Brand Commentary Section

We are often asked "what do you think of this brand". Therefore to answer your questions we have written this brand commentary section with our thoughts and comments about various brands that we have been commonly asked about. We hope that you will find this section useful - but remember that this is merely our opinion and commentary.




Ohaus My Weigh Tanita Weigh-Tronix
Jennings Gram Precision Vector US Balance
Scaleworks Rite Weight Escali MSI
Ashiba Toyo Acculab Salter
Rice Lake CAS DIGI Mettler
On Balance DIPSE Pesola Sartorius
DigiWeigh A&D Weighing Shinko Detecto
Fast Weigh Fuzion Cardinal
Adam Equipment Toledo Tangent Kern


OHAUS:

Ohaus is one of the oldest and most well known scale brands.  Jim Ohaus is an icon in the scale industry (we’ve met him on 2 memorable occasions).  Ohaus started with Mechanical balances such as the famous Ohaus Triple Beam and began selling digital scales in the early 1990’s.   The LS-200 was their first consumer success and was later replaced with the CS-200 (now renamed the Emerald or Ruby 300).   Ohaus was purchased by Mettler-Toledo a few years ago.   Mettler laid off many of the old Ohaus workers and shifted most Ohaus production to China (Originally all Ohaus scales were produced in the USA).  This lowered quality and made many Ohaus fans (including us) unhappy because Ohaus became just another “Chinese” brand rather then an American Icon.   Last year Mettler appointed a new President of Ohaus – ironically the new President is from China and has taken steps to shift even more Ohaus production to China.  However quality is back on the rise now that manufacturing has been moved to the Mettler China factory (earlier Chinese production was outsourced).  Ohaus scales are still great quality in our opinion and their new "Pro Series" are really top-notch scales.  Rumor has it that Ohaus will cease all USA manufacturing and basically become Mettler’s “Chinese made” brand of scales.   It’s sad to see an old American brand become nothing but a nameplate.  Ohaus is planning to release a new Legal For Trade Diamond scale in late 2004 that we will review.  We recently reviewed the new Ohaus Emerald series pocket scale with rave fanfare.

 

METTLER TOLEDO:

As mentioned above in the OHAUS section,  Mettler has been expanding their market share by purchasing other companies. Mettler's key competitor is Sartorius.  It seems that Mettler and Sartorius have been trying to "one up" each other with new competing models and going tit-for-tat in the way of purchasing additional scale companies.  For example,  When Mettler purchased Ohaus,  Sartorius responded by purchasing Acculab.   This type of competition is often good for consumers because the two companies often become engaged in price wars and capacity wars which leads to a greater value product for consumers.    Mettler is a well known and well established brand in the jewelry and lab legal-for-trade sectors.  The Mettler name is so well established that it's virtually THE name for legal-for-trade gold scales.  Many jewelers that we have met at various shows use the term "Mettler Balance" to describe all jewelry scales.   Mettler now concentrates more on software development and laboratory instruments then they do on regular weighing balances.  Mettler is truly the leader in "balance management" and US Laboratory instruments.  For more information on Mettler and the history of Mettler please go to the History section of Mettler's website by clicking HERE

 

TANITA:

Tanita is an old and reputable Japanese based scale company.  Tanita has a reputation for durability.   The Japanese Tanita scales are extremely durable – surviving extreme drops,  but they tend not to be "extremely" accurate because of the older capacitance design.  Tanita makes some scales in Japan and some in China.   As you can imagine the Japanese scales are GREAT quality but the Chinese scales are not even close.    The good thing about Tanita is that they are still Japanese-owned.  Therefore they honestly and truly care about quality.  They have done their best to keep quality at high levels.   That being said Tanita (just like everyone else) has been shifting more and more of their production to China.   Famous Japanese-made scales like the Tanita 1140 have been replaced with the Chinese made KD-160.   The Chinese-Made Tanita scales are not as good quality or as accurate as the Japanese made scales in our tests.  The greatest thing about older Japanese-made Tanita scales is DURABILITY.  Many Tanita compact scales use the older CAPACITANCE weighing system.  This is different then the more common modern precision load cell.   The greatest thing about the old Capacitance setup is that it's extremely durable - significantly more durable then a load cell.   The bad thing about Capacitance is that it's known not to be as accurate as a load cell system. However Tanita has truly brought Capacitance weighing as far as it can go and their accuracy is better then almost any other capacitance scale (and also better then some load cell scales).   However they simply can't get the high divisions from Capacitance, thus pocket Tanita scales are regulated to 120g x 0.1 whereas for a similar price other companies would sell you a scale with 500g x 0.1.   However the Tanita will likely be more durable then that 500g scale (what we're saying is that it's basically a tradeoff of accuracy and capacity vs durability).

In the Pocket scale market Tanita has watched their market share drop from 75% in 1997 to 20% in 2002.   This sharp decline is the result of heavy competition from brands like My Weigh and Ohaus who have both taken large chunks out of Tanita’s market share.   Tanita has unsuccessfully tried to fight back with new lower cost Chinese "Tangent" scales and price drops.   Rumor had it that Tanita gave up on the pocket scale market and is going to concentrate on their larger consumer based products instead.   However with the recent release of some new updated models it seems that Tanita is trying to hold onto their market share.

