As technology advances, it opens the door to new opportunities and ideas that can be applied in every industry. Wireless technologies have enabled industrial weight management product manufacturers to untether themselves from wires and cables and provide safer, more convenient ways to deliver weight readings and data.
The evolution of wireless weighing
Similar to the early days of other technologies, wireless weighing had its own hurdles to overcome including a high cost association as well as a number of operational drawbacks. The biggest downside from a functionality standpoint was the battery usage needed to power the radios. In many cases, this required multiple batteries and very limited run time before the batteries needing to be recharged or replaced. Also, the radios sending scale information had to be plugged into the scales through the original cable port, leaving them exposed to the elements and more vulnerable to being damaged. As technology progressed and the costs came down, eventually the radio size got smaller and could be integrated into the device itself; much like the wireless weighing technology of today. In addition to being smaller and less expensive, these radios also feature lower power usage giving them the ability to power wireless scales for literally hundreds of continuous hours depending on the application and scale type. Intercomp’s RFX Wireless Weighing Technology uses very little battery power for long lasting run times and has become smaller, faster and very affordable for all kinds of weighing applications.
The basic configuration for wireless applications in industrial weighing consists of scales communicating with remote indicators or data processors for monitoring, controlling and collecting data from a single location. This ability to monitor and record weights remotely has applications across many different industries including, but not limited to racing, aviation, material handling, ITS, law enforcement, military, mining, etc. This cable-free world is already a reality for many products ranging from axle scales to crane scales to the devices providing the scale readings whether that be a product-specific indicator, a computer, or smartphone or tablet.
Why Go Wireless
Beyond saving on installation or deployment time and not having to worry about cords being severed or tripped over, wireless weighing has many other benefits. No need to fumble with connectors, wireless weighing applications offer the convenience of just having to turn on the power of the equipment to get you up and running. And in instances where a handheld indicator is needed to read and record weights, the user can read and control what information they are seeing safely and conveniently from a remote location. Another big advantage for some products is the ability to record or view weight readings wirelessly directly on a computer or mobile device and export them for further analysis and report generation.
Wireless weighing does have some clear advantages in many applications, and you may want to strongly consider a wireless alternative if your application is one which the indicators can’t be easily read, aren’t accessible, or where safety is a concern when monitoring and controlling loads. (e.g. crane scales and tension link applications). Wireless also has a clear advantage when in use in remote or outdoor applications where a power source is not readily available, where the risk of severing a cable is high or where protection from extreme elements is needed (e.g. mobile roadside weigh stations).
What About Barriers?
Fortunately, manufacturers seem to be striving to make the transition to wireless weighing technology as easy as possible. With some of the more basic wireless products, there really is no change in how the product functions and displays readings other than replacing the power cord with a switch and batteries. However, wireless weighing has evolved to be so much more than cord-less, battery-powered devices. The ability to transmit a signal from a weighing device wirelessly to an indicator, computer, or mobile device has allowed for new, more advanced products to come to market as well.
Depending on the application, there are quite a few companies with wireless weighing solutions to choose from, but there are a few important things to looks for when considering the purchase of a wireless scale.
If the scale communicates with a wireless indicator, make sure the connection is secure and encrypted. A secured connection is preferred so information communicated over wireless signals cannot be received by others. As far as the radios themselves, small, low-power radios are ideal to cut down on power consumption and maximize battery life. Also, make sure they operate within an acceptable range of, commercial, worldwide industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) radio bands. Then there is the power source; be sure to select equipment with commercially available, easy-to-replace batteries. Also, many wireless scales are designed to work with rechargeable batteries so making sure it is compatible with your charging source options will help keep the scale up and running.
As scales in an industrial weighing environment will experience heavy use, it is also a good idea to select a product from a company with local, in-country customer service for calibration and repairs to help get the equipment back up and running as quick as possible.
An Opportunity for Scale Dealers to Up-sell
The advancement of wireless weighing technology presents a fantastic opportunity for dealers to sell their customers a more advanced system. It is in their best interests to educate themselves on the wireless options available, and to tailor their sales strategy to include these products.
As technology continues to progress, so will the advancements in weighing products. These products are already becoming more and more commonplace, so as the popularity of wireless weighing continues to grow, it is in the best interest of anyone tied to the industrial weighing industry to pay close attention, and stay on top of these and other emerging technologies.
About the Company
Intercomp Company is an ISO 9001:2008 registered electronics manufacturer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota with offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, proudly serving the Industrial, Racing, ITS/Enforcement, Aviation, Military, Agriculture, and Mining and Aggregate industries worldwide. Intercomp designs scales for most any weighing application, always keeping an eye on the future.
For more information call +1 763-476-2531, or visit online at www.intercompcompany.com.