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Counting Scales

Bay State Scale is a distributor of counting scales & electronic scale systems. To help determine which counting scale you need, please browse through the FAQ’s below or call or email our measuring & scale experts.

How do counting scales work?

Counting scales enable one to count by weight. Typically, the operator hand counts a sample of the piece he wants to count. After “taring (zeroing out the unwanted weight)” for any container, he places this sample on the scale and enters the number of pieces in the sample. The scale divides the weight on the scale by the number of pieces on the scale to determine the average piece weight or APW of the piece. Then the scale can apply this APW to the weight and display the count. Just as a scale can be calibrated to weigh in lb. or kg., it can be calibrated to weigh in units of a specific piece.

Setra Counting Scale System

Here is a Setra Super II counting scale system including bar code scanner, printer, and keyboard. Of course the scale can be purchased without the peripherals. Jeanette is happy because the scale prompts her every step of the way preventing errors and monitoring operator performance. See our “counting system” section for more info.

Should the counts be exact? Where do the errors come from?  See our counting errors section for more details.

I see how important controlling sample size and accuracy is, but we have been using 10 piece samples. If I force my workers to count out 50 pieces each time, I will need more workers and that cost will be greater than the savings from better accuracy. What do I do?
We do have a solution. Our solution will both cut labor and improve accuracy. How do we do this? We use an average piece weight retrieval system. Once the scale knows the average piece weight (APW), it can count the part.

One way to do this is to make a label when we count the part for the first time, with the average piece weight on it. Then when we subsequently count the part, all we have to do is scan that APW into the scale. The good news is that any one of several scales you might have can read this label, so it works better than scale memory. Think of the labels as one record in an unlimited sized database available to all of your counting scales!

Memory in the scale will work also, but has drawbacks. It is limited by the capabilities of the scale’s database. It is usually scale to scale dependent-it is hard & expensive to implement a solution involving several scales that share a common database. It is hard to lot segregate-to store the APW not only by part id, but also by lot-this can be important if each lot is made different enough that we cannot rely on the APW from lot to lot. The label method of APW retrieval does not suffer from these shortcomings.

We cycle count our inventory and that involves physically counting the parts, writing the counts down, then entering them into the computer system to update our inventory values. Is there a “paperless” way to do this?
Yes! There is! If we have the labels that we made to retrieve the APW. This is easy, particularly if the label has the part ID and other pertinent information, as well as the APW. The scale will prompt for the part ID, then the APW and any other pertinent information, then it will “tare” for any container weight, prompt for the operator to load the scale, then the count, the part ID, and any other information will be stored in the scale database, later to be uploaded into a computer spreadsheet. So, there is no more handwriting anything or keyboarding anything-all that is taken care of for you.


Not every scale we sell accepts lots of peripherals! This one has no supervisory control, does not print or read bar codes, but is a quality scale at a low price. It works well in situations where you have inexpensive parts and just want to get an idea of how many you have.

We also carry the APS line of reel counters for your axial, radial, and SMT Components. We both sell anAPS Reel Counterd rent these. You simply run your components through the eye of the controller that optically counts them and they roll up on the other reel. There is a count by feature for components with multiple legs. Versions are available with battery operation and even a motor to automatically crank the components through. We have several of these are available for rental and ship them all over the US and Canada. See APS website for more information on the reel counters. To rent or purchase reel counters, please contact us at Sales or call us at: 1-800-696-8282.

I can see that average piece weight retrieval has some benefits. Can you tell me what areas it will help so that I can do a cost/benefit analysis to help justify the system?

We are happy to talk to you (or visit you) to discuss your particular situation, make recommendations, and help quantify the ways you willsave.

Here are some of the areas in which you will benefit:

APW retrieval frees up your employees to do other things.
Scale operators spend 30-50% of their time hand counting samples as part of the normal counting function. Using APW retrieval eliminates all of this time. All the operator has to do is to scan the average piece weight into the scale. He has the same accuracy every time and on any scale that can read the label.

APW retrieval improves accuracy leading to lower stocking levels.
Most companies hand count 10 to 25 piece samples and this results in a 2% to 5% error due to variations in weight between pieces. With the APW retrieval, the operator may use a 50 piece or greater sample resulting in a 1% maximum error, or less, and he need only count the sample once, and never again, so he is still using much less labor.

If by using APW retrieval, you can increase your accuracy by 2%, you could decrease your inventory by 2% and still not run out at critical times. If you have an inventory of $1,000,000 and can reduce it by 2%, you are cutting your inventory costs by $20,000. Two scales, each with a bar code scanner and one with a printer, might cost around $4000. You still have over $15,000 left over. That is a considerable PAY BACK with little change in your operation.

The APW retrieval system leads to better control of the receiving function.
Since less time is spent hand-counting samples, many clients use some of the labor savings to verify proper count on received items. Verifying what you receive is the first step in proper inventory control. If you were short shipped, it is best to find out immediately, before you start using the part. This is the ideal place to make the label that stays with the part to eliminate hand sampling later.

Many companies find additional savings due to less paperwork being generated to correct inaccurate picks or issues. Also, there is the additional benefit of increased employee morale when employees no longer have to spend long periods each day hand counting samples.

Fewer stock-outs.
With a better handle on your inventory, you will likely have fewer out of stock situations. This means happier customers and fewer delays.

It is easier and faster to take a physical inventory.
When it is time to cycle count, or take a full physical inventory you will appreciate no longer having to devote a lot of time unnecessarily hand counting samples, or renting as many scales as previously needed.

Better employee morale.
Most employees hate the idea of spending considerable amounts of time hand counting samples. It is mindless work that can be quite frustrating and this frustration can lead to errors. Sometimes simply hearing one’s name can cause a person to lose track of the count. Then he has to make the decision whether to start over or guess at where he left off. Frustration can cause him to make the wrong decision.

APW retrieval systems enable you to take physical inventory or cycle counts without having to transcribe data into a chart or other paper-work.
This eliminates transcription errors as well as keyboard input errors. It eliminates the time it takes to key all the data in initially. Can you imagine taking a physical inventory/cycle count without any paper, without keying in any information, and without any transcription errors?

I don’t see the counting scale I need on your website. Are these the only ones you have?
No! We have a counting scale and/or counting system for every need. This site is designed for you to better understand counting, not to pick out your scale yourself. You call sales: 1-800-696-8282 then 1 or email: Contact Us or fill out our form. We are happy to help any way we can.

Do you do special applications involving counting?

Yes, we do. See our Counting Systems section for some examples.

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