Technical Terms

We speak “Scale.” But we get that you might not. Learning the technical terms used to describe your needs, possible solutions, and performance and operations metrics can be confusing. We’re here to help! We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common technical terms you’ll hear during your partnership with us.


Accuracy – the measuring instrument’s ability to provide with sufficient exactness the true value of what is being measured

Division – typically used to indicate the scale capacity divided by the increment size. Moreover, a 50 lb scale that reads to .1 lbs has a Division of 500, or 500d

(Initial) Dead Load – the physical weight on the load cells before any weight is placed on the scale, often from the platform’s weight or the weight of an empty vessel

Max Load – the largest weight a scale is able to read

Min Load – the smallest weight a scale is able to read

Resolution / Readability – typically refers to the smallest value the weight instrument is able to measure

Span – the maximum capacity of a scale minus the minimum weight the module can measure

Stability (Motion) Detection – the ability for a terminal to determine that a load on the scale’s platform won’t be affected by motion

Tolerance – the factor by which your weighments are allowed to be off


Analog – data displayed by continuously variable physical quanitity, as opposed to discrete steps

Analog-Digital Converter – electronic device designed to convert analog signals to digital signals

Digital – information in discrete quantities

Gross Weight – the weight of an object or sample, including its container or packaging

Net Weight – the weight of a material or product after the container or packaging has been removed

Tare Weight – the weight of the packaging or container of the material being weighed

Zero – current empty weight with no container or packaging on the platform


Calibration – when a scale becomes out of tolerance, it can be necessary to calibrate the weigh module using certified test weights

Cornerload Test – a test to check that each corner of the platform reads the same weight. Moreover, this ensures the load cells are all working and positioned properly

Creep – when a load is placed on the scale and left there for some time, creep can happen. However, a creep of .02% within 15 minutes is generally acceptable

Drift – when the measuring instrument is consistently being loaded, drift can be used to describe a consistent or noticeable increase in weight outside of what should be expected over time

Hysteresis – the difference between the load cell output readings when the weight is applied, versus when the weight is removed

Linearity – the expected weight of increased and decreased loads

Non-Axial Loading – when a weight isn’t applied to a weigh module at 90 degrees, this can cause load cells to shift and deflect, causing inaccurate readings

Overload – any load that exceeds the maximum capacity of the balance

Repeatability – a scale’s ability to reproduce the exact same results for a known weight multiple times


Board – electrical component that contains the software and algorithm to sum the counts from the load cells. Then, it sends the data to the terminal

Housing – the casing around the board, connections, and screen

Junction Box – only used in scales with more than one load cell or weigh module; sums all voltage readings from load cells and sends the data to the terminal to be read

Load Cell – where the load/weight rests and is measured

Peripheral – device that connects to the weighing instrument but is not needed solely for the weighing application; could be a printer or remote display

Platform / Base – the ‘scale’ portion of a weighing system, without the terminal

Platter / Deck – the pan that sits on top of the weigh modules and spider/weighbridge, providing a full, level surface to set a weight on

Remote Display – a device that displays only weight. Often used on truck scales so drivers can see the weight of the truck while on the deck

Spider / Weighbridge – a design that distriburtes the weight applied to the platter or deck onto the load cell evenly; spider is for bench scales, and weighbridge is for truck scales

Terminal / Indicator / Instrument – the brain of the scale system. Reads and displays the weight of the force applied to the base

Weigh Module – all the components that make up the load cell. Inlcudes fittings, the strain gauges, and other equipment needed to provide a weight reading