Why are Certified Scales Important?
Certified scales help ensure we get exactly what we pay for when it comes to goods sold by weight. Certified scales help ensure that the amount displayed on the scale’s weight indicator is the true amount of the product on the scale. If scale certification wasn’t mandatory, either the buyer or the consumer might be shorted. While it’s true, a faulty scale may result in the buyer paying for a larger quantity than they received, it could also mean the buyer charged less for goods than they were worth.
Keeping scale certifications up-to-date is a legal requirement for any business “selling across” the scale, or using the scale to determine pricing for the purchase or sale of goods. The trouble is that with all of the other day-to-day operations, it’s all too easy to forget about your scale certification. We can help with that.
Everything You Need to Know About Scale Certification
1. What is Scale Certification (aka registering your scale or licensing your scale)
Scale certification is the process of having a state licensed service provider ensure that your scale has been properly installed, has been correctly adjusted or calibrated, has a Certificate of Conformance issued by the National Type Evaluation Program (aka NTEP), & meets the specifications & tolerances found in NIST Handbook 44. Certified scales are also known as “legal-for-trade” scales.
Basically, a state licensed service provider must be able to demonstrate that your scale produces accurate weighments, To certify scales, state licensed service providers utilize NIST certified test weights to test your scale. The weights have been calibrated to a national standard to ensure that their weight is accurate. When these weights are placed on the scale, the weight indicator should produce a reading that matches the known weight of the NIST certified test weight.
If your scale is in compliance with the state mandated requirements, an inspector from the Department of Weights & Measures will place your device “in service”, and attach a seal or “certified” sticker to the device.
2. Who needs certified scales?
Any scale used in the commercial purchase or sale of goods is required to be certified, licensed or registered with the state. That means any individual or business who is conducting purchases or sales whose value is based on weight or quantity must do so on a certified scale, or with a certified measurement device.
3. How often do scales need to be certified, registered or licensed?
The Department of Weights & Measures in each state dictates how often scale certification is required. Typically, scales used in the purchase or sale of goods are required to be certified by, licensed by, or registered with the state annually.
4. Who oversees scale certification, scale registration, or scale licensing?
Each state has a Department of Weights & Measures. The function of the Department of Weights & Measures is to ensure equity in the marketplace for both buyers & sellers of goods. In other words, the Department helps to ensure that buyers are getting the quantity of goods for which they are paying. The Department of Weights & Measures helps to maintain integrity in the marketplace by requiring that commercial scales produce accurate weights, so that buyers don’t get cheated. Learn more at USA.gov.
Scale Certification is Different From Scale Service or Calibration
Scale certification is required by the state, while scale calibration is not.
Scale calibration is a tool to help business owners ensure that their scales are producing accurate weighments.
Your annual scale certification is not when you should find out that your scale is out of tolerance. Wouldn’t you like to know prior to the inspection if your scale is off, so that you have an opportunity to fix it before your scale is taken out of service by the state? It’s not just about regulation, as calibration also helps businesses protect themselves from inaccuracies, which could prove costly over time.
Scale certification typically requires annual renewal.
How often a business calibrates their scale is up to the business.
Generally, the more valuable the goods being purchased or sold based on weight, the more frequently a scale should be calibrated. If each pound of a substance is worth $100, then a scale that is off by 20 lbs. could cost you $2,000 each time it’s used. Learn more in our blog post How Much Could an Inaccurate Truck Scale Cost You?
Scale certification does not ensure that your scale will produce accurate weights for the year.
Proper preventative maintenance throughout the year will help ensure accuracy.
Scales malfunction due to improper care and maintenance. Business owners can get the most out of their investment by ensuring that their scales are regularly cleaned, maintained & calibrated. Learn more in our blog post How Regular Scale Inspections Help You Save Money.
Michelli Weighing & Measurement Can Help Ensure Your Scale Certs Remain Up-to-Date
It’s tough to find time to clean out truck scales or grease scale components. It’s even harder to remember to schedule the time to perform these activities.
Michelli Weighing & Measurement offer service agreements to our customers, so they can leave the scale maintenance to us. A service agreement defines the frequency & rate at which your weighing & measurement equipment will be serviced by the Michelli Weighing & Measurement service team.
Your local Michelli Weighing & Measurement Account Manager or Service Representative will recommend a frequency based on the condition of your equipment, or you can decide on your own how often you would like us to perform service. Then, our support team will add your business to the schedule at the decided upon frequency, and you won’t have to remember when your scale certification is up for renewal, how long it’s been since your scale has been calibrated, or when the scale was last serviced. With a service agreement, our team can also recommend spare parts to keep on hand, and when it’s time to start budgeting for replacement scales & measurement devices because they are familiar with the condition of your equipment.
Contact us today for scale certification
Contact your local Michelli Weighing & Measurement office today to have your scale placed in service, or learn more about our service agreements so you can take scale maintenance off of your to-do list.