For example, when steel or crushed rock is sold in industry, the price of the material is typically determined by weight. The principle is exactly the same as in the more consumer-familiar weighing of fruit in a grocery store. Whenever the weighing result is used in this way to determine the price of a product or service, the weighing is commercial, and the scales used are in commercial use.
In order for both the selling and buying parties to be sure that the commodity and the money are exchanging hands in the right proportion, the accuracy of the weighing instrument must be verifiable. In other words, the scale used must be certified for commercial use. However, in industry, for example, one sometimes encounters cases where a standard process scale has been purchased for commercial purposes without realising that the weighing solution should be approved for commercial use, including the interfaces to upper systems.
Jari Brandt, Service Business Manager at Tamtron, who has a long and varied experience in the maintenance and calibration services of dosing and weighing equipment, explains more about the specifics of commercial weighing in this article.
The regulations and technology of commercial weighing evolve constantly
The need to accurately measure the weight of a traded item is very old. The basics have remained unchanged throughout history and weighing has always been an important cornerstone of trade. However, the technology of scales has evolved rapidly, and it has been important to update the laws and regulations on weighing and scales.
For a long time, Finland operated under an old law dating back to 1965, but as the 21st century approached, the need to update it grew. With the reform of the EU directives, the Finnish Measuring Instruments Act 707/2011 and related regulations were updated to meet the requirements of the times. In the following years, more domestic regulations were drafted as well as new directives 2014/31EU (NAWID) and 2014/32/EU (MID). During 2016, the requirements of the directives were finally harmonised with Finnish law through the amending act 1138/2016 and entered into force on 1 January 2017.
However, both the regulations and the technology for weighing are constantly evolving. Technology is improving and digitalisation is enabling new ways of processing and using production data, offering companies new ways to make their operations more efficient and productive. Indeed, the management of weighing data may be closer to the heart of today’s digitalisation than one might suddenly think. Therefore, it is crucial to take the management of weighing data into account already at the design stage of a system development.
Commercial scale meets the requirements of laws and directives
Not just any scale is suitable for commercial use, but for this the design and operation of the scale must meet certain criteria, which are determined by laws, directives, and many other standards. The design and implementation of automation for a commercial scale is also less straightforward and requires a much broader range of expertise than for a conventional process scale to meet the legal presumption of conformity.
If the above points haven’t been taken into account, this has often been due to the fact that the implementation of the weighing system has been spread over several operators. If, in the implementation of a scale or a weighing system, one company supplies the weighing components, another the mechanics, and a third the automation, none of the companies may be able, even in theory, to take responsibility for both the mechanical operation of the scales and their compliance with the regulations for commercial scales, if they are not taken comprehensively into account from the outset. That is why Tamtron, offering a wide range of services from needs assessment to maintenance, is a safe choice as a supplier of both process and commercial scales.
Commercial scale needs to be certified regularly
Commercial scales must be initially certified before they are put into service, which means ensuring that they are suitable for commercial use. Apart from Tamtron, there are only a few operators in Finland with initial verification rights.
Although scales should be serviced and calibrated regularly in any case, commercial scales must be legally certified every three years. The dates of the last and next verification should be clearly marked both on the scale and in a separate document.
There are also practical benefits to be gained from certification. Using a certified scale ensures that it has been tested by the authority with sufficient accuracy, that it functions correctly, and that the weighing data it provides can be used for invoicing. The verification, or stability, of weighing instruments in Finland is carried out by Kiwa Inspecta Oy as the supervising inspection authority. Tamtron’s experts will be happy to provide further information on both commercial scales and related certification.