How to calibrate your scale

Even the highest quality scale won’t give accurate readings forever. Many factors affect the scale’s accuracy over time, causing readings to “drift.” That’s why it’s important to calibrate them regularly. In many cases doing so is mandatory, for example if your scales are used to price products and need to be legal for trade. Here’s how to do it.

Calibrating a digital scale that isn’t legal for trade

If you have a digital scale that doesn’t need to be accurate down to the decimal, you may choose to calibrate it yourself. The first step is always to test your scale to see whether calibration is required.

If you don’t require a high degree of accuracy, you can use an object with a known weight, such as a dumbbell, to test the scale. If you need fairly exact readings, you should use calibrated weights. These may have been included with your scale.

If you’re using calibrated weights, a good way to ensure correct calibration is to use three weights that have a ratio of 1 to 2 to 4 and a cumulative weight that represents a substantial part of the scale’s capacity. Place the calibrated weights on the scale in different combinations to see if the sum adds up to their combined weight.

If the reading isn’t accurate, recalibrate the scale. Most digital scales have an easy-to-use calibration function. The process typically involves inputting the weight of the test object, putting the item on the scale, then allowing the scale to electronically recalibrate. For precise instructions, refer to your owner’s manual.

Having your scale calibrated by a professional

Any legal-for-trade scale needs to be certified by a scale inspector accredited by Measurement Canada. This requires precise calibration.

Calibrating scales so that they’re accurate and legal for trade requires professional expertise. Calibrations performed by the user using the scale’s built-in feature don’t guarantee sufficient accuracy.

Even if your scale doesn’t need to be legal for trade, you may still need a high level of accuracy that only a professional calibration can guarantee, for example if the scale is used in a laboratory setting.

Scale inspection and calibration in Alberta

Accurate/Western Scale Co. Ltd. is accredited by Measurement Canada as authorized scale inspectors. Our highly skilled technicians can inspect and calibrate your scales to ensure that they adhere to strict industry regulations. For more information about our scale certifications in Calgary, Red Deer, Swift Current and across Alberta, contact us today.

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