Product Knowledge Guide: Scales

Fast Fact:

New touchless zero mechanisms on digital units allow users to wave or place their hand over the display to bring it back to zero.

Types: Foodservice operations use three scale varieties — electronic, portion control and receiving. Electronic scales feature digital readouts. Portion control and receiving scales offer electronic or mechanical operation. Portion control scales allow operators to segment the proper amount of ingredients for a variety of menu items. Receiving scales are typically used for bulk food still in crates or cartons.

Capacities/Footprints: Capacities vary, depending on the type of scale. While portion control scale capacities typically range from 16 oz. to as much as 100 lbs., receiving scales hold boxes or cartons from 50 lbs. x 2 oz. to 200 lbs. x 100 lbs. in size. Platform sizes may range from 3 ¾" x 4 ¼" up to 15" x 15" for portion control scales. Receiving scale platforms start larger, usually between 10 ¾" x 9 ½" to 15" x 15". Electronic scales most often have footprints between 1' and 3' high and 5" and 10 ½" wide. Mechanical units usually take up less space, with footprints averaging 7" x 10". Compact mechanical models also are available, and feature space-saving 4" x 4 ½" footprints.

Energy Source(s): Mechanical scales provide a choice of either rotating or fixed dials. Electronic scales have LED displays. These units operate on a 9V battery, built-in rechargeable batteries or utilize an AC adapter ranging from 115V to 230V.

Manufacturing Method: Stainless-steel construction is both durable and easy to clean. Some makers provide steel with a rustproof finish. Electronic models may feature a molded poly enclosure. Weighing areas have welded corners. Some of these units also have a main board with a moisture-resistant coating for added protection.

Standard Features: Standard features on mechanical models include a zero adjustment knob, stainless-steel platforms, easy-to-read dials and stainless-steel springs and mechanisms. Some models feature extra stainless-steel internal housing and platform supports to absorb accidental shock without damaging the internal mechanism. Electronic scales feature LED displays; power-saving auto-off features; adjustable feet; three-way displays that measure in fractions, decimals and grams; and full range tare.

New Features/Technology/Options: Newer scale models feature graduations as finite as 1g. Some units offer a bidirectional serial port to interface with software programs for inventory and other tasks. New touchless zero mechanisms on digital units allow users to wave or place their hand over the display to bring it back to zero. Color-coded scale platform covers from one manufacturer are designed to prevent cross-contamination with portion-control weighing, while also protecting scale platforms from damage.

Key Kitchen Applications: Scales are used to weigh a variety of ingredients, menu items and bulk food that is packaged in boxes or other containers.

Maintenance Requirements: Electronic scale bases should not be submerged in water. Also, acetone or other solvents should not be used to clean the scale. Because these units have sensitive components, scales should not be exposed to extreme temperatures or excessive moisture. Platters can be removed for easy cleaning with mild detergents or in the dishwasher. If the scale has a rear post display, the bracket should be removed from the scale and cleaned with a bristle brush.