Quest for the Giant Pumpkin

When the sound of polka music is getting louder and the smell of sauerkraut is getting stronger, you can only be at one place: Oktoberfest; and where there is an Oktoberfest, there is bound to be a giant pumpkin weighing contest. On a sunny, fall day in Chippewa Falls, Wis., the competition was heating up. Giant pumpkin growers from around the northern Midwest gathered to weigh their pumpkins, celebrate their hard work and dream of one day breaking the world record of 2,323 pounds.

Chad Gehweiler, Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off organizer and avid pumpkin grower, reached out to his friend Brian Potter of WIScale for a certified scale. According to the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC), the regulating body for giant fruits and vegetables, a certified scale “is the single most important item you need at your weigh-off.” Each site requires a 4 X 4 foot (or larger) platform scale with a current certification sticker that has been calibrated by a licensed weights and measurement business. Guinness World Records requires that certification to qualify for an official world record. Potter immediately knew what scale could handle half-ton and heavier pumpkins: Rice Lake’s RoughDeckfloor scale. Potter says, “The RoughDeck has a low profile with a lot of steel; it’s very industrial.” Accompanying the RoughDeck was the 480 Legend Series digital weight indicator. Designed for protection in dirty, wet environments, the 480 scale indicator withstands higher levels of electrical noise, power disturbances and transient spikes than its predecessors. Two serial ports with local/remote function connect with ease to displays like the LaserLight Series. Packed with power but economically priced, the 480 is ruggedly durable and easy to pair with any scale or display.

An accurate scale was only one part of the competition. Entries included tomatoes, long gourds, watermelons, field pumpkins and of course, the guaranteed crowd pleaser, giant pumpkins. The crowd, gathered from all over Oktoberfest, wanted to see what mattered most to them: the numbers. Using the LaserLight Series remote display, large bright red digits wowed the onlookers; first with a five pound tomato. Then, the numbers grew with a 125 pound watermelon, a 141.5 pound field pumpkin and finally, a 1,479 pound giant pumpkin.

Using a skid steer and a homemade harness, each pumpkin was delicately lifted one by one like a newborn baby being placed in their mother’s arms. In a dramatic turn of events, it was discovered a stem had broken off of one contender’s pumpkin at the patch. According to the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the stem was no longer eligible to be weighed with the pumpkin. Just to add salt to the wound, event organizers weighed the stem after the pumpkin’s weight was officially entered into the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth’s database; a solid 2.5 pounds. For those hoping to break a world record, 2.5 pounds easily separates first and second place.

Other regulations regarding the competition included each pumpkin being inspected and measured by a site judge. There can be no holes in the pumpkin nor can it be manipulated to weigh heavier. All data is tracked by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth and prize money can range anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000, depending on the size and location of the competition.

Gehweiler recommends three things for those hoping to one day grow giant pumpkins: hard work, organic soil additives and carefully selected seeds. It may come as a surprise, but giant pumpkin seeds are bred much like prize horses or dogs. They are identified by their grower’s last name, the weight of the pumpkin it was bred from, as well as the weight and year grown of the male pollinator plant and the female seed it was grown from. Buyers can purchase seeds via the Internet or through personal connections with prices varying anywhere between $10 a seed to $1,600 a seed. In addition to choosing the right seeds, Gehweiler also recommends using natural soil boosters and dry, organic fertilizers from The GreenGro™ in Windsor, Calif. “At the end of the day,” Gehweiler says, “these pumpkins are all trained to grow a certain size and pattern.” The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth is also an excellent resource for a beginner’s journey into giant pumpkin cultivation. They give advice on site selection, soil, seeds, transplantation, plant care, watering and finally, rules and regulations regarding certified weigh-offs.

The GPC recommends starting in late May when the frost has passed and daytime temperatures will stay above 75 degrees Fahrenheit for three or four months. Before planting, dig the soil about a foot deep and mix in some compost, manure or natural root system boosters like those sold by The GreenGro. Plant two or three seeds in a group about one inch apart from one another.

The idea is to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Once your pumpkin seeds sprout and have three leaves, remove all but the strongest plant. Add more fertilizer and when three baby pumpkins are about six inches in diameter, choose the best-shaped one and pick off the other two. All of the vine’s nutrients will now feed into one potential giant pumpkin. Train the vines away from the pumpkin and once the primary vine reaches 20 feet, pinch off the tips and the side shoots to avoid crushing the pumpkin. Fertilize your pumpkin about every two weeks while still watering it regularly. The last two to three weeks of September is when growth slows down and your pumpkin is ready to be taken off the vine and entered in an official GPC weigh-off.

In addition to weighing giant pumpkins in the Midwest, Rice Lake’s RoughDeck and 480 digital weight indicator have been on hand for competitions across the country. Farm Y’all, a farm-to-fork festival in Cullman, Ala., witnessed a state record breaking pumpkin of 1,296 pounds and the Vermont State Fair saw a winning pumpkin at 956 pounds, both weighed with the dynamic RoughDeck and 480 duo.

Gehweiler has claimed the Wisconsin state record with a pumpkin weighing 1,882 pounds at Pumpkinmania! in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Persistent hard work, the right seeds and the best soil additives continue to aid Gehweiler’s quest for the ultimate giant pumpkin as he hopes to one day break the world record. No matter the shape, texture or appearance of the pumpkin, the one thing growers work hardest for is the weight. Just like the dedicated giant pumpkin grower, no scale works harder than Rice Lake’s.

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Weighing the Load: What Is a Truck Scale?

