In this article, we define the technical terms related to weighing scales that are intended for use in the food production industry.

As leading suppliers of weighing scales we are extremely familiar with the frequently asked questions related to this essential piece of instrumentation.

With many of these questions linked to the most commonly used technical terms, we thought it would be helpful to put together a glossary of key words.

Below is a comprehensive list that should help to answer any queries you may have. However, if you have any key words or phrases that you would like to be added to this list, you can contact us via 01473 461800 or

What are the key terms relating to weighing scales?


The maximum weight that can be placed on the scale.


Also known as ‘reproducibility’, this term relates to the scale’s ability to display the same value when a weight is placed on it more than once. Often expressed as a standard deviation of 5 to 10 tests.

Pan Size

The size of the surface used for weighing the sample.

Weighing units

The balance of a scale can be set to display weighing units such as Grams, Kilograms, Milligrams, Pounds, Ounces, Carats, Grains, Newtons, etc.

Percent Weighing

Using a balance to determine the weight of an item as a percentage of a reference weight. 

PLU Numbers

PLU stands for: Parts Look-Up numbers. Often used for counting scales, a PLU is a user-defined number used to quickly look up an existing weighing result stored in the device. 

What are the key terms relating to the accuracy of scales?


How well a scale displays the correct results in relation to the ideal value of a known weight.

Increment / Resolution

The value of the finest division of the scale. In other words, how well a scale displays the correct results.


The ability of a scale or balance to display the correct value throughout the weighing range. This is typically tested by placing known weights on the balance – starting close to zero and working up to full capacity.

What are the key terms relating to the durability and suitability of weighing scales?

Operating Temperature

The temperature range that the scale can be used within.

IP Rating

The extent to which the scale is waterproof.

Trade approved

Businesses offering goods for sale by weight are required to use Trade Approved Scales to ensure consumers are receiving what they pay for.

Shock Protection

A feature provided by some scales that prevents the internal components from being damaged as a result of overloading or dropping.

What are the key terms relating to the stability of scales?


Once a weight has been added to the platform, a scale becomes stable when its results no longer change.

Stabilisation Time

Once a weight has been added to the platform, this is the time it takes for the scale to stabilise to the point that its results do not change.

What are the key terms relating to the different functions of weighing scales?


A weighing function that allows the device to add together multiple weighing results.

Auto zero tracking

An automatic display of zeroes to account for slow drift or changing environments.


The process of determining if a weight sits within pre-set limits.


The Tare Value function is used to remove the weight of any packing or containers so that only the weight of the material within the container is shown. The Tare Value is then established as the remaining capacity of the scale. For example if a scale has capacity of 500g and then 200g is tared, the remaining capacity is 300g.

Dynamic Weighing

A mode featured on some balances and scales that allows you to weigh moving animals or measure fluid samples. In short, the device works out an average weight based on the force exerted by the animal or sample over an extended period of time. Once the internal calculation has been completed by the balance, it will hold the value.

Parts Counting

Using a scale to determine the number of parts placed on the platform based upon the average piece weight. The piece weight is either entered by the user or determined through the process of weighing a sample on the scales. 

Load Cells

A load cell is a specialist transducer that is used to convert the force (weight) exerted onto it into a measurable electrical output. Load cells are used in many types of industrial machinery and equipment; however, they are most often used in weighing scales. 

What are the key terms relating to the calibration of weighing scales?


A process that ensures the scale displays the expected value for a known standard mass. Once calibration has occurred, any other mass will be determined using this standard as the reference.

External Calibration

Calibrating the scale using a known external weight that is often referred to as a ‘suggested calibration weight’.

Internal Calibration

Calibrating the scale using an internal weight that is included in the scale for automatic calibration – as and when desired by the user.

To learn more about finding the right weighing scales for your food production site, you can access our free guide using the link below.

If you require any further guidance, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help with your enquiries. You can contact us on 01473 461800 or Alternatively, you can use the form below to arrange a consultation

If you would like further guidance relating to your requirements, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.