 

TANGENT:

Tangent is a brand owned by Tanita but used on Chinese imports (Shhh Tanita doesn't seem to want their name associated with this brand and they probably don't like us posting that they make it).   Tanita has lost a large portion of the pocket scale market to it's competitors.  Therefore Tanita launched a new line of low cost Tangent scales in 2005.  There are 2 new models, both use a standard load cell system (not the famous Tanita capacitance system) and are made in China. The warranty on these scales is very short and the quality is good but not significantly different then other Chinese scales.  Our favorite Tanita product is the old 1479V as stated in our articles.

 

MY WEIGH:

My Weigh is an old and very well known brand of scales.   They are the #1 selling brand of precision compact scale in America.  These guys are quite large with offices in the USA,  Canada,  UK,  Germany and now Fuzhou.  Although most My Weigh scales are "designed in Canada,  engineered in Germany", just like the other brands almost all My Weigh scales are made in their factories in Asia.   The way we understand it,  My Weigh has 2 factories.  One is in Shenzhen which produces their high-tech scales such as the Touchscale.  The other is in Fuzhou which produces their mass-production scales.   However they do it, it certainly works for them.   They have flooded the market with innovation.   We’ve watched these guys launch hit product after hit product – and we always wonder “what will they think of next”.   Some of their recent innovations are (from their website):  The Worlds First Hydro Hinge Scale,  The first scale with LCD on the top of the display (invented in 2000, now copied by Bonso), The first touch-screen scale,  The first precision talking bathroom scale, The first Animated scale, The worlds smallest digital scale, The words lightest digital scale and more. 

We only hope that they will continue to innovate – we’re always excited to hear from them to see what they’ve been up to.     We think this company will continue to grow and dominate the market for many years to come.   The only bad thing that we can say about them is that they have driven the scale market into the ground with their low cost / high quality scales.   Two years ago the average pocket scale sold for $150.00.  Now thanks to My Weigh the average pocket scale sells for $65.00!  That's more then a 50% decline in 2 years!   We have reviewed more My Weigh Scales then any other single brand because My Weigh has more digital compact scale models then any other brand.  My Weigh has the largest chunk of the digital compact scale market with their affiliates (see Marsden below). My Weigh seems to send us a new innovative scale every month and is a supporter of this magazine (thus we write about them a lot :)

UPDATE:  My Weigh has just announced it is extending their warranty on all of their scales sold after November 15, 2003 to a Lifetime warranty! (30 years in the EU due to legal restrictions).  We are just floored by this move.  This is the longest warranty out of any major scale brand.  We guess that Ohaus and Tanita will soon follow with similar extended warrantees,  given the way these three companies compete with each other.   Now if we could just get Rice Lake to extend their warranty on the Vibrating Wire Scale...

 

BONSO (Gram Precision / Vector / Scaleworks / MyScale.com / Fuzion* / Tantric Smoke):

Bonso has been producing scales in China for many years. They have learned from years of experience how to build very high quality scales and electronics. Some of their higher end scales rival the best in the industry. Even Ohaus used Bonso to produce some of their scales at one time.  Recently Bonso has begun selling their scales direct to consumers through their various brands.  

Think about it – since there aren’t any Bonso Employees at the USA independent fulfillment center,  there is no way for them to personally QC the scales or your order.   Also by cutting out the store owner they have isolated themselves.  Some store owners refuse to carry their products because they know that Bonso will compete directly against them.    Bonso is a publicly traded company.  Their stock value has been as low as $1.60 compared to it's original high of over $20.

In our opinion the main problem with Bonso scales is NOT poor quality,  it’s poor design.  Many of their new design scales don’t have the ability to be recalibrated.  This means if you buy a new series Vector or Gram Precision scale such as the VX120 or FX100, and put a 100 gram weight on the scale,  and the display shows 100.7,  you’re stuck.  You cannot recalibrate the scale and you’ll just have to live with an inaccurate scale.   In fact,  Bonso’s Vector scales don’t even have an OFF button!  No, we are not kidding.  You have to wait (and hope) for the scale to auto-off after a few minutes.  If the scale is being moved it won’t auto-off and you’ll have to remove the batteries to turn the scale off.    We understand that scale companies have to take steps to reduce costs,  however not having an OFF BUTTON seems a bit silly.   We prefer the older Bonso scales such as the original "Pocket Pro" that they used to produce for Acculab and it's later spinoff, the Pocket Tech.  The Pocket Tech is a classic scale with good quality design and components

Fuzion:  Fuzion is a bit of a strange story.  This scale is not made by Bonso, but rather it is purchased from a different factory and imported by / sold by Vector Distribution as a lower cheaper model.  Because Fuzion is not produced by Bonso, the quality is likely not as good as a true Bonso product.  It's a smart business move by Bonso,  this way they can sell cheap low cost, low warranty scales without lowering the value of their current brands.

*UPDATE*

Check out and look at page 110 of http://www.bonso.com/pdf/20F_Edgar_file2010_10_15.pdf  

Discontinued Operations
On November 1, 2008, the Company disposed of its entire interests in Gram to a third party for $1. As stipulated in the agreement, the Company agreed to forfeit an amount receivable from Gram of approximately $5,000,000, except for $1,700,000, of which monthly payments of $10,000 were to be paid to the Company in the six months from December 2008 to May 2009 and monthly payments of $20,000 were to be paid from June 2009 until the full amount of $1,700,000 was repaid. On March 31, 2009, the Company?s German subsidiary, Korona, sold its assets (accounts receivable, inventories, toolings andintellectual property rights) to a third party. Korona had no operations since April 1, 2009 and is now in the liquidation process.

