You rely on your scales for precise measurements day in and day out. So what happens when a load is dropped on a scale instead of gently placed? This phenomenon is known as “shock loading” and can cause immediate and long-term damage to your scale. In this article, you’ll learn the definition of shock loading, how improper or hurried scale usage can cause it, and how to properly train employees and maintain your scale to help prevent shock loading from occurring. 

What Is Shock Loading?

Shock loading occurs when you drop a large amount of weight onto your scale all at once, with a large amount of force.

Wait a minute. As long as the load is within the scale’s weight limit, why does it matter how hard you drop it onto the weighing surface or how gently you slide it on? Even if the static load is within the scale’s limit, dropping the load from a greater height increases the impact force.

That means that you’re measuring not only the load itself but also the added force of gravity on that weight, which can increase the weight exponentially. Additionally, you’re shifting from a static load to a dynamic load, which your scale may not be meant to measure. You can calculate shock load using online calculators but know that dropping something from even a few inches can double the impact of the weight alone.

Shock Loading in the Real World

Let’s take a look at an example. At a distribution center, workers use a forklift to set pallets on a floor scale before loading them onto a truck for shipping. If an employee is in a rush one day and drops the pallet on the scale from a few feet off the ground instead of gently setting it down, the scale would experience shock loading. It seems like it isn’t a big deal if it happens occasionally, right? Keep reading to learn more about how this can affect your equipment.

How Can Shock Loading Damage a Scale?

Shock loading can have many detrimental effects on your equipment, even ones that are not immediately noticeable. When you shock load a scale, especially multiple times, it can result in issues such as:

Disrupted Calibration

Shock loading a scale can throw off the calibration of your precise equipment. When your scales aren’t correctly calibrated, it can result in fines from regulatory bodies, lost sales, and dissatisfied customers. Even slight miscalibration, over time, can add up.

Permanent Damage to Load Cells

As discussed above, dropping objects from a height instead of placing them on the scale increases the force they exert on the scale. You can exceed the scale’s limits, permanently damaging load cells.

Damage to Other Parts of the Scale

Shock loading doesn’t just damage the load cells. It can also damage other parts of the scale. For example, a heavy load dropped on a scale pan can crack it or result in metal fatigue. The scale’s platform could warp or break, and the electronic mechanisms that create the digital readout could become damaged to the point of losing functionality.

Shortened Lifespan of the Scale

Even if a single case of shock loading doesn’t inflict severe damage on a scale, repeated instances may cause long-term damage that reduces the scale’s lifespan.

How Do You Prevent Shock Loading?

Everyone makes mistakes, and shock loading is no different. A usually careful user could be distracted, hurried, or accidentally drop a weight. Here are a few ways to prevent shock loading on your scales.

Prioritize Proper Employee Training

Often, a scale’s shock loading is an accident. Someone who is typically cautious may have an off day or rush to complete a task. In other situations, the employee tasked with loading the scale just doesn’t know any better and doesn’t realize the potential damage they could cause to the equipment by shock loading it. 

Thorough training on the proper loading and usage of scales for all employees who may be handling the equipment is a critical preventative measure that can extend the life of your scales.

Conduct Regular Inspections of Scales

You rely on your scales and balances to complete critical tasks every day. By regularly inspecting and repairing your scales, if necessary, you prioritize precision and ensure that your investment remains useful. Like any other vital piece of equipment, scales require some element of upkeep to ensure they remain functioning. Calibration and repairs are just as necessary for these tools as they are for others!

UniFide CST Scale Repair Services: We’re Here to Help

Have you damaged your scale with shock loading? UniFide CST can help with our scale repair services. If your scale is too damaged to repair, we also offer a great selection of quality industrial scales from top brands like Mettler Toledo and Rice Lake. Get in touch today to learn about our repair services or to get a quote for a replacement scale.