Any laboratory’s analytical quality and reliability depend in large part on the equipment being used to weigh materials and substances, and that makes your choice of weighing equipment critical to your success.
But how do you go about choosing the right kind of laboratory balance to fit the specific needs of your facility? Your budget certainly comes into play, because very few facilities have unlimited funding with which to select the best available equipment.
However, there are other factors you must consider when choosing just the right lab scale.
What are the main laboratory balance selection criteria?
While your laboratory probably does not have an open-ended budget, neither should you automatically settle on the least expensive equipment. That tactic can cause you some major headaches down the line, for instance, if the weighing scale should fail at an inopportune moment during testing.
Also, if the accuracy of inexpensive equipment comes into question, so will the reputation of your facility. That’s why it’s prudent to include the following criteria when seeking the right scientific scale.
1. Smallest Net Weight
The first criterion to evaluate is the smallest net weight, i.e., the smallest weight you need to measure, as well as the minimum weight of the balance itself.
2. Required Accuracy
The required accuracy is another factor you’ll need to consider, and this is the maximum upper limit of tolerable uncertainty associated with your laboratory equipment. If your facility routinely weighs very small amounts, you’ll need an analytical balance with a high level of required accuracy.
3. Environmental Conditions
You need to take into account the environmental conditions as well. That’s because the specific location where the balance is used can have an impact on its performance. For instance, if you don’t use the balance in a climate-controlled area, there could be subtle variations in the accuracy.
4. Weighing Application
Finally, you must consider the specific weighing applications that your laboratory has typically. If highly sensitive weight requirements are typical for your processes, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a balance which lacks that kind of sensitivity.
What is the Good Weighing Practice Standard (GWP)?
Apart from the criteria referenced above, you may wish to take advantage of the global standard for weighing things, which is known as Good Weighing Practice (GWP). This standard can be used to help purchase new weighing equipment or to calibrate existing equipment for greater accuracy.
Current standards used in manufacturing and the laboratory are all compatible with the GWP standard since it focuses on consistent product quality, stable processes, lean manufacturing principles, and regulatory compliance.
Whenever you are faced with having to purchase a new scale, you can consult the GWP for a recommendation, since it takes into account any regulatory factors or environmental issues which may pertain to your situation.
By using the GWP, you can be reasonably confident that any scale you purchase has the kind of accuracy you need to satisfy your facility processes and to meet your quality requirements.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Laboratory Scale
There’s much to consider when it comes to purchasing the correct laboratory balance. However, by looking at the 4 criteria while considering GWP, you can weigh all factors and make the right decision.