Inscale's Guide to Pallet Scales
Pallet scales are highly versatile weighing scales manufactured for a wide range of industries including industrial, retail, veterinary and agriculture and often provide the perfect solution for saving your business both time and money.
This comprehensive guide to pallet scales will examine how these weighing scales operate within multiple environments, the different varieties of pallet scales available on the market today and how to choose the best pallet scale for your needs.
What are pallet scales?
Pallet scales are specifically designed for weighing pallets, crates and other large objects. They are commonly used in warehouses, factories and other industrial environments and are usually combined with weighing indicators. Pallet scales are versatile scales that can take the form of U-frame and dual pallet beams, pallet trucks and platforms. Convenient, adaptable and damage resistant, pallet weighing scales are built to last.
So, how can a pallet scale help you?
Pallet scales allow you to accurately check the weight of boxes, containers and palleted goods before distribution or storage. To provide just one example, in warehouses it is common to store multiple pallets on racks, therefore it is fundamental that each pallet is not overstocked in order to prevent accidents or risk damaging your machinery. Crane scales are often required for lifting heavy pallets and goods, and it is possible to weigh individual or stacked pallets that have been secured in line with your specifications as shown on an SWL (safe working load) notice. Palleted goods can be weighed out using pallet scales prior to using equipment to lift or move the goods to ensure that they do not exceed safe working load limits.
Pallet truck scales combine forklift action with a heavy-duty digital weighing scale allowing palleted goods to be easily manouvered and checkweighed simultaneously, effectively reducing loading time per batch. Moreover, pallet truck scales are easy to operate with a large handle and zero-pivot rotation perfect for tight spaces.
Pallet platform scales are rugged, large capacity weighing scales that lie flat on warehouse floors. Sloped edges or ramp accompaniments allow goods or animals to be easily manoeuvred onto the weighing platform.
Pallet beams consist of two small weigh beams that can be placed underneath large pallets, cages, cattle crushes and platforms. They feature long robust cables that allow the beams to expand or retract from each other depending on the size of the platform or object on top.
Why does this matter?
The bottom line is that pallet scales are highly convenient, adaptable and are suitable for a wide range of weighing applications that can make any warehouse stock checking task both easy and cost effective.
Industrial pallet scales can streamline processing and distribution procedures, increase control over stock and reduce risk in high-pressure environments. Ultimately leading to increased efficiency and a decrease in cost.
In agricultural and veterinary industries, they greatly decrease time spent weighing livestock and cattle, allowing multiple animals to be weighed at once and can be customised to work alongside almost any cage or platform type.
Types of pallet scale
The following sections will focus on each type of pallet scale in more detail, looking at the different applications and features that can help with a variety of weighing needs:
Pallet beam scales
Pallet beam scales feature as one of the more adaptable pallet scale products, offering portable solutions to industrial weighing. Pallet beams can be separated into two selections, parallel or dual beams and U-frame pallet beams and you can use either pallet beam as is or combine with other platforms to expand weighing options. The parallel pallet beams combine two vertical weighing strips with an indicator, whereas the u-frame pallet has an additional horizontal bar that connects the two weighing strips, protecting the cable.
Pallet beams for animal weighing
It is important for zoos, farms and animal enclosures to take regular and precise weight readings of animals to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Despite this, attempting to weigh animals can prove challenging even for seasoned professionals. Pallet beams provide an adaptable solution for weighing animals of all shapes and sizes:
Firstly, as we have mentioned, animals come in all shapes and sizes. Attempting to weigh an elephant on a regular bathroom scale may not get you very far. So, how can you weigh an elephant? Pallet beam scales can be combined with a variety of platforms specifically for this purpose. Large platforms or cages can be placed on top of the pallet beams which allow you to take the weight of oversized animals with minimal effort.
Secondly, animals tend to move around a lot. Placing cages on pallet beams allows you to weigh animals without the risk of them moving off the weighing area. Farmers attempting to weigh cattle can use this combination of pallet beams with platforms or cages to create cattle weighing scales that are accurate and easy to manage. As an added benefit, farmers can use larger platforms to weigh multiple animals at once, rather than weighing one at a time.
Pallet beams for industrial weighing
You can use pallet beams without platforms for weighing large pipes, by placing them horizontally across the two weighing strips. The indicator features pre-selected weighing options to suit your needs including checkweighing, parts counting and percentage weighing. When weighing pipes or large construction materials, parts counting can help to keep an accurate check of how many pipes you are placing onto the scale as you go, whilst checkweighing features can be customised to ensure that the weight recorded for each product is accurate and meeting legal requirements.
How to weigh a helicopter using pallet beam scales
The average two-seater helicopter typically weighs in the region of 500kg to 1500kg, and whilst helicopters are not necessarily the first thing you would think of weighing, pallet beams can even be adapted to weigh a helicopter. By combining pallet beams with a heavy-duty pallet platform, the helicopter can be wheeled onto the weighing area (we don't advise landing on the platform directly). This allows the pallet beam scale to measure the weight of the helicopter before take-off.
