What Service Technicians Wish You Knew About Your Scales
Through years of calibrating scales, you can imagine that our experienced service technicians have collected some interesting stories about customers who decide not to implement regular calibration and service programs, and the major problems, and downright chaos that ensued from such decisions. Well, if you are a believer in learning from other people’s mistakes, keep reading. We’ll share some real world examples of what happens when your scales aren’t regularly serviced and calibrated.
However, before we get into the real world examples from the life of a service technician, we need to state upfront 1. How scale accuracy can be compromised 2. How loss of accuracy can cost you, and 3. Why regular service and calibration from a knowledgeable and experienced service technician is important.
How scale accuracy can be compromised:
Industrial and laboratory scales are high precision instruments that are highly sensitive.
The equipment’s usage and condition it’s in can cause wear and tear of essential components of your measurement system and may cause a calibration to fail. In addition, spilled goods, movement, weather, dirt, or dust can also compromise your scale’s accuracy.
How loss of accuracy can cost you:
- Weight influences profitability. If you are producing a million units of a product that you are unknowingly filling 0.5 oz. over (cost of $.10/unit), you can do the math.
- With industry standards, regulations and legislation calibration is a pre-requisite to protect your customers, your business and your reputation. If you fail to meet regulations your company could face fines, and/or customers could be lost.
- If your scale’s calibration completely fails, you are looking at downtime for a few hours to a few days depending on the service and parts needed. Again, you can do the math on how much downtime could cost you.
- Your job. Should an unfavorable audit, or scale failure, occur on your watch, someone has to answer for it. You want to make sure you have proof and certification that preventative measures were taken to avoid any profitability, compliance, or downtime issues.
Why regular service and calibration from a knowledgeable and factory trained service technician is important:
Not all service technicians are created equal. Sure, some service technicians may have years of experience working on scales, but with scale technology ever changing, a scale technician also needs regular training, support, and knowledge about those changes from multiple scale manufacturers. An experienced and factory trained technician will know the manufacture suggested maintenance and how to fix problems much more quickly and efficiently, than a technician with no factory training or support.
Real World Scale Stories
So now that we’ve gone through the text book explanation as to why having your scales calibrated and serviced regularly is important, take a look at some of these real world examples seen firsthand by Toledo Carolina service technicians and managers. (For confidentiality purposes, we will not list company or employee names!)
Service Tech Story #1:
We had one customer (Company A) whose entire business and profit was based on truck weight of materials. We tried to set them up on a quarterly maintenance agreement, but they thought it was too expensive and would just give us a call if they noticed any problems. Well, as the seasons changed between winter and summer months, they noticed that their weights seemed to be off, so they called us to calibrate their truck scales. Sure enough their scales were off by several hundred pounds, and they had been losing thousands of dollars in profits per truck over the past several weeks. They quickly signed a service agreement.
Service Tech Story #2:
We installed scales for Company B, but they didn’t feel they needed to have a documented calibration system for their scales. One day one of their customers started complaining about the weight of product they were being charged by. When the company couldn’t provide proof or documentation of calibration to support their production process, their customer, who accounted for 50% of their business, left their company for a competitor. When we came in to calibrate Company B’s scales, it was evident that their customer was justified in leaving. They ended up signing a service agreement too to prevent further damage to their reputation.
Service Tech Story #3
Company C had hired another service technician who had a cheaper hourly rate than Toledo Carolina to fix a scale. That guy spent 3 days trying to fix the scale. They finally called us and we had it fixed in two hours. The other guy wasn’t trained to fix the type of scale this company was using.
Service Tech Story #4
Company D understood that they needed regular maintenance on their scales, but they decided to use a scale maintenance company who didn’t have factory support or training on the scales they owned. One day, a scale went down, and those guys spent a day and half trying to fix the problem. Finally, they called Toledo Carolina and not only did we have it fixed within half a day, we also found out that it needed to be calibrated and had been off by 56 lbs.
Service Tech Story #5:
Company E had a warehouse floor scale that had so much debris under it was weighing the pallets at 1,620 lbs. When we finished cleaning it out and calibrating it, it was weighing accurately at 1,800 lbs. It had been going on for a while, and we heard through the grapevine that the manager was reprimanded.
Preventing Scale Inaccuracies
Hopefully, you will never have to relate to these examples, and although these are some of our more extreme cases, you certainly get the idea. If you wait until you “see” a problem, then you‘ve probably seen it too late, and Toledo Carolina is a firm believer in “An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. Our factory trained and supported service technicians take extra care of your equipment and will make the needed adjustments or replace worn out parts to ensure your equipment will pass calibration tests and provide dependable performance for years to come.
Contact us today and we will be happy to go over our service and calibration options with you.