The following table summarizes the result of these discontinued operations, net of income taxes.
Discontinued Operations (Korona and Gram)

The March 31, 2009 statement of operations and statement of cash flows have been restated to reflect the following reclassifications:
According to FASB ASC 205-20-45-3, ?in a period in which a component of an entity either has been disposed of or is classified as
held for sale, the income statement of a business entity or statement of activities of a not-for-profit
entity (NFP) for current and prior periods shall report the results of operations of the component, including any gain or loss recognized
in accordance with paragraphs 360-10-35-40 and 360-10-40-5, in discontinued operations.? As a result, the Company has revised the
consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income (?statement of operations?) and statement of cash flows, by
reclassifying the gain from disposal of a subsidiary of $363,411 from continuing operations to discontinued operations.
2008

DETECTO/CARDINAL

Detecto Scale Company was started in 1900 in New York City by three immigrant brothers (The Jacobs Brothers) in the butcher supply business. The company produced bakers' dough scales, butchers' scales, clinical scales, counter scales and hanging scales.

In 1981 the company was acquired by Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Company based in Webb City, Missouri where it's corporate offices and manufacturing facilities are still located today. Cardinal was a well-known name in the heavy-duty truck scale and floor scale market, so the acquisition was a good fit to give the company a complete line-up of scales across a broad spectrum of markets.

Cardinal/Detecto is still at home in the small community of Webb City, Missouri, a city nestled on the edge of the Ozark mountains, with a population of just under 10,000. All around are wide, open prairies, hills and woods. Cardinal/Detecto employees like it that way and are committed to keeping it that way. Cardinal/Detecto's mission statement promises that they will adhere to sound environmental practices. They do that and then some. Cardinal/Detecto's goal is to always be a step ahead in observing sound environmental rules.

Today, Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Company is well known under the names Cardinal Scale and Detecto Scale. Cardinal is primarily known for its large-capacity scales (5,000 lbs and over) and associated information handling systems. Heavy-duty truck scales and such developments as the low-profile "Ground Hugger" and "Rail Hugger" scales are virtually synonymous with the Cardinal name. Detecto is most noted for scales with capacities under 5,000 lbs, while Fuller is known for industrial liquid filling applications. 

 

JENNINGS / JSCALE:

Jennings (Jscale) is a 30 year old brand of scales that has only recently joined the “Pocket Scale Wars”.   Jennings used to make industrial scales and analog weighing devices,  but now have launched a line of consumer-oriented products including the really cute JS Series and the new round “MINI” scales.  We don't have a lot to say about Jennings other then their scales all seem to work great and be priced much lower then anyone else.    We guess “the proof is in the pudding” or rather the performance in this case.  Last year Jennings revamped the brand.  Jennings is now known as "JScale" and has been releasing new model after new model.  Some of these new scales are made in My Weigh's Fuzhou factory (you can tell from the MW code on the PCB board).   Our experience is that Jennings/Jscale has less customer support then the major brands (this may be where the cost cutting comes into place). We wish them the best of luck on the marketplace battlefield. 

 

RITE WEIGHT (aka US BALANCE / AWESOME WHOLESALE / BK WHOLESALE)

This is an amazing story that is almost unbelievable.   Rite Weight is/was owned by Barmes Wholesale.   The Barmes family got into legal trouble in 2001/2002 and closed Barmes Wholesale.  In fact, the US Government alleges that the former owner of Barmes Wholesale is now a fugitive residing somewhere in the Bahamas! (see http://www.dea.gov/fugitives/phila/barmes.htm )  Some of the Barmes family members that are not in jail or under indictment still sell some Rite Weight scales on their various websites direct to consumers.  Rite Weight was never a scale manufacturer,  rather it was just a “house brand”,  a name that was put on scales that Barmes imported from China.   There have been a lot of industry rumors about Barmes and Rite Weight.   It seems these guys were selling more then just Scales. We honestly don’t know what the truth is.   This newspaper clipping or the DEA article may explain what really happened but the final disposition is still unknown.  From what we read on the Marvin Barmes website, Mrs. Barmes was arrested while trying to leave the country. In her possession were Rite Weight invoices and cashiers checks.  Since then, the Government seized $9,700,000.00 in "cash and cash equivalents" from the Barmes.  Barbara Barmes, Greg Barmes, and Brian Barmes all pled guilty while Marvin Barmes remains a fugitive.  Barbara has been released from prison but the status of Greg and Brian Barmes is unknown.  Some of the stories that happen with small trading companies are truly amazing!

NOTE: The Barmes family has opened several new companies. The latest companies are "Awesome Wholesale", "BK Wholesale" and "Preferred Scales".  They have also been changing the Rite Weight brand to the name "US Balance".  The difference is they have give a 5 year warranty on the new US Balance brand scales.  Marvin Barmes continues* to sell Rite Weight Scales from somewhere in the Bahamas via the Internet on his website www.dutchpipeltd.com (info posted below along with a strange flowchart we found on his website) and via BK Wholesale.  After losing many of his assets and 'fleeing' the country, he continues to sell scales and "hide your money in the ground" safes into the USA regardless.  These guys must be tough as nails, their story would make a great movie.

UPDATE: We were notified by a very irate Mr Barmes (definitely not someone we want to make angry) that he has stopped selling scales via Dutch Pipe Ltd,  although when we checked scales are still posted there for sale and there are links with banners to "Preferred Scales", a Barmes-family website in Indiana that also sells scales.  The text and flowchart below are claimed to be copyrighted by Barmes,  we only post them for informational/press purposes under AP guidelines and make no claim to their ownership. 