Truck scales are essential to businesses across many industries. Designed to measure the weight of trucks and their cargo, they help ensure compliance with legal weight limits and increase efficiency.

Whether you’re in the transportation, agriculture, or construction industry, understanding what a truck scale is and how it works is crucial. Learn the basics of truck scales, including their purpose, functionality, and benefits.

What Are Truck Scales Used For?

Truck scales serve many purposes across many industries, but inventory tracking and regulatory compliance are two of the main uses.

Determining Load Weight and Tracking Inventory

Truck scales can determine the weight of the goods you’re transporting. Knowing shipment weights (incoming or outgoing) can help you streamline your processes, reduce costs, and improve overall productivity.

Plus, accurate weighing data lets you create precise inventory records and ensure the right amount of goods is transported. It may even help you flag theft or fraud during the transportation process.

Regulatory Compliance and Safety

Truck weighing data helps ensure that trucks are not overloaded and government weight regulations are met. Following regulations is especially important in industries such as transportation and logistics, where overloaded trucks can result in fines, penalties, and even damage to infrastructure.

In addition to meeting regulations, weighing data can help with safety. Adhering to weight limits can help you minimize the risk of accidents, boosting the safety of your drivers and the general public.

How Does a Truck Scale Work?

You can use truck scales to gather accurate weighing data like the tare weight (empty truck), gross weight (loaded truck), and net/load weight (gross weight minus tare weight). But how does a scale get those numbers?

Truck scales measure the force applied by a truck and its cargo on the platform to determine weight. Different truck scales — like weighbridge and axle scales — accomplish this in different ways.

Weighbridge Scales

Weighbridge scales consist of a long platform supported by load cells (sensors that measure the weight applied to them). When a truck drives onto the platform, the load cells detect the force and convert it into an electrical signal. This signal is then processed to provide weight information.

Axle Scales

Axle scales calculate the weight distributed across individual axles of a truck. These scales benefit industries that require precise weight distribution, such as the construction industry. Weighing each axle separately can provide valuable information that helps prevent overloading and ensure vehicle stability and safety.

How Accurate Are Truck Scales?

Truck scales can be highly accurate as long as you choose a reliable product and follow best practices for calibration and maintenance. Calibration involves adjusting the scale to make sure it gives accurate measurements within a certain range. Regular maintenance involves inspecting, cleaning/powerwashing, and servicing the scale to find and address any performance issues.

Investing in reliable and precise truck scales is crucial for maintaining accuracy and ensuring the integrity of your weight measurements. Even the slightest error can have significant consequences, leading to financial losses, legal issues, state-regulated fines, and damage to your company’s reputation.

Factors That Can Affect the Accuracy of Truck Scales

While truck scales are designed to provide accurate weight measurements with a tolerance of generally 20–40 pounds, several factors can impact their accuracy — mainly the environment and the scale’s condition.

Environmental Factors

Since truck scales are outside, environmental factors are one of the biggest concerns. Extreme temperatures, vibrations, and uneven surfaces can all affect performance. Staying on top of general maintenance and regularly pressurewashing your scales is crucial for helping with environmental concerns.

Scale Condition

The condition of the scale itself can impact how reliable it is. Over time, load cells and other components may wear down, decreasing the accuracy. Regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs are crucial for catching and addressing any issues.

Industries That Rely on Truck Scales

Truck scales are used in many industries where accurate weighing data is critical. Transportation, agriculture, and construction are just a few examples.

Transportation

The transportation industry relies heavily on truck scales to follow weight regulations and prevent overloading. Accurate weighing data can help business owners avoid fines, penalties, and delays caused by weight-related issues.

Agriculture

The agriculture industry also uses truck scales to weigh crops, livestock, and other agricultural products. Farmers and ranchers can use these scales to determine the value of goods, calculate shipping costs, and ensure fair trade practices.

Construction

The construction industry relies on truck scales to measure the weight of construction materials, such as sand, gravel, and cement. Weighing these materials can help construction companies avoid overloading their trucks, ensure the safety of their workers and equipment, and stick to weight restrictions set by construction sites.

Invest in Accuracy and Efficiency with UniFide CST

If you want to streamline your weighing processes and enhance overall efficiency, consider investing in a truck scale. Whether you want to rent a portable truck scale or purchase one, the experts at UniFide CST can help.

Don’t settle for subpar weighing solutions. Trust UniFide CST to deliver reliable, accurate, and durable truck scales that can help enhance your operations. Contact our experienced team today to discuss your needs, explore our extensive rental inventory, and find the perfect scale solution for your business.

What Is the Difference Between a Balance and a Scale?

Scales and balances are both used to “weigh” items, but are they the same thing? While these names are often used interchangeably, balances and scales differ in their purposes and applications. Keep reading to learn the key differences between scales and balances and decide which instrument is right for you.

How Is a Scale Different From a Balance?

Balances and scales are weighing instruments, but the key difference lies in what they measure. A scale measures weight, while a balance measures mass.

What Is a Scale?

A scale is an instrument that measures the force exerted by gravity on an object to determine its weight. Weight can change based on the gravity of your environment.

You place the object on the scale’s platform, and the scale uses a mechanism (like load cells) to measure the force. This force is then translated into weight and displayed in units like kilograms, grams, pounds, or ounces.

What Is a Weighing Balance?

A balance is a device used for measuring the mass (the amount of matter an object has) with high precision. Mass is unaffected by gravity and will remain the same wherever in the universe you are, which makes it essential for scientific industries.

