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How Does a Counting Scale Work?

Counting scales are quite unlike any other type of weighing scale. When it comes to counting out multiple identical items quickly and accurately, a counting scale really shines - which means from inventory checks to order packing, counting scales are usually favoured over counting out by hand.

But how does a counting scale work?

To anyone new to counting scales, the first question is probably - how do they work, and how can they be relied upon to provide an accurate count for multiple items? After all, whatever you’re using a counting scale for, you want to know the number it’s providing you is right.

So, by explaining how a counting scale works, we will hopefully give you a greater understanding of why they are such a vital tool for so many businesses - and why they are more reliable than counting out items by hand.

How does a counting scale work?

Although a counting scale is very different to a standard weighing scale, weight measurement is still an essential part of counting. Basically, a counting scale uses weight to count.

When you’re using a counting scale for the first time, or counting a new product, you’ll need to add a sample to the scale. A sample is a small number of the identical items you wish to count, and, depending on the size of the item, will usually be around five or ten.

You will then need to enter into the scale the number of items in the sample. So, if you’ve added ten screws to the counting scale, you’ll need to key in ‘10’.

The counting scale will then divide the total weight of the items by the number of items, which will give it the piece weight.

Then, as you add more of the same items, the scale will use the piece weight it calculated earlier, and the total current weight on the scale, to work out how many items are on the scale.

The counting scale’s display will show the total weight, piece weight and total count.

How accurate is a counting scale?

It must be remembered that counting scales can only provide an accurate count for multiple identical items.

Counting scales tend to have very high internal resolutions, which allows them to determine weight (and subsequently count) to an extremely high accuracy. Therefore, they will notice small differences in weight. If these differences are too great it will affect the calculated average piece weight, and therefore count. The result is that you may not have a 100% accurate total count for your items.

Of course, inaccuracies can simply be avoided by ensuring you are counting multiple items of identical weight!

Internal and external counting scale resolution

It’s worth pointing out, though, that internal resolution is different to external resolution (external resolution being the accuracy you see on the counting scale’s screen).

External resolution determines the smallest number that can be displayed on the screen. As an example, if an item has a weight of 0.001g and the scale’s readability is 0.1g, the item will not register on the display. This is why it’s important to add a quantity of items to the scale for that initial sample - and, of course, the smaller the items, the more you’ll need to add as a sample (and the more restricted you’ll be in counting low numbers of items when you start using the scale). Readability and the weight of items you'll be counting is worth bearing in mind when you are buying counting scales.

What are the best counting scales?

The primary purpose of a counting scale is to make your life easier. Rather than spending time counting out items by hand, let a counting scale work out the number of items instantly.

Which counting scale is best for you very much depends on what you are counting and the quantity of items you are counting.

We’ll always recommend a ‘true’ counting scale for counting purposes, however there are many weighing scales available with a counting function. This provides the added bonus of being a device that can provide reliable weight readings as well as count.

However, if you choose a weighing scale with a counting function, it’s likely there will be fewer useful functions to help with your counting processes, such as built-in memory for storing products, parts counting optimisation and high internal resolution.

Buy counting scales

You can find Inscale’s full range of counting scales here. If you find you need a scale that counts even smaller items - maybe in a laboratory environment - consider our laboratory scales range, which includes many precision and analytical balances with counting capabilities.

Need help with buying counting scales, or want to know more about a counting scale works? Get In Touch with us.

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