Email Address: sales@dutchpipeltd.com

Hours of operation:
Monday - Friday
9am - 5pm Central Time
Order Online: 24 / 7

Most orders will be shipped by BK Wholesale.  All items are shipped from within the United States.

 

 

 

ESCALI:

We don’t consider Escali as a scale company because they aren’t really a scale company.  Escali/Auctionbroker is basically a 2-person operation.  It consists of Theo and Ken.   Theo imports the scales from China and Ken is the “Auctionbroker” who puts the scales all over Ebay (They deceptively sell under three eBay trading names which they pretend are not related: InternetAuctionStore, InternetAuctionNews, Auctionbroker and possibly others.  They also have multiple websites that they also pretend are not related.. )   They don’t design scales,  they don’t have a support staff,  they don't have a factory.   They are just 2 guys in Minneapolis who work primarily from their homes.   Here’s how it basically works (from our understanding):  Theo might go to a trade show or two in China where he’ll see a scale in a trading company’s booth.  Theo will order a few hundred of that scale and have them shipped to his small storage place.   Ken then puts the scales on Ebay and VOILA,  you have the Escali/Auctionbroker “brand” from start to finish.   They don’t order enough of the scales to have color boxes for many of them,  they sometimes don’t even have their Escali brand name printed on the scale (when you buy in small quantities the manufacturer will only give you a plain white or generic box).   So when you buy an “Escali” you’ll sometimes get a plain white or generic box with no name on the scale itself.  It can be disconcerting.

The main problem with this setup is that there is no real quality control.   Because it’s basically just 2 guys working from their homes,  they aren’t able to QC the scales at the factories.  They don't build loadcells, they don't test sensors, they don’t have any engineers and therefore aren’t able to fully support many consumer needs.  Lately to add insult to injury,  they have begun to offer a 5 year “warranty”.  The funny thing is that they haven’t even been in business for that long! By their own admission they have only been selling scales for only 3 years!  Besides,  who wants a warranty backed by 2 guys working from their homes in Minneapolis….   Really any 2 guys with a couple thousand dollars in their pocket and a dream can open their own “JOHN Q” brand within a month (and have been which you will notice if you shop on Ebay).  This is not a good value for consumers who expect reputable "Ohaus type" quality and are fooled into thinking that Escali is a large company.    We don’t like or support 2-man-importer operations like this because they don’t provide long term value or innovation for consumers.  We don’t even know if they have proper insurance or FCC compliance for their scales.     Note that Kent tries to hide his ownership of TOPLINEDIGITALSCALES.COM by using 'domains by proxy', but he forgot to hide the name Kent Reed from the source code of the website pages..ie."<meta name="keywords" content="Kent Reed Distributing Inc.">" as found when checking his source code.

**Note:  Perhaps there are more then 2 people at Escali / Auctionbroker -  Ken says that his wife Lisa works with him now that she has been laid off from her nursing job and maybe they have another assistant or two that we don’t know about. They talk endlessly about how they do volunteer work and activities with their children.  However no matter how nice they write it doesn’t make them a real scale company.

**Lately Ken & Theo have gotten very angry with us for printing the truth about them above.  They even made their own fake Scale Magazine to try and falsely promote their items. This caused us to do a bit of investigation.. We do our best to keep all reviews as concise and independently written as possible. However we suggest that you visit your local scale retailer and TEST SOME SCALES FOR YOURSELF.  While we strongly believe you'll experience the same results and experiences that we describe, it's possible that you could disagree with our opinions.   We also urge you to avoid anyone that acts so deceptively as above.  Real scale companies like Ohaus and Tanita don't sell direct on Ebay....

 

SARTORIUS:

Sartorius is quite popular in Europe as a brand of legal-for-trade and laboratory balances. They have been producing scales in Germany for many years. They have recently purchased Acculab group USA (see below) and have attempted to expand their market share into the USA.  However their key competitor,  Mettler has fought back and prevented Sartorius from making any major gains in the North American market.   Nowadays,  Sartorius concentrates more on their other divisions and products (not just scales). Traditionally a leading company in laboratory weighing and separation technologies, Sartorius has considerably evolved and expanded since 1996.  With its seven Group brands, Sartorius has transformed itself into a group that operates globally and has successfully positioned itself on growth and emerging markets.  Organized into the Biotechnology, Mechatronics and Environmental Technology Divisions, Sartorius AG, which was founded in 1870, is represented in three of the currently most important technologies of the future.

With that said it is important to note that Sartorius has a very strong reputation and is known to stand fully behind their products (at the same level as Mettler,  Tanita, My Weigh,  CAS, etc..).   We have a lot of respect for real scale companies such as Sartorius who "pave the weigh" into the future.   We have a Sartorius analytical balance that we use to test calibration weights,  we have found it to be extremely accurate and reliable.   Even though our Sartorius scale was recently dropped from a 4ft table, it still performs with near-perfect accuracy.