Balances work on the principle of comparing against a known mass. Think of an old two-pan balance. You put an object you know the mass of in one pan and an object of unknown mass in the other. Today’s balances no longer require manual comparison — they use a force restoration mechanism instead. Readings for a balance are usually in grams or milligrams.

Balance vs. Scale: Accuracy

When you have a quality scale or balance, you can expect a high level of accuracy. However, balances are more accurate and precise by nature. Balances use direct comparison of mass, which is less likely to be affected by external factors. Scales, on the other hand, rely on the force of gravity to determine weight, which can be impacted by factors like air currents, vibration, and non-uniform loading.

Your scale is still highly accurate, though. But being off by half an ounce when weighing a load of sheet metal is pretty insignificant, while being off by a tenth of a milligram in a pharmaceutical setting can be serious.

How Does Scale Capacity Compare to Balance Capacity?

Since balances need to be highly accurate, they have a lower capacity than most scales, usually only offering a capacity of up to a few hundred grams. Balances aren’t meant for heavy-duty industrial use, so they don’t need to hold thousands of pounds of weight.

Plus, readability is important for balances. When working with such small measurements, you need a device that can detect even the tiniest difference in mass. That’s why balances also tend to have better readability, with some offering up to five-place readability.

When to Use a Scale vs. a Balance

In most cases, a scale will be the most appropriate device for weighing. They can be used for everything from weighing a pound of apples at the grocery store to determining the net weight of an 80,000-pound semi-truck. Construction, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, food service, healthcare, logistics, and transportation are some industries that use scales.

Balances are more specialized and frequently seen in laboratories and research facilities. Science- and lab-based industries will most likely benefit from a balance over a scale. For example, you’ll likely see them in a pharmaceutical setting for drug formulation.

Scale or Balance: Find What You Need at UniFide CST

Whether you’re interested in a scale or balance, find the weighing equipment you need at UniFide CST. We have a great selection of industrial scales and balances appropriate for a variety of industries and uses. Browse our offerings from trusted brands like Mettler Toledo and Rice Lake online and contact us today for a quote.

New Life for Steel

When state regulations changed to prohibit split-weighing on Legal for Trade truck scales, and with a growing volume of scale traffic, Alter Metal Recycling in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, found themselves in need of a new solution. They could no longer weigh trucks on an axle-by-axle basis and provide the sum as the truck’s total weight (split-weighing). While their existing pit-mounted mechanical truck scale could accommodate most vehicles, the business was expanding, and the increasing frequency of large commercial clients arriving in fully loaded semi-trucks demanded a longer scale.

Ken Barnhouse has been in the metal recycling business since 1997. Over that time, he has seen many changes in this evolving business, primarily in the equipment. Some of those changes increased efficiency and throughput, while others proved too unreliable to provide sustained advantages. But when Alter Metal Recycling chose an 80-foot SURVIVOR® OTR truck scale to replace its mechanical predecessor, it made Ken’s life easier.

He was working for a metal recycling business in Washington State at the time, and when he took the job as facility manager at Alter’s Eau Claire location, he was pleasantly surprised with the new equipment. “We had just installed Rice Lake OTRs at the Washington State plant,” Ken remembers. “The ease of installation was one of the great selling points, and it works as it should all the time. There is very little maintenance and it interfaces very well with our software. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”

SURVIVOR OTRs are not only a favorite of Ken’s, but they have become a good solution for many Alter Metal Recycling facilities. The 45 regional locations of this privately held recycling company (one of the largest in America) are turning red with Rice Lake. “As the old scales complete their life span or new state regulations demand an update, we’re moving to SURVIVORs,” Ken explains. “Rice Lake is easy to work with and the product quality is excellent. It’s a proven solution. Accuracy and durability are very important in our business,” he adds. “I need to be able to tell someone that this is the weight and be confident when saying so. The equipment needs to be consistent, and the OTR is just that. In the three years we’ve had the scale, I haven’t had to replace a load cell but I do appreciate the easy access to load cell pockets. That will make any future maintenance quick and easy.”

As a truck approaches the OTR, its contents are automatically scanned for potential radioactive material that could make it into the scrap stream. Seemingly harmless items such as vintage Cub Scout compasses and glow-in-the-dark watches are often identified and although they don’t pose any issues for safety or the environment, it does show how sensitive the detection equipment is. If the load passes the radiation test, the weight is captured by the office’s database software. A LaserLight® remote display mounted on either end of the scale (one for entering the facility and one for exiting) shows the driver their live weight. The metal is then offloaded in the yard, and a date with the 4,000 horsepower shredder awaits.

Scrap travels up the conveyor to the shredder where it is pulverized by 400-pound hammers mounted to an 80-inch diameter rotor. As it passes through the shredder, the scrap is sized per consumer specifications. The machine looks like a medieval torture device. Each hammer strike creates a sea of echoes between the mountains of scrap metal in the 26-acre yard.

The now-shredded autos, post-consumer goods (refrigerators, washers, swing sets, etc.) and a host of other input materials are sent through a magnetic separation system to prepare the steel and then move on to a variety of sophisticated separation equipment to remove other metals such as copper, aluminum and stainless steel.

Running at a breakneck pace, the shredder can process 100 tons per hour and fills 80 rail cars per month (each rail car passes over Rice Lake load cells) in addition to outgoing truck loads. Once sorting and separating is complete, the steel leaves the facility, destined for re-use in the construction or manufacturing industries.

In addition to steel, Alter processes copper, aluminum, titanium and other exotic metals. The company is constantly expanding and looking for growth opportunities, both domestically and internationally.