Platform scales have large weighing areas that are ideal for weighing heavy and oversized goods safely. They tend to be used as heavy-duty industrial scales and offer one of the highest weighing capacities available. Platform scales use weighing pallets that are highly adaptable and can be of benefit to a variety of industries from industrial to animal weighing. Platform scales feature sloped sides or ramps in order to safely move large palleted goods and other heavy objects onto the weighing pan.
For example, scrapyards can use trade approved platform scales for weighing scrap metal for selling. The weighing platform's large size makes it ideal for scrap dealers to weigh large amounts of scrap to be sold in bulk.
Pet owners or veterinarians can use platforms to weigh larger animals, such as dogs, using built-in dynamic weighing features that take the impressions of the animal on the scale and calculate an average weight based on this.
Pallet truck scale
Pallet truck scales, also known as pallet jack scales or forklift scales, combine your regular pallet weighing platform with a manoeuvrable base. They automatically weigh products that are placed onto the pallet. The scale can be customised with LED checkweighing lights to ensure a standardised product weight - green and red corresponding to correct and incorrect weight.
Pallet truck scales are ideal for warehouses, shipping areas and other industrial environments due to their ability to robust construction, convenience and the ability to weigh heavy loads without requiring a great deal of manpower.
Pallet trucks could be used for moving and stacking crates of fresh fish around dockyards and onto a lorry or truck ready for distribution to fishmongers and produce markets. Similarly, biscuit factories could use the pallet truck scale for moving prepacked boxes of biscuits around a warehouse without the need of an employee to carry and the risk of injury.
How does a pallet truck scale work?
- Ensure that the pallet truck is positioned on a flat, stable surface.
- Set the desired application or mode (checkweighing, dyamic weighing etc), if checkweighing, you will need to set the desired weight for each product prior to weighing.
- Tare or 'Zero' the scale on the keypad.
- Carefully add the object onto the forklift beams.
- The built-in scale will accurately measure the weight and show this on the display (if using an LED checkweighing indicator, this will now show either green or red depending on whether the weight meets to pre-configured optimum weight).
- If adding more than one item, carefully stack objects and wait until the displayed weight has stabilised before adding further items.
- Once stacked securely, the loaded pallet truck can be manoeuvred to the loading area for dispatch.
How to calibrate an industrial pallet scale
The calibration procedure may differ slightly depending on the type of industrial scale and whether or not your scale has internal or external calibration. Pallet scales are larger weighing scales used for weighing heavy and oversized pallets of goods, therefore, they will have large weight capacities and will require heavier test weights such as Kern’s stainless steel block test weights for calibration. In contrast, standard retail and bench scales will require lighter test weights such as M1 Class test weights.
Calibrating an industrial pallet platform scale externally
- Place the scale on a level surface and turn on the power.
- Ensure there is nothing on top of the scale and that zero is showing on the display (you will need to zero the scale if this is not shown automatically).
- Navigate to calibration mode - This mode can usually be found in the user setup menu or factory menu. For specific information about your scale we recommend consulting the relevant user or service manual.
- Once in calibration mode, you will need to place calibration weights appropriate to the scale’s weight capacity and readability on top of the scale.
- Using a set of approved calibration test weights, add each calibration weight individually onto the scale’s weighing pan and check that the weight value on the scale’s display matches the mass of the calibration weight.
- Once you have checked a weight, remove this from the weighing pan and add a new weight, continue until you have checked all of the weights. (We recommend starting with the heaviest weight moving down to the lightest.)
- Once all weights have been checked and are showing correct, you can return to the normal weighing mode.
Choosing the right scale for you!
Choosing the right pallet for you will depend entirely on how to you intend to use the product. In our experience, you are best choosing a scale that represents your daily activities best. For example, if you are likely to spend time transporting boxes and crates around a warehouse then a pallet truck scale would probably be more practical than pallet beams as pallet beams still require an amount of space on the ground for placing the beams. Alternatively, pallet truck scales cannot weigh over a large surface area and so platforms scales or pallet beams combined with a platform would be the best option.
Our range of pallet scale products
The AELP Pallet Beams are ideal for weighing oversized items. The AELP series comes complete with the Adam Equipment GK indicator, featuring a bright LCD display and RS232 interface to connect to a PC or printer.
The PTS Pallet Truck Scale is an easily manoeuvrable weighing scale for moving small crates and boxes in industrial environments. The PTS is essential to any business that manages warehouse stock on a commercial level.
The PT platform scales are ideal for a variety of applications and are manufactured from thick 8mm channel tube and has full welded joins to ensure rigorous warehouse use. The PT range has a low-profile design for easy access and diamond-plate surface to help stabilise items placed on the pallet weighing area. Optional ramps facilitate loading and unloading.