Learning Values & Adjusting Accuracy For Mass & Weight Calibrations

Learning Values & Adjusting Accuracy For Mass & Weight Calibrations

April 13, 2022


One of the most common characteristics shared by all types of measuring equipment is the need for routine upkeep. Scales, comparators, weights and balances are essential pieces of equipment in the discipline of metrological science, otherwise known as calibration.

These components are highly sensitive, and regular usage along with a host of other factors can cause inconsistencies in module performance. Regularly employing calibration services is necessary in order to maintain optimal performance of instruments which determine weight. These values can then be reliably compared to those in a traceable, industry-recognized reference standard.

The authority that officially certifies weights and values for calibration is known as the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). Measuring for accuracy down to the one-thousandth of a unit, according to NIST standards, allows a manufacturer or service provider to render precise, error-free results.

In turn, this practice is one of the essential ways in which top companies garner a reputation for high standards of quality. There are several common dynamics which can negatively affect the accurate measurement of objects. All are addressed and overcome by properly administered professional calibrations.

Mass Versus Weight Calibrations

When determining the physical properties of a product, it is important to differentiate between an object’s “mass” and “weight” and to acknowledge that — while interconnected — they represent two different values according to physics.

Small inaccuracies in weight measurements, over time, can cause massive oversights in terms of shipping costs which are determined by weight and retail prices which are determined by net weight. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of the difference between mass and weight is necessary in order to appreciate the need for and value of calibration.

Inertia Versus Gravity

Accurately measuring the physical properties of an object first requires that the proportionality between mass and weight be determined. This is because an object that is enormous, such as a hot air balloon, does not always have a weight that is equivalent to its size.

An object’s mass is an inertial property — the tendency to move a constant velocity until acted upon by an outside influence. This is measured in units known as kilograms, as determined by the International System of Units (SI). Meanwhile, an object’s weight is the downward gravitational pull which is measured in SI units called newtons.

This is why, for example, if one were to break a rack of billiard balls on the moon, they would scatter with the same speed as they would on Earth, but they would drop into the pockets at a much slower rate.

Weight and Buoyancy

Another factor to consider in the pursuit of the accurate measurement of weight and mass is whether the object being measured is subject to buoyancy. Technically, air and water are both fluids. An object supported by a fluid such as a balloon or a boat, while its weight may seem to be neutralized, is actually being supported by the ground beneath the fluid.

This dynamic must be considered when calibrating for weight and mass, as the mass of said object is not neutralized and the potential inertia caused by motion must be considered.

Geographical Positioning

A scale’s proximity to the earth’s core affects its accuracy. Since the planet is not a perfect sphere, where a piece of equipment is located on the surface of the earth is affected accordingly by gravity. The closer to the equator, the further a component is from the center of the earth. Conversely, the closer an instrument is to either of the earth’s poles, the greater the effect of gravity will be.

Calibration services adjust according to global position. Similarly, a scale that is moved from the basement level of a building to, say, the fourth floor, will need to be adjusted accordingly — as the move in relation to the gravitational source will affect the resulting values.

A Necessity Across Many Applications

Mass, scale, and weight calibrations are essential to every application which relies on measurements that determine shipping rates, market trends and unit prices. The most common of these are nuclear, food and beverage, farming, agricultural, medical and hospital industries.

More subtly, however, is the essential need for calibration in the postal, pharmaceutical, utilities such as gas, wind, and solar, and concrete sectors as well as the worlds of textiles, recycling, waste management and many more.

The Constellation Edge

Constellation PowerLabs offers comprehensive calibration services in an expertly designed facility that is controlled for air pressure, temperature, and humidity. These conditions are especially important in mass calibration and properly adjusting components so that they measure precisely and render exact weight values for pinpoint accuracy.

This process addresses and adjusts each component, according to industry application, for mass, weight, buoyancy and geopositioning. PowerLabs has several labs equipped to handle a host of calibration services, offering a streamlined, in-house experience as well as numerous mobile accommodations through onsite visits.

Constellation PowerLabs offers mass calibration on scales, balances, mass comparators, and weights from working to ultra-class (up to 10 kg). We can calibrate class one weights up to 2 kilograms 17025 and have the ability to calibrate up to 30 kilograms non accredited. Our advanced capabilities allow us to calibrate balances and scales from 0 to 1,000 lbs, and comparators 0 to 10 kg.

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