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Weighing machines of the future will not only be able to weigh – they will also take payment

From two scale pans intended to balance equally to weighing instruments with microcomputers that can measure fractures of grams. That’s the history of weighing scales in brief. But how does the future look?

Weighing machines of the future will not only be able to weigh – they will also take payment

“We will be seeing more functions in the future. We are already seeing shops where you can weigh three pears on a scale and pay via an app. We will see more of this type of trend,” says Mikael Hulander, technical assessor within legal metrology at Swedac and expert on weighing machines.

Recently, he and the rest of Swedac’s legal metrology department brought together players from the Swedish weighing equipment sector for a full-day conference in Borås. Invitees included companies that manufacture or sell weighing machines, as well as companies accredited by Swedac for inspection of scales in Swedish shops.

“The weighing equipment sector is essential to social structure. Ensuring that shop scales are weighing accurately is crucial for consumer confidence. We see Swedac as an authority that can bring together the sector to keep the players concerned up to date on the legal requirements applicable to weighing machines. At the same time, we need to meet up with the sector to keep ourselves up to date on technical developments,” says Mikael Hulander, regarding the purpose of the conference, which may become a recurring event.

Mikael himself has been dealing with weighing machines for 40 years, including everything from the huge weighing machine to be found at the port of Narvik (it can weigh volumes up to 14,000 ton/h) to small scales that can measure down to fractions of a single gram. “The biggest revolution in the modern history of weighing machines took place in the 1980s. That was when microprocessors got so cheap that they began to be used in weighing devices that anyone at all could purchase,” says Mikael.

Right now, weighing devices around the world are entering a new phase and, like so many other fields, the biggest change is how data is presented. “In industry you can have data presented on a big screen, and as a private individual you can have data provided via an app. Progress is ongoing. However, suppliers are keeping quiet about exactly what functions are in the pipeline, as new features represent their competitive advantage, of course. The fundamental weighing technology remains the same, though,” says Mikael.

Swedac accredits companies who in turn inspect weighing machines in Swedish shops to ensure they are weighing accurately.

Most frequently inspected weighing devices in Sweden:

  • Checkout scales
  • Truck scales
  • Industrial scales
  • Scales for prepacked goods (e.g. sugar, toothpaste and cheese).