Platform Scales: A Buyers Guide
Industrial platform scales are one of the most common types of weighing scale used in industrial environments.
Their ability to effortlessly weigh palletised goods is a key reason - but there are others too, thanks to the range of platform scale types available, not to mention the accessories.
However, the choice available and the many options that come with each platform scale may leave you wondering which one is right for you. So, in this blog post, we’re aiming to make it easier to buy platforms scales by explaining the ideal option for different applications and needs. But firstly...
What is a platform scale?
A platform scale is a high capacity weighing scale with a large, flat surface - usually either mild steel or stainless steel - designed for weighing heavy or bulky goods. The weight reading is displayed on an indicator, which is usually separate and in many cases affixed to a wall, worktop or indicator stand.
How do platform scales work?
Platform scales will have several load cells mounted within the platform. Like all weighing scales, the load cells convert the force placed upon them (when an item is added to the scale) into a digital value, which then appears on the indicator’s screen.
Platform scales for weighing pallets (using a forklift truck)
Platform scales are primarily designed for weighing palletised goods - note the sizes available for platform scales and you’ll see they are the perfect weighing scales for such goods. For example, a typical pallet size is around 1000mm x 1200mm, and the most popular platform scale that Inscale sells is the Adam Equipment PT Platform Scale with GK Indicator. This platform scale has 1000mm x 1000mm, 1200mm x 1200mm and 1500mm x 1500mm platform size options.
If you usually move pallets around your premises using a forklift truck, a standard platform scale is perfect - and again, the Adam Equipment PT fits the bill here.
The PT platform scale with the GK indicator provides an instant, accurate weight reading, with a number of features to make weighing easier. These include a tough, anti-slip durbar surface, a wall bracket for the indicator and a straightforward checkweighing setting meaning you can set a target weight for the goods you weigh. The scale will alert you if any item is above or below this target weight.
Platform scales for weighing pallets (using a pallet truck)
If you tend to use pallet trucks (or pump trucks) to move goods around your premises, you can wheel a pallet straight onto a platform using optional ramps - the aforementioned Adam PT can be purchased with these.
However, for even easier weighing of palletised goods using a pallet truck, opt for a drive through platform scale like the Kern NFB Drive Through Platform Scale. Unlike the optional ramps of a standard platform scale, a drive thru scale has a much more gentle incline - which means it’s easier to wheel the pallets onto the scale by hand. There is only 20mm difference in height (80mm compared to the 100mm height of a standard platform scale). However, it makes all the difference if you’re pushing a tonne of palletised goods onto the scale!
The only downside of a drive through platform scale is the capacities available. Due to the lower platform height, there is less room for the load cells to ‘flex’, and therefore, 1500kg is the maximum capacity available. Standard platform scales are available with capacities upto 3000kg.
Weighing drums or barrels
Bulky goods aren’t always palletised. If, for example, you need to weigh drums, barrels or kegs, you’ll need a fairly high capacity scale that items can be loaded onto easily.
Adam Equipment’s PTM Steel Drum & Barrel Scale is just the scale you need. Its low profile ramps on either side means it can be easily loaded with barrels or drums - plus, with handles and wheels, it can be stored away when not in use.
With a height of just 75mm loading the scale is relatively effortless, too. Plus, the scale can be connected to a PC or printer for recording and printing weight readings should you need to.
Weighing bulky items in a confined space
If you need to weigh large items but you’re short on space, you can still use platform scales. If you don’t have the space for a platform scale to be permanently set up, go for a pit mounted platform scale.
This means the scale can stay in situ even when not in use. Plus, because a pit mounted floor scale fits flush to the floor, pallet trucks and (if the capacity of the scale is high enough) forklift trucks can pass over it.
All of our standard platform scales from Kern and Adam Equipment can be pit mounted - just check the Accessories list when you’re browsing our platform scale pages.
Selling items based on weight
If you’re selling an item and the price is determined by the weight, UK and EU law states that a trade approved scale must be used.
There are a number of trade approved platform scales in the Inscale range for you to choose from. The Kern BID Platform Scale is a standard mild steel, trade approved platform scale. As with the Adam Equipment platform scales, it can be purchased with ramps, making it suitable for use with pallet trucks. There’s also optional Bluetooth and RS-232 connectivity should you wish to record the weights.
The Kern NFB is an approved drive through platform scale - with its low profile ramps it’s perfect for use with pallet trucks, too.
Weighing in harsh conditions
Is your platform scale likely to get wet, or need regular washing down? Platform scales are often used in food processing and production plants, which means they will inevitably be subjected to damp environments.
For these applications, we’d recommend the Kern NFN Drive Through Platform Scale, which is IP68 waterproof (the indicator is IP65). This can be washed down to keep it clean, and will cope with regular spillages during use.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that, although not a stainless steel scale, the Kern BFB Platform Scale has an IP67 cover so can also cope with harsher environments.
Weighing items for shipment
For weighing goods prior to loading onto a lorry, platform scales are typically the most popular weighing scale. However, in some cases, such as weighing goods that are going to be loaded onto a ship, a trade approved scale may need to be used.
The SOLAS container weight verification regulation that was introduced in 2016 states that “shippers and carriers must declare and document accurate weights of all shipping containers before they are loaded onto ships.”
The Verified Gross Mass (VGM) which appears on these documents is the responsibility of whoever is named as the shipper on the Bill of Lading. Additionally, your weighing method must be approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency - or, you must use an approved weigher.
One of the accepted methods of obtaining the weight is to weigh each pallet before it it loaded into the container. To do this we recommend using one of our trade approved platform scales. The Kern BFB Trade Approved Platform Scale can connect to a PC via its RS-232 output, meaning you can record and print weight readings too.
What other weighing scales can be used?
Need to weigh palletised goods, but need a more portable scale? Pallet scales like the Kern UID Pallet Scale are ideal, with wheels fitted so that they can be moved, or stored away when not in use. They’re designed to work perfectly with pallet trucks, too.
Need something that’s even easier to store away? We recommend using weigh beams, like Adam Equipment’s AELP Industrial Pallet Weigh Beams. Not only are these highly portable (with handles and wheels on each beam) as well as highly cost-effective... They can also be placed the desired distance apart - meaning items even larger than pallets can be weighed.
Alternatively, you can weigh whilst moving your goods - speeding up weighing processes - when you use the Adam PTS Pallet Truck Scale.
Need more help?
If you still need guidance when you're ready to buy platform scales, just Get In Touch.
This in-depth blog post about different types of pallet scales covers platform scales, as well as weigh beams and pallet truck scales. If you’re a farm needing weighing scales, we recently wrote this blog post about using platform scales on farms.