 

ACCULAB:

What ever happened to Acculab?  Acculab used to be a serious player in the market.  They had a 15% Market Share and were poised for serious growth.   Then they were bought out by the Sartorius Group.  The Sartorius Group is a large scale company (rivals Mettler).  Somehow Sartorius managed to send Acculab into a nose-dive.   Acculab's best selling Pocket Pro 150 was replaced with the cute but impossible to use CRD 150.  This led sales to plummet.   The CRD was a tiny credit-card scale that was the smallest pocket scale to ever be produced.  However it was very difficult to use and easily susceptible to damage.  To make matters worse the scale was very inaccurate - especially in the 4-corner test.   This gave Acculab a bad reputation.    Acculab's next big problem was replacing the successful GS-200.  The first batch of the new GS-200 were made in a warped plastic housing (our first purchases had to be returned because they wobbled).  This led to thousands of returns and recalls of this model.   In our opinion, Acculab has never quite recovered from these two mistakes.   Sartorius has now "changed the focus of Acculab" from consumer products to high-end lab balances.   This segment (which consists of $1000.00 - $5000.00 scales) is the most profitable segment of the scale industry.   We are sad to see Acculab pull out of the consumer market.  The Acculab SV Series is still our personal recommendation for a precision bench scale, it has better resolution then the Ohaus ES series and it costs less too!

NOTE: We have some Pocket Pro 150's that we keep in our office as archive pieces.  Over the years we have probably dropped these scales dozens of times, and used them for hundreds if not thousands of weighings.  They have never failed us!   If you are in the market for a pocket scale, see if you can find a good deal on a use Pocket Pro 150B,  often on Ebay you'll find a good price on a quality used scale.

UPDATE:  We received contacts from Robert Lenzer,  the vice president of Acculab.  He reminded us that in the past few years Acculab has invested a significant amount of time and money into revitalizing the Acculab brand and products. We have seen the new Vicon series and we do agree that it's a very nice scale, perhaps even nicer then our trusted old Pocket Pro.  The design is definitely superb.  We will do a full test on a Vicon that we received very soon. 
 

 

ASHIBA:

Ashiba is another "house brand" of scales.  It is not a scale company.  Ashiba is the "House Brand" of a small distributor called Metric People owned by a nice guy named John Racer.   In our experience, Ashiba scales have a terrible reputation for low durability, low accuracy and painfully outdated designs.    The origin of the Ashiba brand is actually a cute story.  Ashiba was the name of the owner of Metric People's dog.   Isn't it ironic that these "dog selling" scales are named after a dog :)     John has made a recent attempt to revitalize the Ashiba brand by importing some new models from China,  but the market response has not yet been strong.

 

TOYO:

Toyo Scales is another tiny "house brand".  It is not a scale company.  Toyo is the "house brand" of a small distributor called A&A Scales of Los Angeles California.   A&A is a Tanita reseller and it seems the TOYO name is designed to sound or make the consumer think of TANITA.   Don't be fooled - Toyo scales are much lower quality than Tanita and are not backed by a real scale company like Tanita.   There are now 2 Toyo Scales.  Both are just standard designs made by "Charder Electronic Scale Company China" and are of little significance.    One of them resembles another certain popular scale but costs more and has a shorter warranty.  The other looks quite strange and has the smallest tray (only 1" long) that we have ever seen on a pocket scale - truly a strange and unusable design (but that's just our humble expert opinion..).     

 

Rice Lake Weighing Systems (RLWS)

Rice Lake Weighing Systems has been a leader in the industrial scale and process-control weighing industry for 50 years. They design, manufacture, and distribute equipment through the world’s largest network of independent scale distributors, and offer the largest selection of load cells, weigh modules, and advanced instrumentation---over 20,000 products---to meet virtually every industrial weighing requirement.   These guys are the "Rolls Royce" of industrial weighing - if quality is all important (and you're willing to pay for it),  these guys can build you the best industrial scale in the world!   RLWS recently won the ISWM award for best new display interface.

We were honored to recently tour the RLWS facility in Wisconsin.  This warehouse was truly impressive and we were glad to see such a professional scale facility. RLWS is one of the exclusive importers of Tuning Fork balances.  We will write a full article on our trip to RLWS in a future store.

CAS

CAS is a leader in commercial scales for specialized applications.  They design networks of scales and are a top choice for many of the large laboratories.   CAS has offices in India, Bangladesh and New Jersey.  Recently they were able to achieve a network of 32 scales all weighing at once plugged into a single terminal!   Again, CAS is a well known and established brand.   They are a mainstay of the scale industry and are certainly a very wise choice for anyone in the scale market.

 

DIGI

DIGI products have earned a reputation for delivering quality and innovation to industrial, retail and hospitality businesses through the United States. This unique line of equipment is designed to provide solutions for a wide range of applications, from straight weighing, checkweighing or filling, to high-powered counting systems, to software that can link workstations for inventory control and shop floor data verification. Driven by the real-world needs of our customers, the DIGI line is continually enhanced and expanded to include solutions like the new Casino Coin Management System that integrates coin processing with advanced security.

DIGI is a very well established brand and they have a reputation for strong quality -and even stronger customer service.  We hear stories of DIGI sending techs on long journeys to troubleshoot a dealer installation.  It's nice to know that strong REAL scale companies like DIGI still exist :)

 

DIGIWEIGH:

This is a new entry to the marketplace NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE WELL KNOWN DIGI SCALE COMPANY.  The name of Digiweigh scales will probably change due to trademark infringement of the DIGI trademark (for weighing devices).  Actually if you go to the DIGI website you'll see "DIGI WEIGHING" which is probably where this new little company got the name from.   Digiweigh is really a trading company called Chinapro (run by two people, Edward and Lillian Pan). They were based in China but recently moved to the USA to open Digiweigh. They now operate their trading company from a small unit in the Los Angeles area.   Chinapro does not own any factories,  they are a typical small Chinese style trading company where they purchase scales from various factories and try to profit from the markup (difference between what they have to pay the factory and what they can sell the products for).  There has been a glut of low quality / low cost scales coming out of China and Chinapro hopes to take advantage of this by selling these low cost / low quality scales directly into the US market. 

