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When to Repair or Replace Damaged Scales

When to Repair or Replace Damaged Scales

May 15th 2024

At Scales Plus, we've repaired our fair share of scales for customers all across the country. Part of our process involves evaluating the equipment and providing a service quote. Depending on the type of scale and the costs associated with the repair, we may make a recommendation to replace instead. So the question is, when should you replace a scale instead of repairing it?

There are a number of things that influence the decision to repair or replace a scale. Some of these decisions need to be made before you ever send a scale to the professionals. To do that, you need to be armed with the right information and have a good overall understanding of the type of scales you are using, how they fit into your operations and the costs associated with service.

Consider Downtime

Downtime is an important consideration to make when choosing whether or not to repair your weighing equipment. If removing it from your operations reduces productivity, you'll need to consider how much loss could result. This of course will depend on your individual application and will require a bit of number crunching. 

To help avoid downtime, we always recommend having backup units to use in place of damaged or inoperable scales. Backup scales can be swapped into production while others are out for repair. This alleviates any concern of downtime, and makes the overall repair process much more streamlined.

Scale Repair Costs

The cost to repair scales varies drastically depending on the scale brand, type of scale, the availability of parts and the complexity of the repair. Since there is such a wide variety of scale types, repair costs can vary significantly from one scale to another. More advanced instruments, such as microbalances, will have higher repair costs than a simple bench scale. The components are more complex, and in-turn, more expensive to replace.

Here are the factors that influence the overall cost of repair:

  • Parts cost
  • Labor cost 
  • Shipping or travel costs

When to Replace

inside of an ohaus ranger scale

At Scales Plus, we have a general guideline that we use to determine when a replacement scale should be recommended. If the total cost of repair exceeds 50% of the retail value of a replacement unit, a new scale may be considered. Of course, some units are more expensive than others so a repair may still make more sense. Companies use different repair thresholds depending on their specific budget and capital asset guidelines, but Scales Plus has adopted 50% as a general rule of thumb based on years of feedback from our service customers.

Let's take a look at several repair scenarios below. These of course are hypothetical but will help give some insight into whether to repair or replace.

Scenario 1

  • Scale retail value = $500.00
  • Scale has a damaged load cell
  • Load cell replacement part cost = $250.00
  • Labor to replace load cell = $150.00
  • Total cost to repair:  $400.00

In this example, the total repair cost is greater than 50% of the replacement cost of a new scale. In fact, it is rather close to the retail value of a new unit. This would be a clear example of opting for a replacement scale.

Scenario 2

  • Analytical balance retail value = $3500.00
  • Balance has a broken display
  • Display replacement part cost = $350.00
  • Labor to replace display = $150.00
  • Total cost to repair = $500.00

Here we see the total cost to repair is significantly less than the cost to replace the balance. Proceeding with the repair would make much more sense as the value of the balance far exceeds the cost of the repair.

Scenario 3

  • Scale retail value = $1200.00
  • Scale has a damaged mainboard and power supply
  • Mainboard and power supply replacement parts cost = $550.00
  • Labor to replace defective parts = $220.00
  • Total cost to repair: $770.00

In this scenario, the cost to repair the scale is greater than 50% of the value of a new replacement, however, it may make sense to continue with the repair instead of replacing the unit. This would be dependent upon the customer's budget and asset management processes. Some companies may decide to replace, while others would elect to purchase a replacement. 

Discontinued Scales

From time to time, we receive scales that are discontinued and no longer supported by the manufacturer. Believe it or not, we've seen some that would qualify as antiques! This becomes an issue when manufacturers are no longer producing replacement parts. Although some repairs can be completed without the need for new components, in most cases, it is impossible to restore the scale back to working condition. Even if old new stock parts remain, we typically recommend replacing the scale since parts for discontinued models will very soon become obsolete. 

Need Professional Repair Services?

We are your 1-stop solution for everything weighing. Scales Plus is ISO 17025:2017 accredited by A2LA, providing traceable calibration services. We also offer equipment repair, custom system development and more.

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