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Calibration services: Why Your Scales Should Be Checked Every Year

Calibration services are of vital importance to any business using weighing scales.

Like any machine, a weighing scale needs regular servicing to keep it performing as it should. And when you rely on weighing scales to provide an accurate weight reading every time you use them, having a professional engineer give them a full check-over every year becomes essential.

Depending on how frequently your scales are used, and the application, we typically recommend that a full service and calibration check is carried out once a year. In this blog post, we explain the benefits of service and calibration, what happens in this process, and the risks to your business should your scales not receive regular servicing.

What is weighing scale service and calibration?

A scale service and calibration check involves a full check-over of the weighing scale to ensure it is working correctly, and will continue to work correctly until the next service is due.

A service and calibration check will involve checking the scale’s feet and its stability on a flat surface, ensuring all seals are intact, and making sure battery connections and corrosion-free and working properly.

The scale will then receive its calibration check, which is an involved process using calibration weights to ensure the scale is providing accurate weight readings throughout its range. The scale will be recalibrated if adjustments are required, and then a calibration certificate will be created.

Why should a scale receive a service and calibration check?

Weighing scales are like any other precision device – over time, their reliability can wane. How quickly this may happen depends on several factors:

  • What the weighing scale is being used to weigh
  • The environment the scale is used in (and how well it is treated)
  • The quality of the weighing scale itself.

It goes without saying that, as a precision device, scales should be looked after and treated with care. However, we also appreciate that there are many applications – particularly those heavy duty industrial weighing jobs – where weighing scales will receive a tough time – but, hopefully, the scales used will be up to the job and therefore should not fall out of calibration any quicker.

Scale service and calibration checks are important, for three reasons:

  • They ensure the scale is working reliably and providing accurate weight readings
  • There are no potential issues that could lead to the scale requiring replacement in the near future
  • Ultimately, the life of your weighing scale is extended – potentially saving your business money.

It’s generally recommended that weighing scales are serviced and receive a calibration check once every 12 months, but consider making this more frequent if your scales are used regularly for particularly punishing tasks.

What are the risks if a service and calibration check is not carried out?

Without regular service and calibration checks, weighing scales can fall ‘out of calibration’. This means the weight readings they provide will be less reliable. The inaccuracies will be small at first, but will likely become greater and more noticeable the longer the scale goes without being checked and recalibrated.

Additionally, the device’s components are at greater risk of failing if they are not checked. Parts such as feet, if damaged or lost, will mean the scale will struggle to provide accurate weight readings because the stability of the scale will be compromised.

Components left to fail could ultimately lead to a weighing scale having a shorter service life – meaning having to replace the scale sooner, at a cost to the business.

Is it against the law to use an inaccurate scale?

For applications where a scale must be trade approved – such as in the buying and selling of goods – inaccuracies in weight readings can have repercussions.

Imagine, for example, you’re using an inaccurate weighing scale to determine a price for produce on a fruit and veg stall. Inaccurate readings could mean that you’re either under-charging customers, or they're paying too much.

The UK Government has clear guidelines on what is expected when it comes to weights and measures and the law. It highlights that your scales can be subject to inspections by Trading Standards (and it’s worth noting that a Trading Standards visit can happen at any time, unannounced) to make sure they are accurate.

Inaccurate or unsuitable scales used for trade approved applications could result in a fine or, in a worst-case scenario, imprisonment.

Where can I find calibration services?

For scale servicing and calibration we recommend using a qualified engineer, who is able to provide a calibration certificate once the scale has been fully checked over.

Many companies provide on-site calibration services; there are also ‘return-to-base’ service and calibration options – this is a service that Inscale can provide.

Just like when having your car serviced, for example, the scale will be checked over and you’ll be quoted for any parts that need repairing or replacing. At the end of the check (and recalibration, if required), you can choose to purchase a calibration certificate also.

For more information about scale calibration services call 01908 972 660 or contact us here.

Further reading

We go further in-depth and look at what affects scale calibration in this calibration blog post just how important is calibrating.

We recommend using a qualified engineer to service and recalibrate your scales – however if you are performing calibration checks yourself, find out which calibration weights you may need.

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