Note that Digiweigh does NOT manufacture any scales nor do they design or even repair scales. They are not a scale company, there are just a small trading company.  It's funny to see them offer a 5 year warranty (or even a LIFETIME warranty) when they have only been open in the US for a few months.  We are not sure if they actually honor their warranty or if they will be in business for very long.  As you may know, as a scale enthusiast,  we truly dislike these small "fly by night" trading companies as they devalue the entire scale industry with poor service and lower quality products.

UPDATE:  Again the truth is often stranger - and wilder then fiction:  We received an email from Edward Pan's former employer (XJ Group) saying that Edward's USA Immigration Visa is now cancelled because of a dispute (they claimed Edward had opened his company on the side without their knowledge and they were quite angry about it).  They asked us to post this information to notify everyone that Edward is not working for XJ group any longer. (I guess he's an illegal alien now? -  Again - the truth is stranger and wilder then fiction!)

 

ON BALANCE:

On Balance is the "House Brand" of Marsden Miniscale of the UK.  Marsden is somehow related to My Weigh Scales and has several My Weigh co-branded scales produced with the On Balance name on them.  This is an industry-wide trend and is part of a global trend towards large multinational conglomerates. Marsden is also quite large in the commercial and industrial scale market.  Overall, Marsden has the largest market share of any distributor in the UK.  Because of the high quality of their partners,  On Balance scales are known to be very good quality with the top notch backing of Marsden (a 50 year old company with over 100 employees).   Marsden also has their own private European factory where they build larger scales such as Truck Scales and Livestock Scales.

 

DIPSE:

Dipse scales is the small "House Brand" of Andreas Illing. DIPSE stands for "Digital Pocket Scales Europe" and is also known as SSR.  Andreas runs a small wholesale and EBay selling company from his house in Oldenburg Germany.   This is a very small outfit with just two employees working from various bedrooms in the house.   DIPSE is not a scale company nor a real brand,  they just import a few models that they find in China and put "DIPSE" on the faceplate.   We've found Andreas to be very much a copycat marketer.  He takes other company's brand names and puts them on his scales to promote his sales.  For example, he copies the "Palmscale" trademark by writing that his scales are "Palm Series" and "Palm Design" in an attempt to mislead consumers.   We also have seem him do the same thing with several other company's brands including copying the Sony PS2 (Playstation 2) name & logo (he uses them on his "PS2" model scale).   To make matters worse,  DIPSE deceives the public about the origin of their scales.  They claim that many of their scales are made in Taiwan when they are actually made in China (ie, the  SB200 is made in Guangzhou China and the PS250 and PS500 are made in Beijing China but DIPSE put "Made in Taiwan" on their website & auctions to try and push them as higher quality)

DIPSE's latest maneuver has been to operate under a second name.  Dipse had been experiencing tremendous competition from the well known German scale company Waagen Schmitt (WS).  So, in typical DIPSE fashion, they copied the name and now sell scales under the name "Waagen Schorsch" (printing only "WS" on the scale).  This is seemingly another attempt to mislead the public.  These types of deceptive antics have caused DIPSE to have a terrible reputation and to get into legal trouble.  We have logged many consumer complaints about DIPSE.  We suggest that you avoid their products (you never know what you're actually buying).  There are many more reputable companies in Germany such as KERN, Waagen Schmitt (be sure it's the real Waagen Schmitt), Salinger&Mack or Digiscales.de that can provide you with the expert reliable service that you may need. 

UPDATE:  We recently received an email from Andreas Illing.  In a "damage control" maneuver, he updated his website to remove some - but not all - of the false "made in Taiwan" notices.   He also said that in regards to his legal problems "we received an official sue,  we never stand trial to the court".  However according to recent court documents, Andreas Illing was successfully sued for a case of multiple trademark infringement in Germany.   We're told another case is pending against him for violation of the PROSCALE name.

PESOLA:

Pesola is a Swiss manufacturer of high quality pen-scales (hanging pen shaped scales).  Pesola is a 30 year old company that has a strong reputation and is know for attention to detail.   Pesola honestly makes the best quality pen-scales in the world.   There are many copies of the Pesola product (Such as JIM, Accura, SLIM, LAB Penscales,  Pesnet, etc..).  Some of these copies are actually quite accurate and durable however none of them are as good as the original Pesola product.    The only caveat of Pesola is the relatively high price of their products (Pesola may cost 5X more then a comparable competing pen-scale).  However,  you definitely do get what you pay for.   Like a Swiss watch, Pesola products last a long time.   We have heard stories of people having Pesola spring scales for 20 years - and they still work perfect!  If you're in the market for a penscale, you can't do any better then Pesola.   The other brands don't even come close.

 

A&D Weighing

A&D has a strong reputation for commercial and scientific products.  They are not consumer oriented but rather cater to industry.  Since the founding of A&D, their basic philosophy has been to bring the products that will meet their customers needs   Throughout their history, they have pioneered significant technical breakthroughs in design and manufacturing. In 1985 they incorporated digital calibration and multi-point linearity adjustment in an analytical balance: a "first" in the balance industry. By exploiting chip technology, they were the first to bring surface-mount technology and miniaturized PC boards to the weighing industry.  They brought extremely competitive platform and bench scales to the market by deploying aluminum load cells. Using innovative designs and progressive manufacturing techniques, A&D brought cost effective, RFI-immune digital weight indicators to the market place.

