Industrial Scales & Load Cells Product Focus Study October 2004
Research was undertaken to gain a better understanding of Control Engineering subscribers’applications and needs regarding industrial scales and load cells.
•Among those specifying, recommending, and/or buying industrial scales or load cells, 85% do so for in-plant requirements and 31% buy for OEM requirements.
•Both continuous and batch processing represent the primary application for industrial scales and load cells among those surveyed.
•Fifty percent of respondents perform basic weighing operations. Forty-two percent perform batching.
•The vast majority (92%) use electronic weighing systems. Users of these electronic weighing systems predominantly utilize strain gauges to measure the strain in the load-bearing member.
•Bench, floor/warehouse, and portable are the most common industrial scale types in use.
•Forty-seven percent of survey participants said their industrial scales’ average capacity is over 500 pounds.
•For about three-quarters of respondents, accuracy and repeatability are equally important in their weighing operation.
•Most (60%) require only digital readout for their applications. Another 34% require digital and analog readout.
•Sixty-five percent of survey participants said the output from their primary scale/load cell application is used for any combination of readout, process control, and data collection.
•Forty-nine percent use their scales/load cells as both standalone and networked devices, while another 5% use only as part of a network. Of the 54% using their scales/load cells as part of a network, local area networks (LAN) are the most widely used network (88%) and 4-20 mA/0- 10 V dc is the most widely used network protocol (75%).
•More than a fourth of respondents (28%) purchased scales or load cells from Mettler-Toledo in the past 12 months, making it the most widely used supplier of these products. Seventy-five percent usually purchase from the same weighing equipment manufacturer as they did in the past. Eleven scales or load cells was the average number each respondent purchased in the past 12 months. This equated to average scale/load cell spending of $27,150 per respondent. Twenty-two percent of respondents will increase their scale or load cell purchases in the next 12 months, and 72% will maintain the same purchase level. In fact, half of survey participants indicated their fiscal budget for next year allows for upgrading of weighing technology.
•Reliability is the key product selection criterion for our respondents. UL is, by far, the most common standard required for scale systems (87%). Calibration, trouble shooting and verification are each used by approximately 90% in the maintenance of their scales. Compared to scale dealers and equipment manufacturers, internal personnel at respondents’ companies are most often the ones to perform each type of maintenance.