be charging for aggregate per tonne, or charging someone to dispose of material at the dump – accurate scales ensure the price is fair. An inaccurate scale means someone is being shortchanged, and in some cases it’s impossible to tell whether it is the vendor under-charging or over-charging until a yearly report is devised.

How regularly?

Where a producer’s industrial scale sits on the six to 12-month re-calibration schedule depends on how much stress it is subjected to. Factors like how much the scale is used, how old it is, and whether it’s moved around regularly can affect how often it needs to be calibrated.

If an industrial scale is kept in a place with dust, fluids, vibrations, static electricity, mechanical shock, temperature variations, power surges, or humidity, it will need calibration more often.

If a scale moves around often, it should be re-calibrated regularly, to ensure its location’s differing angle to magnetic north and barometric pressure does not impact how it accommodates to the acceleration of gravity in the area it works within.

A Position Partners technician will be able to evaluate how often this is, but in the event of uncertainty, it’s also a good idea to consult the manufacturer.


Position Partners provides scale calibration services.

To schedule regular industrial scale calibration, or even just a one-off, call 1800 867 000 for an obligation-free quote or visit the Position Partners website.

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