NOTE:  We have seen fake A&D scales offered for sale from India.  These scales bear the name AND in a logo that is similar to the A&D logo.  Be careful when shopping for a scale online (only use reputable merchants) as you could end up with a fake.

 

 

Measurement Systems International (MSI)

Originally founded in 1977, MSI was an early pioneer in the use of many weighing technologies technologies, including combining stain gauge and microprocessor technologies into self-contained portable weighing equipment.  MSI continues to lead the industry with new innovative products. Their latest wireless control system, CellScale, offers new solutions for industry with a new more-efficient means to monitor, control and network multiple sensor inputs and outputs. This is perfect for applications that have multiple weighing stations or devices that need monitoring- you can monitor them all from one central location with low risk of RF interference or overload. MSI is known to have a strong commitment to innovation, customer service and meticulous care in design and production.    We look forward to seeing the CellScale system in use at the upcoming ISWM show.

 

Weigh-Tronix (Avery)

Avery Weigh-Tronix is a very, very old and incredibly established scale company, and true manufacturer of commercial and industrial weighing devices.  About 30 years ago, the same year as the first Jennings manual scale,  Weigh-Tronix produced the FIRST all-electronic bench scale.  This company today is still a leading technology developer and manufacturer of weighing products and systems for customers with rapidly changing needs. Avery Weigh-Tronix entered the marketplace in time to help guide the weighing industry from mechanical to electronic technology. The introduction of the Weigh Bar weight sensor and the early use of the microprocessor as a key component of weighing instrumentation marked the company as a leader in the development of technological solutions for customer requirements.   Weigh-Tronix used to be related to the Salter company below, but is still related to Salter-Brecknell,  NCI,  DILLON, Avery-Berkel, and Quantrol.  These people were pioneers of the industry and are a household brand name.

"Our company continues to supply the world with frequent innovations and outstanding service. With over 3,000 employees around the world, we're still based out in the cornfield near Fairmont, MN. Some of the reasons you can depend on us to be here for the long haul: innovative products, customer commitment, continuous process improvement and people"
 

Salter

Salter is a strong and well known brand of household kitchen & bathroom scales.  Salter can trace parts of the company back to 1760.  No, that's not a typo - 1760!  Salter is known for good quality and contemporary designs.   The only bad thing about Salter is that in our opinion they concentrate more on design then they do accuracy. This is because for most kitchens,  the "look" of the scale is much more important then the accuracy (eg, mailing scales or jewelry scales require greater accuracy then a consumer kitchen scale).  Salter scales are therefore not recalibratable and therefore not extremely accurate but they do look really cool!  We LOVE some of their designs so do most consumers and household magazines.   For many years Salter has been the UK'S No.1 BRAND for domestic (basic consumer bathroom and kitchen) weighing scales, (currently around 40% market share), Salter Housewares Ltd has now become the leading brand in many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Chile and Portugal.     We commend Salter on their designs and their often long warrantees.   Salter used to manufacture their own scales until about 6 years ago when they switched to outsourcing all production.   The older in-house-produced Salter scales were higher quality then the new ones but they did cost more (on average) then the newer outsourced scales.  If accuracy is not very important and you're looking for a "cool looking kitchen scale",  Salter is definitely a brand to consider!   Note that Salter feels their accuracy is superior to their competitors,  if you are comparing a Salter to a generic,  no name,  or even some other brand name scales this is certainly true.  Our standard is that of true accuracy testing with calibration weights.  This may not be relevant to your kitchen.  Also we agree that some of Salter's amazing designs like the one shown would make it much more difficult to achieve high precision,  therefore it could be considered a slight tradeoff of design vs accuracy.

UPDATE FROM SALTER (Email from the National Sales Manager 9/3/04):

I found your website very interesting and informative. I am the national sales manager for Salter Housewares USA, and wanted to point out an inaccuracy in your company profiles. It is actually Salter that can trace it's history back to 1760 and not Weigh-Tronix. Although Salter was at one time a division of Weigh-Tronix we are no longer not associated with them. Since then we have had a MBO and then we were acquired by HomeMedics this past spring.

Please see below for a brief history Salter:

"SALTER HOUSEWARES itself began life in the late 1700S in the village of Bilston, England.
At this time Richard Salter, a spring maker, began making 'pocket steelyards', a scale similar to the fisherman's scale of today. By 1825 his nephew George had taken over the company, which became known as GEORGE SALTER & CO. and later established a large, well equipped manufacturing site in the town of West Bromwich. From here the company produced a wide variety of scales including the UK'S FIRST BATHROOM SCALE. The business thrived throughout the 1900s and BY 1950 EMPLOYED OVER 2000 PEOPLE, still in the same area and owned by the same family. Then, in 1972 the company was purchased by Staveley Industries Plc and was split into separate subsidiaries, housewares, industrial etc. In the late 1980s, and early 90s Staveley acquired more businesses world-wide to form a new 'weighing group'
including the Weigh-Tronix company of America, and in 1998 after a management buy out, this became the Weigh-Tronix Corporation, with Salter Housewares a part of that. The focus of the new corporation however was increasingly towards industrial or commercial weighing, so on February 7th 2002, the management team at Salter Housewares Ltd, backed by Barclays Private Equity, bought the company out from the group, to concentrate on it's consumer businesses. So rapid was the growth over the next two years that the company became an attractive acquisition target, and consequently on 31st March 2004 was sold to the US-based HoMedics company, leaders in the "personal wellness" product category. Located in the UK, USA, & Canada, with distribution to over 100 countries world-wide, and now part of the highly successful HoMedics group the company is now set for continued global growth and product extension towards its "Living with Salter" concept."