“Everywhere I go,” says Ken, “I see more and more SURVIVOR scales. More than anything else. People know that Rice Lake means quality. Alter enjoys a solid business relationship with Rice Lake and working together provides us and our customers with accurate, consistent weights that are at the core of our business.”

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Farmer’s Trust

Even before a seed is planted , farmers invest a great deal of time and effort to ensure it develops into a healthy crop. Equipment must be purchased. Land must be secured. The ground must be tilled. Weather must be correctly predicted. Once planted, the seed must be meticulously cared for and nourished for months until it is finally harvested. There is a lot that goes into raising ingredients for our favorite foods, and a farmer’s substantial investment is finally paid out when their crop is delivered and weighed.

When the crop leaves the field, the farmer has a pretty good idea what his load weighs, and the scale must corroborate that knowledge with an accurate measurement. When River Country Co-op opened its Bloomer, Wisconsin location in September 2012, they did so with a custom SURVIVOR® OTR pitmounted truck scale. It resides at the grain elevator, where the grated center module allows incoming delivery trucks to dump their grain (corn and soybeans) directly through the scale after the weight is captured. The grain is then collected by underground conveying equipment and sent to the elevator. A LaserLight® remote display shows the live weight to the driver, and a 920i® interfaced with the company’s software records the transaction.

The same scale is used for outgoing trucks, which transport the corn and soybeans to ethanol, feed, or food plants; and other processors. Whether performing incoming or outgoing transactions, the system is simple. Once the truck is on the scale, a small sample of its load is taken by a remote-controlled probe. The five-pound sample is pneumatically propelled through a clear tube into the weigh office, where it is inspected by the attendant. The sample is tested for moisture, foreign materials, and defects (such as cracked corn) which are extrapolated and deducted from the load’s total weight.

Megan Rhode, Assistant Grain Manager for River Country Co-op, often takes these samples and also operates the 920i indicator. “I’ve had farmers ask if their sample could be put back,” she explains. “That’s five pounds out of a 26-ton load. It goes to show you that a farmer wants every ounce because he remembers the time and money he put into every kernel and every bean. That’s why having an accurate scale is so important. They need to know they are being paid appropriately for their hard work.”

With accurate weighments comes trust, and with trust comes repeat business. “Farmers are different customers in that regard,” Megan continues. “Trust is generally important to everyone but it is different with farmers. Their trust is particularly hard to get but once you have it, they are loyal to you.”

The dependable SURVIVOR OTR cultivates this relationship. When the co-op first opened, there were occasional hiccups with the computer system while the new employees worked out the kinks. “We had minor issues with some of our other systems,” Megan explained. “But the scale is the one thing that’s been the most consistent. It’s rock solid. We sell to places that deal with a lot more grains than we do and when I compare our weights to the buyer’s ticket, they’re right on. That helps us compete with the big guys.”

The bulk of River Country Co-op’s deliveries are made via grain hopper truck; however, because the long OTR can also accommodate larger end dump trucks, the facility is also able to accept these loads. “Not everybody can afford to have a grain hopper,” Megan explains. “They have limitations on what you can haul, but end dumps can haul shavings, gravel, manure, and all sorts of material in addition to grain. Having a scale that can weigh all truck styles is essential so we don’t have to turn any business away based on the length of the truck.”

Beneath the scale is a cavern designed for conveyor equipment maintenance. It also provides a unique view of the OTR’s underside. Rows of I-beams coated in asphalt emulsion span the ceiling of the cavern like perfectly aligned horizontal stalactites. A look at this makes it easy to see how the open-bottom design of the scale eliminates moisture buildup.

Because the co-op deals exclusively with local farmers, the “keep it local” mentality was important throughout the facility. Integrating a truck scale that was manufactured in America was a key factor in the purchasing decision.

The combination of the OTR and 920i for processing all incoming and outgoing deliveries gives River Country Co-op their most important ingredient of all—a farmer’s trust.

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Industrial Counting Scales 101: Are They Right for Your Business?

When working with large quantities of small components, it can be hard to keep track of inventory. And the last thing you want to do is spend precious time counting every individual screw in a box. This is where industrial counting scales come in handy.

If you don’t already have a counting scale, you might not know what exactly they are or how they work. Here’s everything you need to know about counting scales so you can decide if they’re the right fit for your business.

What Is a Counting Scale?

Counting scales are designed to make your life easier and keep operations running smoothly. Other scales simply provide you with weighing data, but a counting scale uses the weighing data to calculate how many items you have. With this type of scale, you don’t have to worry about the tedious, time-consuming task of counting parts or pieces manually.

How Do Counting Scales Work?

Counting scales take the weight of a single item and compare it to the weight of a container filled with those items to “count” how many you have. To do this, a sample weight is collected by weighing a known number of the items to calculate an average. If you already have a sample weight, you can manually enter it. Then, the total weight is divided by the sample weight to give you the total number of items.

For example, if you have bolts that are 3 grams each, 3 grams is the sample weight. If you weigh a box of bolts and the total weight comes out to 90 grams, the counting scale will calculate that you have 30 bolts.

While 30 bolts might not seem too bad to count yourself, just think about having to do that over and over and over again as you fulfill orders! Or, you might have to count hundreds of parts, which is time-consuming and leaves more room for human error. Plus, many counting scales report directly to your ERP, so you don’t have to worry about entering data by hand.

Counting Scale Accuracy

Accurate weighing data is crucial, especially when it’s used for counting inventory. Counting scales work best and are most accurate if you have parts with a uniform weight. You wouldn’t be able to weigh a box containing different types of screws and expect an accurate count.

