Scientific Scales for Precise, Accurate Weighing
The online resource Sciencing explains that scientific weight scales "are used to measure the weight and mass of many different kinds of solids, liquids or powders." That suggests that scientific scales have many different applications. We describe some of these in this post.
But first: when you select a scientific scale two crucial factors to keep in mind are precision and accuracy, and there is an important difference.
As defined in our post on the topic, a $5,000 wristwatch may be precise, but if the hands are set wrong it does not show the accurate time. More to our point for considering a scientific scale, repeatedly placing a test weight on a digital scale may show the same result on the readout, meaning the scale is precise.
But if the test weight and the readout differ, there is an accuracy problem.
This post also defines other important features to guide your selection criteria when purchasing a scientific scale.
Types of Scientific Scales
Here are general descriptions for our four lines of scientific digital weighing scales. See the detail pages on this website for comprehensive specifications.
- Analytical Balances are capable of weighing to within the sub-milligram range such as 0.1mg or in the case of semi-micro balances within 0.01mg readability, which is the number you see on the display.
Upper weighing capacity is limited for analytical balances, depending on the models. An example is 320g for a 0.1mg balance. Weighing pans are enclosed by a housing with sliding doors and a top to protect them from dust and stray air currents that can affect accuracy.
- Precision Scales have higher weighing capacities and weighing ranges from readings in milligrams (0.001g) to a capacity of 31,000g, again depending on models. Most models have open weighing pans; others are enclosed on 4 sides and the top for draft protection. Some models can be fitted with draft shields.
- Platform scales, also known as parcel scales and packaging scales, are used for heavier weighing tasks. Readability – again what you see on the display – varies depending on the weighing capacity. As an example, a 3kg maximum weight scale might have a readability of 0.01g while a 300kg scale might have a readability of 100g.
- Hanging Scales are popular for receiving docks and warehouses to check the weight of merchandise as it is unloaded or relocated using an overhead crane. Because they are often employed in outdoor areas Tovatech’s HCN digital hanging scales have stainless steel housings and have an IP65 rating to protect against ingress of dust and moisture. They feature front and rear weight displays and a weight holding function.
Scientific Scales for Accurate, Precise Weighing from Milligrams to KilogramsWeight accuracy - that is, exactly how accurate is the weight of an item - is of critical importance across businesses ranging from compounding pharmaceuticals to calculating the weight of construction products delivered to or shipped from the loading dock.
Capable of weighing to within the sub-milligram range such as 0.1mg or in the case of semi-micro balances within 0.01mg readability, which is the number you see on the display. Upper weighing capacity is limited for analytical balances, depending on the models. Weighing pans are enclosed to protect them from dust and stray air currents that can affect accuracy.
Higher weighing capacities and weighing ranges from readings in milligrams (0.001g) to a capacity of 31,000g, depending on models. Most models have open weighing pans; others are enclosed for draft protection. Some models can be fitted with draft shields.
Also known as parcel scales and packaging scales, used for heavier weighing tasks. Readability varies depending on the weighing capacity. As an example, a 3kg maximum weight scale might have a readability of 0.01g while a 300kg scale might have a readability of 100g.
Popular for receiving docks and warehouses to check the weight of merchandise as it is unloaded or relocated using an overhead crane. Tovatech’s HCN digital hanging scales have stainless steel housings and an IP65 rating to protect against ingress of dust and moisture. They feature front and rear weight displays and a weight holding function.
Applications for Scientific Scales
In addition to the two examples above, scientific digital scales serve a number of special functions throughout industry. Here are a few examples.
Density determination: Determining the density of a solid or liquid is easier and more accurate with an analytical balance programmed to work in concert with density determination kits. The density of a liquid or solid is shown on the analytical balance liquid crystal display.
Piece counting: The use of scientific counting scales determines the number of, for example, nuts or bolts in a box.
Place a known number of parts (usually the more the better) on the scale and program the number. This establishes the average piece weight. Then when you add parts the scale will tell you how many parts you have loaded. Counting scales are classified by counting resolution designated as points with higher points indicating better resolution.
Tolerance weighing: Also called check weighing this is a plus or minus value of the target weight or number of pieces that is acceptable for cost control or regulatory guidelines. An example is a scientific scale with red, green and yellow indicators showing the value as below, on target and above pre-set limits.
Recipe weighing: Used when compounding products where strict control of ingredients is mandatory and when researchers create and vary formulations while seeking to develop new or improved products. A scientific recipe weighing scale documents the mixture of several components one by one and the total weight of all components can be called up for control purposes.
Percentage weighing: Certain models of precision scientific scales can be programmed, among other functions, for percentage weighing. This application uses a preset reference weight to equal 100%. The balance displays the sample weight in percent relative to the reference value.
Dynamic weighing: This type of scientific scale displays an average weight when environmental conditions are unstable or when weighing animals that tend to want to move about when on the weighing pan.
In addition to selection tips referenced above we also call attention to the importance of calibration on a regular basis. Scientific scales are designed for internal or external calibration, the latter requiring the purchase of calibration weights. You will learn more about this in our post on calibrating scientific scales.
Considering Options for your Scientific Scale
As with many purchases, options are available to facilitate your weighing procedures and contribute to accuracy and GLP. These options vary depending on the scientific scale you are considering and what you are doing. Examples include:
- An ionizer to neutralize electrostatic charge that can distort weighing results
- A printer that connects to the balance to record results in accordance with good laboratory practices (GLP)
- Software that enables the balance to transfer data to a PC.
- Density determination kit as noted above
And don’t forget to look at warranties. Warranties vary from model to model even for the same manufacturer.
Consider downloading a copy of our Buyer’s Guide to Digital Scales for helpful information on choosing the correct weighing instrument.
We invite you to browse our line of scientific scale products, then contact us for recommendations from our staff of professionals for assistance in making the right selection.
Why you should buy Scientific Scales from Tovatech:
- Highly rated customer support
- Huge inventory for fast delivery
- Up to 3 year warranty protects your investment
- Meet demanding industry and government standards
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