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
Jennings Gram Precision Vector
Scaleworks Rite Weight Escali
Ashiba Toyo Acculab
Rice Lake CAS DIGI
On Balance DIPSE Pesola
DigiWeigh A&D Weighing Shinko
Salter Mettler Sartorius
Weigh-Tronix US Balance MSI
American Weigh Fast Weigh Fuzion


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 in 2004 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:

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.   However the greatest thing about Tanita scales is DURABILITY.  Many Tanita compact scales use the older CAPACITENCE weighing system.  This is different then the more common modern precision load cell.   The greatest thing about the old Capacitence setup is that it's extremely durable - significantly more durable then a load cell.   The bad thing about Capacitence is that it's known not to be as accurate as a load cell system. However Tanita has truly brought Capacitence weighing as far as it can go and their accuracy is better then almost any other capacitence scale (and also better then some load cell scales).   However they simply can't get the high divisions from Capacitence, 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 "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.  We will review some of the new Tanita scales in upcoming 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,  Hong Kong and now Fuzhou.  Unfortunately, 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.   You won’t their scales in many retail stores because many store owners are upset that they sell direct to the public.   Here’s how it works:   Bonso produces the scales in China and ships them to a fulfillment center in the USA.   The Canada sales office then puts the scales on their website (MyScale.com) and sells them direct to the public.   The scales are drop-shipped by a Nevada fulfillment center (Bender Warehousing) directly to your doorstep – thus bypassing the store owner.   In theory this would save the consumer money,  however in reality this crazy supply chain seems to have many flaws and Bonso’s prices are actually higher then their competitors.    Also because you’re buying from a Chinese company that is selling through their Canadian sales office – drop shipped by an independent fulfillment center in the USA,   orders can be a bit messy without on-site Quality Control.       

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: Strange things are brewing with Bonso and it's affiliates.  The law firm of Allen & Vellone, P.C. filed suit recently against Bonso Electronics International Inc. (Nasdaq:BNSO.Q) and several of its directors on behalf of purchasers of Bonso common stock for insider trading and disseminating materially misleading information about the Company.   In addition we were sent pictures showing that Bonso's European affiliate Vector Europe recently displayed bongs and pipes in their combined "Vector/Tantric" trade show booth at Cannabusiness in Germany.  Note that Tantric Smoke is a trademark owned by "1560138 Ontario Inc", which government documents show is operated and "directed" by Mohan Thadani (who is also the founder and 49% shareholder of both Gram Precision and Vector).

 

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)

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 www.marvinlbarmes.com)  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 Marvin Barmes website may explain what really happened but the final disposition is still unknown.  From what we read on the Marvin Barmes website, Mrs. Barmes was recently arrested while trying to leave the country. In her possession were Rite Weight invoices and cashiers checks.  Obviously it would be best to avoid this brand as there may be no actual company or person left to stand behind the product.  Some of the stories that happen with small trading companies are truly amazing!

NOTE: The Barmes family has opened several new companies, they seem to open and close them very quickly. The latest companies are "Awesome Wholesale" and "BK Wholesale".  They have also begun 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.  We have heard industry jokes about this warranty, they call it a "5 years or until we're arrested warranty"...  

 

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:  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 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 AG 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.  This led to thousands of returns and recalls of this model.   Acculab has never 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.

 

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" 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 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 commerical 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 (ironic to use the SS name for a German Company..)  Andreas runs a small wholesale and Ebay selling company from his house in Oldenburg Germany.   This is a very small outfit with just one or 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 obviously another attempt to mislead the public.  These types of illegal and deceptive antics have caused DIPSE to have a terrible reputation and to get in lots of 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".  We're not sure exactly what that means but it doesn't sound good.

 

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.

 

American Weigh

American Weigh is an online retailer of scales,  formerly known as Pawnshopper.net and operated by Lee Van Tine.  As with some of the above brands,  American Weigh is not a scale manufacturer or designer, it is a small brand that is used on some low cost imports.  We've received some complaints about their use of "American" to brand scales that are made in China.  We agree that this is a bit deceptive and prefer Lee's other name which is "Fast Weigh".  Lee started the business from his house selling brand name scales on eBay in 2000.  Lee moved on to import some cheap scales from China and at one point was a distributor for Digiweigh scales.  However Digiweigh "didn't live up to their end of the bargain",  so Lee branded some scales with the American Weigh name, took on a partner and began importing small quantities direct from China (mostly from Yahoa/XCH) in 2003.   Lee does not manufacture scales,  he imports small quantities of basic models and tries to sell them for whatever markup he can obtain.   With the declining prices of scales and hyper-competition among Chinese factories,  it's easy for a small importer to take advantage of the market and import very low cost scales.  The difficulty comes in maintaining quality standards,  which usually decline as prices decline.    Lee also uses the name "Fast Weigh" as noted above.

 

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 can trace parts of the company back to 1760.  No, that's not a typo - 1760!  This 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 is related to the Salter company below.  These people were pioneers of the industry and are a household brand name.
 

Salter

Salter is a strong and well known brand of household kitchen & bathroom scales.  Salter is known for good quality and contemporary designs.   The only bad thing about Salter is that 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.  Salter scales are therefore not recalibratable and not very accurate but they do look really cool!  We LOVE some of their designs so do many average consumers.   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 just a "cool looking kitchen scale",  Salter is definitely a brand to consider!

 

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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