Updated: May 26
In Egypt, scales can be traced to around 1878 BC. This makes scales one of the oldest devices used for trade. It all started with an even balance with a platter on both sides of a fulcrum.
Times have changed and now most scales are electronic. As the electronic age came about, so did the need for some standards to make sure scales perform the same everywhere when used for trade.
Online Shopping Misconceptions
When shopping for scales online it's easy to overlook various aspects of the purchase. This can make it confusing for customers and create issues in the long run. When you know what the important information regarding what you need in a scale online shopping can become a convenient method. To help you identify the information you should look for when shopping online, Cech has written this blog as a guide and our sale team is happy to provide assistance.
If you are going to buy a scale online, the main consideration should be how it is going to be used. NTEP scales are primarily used in industry when a product is bought or sold by weight. This can be anything from bulk trucks full of grain to jewelry. These types of scales have documented requirements regarding the capacity and number of scale divisions allowed for it to be considered NTEP. The manufacturer of the scale must submit their scale design for approval before it is given an NTEP Certificate of Conformance (C.o.C. Number). Without this, there is no standard by which the weighing device was manufactured or can be compared. It's like having a speedometer on your car that does not show the right speed. For companies that wish to buy and sell commodities by weight, buying a new scale online is a risky endeavor. Minimally the product should state that the has an NTEP C.o.C. Number.
The biggest misconception is when a scale option says the scale is 'Factory Calibrated'. The risk associated with relying on this is that it may not remain in that condition during shipment. If the scale is unpacked and put into a production environment with the understanding that it is performing correctly, you are putting your company's reputation at risk.
A scale used for buying and selling products legally should be assembled, inspected, and calibrated on site by a certified scale technician. This will ensure proper functionality and verify that it is meeting the performance standards for that device. These verification steps ensure that the scale is performing to NTEP standards, not to some standard that has no basis. We know that consumers want convenience, but also want to make sure that they are clear regarding the risks associated with relying on that.
One of the most overlooked items is that some online scales are not easily supported, maintained, or repaired. The price is usually a direct reflection of the quality of components used to manufacture the scale.
Because of this, total cost of ownership should be taken into account when making a purchasing decision. Overcome the immediate urge to click 'Buy Now' based on a price that seems too good to be true. Normally these decisions lead to a number of issues over a short period of time and include:
The scale will fall out of calibration quickly.
The weighing system will not maintain a calibration or take a new one.
No repair components are available.
Poor or weak weighbridge design.
Poor grounding design (static damage).
Inferior controls / J-Box housings not suitable for the environment.
No compliance with a quality system due to the device not having a scale certification.
Tips for Shopping Safely
So how do you protect yourself from misguided decisions? We've come up with some tips to make it easier for you.
1. Buy online from a local scale company with a certified service department.
Companies that sell and service scales have products that they can support and are backed by the scale manufacturer's relationship with the same company.
These companies can 'hand deliver' a scale so that calibration is maintained in transit.
2. Look for brand names that you recognize.
BTEK and Mettler Toledo, for example, are recognized brands and have a great reputation for quality.
Go beyond the 'star' rating for the product online and look for a real scale company - not a commodity manufacturer.
3. Make sure the scale has an NTEP rating.
The rating can be shown as a Certificate of Conformance Number listed for the product.
This does not guarantee that the scale is made of quality materials, it just means that the scale you are considering passed a performance test before it was put on the market.
4. Look at your longest lasting scales in your existing work environment.
There were not as many choices a short time ago and quality scales were the norm. You likely have some old equipment that has stood the test of time.
The manufacturer of those scales should be a top consideration.
5. Talk to a local scale expert.
Scale sales professionals know that there are products available online and can help you meet a budget and still end up with quality equipment.
You'll be helping a local citizen make a living and getting sound advice regarding your next purchase.
6. Consider new technology over price.
Think "Lean Manufacturing". Scales have come a long way with connectivity, automation, and remote monitoring capabilities that can drastically improve plant performance and profitability.
Make a case for an improvement with a payback over a short term decisions to fix an immediate inconvenience.
Many options can be added upon to meet long term goals without a heavy up front price tag. As mentioned above, your local scale expert should be well versed in helping identify the Lean Manufacturing pain points that scales can correct.
When shopping for scales online it's easy to overlook various aspects of the purchase. This can make it confusing for customers and create issues in the long run, but when you know what the important information regarding what you need in a scale online shopping can become a convenient method. To help you identify the information you should look for when shopping online, Cech has written this blog as a guide and our sale team is happy to provide further assistance
It costs nothing to get to know your local scale representatives and will ultimately save you time and money in the long run.
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