Even two of the same screw can vary in weight to some degree. One might weigh 0.355g, and the other might weigh 0.357g. You need a scale that can pick up on this difference. UniFide CST carries counting scales with readability up to 0.001g, like the Miller Toledo ICS445 Advanced Compact Scale.

Since items can vary slightly in weight, you don’t want to use just one item to determine your sample weight. Using a larger sample can help you get a more accurate average.

Common Uses for Industrial Counting Scales

An inventory counting scale can be useful for a wide range of applications. Some great uses for counting scales include:

  • Tracking inventory so you can know how much you have in stock and when to reorder. It can also help you discover potential waste or see where your highest costs are.
  • Checking incoming goods to ensure you are receiving the correct amount of product from your vendors.
  • Counting orders to be shipped to ensure customer satisfaction and avoid sending customers more product than they paid for.
  • Counting production output with high accuracy so you know your production levels and whether your goals are being met.
  • Quality control to catch products that might have cavities or missing pieces.

Streamline Inventory Management with a Counting Scale from UniFide CST

Take your counting and weighing processes to the next level. With UniFide CST on your side, you can find high-quality industrial scales, including counting scales. Our experienced team can help you find the perfect scale for your unique needs, ensuring accurate and efficient counting every time.

We’re also here for you after your purchase with our counting scale services like short- and long-term rentals, repairs, and calibrations. Contact us today to learn about our scales and services and get a quote.

The Spirit of a Brew

Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company Keeps the Local Spirit Alive with Unique Craft Beers, Quality Spirits and Rice Lake’s Weight Modules and Weight Indicators

We all know it when it hits our lips—the refreshing taste of a good brew. That experience is even more enjoyable in the company of friends and family. The traditional taproom was originally established to provide rest and refreshment to travelers during the Roman colonization of Britain. But centuries later, as many of us have already experienced, the spirit of a taproom can be anywhere a tasty brew is found: around the campfire, at a football game or, in the case of Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn, in their own garages.

25 years ago, Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn were friends and budding engineers at a supercomputing technology company. As time went on, so did their career paths. Kurt began a few business start-ups and Jim pursued his Master of Business Administration (MBA). Over the years and through multiple career and life changes, Jim and Kurt kept in touch. As conversations typically evolved over bubbling brews, Jim and Kurt tried to figure out how to combine their passion for craft beer and quality spirits with their engineering backgrounds. Soon after, they partnered with Dave Behling, an electrical engineer, to turn the dream into a reality. Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company opened Easter weekend of 2016, and has continued to experience success in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley area as a premier brewery and distillery.

A good brew starts with grains and at this rare combination of brewery and distillery, all of the wheat and corn come from a local farm in Chippewa Falls. In fact, the company is committed to buying locally as much as they can—even their tables are produced by a local Amish community. The grain is first run through a mill, a crucial first step that could make or break both brews and spirits. There is a fine line between cracking the grains so as to keep the hulls intact and crushing the grains to where they become damaged. The grains are milled and transferred to a mash vessel and hot water is added.

Combining the grain and hot water is commonly referred to as “mashing,” which is a process that hydrates the grain, activates the malt enzymes and converts grain starches to fermentable sugars. The mashing temperature determines whether sugars are fermentable or unfermentable, which ultimately determines if the beer is dry or sweet. Enzymatic activity ends when the temperature is raised to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next step is called lautering. The lauter tun separates the colored, flavored sugary liquid formed in the mash (also called wort) from the spent grain. Once the sweet wort is separated from the grain, it is boiled one to two hours. This boiling process is when America’s trendiest beer ingredient, hops, are added. There are hundreds of varieties of hops, with the most common flavors being citrus, pine, fruit, earth and spice. Deciding when to add hops to the boil can largely affect the flavor of the beer. Hops added earlier to the process produce a more bitter flavor and hops added later to the process are intended to enhance flavor and aroma, but do not bitter the beer. Hops are meant to balance out the sweetness of the wort and each craft brewer uses hops to define who they are, and what kind of experience they want their patrons to have. Brewster Bros. Brewing Company currently has five year-round and three seasonal beers. Varieties range from a cream ale to a porter and a lager to an IPA.

Once the wort has cooled, it is moved to a large, stainless steel vat called a fermenter where yeast is added. Fermentation eats the sugars and expels carbon dioxide and alcohol. Depending on the variety of yeast used, as well as the temperature during the fermentation process, certain flavors of beer can be achieved in this process as well. When fermentation is complete, the tank is cooled to refrigeration temperature, forcing the yeast to form into clumps and settle. The brewer can then remove the yeast, creating the final product: a delicious brew!

When distilling spirits, the process starts much the same as brewing beer. Grains are milled and go through a mashing process just like beer, converting starches into fermentable sugars and creating a wash. The wash is fermented and pumped to the still for distillation. Chippewa River Distillery uses a fractional distillation column still to create its signature vodka and whiskey.

Although the brewing and distilling industry is trending upwards, there is an exact science behind it—one that starts with weight. All raw materials need to be weighed in a hopper before they go through the milling process. This is not only for inventory control purposes, but the weight of ingredients can affect the outcome of the brew (or spirit). Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company rely on Rice Lake to ensure accuracy throughout the process. As part of their commitment to keeping business local, the owners contacted John Nelson, owner of WIScale, located right in Chippewa Falls. Recognizing the importance of having equipment that can withstand food-grade environments, John didn’t hesitate to recommend Rice Lake products. Brian Potter, technical solutions manager, installed, set up and calibrated all Rice Lake equipment in the brewery and distillery. Working with Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company, Brian notes: “I grew up in Chippewa Falls, so it’s been great to keep business local and see the growth of the area with companies like Rice Lake Weighing Systems, WIScale and Chippewa River Distillery. I’m excited to be a part of a growing industry and show breweries and distilleries how Rice Lake products fit into their business.”

