Scales and balances are used almost everywhere, sometimes in less than perfect conditions or in demanding settings. Some scales are built to withstand specific environments, like washdown scales. Digital washdown scales, as their name indicates, are meant to resist liquids and particles from entering the internal components of the scale. Frequent washing or cleaning of the scale is required in applications during which the scale is splashed or has residue from weighing previous samples. They’re used in various industries, and there are a few different types we’ll explore in this guide.
What does it mean for a scale to be “washdown”?
You might think using the term “washdown” instead of waterproof is an odd choice. That’s because not all washdown scales have the same protection. Ingress Protection, or IP ratings, indicate how much resistance to elements like water and dust and what kind of cleaning they can handle. We'll write a post with an in-depth look at IP ratings, so be sure to keep an eye on our blog, or follow us on social media if it’s a topic you’d like to know more about. Going back to the degrees of protection, some scales can resist spills or humid environments while others can be washed with a pressure hose. When purchasing a washdown scale, make sure to pay attention to the IP rating and language used in the description to get the scale most adapted to your needs. Even if a scale is made of stainless steel, it might not be water or dust resistant (because the load cells aren’t sealed), so look for the IP rating, the term washdown and a description of the cleaning it can handle.
Types of washdown scales
Bench washdown scales tend to be medium to small-sized, perfect for limited space and reduced loads. These scales aren’t meant for particularly heavy or big loads. Our own WBW series is IP66 rated, which means its load cells are protected from dust and that the scale can withstand high-pressure jets from all directions. It can also checkweigh and has overload protection.
Floor washdown scales are durable and can handle bigger, heavier loads. Adam scales are also packed with more features. Our Warrior series is IP66 rated, can checkweigh, count parts, perform dynamic and percentage weighing, and more. Floor scales are great because they’re very versatile, allowing you to use a single scale to perform multiple functions. The Warrior series has optional relay triggers, so you can connect the scale to other devices to make large weighing tasks easier.
Retail washdown scales are compact and legal for trade. They offer all the usual functions of approved scales, such as a display that shows weight, price per unit and total cost, a rear-mounted display that customers can see, and portability for convenience. Our WBZ retail scale is IP66 rated in addition to its price computing applications.
Which industries use washdown scales?
Being dustproof and waterproof (or at least resistant to spills and humidity) is helpful in many industries, as it increases the scale’s longevity even when used in tough conditions, and ensures that its precision isn’t compromised by demanding settings. The food industry has very high hygienic standards, and as such requires frequent, thorough cleanings. Retail stores that sell food also use washdown scales to clean between customers or to avoid cross contamination. Factories, warehouses and construction sites with a lot of dust and other particles also use washdown scales to ensure speedy cleaning and reliable operation despite the conditions. The medical and pharmaceutical industries also use washdown scales to maintain a clean or sterile room’s condition, avoid contamination and weigh messy samples, chemicals or powders.
Using a washdown scale not only ensures the weighing equipment stays clean, but speeds up cleaning, keeps the scale reliable, prevents dirt build up, cross contamination and the growth of mold or bacteria. Your scale’s IP rating is key to knowing exactly how protected it is from water and dust, as well as the extent of cleaning it can withstand. If you’re not sure, ask your vendor or check the manufacturer’s manual. Some scales are only meant to resist small spills and minimal dust while others can be cleaned with pressure hoses. All Adam Equipment washdown scales are rated IP66, which means they can be thoroughly hosed down or cleaned with a pressure washer. Review the hygienic guidelines and the settings where the scale will be used to ensure the conditions will not impair your scale’s operation.