The scale is in commercial use when the weighing result is used to determine the price of a product or service. It is almost daily for the consumer to weigh fruit, for example, on the scale of a grocery store. The same analogy applies to industry, ie if you sell steel or crushed stone at a price per tonne, the scale must be certified for commercial use.
In the industry, however, we sometimes encounter cases where a customer purchases a normal process scale without realizing that the scale is being used for commercial purposes and must be approved for that use, including any ancillary system interfaces.
Regulations and technology around weighing are constantly evolving
The need for accurate measurement of the weight of a trading item is very old. The basics have not changed over time and reliable weighing has remained an important cornerstone of trading. However, technology has developed rapidly around scales and with this it has also been important to update laws and regulations. Finland also operated for a long time according to the old law from 1965, but as the 21st century entered, the need to update it increased.
With the renewals of the European Union directives, the Finnish laws were also updated and the Measuring Instruments Act 707/2011 and the related regulations were updated to meet the requirements of the time. Within a few years, changes came through both domestic regulations and the new Directives 2014 / 31EU (NAWID) and 2014/32 / EU (MID). Finally, during 2016, the requirements of the directives were harmonized with Finnish law by the amendment law 1138/2016, and they entered into force on January the 1st, 2017.
Both regulations and technology around weighing and measuring are evolving. Technology is improving and digitalization enables new types of processing and utilization of production data, giving companies new ways to make their operations more efficient and productive. Measurement data management is perhaps deeper at the heart of today’s digitalization than one might think at first. Therefore, it is very important to take into account the processing of measurement data already at the stage when planning the development of the system.
The structure and operation of the scale must meet the criteria required by law and the directives
A scale used in commercial use is not the same as a regular “any scale”. The structure and operation of the scale must meet certain criteria, which are determined by laws, directives and many other standards. In addition, the design and implementation of scale-related automation is not as straightforward as in the case of a non-commercial scale. In other words, the design of a scale requires expertise in a very different way from a basic process scale in order to fulfill the essential requirements set out in the law.
Sometimes you come across situations where the above things have not been taken into account in any way. This is often due to the fact that when a weighing system / scales are built, one company supplies the weighing components, another the mechanics and a third company the automation. All of this results in no company, even in theory, being able to take responsibility for both the mechanical operation of scales and compliance with the regulations of commercial scales unless they have been considered holistically from the outset.
Before start of use, the commercial scale must be initially verified, ie suitability tested for that use. In Finland, in addition to Lahti Precision, only a few other operators have first certification rights. In any case, although scales should be serviced and calibrated regularly, in-use verification for commercial scales should be done every three years. For more information on this and scales suitable for commercial weighing in general, contact Lahti Precision’s experts.
The author of the article is Service Business manager Jari Brandt. He has a long and varied experience in maintenance and calibration services for dosing and weighing equipment.
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