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Scale Indicators

Every digital scale has an indicator. This is the device that allows the operator to read the weight and operate the scale. Sometimes it is packaged with the platform as a single unit such as in the retail scales or most of the laboratory scales above. In other cases such as the floor scales, some bench scales, and motor truck scales, you decide what platform you need and what indicator you need independently. Here are some questions to consider when determining what indicator you need.

Do I need a legal for trade scale?
If you are buying or selling by weight, the answer is “yes”. This typically includes scales used to compute shipping charges, scales used in weight loss clinics if the clients are paying by the lb., even restaurants that charge children by the lb. If you need the weight for some internal reason such as verifying inventory, making a recipe, making sure a vehicle is not overloaded, etc. you do not need legal for trade. Keep in mind that, for the most part legal for trade scales are built to a higher standard. Basically, there is no standard for non-legal for trade scales because they are not submitted to an independent agency for testing. There is no such thing as a legal for trade scale used for counting. In that case “packaging” laws take affect, not “weighing” ones.

Good low cost universal indicator. Batteries or AC. Backlit LCD. Wall bracket available. NTEP approved legal for trade

Great all around indicators! Take options such as analog outputs and set points and can even work as a batch controller. Remembers tare and clock settings after power failure. Can even calibrate a partially filled tank! Set-up parameters can be stored in a computer to clone another unit.

Versions of these are available for hazardous areas-all groups, classes, and divisions. Set points and other peripherals are available.

These indicators are so advanced that they can replace a computer and process controller in most cases. They have their own programming language and support data bases, networking, process control, analog outputs, inputs, timers, variables, can emulate other manufacturers protocols, support various peripherals, proximity sensors, calculate various measures including rate of flow.

Why do some indicators have a “TARE” button?
Isn’t the “ZERO” button sufficient? The zero button is only allowed to work within +/-2% of true zero (platform unloaded) in a legal for trade application, so you will need the “TARE” button when you have a container. You will also need it for gross, tare, net calculations to verify proper tare when printing or to assure the operator that he has correct tare.

What units of measure do I need?
Some indicators have no way to switch units. Many will switch from lb. to kg. If you need tons, lb. and oz. together, tr. oz., dwt., or some custom unit, you better ask about them. We have indicators to support these, but lower end units typically do not.

I need to print a label. What do I need to know?
Basically there are 2 things. You need to know what information needs to be printed and what kind of printer you need to print it. (Link to printer section in peripherals following). If you need time and date be sure to specify an indicator with non-volatile time and date so it does not have to be reset after a power loss. If you have several ID fields you need to consider how the data will be entered. This might include a bar code scanner, a remote PS2 style computer keyboard, or the keyboard (sometimes alphanumeric) that comes with the indicator. Also consider if the indicator can prompt for these ID fields and has a display sufficient to both prompt and display information so the operator knows that the right information will be printed. Some GSE indicators have 16 line X 40 character displays for this purpose. You might want to use a database built into the indicator to save transactions or to help in filling the fields on a label. For example, the operator presses in a number, perhaps “10” and the indicator fills the description field with “3/8″ crushed stone.”

My environment is harsh. How does this effect my decision?
You probably need a NEMA IV stainless indicator. You might need a Lexan shield that will still allow the operator to press the buttons, but will protect the keyboard. Many indicators have remote input capabilities so that the operator can perform a “TARE” or “PRINT” without having to press any buttons on the indicator itself.

I have an explosion hazard environment. Any indicator that runs on batteries is OK. Right?
NO! You need an FM approved system for your particular group, division, and class. You also need a platform that is approved. Some indicators have a “system” approval. That means they are approved only with specific load cells. The units that we sell have “entity” approval. That means they are approved with any FM approved cells. Make sure that the power supply also meets your FM requirements. Look at the control drawing if you have any doubts.

I want to batch an ingredient and have the indicator shut off my feeder. All I need is an indicator with a set point or two, right?
No. The inexpensive units have “coincidence” set points that will reenergize when you remove your product. For example, you would set the set point at 85 lb. so it will deenergize at 85 lb., but as you are removing your product the weight will fall under 85 lb. and reenergize. A “batching” indicator will not reenergize until the “START” button is again pressed. “Coincident” set points are only good for giving an audible or visual signal to the operator that the weight is in the correct zone. They are not good for batching.

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