Rice Lake’s RL9000TWM Series weigh module is used with a hopper to accurately weigh dry ingredients. Built for capacities up to 450,000 pounds, the RL9000TWM Series weigh module has a low-profile design, with self-centering and self-checking capabilities. It can weigh accurately with as much as a three degree non-parallel load and requires little to no maintenance, a factor that was very important for this Chippewa Valley startup. As an electrical engineer, Dave Behling, also a business partner with Jim and Kurt, enjoys that it is a unit that he doesn’t have to visit a lot. The RL9000TWM Series weigh module delivers reliability in a fast-paced environment where materials move quickly.

Additionally, Chippewa River Distillery uses Rice Lake’s 480 Legend® Series weight display with the RL9000TWM Series weigh module in the distillery room.

The weight of the high-proof alcohol lets operators know how much water to add to the hopper. This will proof the alcohol down to a drinkable level. In a business where taste matters as much as alcohol content, weight is key in striking that perfect balance.

Throughout the centuries, connoisseurs of brews and spirits have tried tirelessly to perfect the craft. Different combinations and multiple flavors incite the taste buds and inspire the taproom spirit in all of us. For two friends, that spirit led them to open Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company.

Rice Lake raises a glass to local entrepreneurship and reliable equipment, so you can get back to what matters most—the spirit of a brew.

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Studies with Scales

Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company Keeps the Local Spirit Alive with Unique Craft Beers, Quality Spirits and Rice Lake’s Weight Modules and Weight Indicators

We all know it when it hits our lips—the refreshing taste of a good brew. That experience is even more enjoyable in the company of friends and family. The traditional taproom was originally established to provide rest and refreshment to travelers during the Roman colonization of Britain. But centuries later, as many of us have already experienced, the spirit of a taproom can be anywhere a tasty brew is found: around the campfire, at a football game or, in the case of Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn, in their own garages.

25 years ago, Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn were friends and budding engineers at a supercomputing technology company. As time went on, so did their career paths. Kurt began a few business start-ups and Jim pursued his Master of Business Administration (MBA). Over the years and through multiple career and life changes, Jim and Kurt kept in touch. As conversations typically evolved over bubbling brews, Jim and Kurt tried to figure out how to combine their passion for craft beer and quality spirits with their engineering backgrounds. Soon after, they partnered with Dave Behling, an electrical engineer, to turn the dream into a reality. Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company opened Easter weekend of 2016, and has continued to experience success in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley area as a premier brewery and distillery.

A good brew starts with grains and at this rare combination of brewery and distillery, all of the wheat and corn come from a local farm in Chippewa Falls. In fact, the company is committed to buying locally as much as they can—even their tables are produced by a local Amish community. The grain is first run through a mill, a crucial first step that could make or break both brews and spirits. There is a fine line between cracking the grains so as to keep the hulls intact and crushing the grains to where they become damaged. The grains are milled and transferred to a mash vessel and hot water is added.

Combining the grain and hot water is commonly referred to as “mashing,” which is a process that hydrates the grain, activates the malt enzymes and converts grain starches to fermentable sugars. The mashing temperature determines whether sugars are fermentable or unfermentable, which ultimately determines if the beer is dry or sweet. Enzymatic activity ends when the temperature is raised to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next step is called lautering. The lauter tun separates the colored, flavored sugary liquid formed in the mash (also called wort) from the spent grain. Once the sweet wort is separated from the grain, it is boiled one to two hours. This boiling process is when America’s trendiest beer ingredient, hops, are added. There are hundreds of varieties of hops, with the most common flavors being citrus, pine, fruit, earth and spice. Deciding when to add hops to the boil can largely affect the flavor of the beer. Hops added earlier to the process produce a more bitter flavor and hops added later to the process are intended to enhance flavor and aroma, but do not bitter the beer. Hops are meant to balance out the sweetness of the wort and each craft brewer uses hops to define who they are, and what kind of experience they want their patrons to have. Brewster Bros. Brewing Company currently has five year-round and three seasonal beers. Varieties range from a cream ale to a porter and a lager to an IPA.

Once the wort has cooled, it is moved to a large, stainless steel vat called a fermenter where yeast is added. Fermentation eats the sugars and expels carbon dioxide and alcohol. Depending on the variety of yeast used, as well as the temperature during the fermentation process, certain flavors of beer can be achieved in this process as well. When fermentation is complete, the tank is cooled to refrigeration temperature, forcing the yeast to form into clumps and settle. The brewer can then remove the yeast, creating the final product: a delicious brew!

When distilling spirits, the process starts much the same as brewing beer. Grains are milled and go through a mashing process just like beer, converting starches into fermentable sugars and creating a wash. The wash is fermented and pumped to the still for distillation. Chippewa River Distillery uses a fractional distillation column still to create its signature vodka and whiskey.

