Quality control is an essential part of maintaining data integrity and that includes keeping your lab balance in proper working order. Accurate weighing results are critical in research and manufacturing. In some applications, inaccurate weighing results could compromise not only data, but also become a safety risk.
Let’s take a look at how using scales and balances for QC benefit industries like pharmaceuticals and food processing/manufacturing.
In the pharmaceutical industry, analytical and precision balances ensure quality and efficacy by accurately weighing consistent amounts of compounds, active pharmaceutical ingredients, excipients or other pharmaceutically inert material. In medical applications, sometimes even the slightest inconsistency can alter the effectiveness of a product or put someone’s life in danger.
For research and medical applications, balances can help labs remain compliant with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards.
Food Processing & Manufacturing
As with pharmaceuticals, ensuring consistent production quality and standards is one of the main uses of balances for quality control in the food industry.
Food labs employ balances for recipe creation and sample weighing (Solis, for example, can store up to 99 ingredients for quick formulation), and moisture analysers to assess the moisture content of food and ingredients. QC labs often perform multiple tests on different batches, so balances also need to accurately measure the samples being used for testing.
A consistent recipe prevents an inferior product and helps to ensure that a company’s soft drink flavour always tastes the same or that a manufacturer’s biscuits each have the same taste and texture. For larger companies with multiple manufacturing facilities, adhering to the same recipe across facilities is even more important.
For quality control in packaging, checkweighing scales help to make sure the proper amount of product distributed in each box or bag. In messy environments like food production, a washdown scale with checkweighing capability like Aqua or Gladiator can easily be cleaned.
Scale & Balance Feature Considerations for QC
Communication is key for quality control. A balance with an RS-232 interface allows it to connect to computers, which in turn allows the computer’s software to compile and analyse the data for quality testing, traceability and compliance (GLP or GCP for lab and medical applications or GMP Good Manufacturing Practice for manufacturing), and inventory management applications.
To ensure the accuracy of weighing results, balances should be calibrated frequently, with the date of calibration recorded for quality control and traceability. While many busy lab professionals prefer a balance with internal calibration (which allows the balance to be calibrated at the touch of a button or automatically at regular intervals), those models tend to be more expensive. A more budget-friendly option would be a balance that requires external calibration, meaning that you would need to purchase calibration weights to calibrate manually.
When working with highly sensitive balances like Equinox and Solis, readings can be affected by air currents or even vibrations from a building’s HVAC system. To compensate for those factors, it’s recommended that you use a draught shield to guard against air currents and an anti-vibration table to mitigate the effects of any vibrations.
If you have any questions about using Adam scales and balances for quality control applications, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you select the right one for your needs!