There are many uses of balances within the food industry that range from portion control to percent weighing. Normally, digital weighing balances such as the compact balance are preferred due to their convenience and portable features. Analytical balances however allow greater precision compared to portable scale models when measuring portion size and percent weighing. This may be required within food testing laboratories and other facilities alongside other types of weighing scale such as moisture analyzers.
Analytical balances are designed for great precision in quantitative chemical analysis. They yield readability to four decimal places to the right of the decimal point (up to .0001 g). They are extremely sensitive and, since air currents can affect their measurement, must be covered by a draft shield. They are used for samples up to about 320 g. Top-loading balances, which can measure objects up to 200 g, are less expensive but less exacting than analytical balances. They are considered semi-analytical balances, with readability of up to three decimal places to the right of the decimal point (up to .001 g). Precision balances have readability of 0.01 g. They produce steady readings in a wider range of environmental conditions than analytical balances, being less sensitive to temperature fluctuations. They can have a capacity from 600 g to 34,000 g.
Microbalances and ultra-micro balances are used to weigh the smallest samples. They offer a capacity of up to 6 g with readability up to seven decimal places to the right of the decimal point (.0000001 g). Moisture balances measure the moisture content in a material sample by using halogen heating with precise weighing technology.
Balances today can be connected to a PC, a data printer, an analytical instrument, or lab automation. The newest models are equipped with Bluetooth technology, to enable wireless communication. High-contrast backlit displays improve readability and allow accurate readings even in brightly lit conditions. When choosing scales and balances for their laboratories, users should understand that it may be more advantageous to purchase several scales and balances designed for specific applications than to try to find one that can handle all their needs. They should consider the capacity, resolution, weight, containers, and size of their samples, as well as the speed at which results are needed.
The environment of the lab, operating temperature, humidity, vibration, and ventilation currents can all affect performance. Consequently, it’s important to keep the balance inside an enclosed space, keep it clean, make sure it is leveled correctly, and make sure it is regularly maintained and serviced.
In hardly any industry the moisture content plays such an important role as in the food sector as it directly influences the quality, taste, texture, and shelf life of the products. Therefore, the moisture content is measured from the raw material, through various processing steps to the end product to ensure stable processes and consistent quality. Moisture analyzers are a fast and easy way to determine moisture content.