Although the brewing and distilling industry is trending upwards, there is an exact science behind it—one that starts with weight. All raw materials need to be weighed in a hopper before they go through the milling process. This is not only for inventory control purposes, but the weight of ingredients can affect the outcome of the brew (or spirit). Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company rely on Rice Lake to ensure accuracy throughout the process. As part of their commitment to keeping business local, the owners contacted John Nelson, owner of WIScale, located right in Chippewa Falls. Recognizing the importance of having equipment that can withstand food-grade environments, John didn’t hesitate to recommend Rice Lake products. Brian Potter, technical solutions manager, installed, set up and calibrated all Rice Lake equipment in the brewery and distillery. Working with Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company, Brian notes: “I grew up in Chippewa Falls, so it’s been great to keep business local and see the growth of the area with companies like Rice Lake Weighing Systems, WIScale and Chippewa River Distillery. I’m excited to be a part of a growing industry and show breweries and distilleries how Rice Lake products fit into their business.”

Rice Lake’s RL9000TWM Series weigh module is used with a hopper to accurately weigh dry ingredients. Built for capacities up to 450,000 pounds, the RL9000TWM Series weigh module has a low-profile design, with self-centering and self-checking capabilities. It can weigh accurately with as much as a three degree non-parallel load and requires little to no maintenance, a factor that was very important for this Chippewa Valley startup. As an electrical engineer, Dave Behling, also a business partner with Jim and Kurt, enjoys that it is a unit that he doesn’t have to visit a lot. The RL9000TWM Series weigh module delivers reliability in a fast-paced environment where materials move quickly.

Additionally, Chippewa River Distillery uses Rice Lake’s 480 Legend® Series weight display with the RL9000TWM Series weigh module in the distillery room.

The weight of the high-proof alcohol lets operators know how much water to add to the hopper. This will proof the alcohol down to a drinkable level. In a business where taste matters as much as alcohol content, weight is key in striking that perfect balance.

Throughout the centuries, connoisseurs of brews and spirits have tried tirelessly to perfect the craft. Different combinations and multiple flavors incite the taste buds and inspire the taproom spirit in all of us. For two friends, that spirit led them to open Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company.

Rice Lake raises a glass to local entrepreneurship and reliable equipment, so you can get back to what matters most—the spirit of a brew.

Click here to download the story

The Weight of Farming: 4 Uses for Agricultural Scales

Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company Keeps the Local Spirit Alive with Unique Craft Beers, Quality Spirits and Rice Lake’s Weight Modules and Weight Indicators

We all know it when it hits our lips—the refreshing taste of a good brew. That experience is even more enjoyable in the company of friends and family. The traditional taproom was originally established to provide rest and refreshment to travelers during the Roman colonization of Britain. But centuries later, as many of us have already experienced, the spirit of a taproom can be anywhere a tasty brew is found: around the campfire, at a football game or, in the case of Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn, in their own garages.

25 years ago, Kurt Schneider and Jim Stirn were friends and budding engineers at a supercomputing technology company. As time went on, so did their career paths. Kurt began a few business start-ups and Jim pursued his Master of Business Administration (MBA). Over the years and through multiple career and life changes, Jim and Kurt kept in touch. As conversations typically evolved over bubbling brews, Jim and Kurt tried to figure out how to combine their passion for craft beer and quality spirits with their engineering backgrounds. Soon after, they partnered with Dave Behling, an electrical engineer, to turn the dream into a reality. Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company opened Easter weekend of 2016, and has continued to experience success in Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley area as a premier brewery and distillery.

A good brew starts with grains and at this rare combination of brewery and distillery, all of the wheat and corn come from a local farm in Chippewa Falls. In fact, the company is committed to buying locally as much as they can—even their tables are produced by a local Amish community. The grain is first run through a mill, a crucial first step that could make or break both brews and spirits. There is a fine line between cracking the grains so as to keep the hulls intact and crushing the grains to where they become damaged. The grains are milled and transferred to a mash vessel and hot water is added.

Combining the grain and hot water is commonly referred to as “mashing,” which is a process that hydrates the grain, activates the malt enzymes and converts grain starches to fermentable sugars. The mashing temperature determines whether sugars are fermentable or unfermentable, which ultimately determines if the beer is dry or sweet. Enzymatic activity ends when the temperature is raised to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next step is called lautering. The lauter tun separates the colored, flavored sugary liquid formed in the mash (also called wort) from the spent grain. Once the sweet wort is separated from the grain, it is boiled one to two hours. This boiling process is when America’s trendiest beer ingredient, hops, are added. There are hundreds of varieties of hops, with the most common flavors being citrus, pine, fruit, earth and spice. Deciding when to add hops to the boil can largely affect the flavor of the beer. Hops added earlier to the process produce a more bitter flavor and hops added later to the process are intended to enhance flavor and aroma, but do not bitter the beer. Hops are meant to balance out the sweetness of the wort and each craft brewer uses hops to define who they are, and what kind of experience they want their patrons to have. Brewster Bros. Brewing Company currently has five year-round and three seasonal beers. Varieties range from a cream ale to a porter and a lager to an IPA.

Once the wort has cooled, it is moved to a large, stainless steel vat called a fermenter where yeast is added. Fermentation eats the sugars and expels carbon dioxide and alcohol. Depending on the variety of yeast used, as well as the temperature during the fermentation process, certain flavors of beer can be achieved in this process as well. When fermentation is complete, the tank is cooled to refrigeration temperature, forcing the yeast to form into clumps and settle. The brewer can then remove the yeast, creating the final product: a delicious brew!

When distilling spirits, the process starts much the same as brewing beer. Grains are milled and go through a mashing process just like beer, converting starches into fermentable sugars and creating a wash. The wash is fermented and pumped to the still for distillation. Chippewa River Distillery uses a fractional distillation column still to create its signature vodka and whiskey.

