Calibrating Your Forklift Scale

crane scale forklift accessoryForklift scales come in a number of different styles, from built-in on-board scales to attachable scales that can be hung from the vehicle’s forks.

Regardless of the type of forklift scale you are using, it’s critical that the scale be properly calibrated so that you can get accurate readings. Variations of only a couple of percentages can result in inaccurate weights, which can then result in lost profits.

Proper Calibration Is Critical to Accuracy

The proper steps to calibrate a forklift scale may vary on the type of scale that is being used, but many calibration procedures are universal, meaning they apply to every scale.

The first is to get an accurate reading for zero. To do this for your forklift, lift the empty forks at a normal lifting speed until they are a few feet off the ground. But don’t raise the mast so high that the telescoping hoist cylinders are extended.

If you are using a mechanical scale, there should be nothing hanging from the hook and the arrow should be pointing to zero. If it is not, usually you can adjust the nut at the top of the scale by turning it in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction until the arrow points to zero.

Steps for Calibrating an Electronic Scale

If you are using an electronic scale — one that is either built-in to your vehicle or that is a forklift attachment — turn it on. The scale should read zero. Turn the scale on an off several times, making sure that it reads zero each time.

Next, add a known weight to the scale. This can be a test weight that came with the scale. In many cases, it is 1/4 to 1/2 the lift truck capacity or even higher.

If you don’t have a test weight, you can use a free weight such as a 50 or 100 pound dumbbell or barbell weight.

Check the reading of either the mechanical or electronic scale. Does it correlate to the known weight? If so, the scale is accurate. If not, you will need to calibrate your scale.

Fast and Easy

Calibrating an electronic or mechanical scale for forklifts is usually quick and easy. In most cases, it should take only a few minutes and certainly no longer than a half hour. The first time you do it, however, it could take longer because you need time to get use to the process.

Most electronic scales have automatic calibration protocols that are built in to the system. In some cases there is a “Calibrate” button you can press. Once you begin the calibration process, instructions will flash on the scale screen for you to follow to properly calibrate your electronic scale.

Where to Find Detailed Instructions

If you are uncertain how to use the calibration protocols that come with your electronic scale, you can consult the owner’s manual or instructions that came with your scale. If you don’t have or can’t find these documents, you can go to the website of the scale’s original manufacturer, where you can often download a digital copy for free.

Repeatability and consistency are the key to properly maintaining your forklift scale. You should check the accuracy of your forklift scale according to regularly scheduled intervals — such as weekly or monthly at the very least — and keep clear, accurate records to you can verify to your vendors and customers that proper weights are being recorded.



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