 

Adam Equipment

Adam Equipment is a global supplier with more than thirty years experience in the production and sale of electronic weighing equipment. Products are supplied and serviced from their company locations in the UK, USA and South Africa and distributed through a worldwide dealer network. Adam Equipment has a good reputation but is a smaller brand then many of their competitors. Their scales are produced at their own factory and also outsourced to Chinese factories with some models being private labels of stock models.
Adam Equipment's products are predominantly designed for the laboratory, educational, medical and industrial markets. The product range can be summarized as follows:
  • Analytical and precision laboratory balances
  • Basic range of top loading balances for schools and educational establishments
  • Counting scales for general industrial and warehousing applications
  • Digital weighing/check-weighing scales
  • High performance platform scales with extensive software facilities including parts counting, percentage weighing etc.
  • Digital electronic scales for medical use

Adam Equipment and their distributors offer a full range of technical services such as on site and workshop repair, preventive maintenance and calibration facilities.Adam Equipment operates an approved quality management system and is certified to ISO 9002.

 

KERN

Kern is a 140 Year Old German company that is one of the more popular brands in central Europe for precision balances.  Kern works with various manufacturers including Tanita and Sartorius to have private-label scales made (ie a Tanita scale with the KERN name on it).   Kern also imports some basic models from Asia.   Kern is a very well established brand with a strong reputation.   The following are experts from Kern's pamphlets:

The foundation stone for today's medium-sized company was laid by Gottlieb KERN in 1844 when he founded a precision workshop. The name of our historic family-owned company that this year celebrates its 160 year anniversary, stands for continuity and continuous growth. Years of experience and a comprehensive product range are of extreme benefit to customized special wishes. The traditional close relationship to local trade is our fast and exhaustive line to the user. Consultation, sales and service from one source is efficient and reasonably priced. We have had a relationship with many of our dealers for decades. Our most longstanding customer has been selling KERN BALANCES successfully for more than 140 years. The customer-friendly and efficient cooperation with the specialized trade guarantees competent and fast consultation for our customers. The delivery range includes the complete spectrum of weighing techniques. In the main industrial balances, precision balances, test weights and DKD calibrations. It shouldn't be possible to find anybody with more experience. Particularly in the medium and reasonably priced area. And this gives us strength when it comes to sturdy and uncomplicated balances.

We are fond of Kern and can only give them the highest regard.  Our only complaint is that their prices are steep.

 

SHINKO DENSHI

Shinko is a Japanese company that is the pioneer of the Tuning Fork and Vibrating Wire weighing systems.  The tuning fork system developed by Shinko Denshi is now well known as an ideal sensor for weight measurement technology.  They are the world's only manufacturer of precision balances that use tuning fork sensors, which are now widely used in various fields, especially jewelry and Industry. The tuning fork sensor has also been adapted for use in the active support mechanism of the Subaru telescope, the world's largest, most accurate optical telescope.  We will be doing a series of articles on the Tuning Fork Sensor in an upcoming issue.


What are the advantages of the tuning fork sensor?


The three major force measuring systems currently used in various measuring instruments are: load cell, electromagnetic system and tuning fork sensor. The reason why a tuning fork sensor is preferred is its excellent performance, including reliability and stability, as explained below in comparison with the other two systems.

Load cell scale
This measures distortion of metal and a strain gauge affixed to the metal according to the loaded weight, and then displays the weight. This type of scale needs an A/D converter due to its analog output. The structure is simple and inexpensive. However, the accuracy is lower than the other two types, and especially in terms of high resolution, the tuning fork sensor demonstrates its superiority to the load cell, as detailed later.

Electromagnetic balance
This keeps the balance against loaded weight by the electromagnetic force from a magnet and a coil, measuring the electromagnetic flow to the coil. This type of balance also needs an A/D converter as well as a load cell. It is highly suited for high-resolution balances, although it needs much care with regard to temperature and magnetic force changes.

Tuning fork balance
A tuning fork vibrator is monolithically formed in the shape of a pair of common tuning-forks joined at each of the tines. When the vibrator made of metal is strained or loaded, the frequency increases/decreases according to the loaded weight, which is counted and output digitally. As a tuning fork is standardized for a use in a musical instrument or a clock, the frequency is extremely stable and accurate. The stability of a tuning fork sensor is unrivaled and an A/D converter is unnecessary. Incidentally, the stress distortion of the tuning fork sensor is 1/10 of the load cell and the output sensitivity is 50 times better than that of a load cell.

The major disadvantage of the tuning fork is that it's cost is significantly higher then the standard Load Cell technologies.

 

NOTICE:  These statements above are a compilation of knowledge, experience and rumors in the scale industry.  If there are any miss-statements we apologize in advance.  If you feel we have made any mistakes please email us at corrections@digitalscales.com and we will immediately update or correct the error.   We strive for 100% accuracy in our text but it is likely that we will make some errors :)

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