Although the brewing and distilling industry is trending upwards, there is an exact science behind it—one that starts with weight. All raw materials need to be weighed in a hopper before they go through the milling process. This is not only for inventory control purposes, but the weight of ingredients can affect the outcome of the brew (or spirit). Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company rely on Rice Lake to ensure accuracy throughout the process. As part of their commitment to keeping business local, the owners contacted John Nelson, owner of WIScale, located right in Chippewa Falls. Recognizing the importance of having equipment that can withstand food-grade environments, John didn’t hesitate to recommend Rice Lake products. Brian Potter, technical solutions manager, installed, set up and calibrated all Rice Lake equipment in the brewery and distillery. Working with Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company, Brian notes: “I grew up in Chippewa Falls, so it’s been great to keep business local and see the growth of the area with companies like Rice Lake Weighing Systems, WIScale and Chippewa River Distillery. I’m excited to be a part of a growing industry and show breweries and distilleries how Rice Lake products fit into their business.”

Rice Lake’s RL9000TWM Series weigh module is used with a hopper to accurately weigh dry ingredients. Built for capacities up to 450,000 pounds, the RL9000TWM Series weigh module has a low-profile design, with self-centering and self-checking capabilities. It can weigh accurately with as much as a three degree non-parallel load and requires little to no maintenance, a factor that was very important for this Chippewa Valley startup. As an electrical engineer, Dave Behling, also a business partner with Jim and Kurt, enjoys that it is a unit that he doesn’t have to visit a lot. The RL9000TWM Series weigh module delivers reliability in a fast-paced environment where materials move quickly.

Additionally, Chippewa River Distillery uses Rice Lake’s 480 Legend® Series weight display with the RL9000TWM Series weigh module in the distillery room.

The weight of the high-proof alcohol lets operators know how much water to add to the hopper. This will proof the alcohol down to a drinkable level. In a business where taste matters as much as alcohol content, weight is key in striking that perfect balance.

Throughout the centuries, connoisseurs of brews and spirits have tried tirelessly to perfect the craft. Different combinations and multiple flavors incite the taste buds and inspire the taproom spirit in all of us. For two friends, that spirit led them to open Chippewa River Distillery and Brewster Bros. Brewing Company.

Rice Lake raises a glass to local entrepreneurship and reliable equipment, so you can get back to what matters most—the spirit of a brew.

Click here to download the story

The Art of Percision: Industrial Scale Calibration

When it comes to industrial weighing, precision and accuracy are paramount. Whether you’re in manufacturing, logistics, pharmaceuticals, or any other industry that relies on weight measurements, it’s important to ensure that your scales are properly calibrated.

In this blog, we’ll weigh the facts on industrial scale calibration, its significance, and why you need to calibrate weighing scales. We’ll also explore how to calibrate scales and why turning to a trusted provider like UniFide CST for quality industrial scales and industrial scale calibration services can benefit your bottom line.

What is Scale Calibration?

Industrial scale calibration is the process of adjusting and verifying the accuracy of a weighing scale to ensure that it provides reliable and consistent measurements in an industrial setting. This calibration process involves comparing the scale’s readings to known reference weights or standards. If there are discrepancies, the scale is adjusted to correct them, ensuring that it provides precise and accurate measurements.

Why Do Scales Need to Be Calibrated?

Ensuring Accuracy

The primary purpose of industrial scale calibration is to guarantee that a scale produces accurate weight measurements. This is essential for maintaining product quality, complying with industry standards, and preventing costly errors.

Quality Control

Calibration helps maintain product quality by ensuring that ingredients are weighed accurately during manufacturing. Even minor discrepancies can lead to significant quality issues in industries like pharmaceuticals and food production.

Compliance

Many industries are subject to regulations and standards that require precise weight measurements. Calibration ensures compliance with these regulations and helps avoid fines or legal issues.

Why Calibrate? The Importance of Accuracy

Accuracy is a fundamental requirement in many industries and directly impacts the bottom line. Here’s how calibration ensures accurate and reliable weight measurements:

Consistency

Calibrated industrial scales provide consistent measurements, reducing variations in product quality and minimizing waste.

Customer Satisfaction

Accurate weight measurements lead to reliable product packaging. Customers can trust that they are receiving the correct quantity, which can enhance their satisfaction and trust in your brand.

Cost Savings

Avoiding errors in ingredient measurements and complying with industry standards can save your business money in the long run by helping to reduce waste and prevent costly recalls.

How Do You Calibrate Scales?

Calibrating industrial scales involves precise steps, including zero-point calibration, span calibration, and linearity testing. These procedures ensure the scale’s measurements are accurate across its entire range. While some users may perform basic calibration tasks themselves, it’s often best to rely on professional scale calibration services for industrial settings.

Industrial Scale Calibration Services

Professional industrial scale calibration services offer a few advantages:

Expertise: Trained technicians have the knowledge and experience to calibrate industrial scales accurately and efficiently.

Traceability: These services ensure traceability to international standards, providing confidence in the accuracy of your measurements.

Certification: After calibration, you receive a calibration certificate, documenting that your scale meets industry standards.

UniFide CST: Your Partner in Industrial Weighing

In the world of industrial weighing, the significance of industrial scale calibration cannot be overstated. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining accuracy, complying with regulations, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Miscalibrated scales can lead to costly errors and negatively impact your business operations and profits!

Partnering with a trusted provider like UniFide CST can ensure that your scales are accurately calibrated, guaranteeing precision and reliability in your weighing processes. UniFide CST offers a wide inventory of quality industrial scales that meet various industry needs, and we provide expert industrial scale calibration services to guarantee that your scales remain accurate and compliant with industry standards. Contact us today for more information.