One of the busiest pieces of equipment at the scrap yard are its scales. They provide the defining measurement for all material trading, both buying and selling.
There’s Nothing New About Scales
Scales date back to early Egyptian civilization. The earliest scales were found in an Egyptian grave and are at least 7000 years old. Modified and improved by many cultures over time they increasingly gained relevance with the introduction of mediums of exchange with fixed values. People needed to know the weight of a product in order to convert its value into currency.
We keep a few relics from the last century around and its fun to bring them out for a look now and again. These are primarily balance beam scales and were quite commonly used in the industry at one time.
Nowadays, however, most of the scales are electronic. Their design dates back to around 1939 when two American engineers experimented with electrical resistance. Their research lead to the development of a load cell. This is essentially a transducer which converts a weight sitting on it into an electrical signal that can be measured. We have a number of platform scales which work on this principle.
If Our Scales Aren’t Accurate, We’re In Trouble
Most importantly, however, commercial scales must be legally certified for trade. Beyond normal maintenance, we will shut down our scales on a regular basis and bring in a specialized crew to test the accuracy of each scale and to recertify it. This gives our customers and our Company the confidence of knowing that fair trading practices are at play. The weights of the material we are buying and the material we are selling are accurate.
Incidentally, modern truck scales installed at large recycling facilities have the additional feature of being able to monitor and detect radiation. This is important in circumventing the problem of radioactive material moving up the supply chain as incoming feed is processed, refined and ultimately used in manufacturing.