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Precisa’s A -Z Glossary

At Precisa we pride ourselves on our precision quality, and a part of that is making sure everything is clear and understandable. That’s why we have created this glossary of terms. We want to ensure that there is no tricky lingo blocking you from finding your ideal precision balance. So please browse the key terms below to find the definition for the term you’re interested in learning more about.

AccuracyAccuracy refers to the closeness of a measured value to a standard or known value. For example, if in lab you obtain a weight measurement of 3.2 kg for a given substance, but the actual or known weight is 10 kg, then your measurement is not accurate because it is not close to the known value.
Analytical balanceAn analytical balance is a specific type of weighing balances which measures much smaller masses than the average scale. An analytical balance has a higher readability than a precision balance, measuring to the nearest 0.0001g. Analytical balances usually include draught proof weighing chambers for precise measuring of mass and are often used alongside anti-vibration tables to increase accuracy.View our range of analytical balances:
Auto Zero CorrectionThe Zero Correction setting causes the balance to automatically zero in order to adjust to changing environments.This setting sets the display to show zero weight and it can also be used to reset the scale to zero when small amounts of material are on the platform. Zero works only in a very small range around the original zero condition for the scale.
BalanceA weighing balance is an instrument which is used to determine the weight of an object. Available in a wide range of sizes with multiple weighing capacities, they are essential tools in laboratories, kitchens and pharmacies. View our range of balances:
CalibrationCalibration is the process of ensuring and maintaining the accuracy of a weighing instrument in alignment with a standard or accepted range of results. It is considered the process of correcting, determining and checking the scale is accurate and is a legal requirement for many scales such as those used to sell products by weight, for which verification must be shown. Scales can either be internally or externally calibrated. Precisa are fully accredited to deliver UKAS calibration services.
CapacityThis is the maximum weight in the operational range of a balance (usually displayed on the information plate found on the front or sides of the balance – otherwise it may be in the handbook)
Density DeterminationDensity is the mass per unit of volume and it is used as a measure of compactness of a substance. Density determination is a critical part of the research process in sample analysis and for raw materials and finished products. It can be carried out using various methods using a weighing balance.
Draft ShieldA Draft Shield protects a sample from external environmental influences, like air drafts, in order to improve general weighing performance. It is especially important for analytical weighing which requires high accuracy. Our balance draft shield is ideal for those undertaking measurements with balances in vibration affected areas, where there is excessive air movement or draughty locations, or sensitive environments where containment is required. The robust acrylic cover reduces air movement around your balance and with sliding doors on both the right hand and left hand sides and top to provide easy access to the weighing pan.
DriftDrift refers to the unstable weight readings which can occur when weighing compounds due to static charge and inconsistent temperatures. Drift can cause alterations in measurements and can lead to imbalances in displays. If enough static electricity is present in the environment, readings also become unstable, even if not applying any weight. In order to keep static electricity from building up and causing the drift effect, humidity levels must be raised to 40% at the time of installation and constant temperature levels must be maintained.
Dynamic weighingDynamic weighing refers to the ability to weigh objects in motion. This is needed when it is not possible to weigh items on static scales due to motion such as if the scale is situated on a ship, or if the item being weighed will not remain stationary, such when vets are weighing animals for example. The system works because the balance is able to calculate an average weight based on the force exerted by the animal or sample over an extended period of time. Once the internal calculation is completed by the balance, it will hold the value.
Error CodesAn Error Code will be displayed when a Precisa balance experiences a problem with set-up, software, hardware or mechanics. An error message will be displayed on the screen with an appropriate numerical designation that can indicate and aid in the diagnosis of the type of problem it is experiencing. Find out what to do if you experience an error code here:
External CalibrationExternal Calibration is the manual form of balance calibration which involves using trade approved calibration weights. A wide variety of calibration weights are used to test the weight capacity and level of accuracy. The weights are placed on the scale and their reading is set as the standard. The purchasing and management of these weights is very important. Weights must be bought from a trusted source and preserved carefully to make sure they don’t gain or lose mass.
FormulationFormulation is the process by which a variety of different substances are combined in precise proportions to create a product. The proportions of each product mixed together in the formulation recipe are determined in the formulation development process. The formulation development process involves repeated experimentation with the ingredient substances to achieve the desired characteristics in the final product. Formulation development is highly dependent upon weighing the ingredients accurately. If one step in the weighing process is wrong, the scientist is required to go through the tedious recalculation and adjustment of the other ingredients to make the correction.
Internal CalibrationInternal Calibration is the automatic form of balance calibration which does not involve calibration weight sets or manual user input. This is used for scales with built in calibration weights and some of these scales can even be programmed to calibrate at specific times. Internal calibration is more expensive but takes up less time and staff resources as weights do not need to be properly maintained. Scales with internal calibration functionality tend to be more expensive but they account for more environmental changes, such as movement, stability and temperature. When deciding which type of calibration is best for you, you will need to assess your budget, your time resources, if weighing conditions frequently change and frequency of use.
MassMass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object. Mass is usually measured in grams (g) or kilograms (kg). Mass measures the quantity of matter regardless of both its location in the universe and the gravitational force applied to it. An object’s mass is constant in all circumstances; contrast this with its weight, a force that depends on gravity.
Minimum sample weight The minimum sample weight is the minimum sample quantity required to perform an accurate quantitative analysis with the measurement error of the balance used taken into account. If the sample quantity is too small, the measurement error will take up too large a portion of the measured value, making the result of the analysis unreliable. Only very small quantities are used in many applications and, thus, only a small part of the balance’s weighing capacity is used. However, the lower the original weight, the greater the relative measuring uncertainty. The minimum original weight which is required is determined on the basis of the QM criteria and of the statistical data from repeated weighing procedures. If the weight is below the minimum original weight, a warning appears on the balance display warning you of this; these values are also marked in the printout.
Moisture AnalyserA moisture analyser measures the moisture content in a sample. When choosing a moisture analyser, precision, measurement method, capacity and speed should be assessed. Precisa’s moisture content analysers are compact and robust, their use in the lab leads to significant improvements in production and means savings in time and cost. This increase in productivity is brought about by fully automatic moisture analysis’ and corresponding generation of measurement documentation records. View our range here:
Moisture ContentMoisture content is the quantity of water contained in a material. It is used in a wide range of scientific and technical areas, and is expressed as a ratio, which can range from 0 (completely dry) to the value of the materials’ porosity at saturation. It can be given on a volumetric or mass (gravimetric) basis. Water and moisture content play an important role in the processing and quality of products as well as on the pricing of these products in many industries including pharma products, the food industry, agricultural sector, construction materials etc.
Pill CounterPill counters are used for the accurate and time saving counting of medication in tablet or capsule form. The counter uses precise weighing based on the initial weight of the empty pill vial followed by the weight of an individual pill. Once the desired pill count balance is added, the counter is able to calculate the number of pills in the container. Find out more:
PrecisionPrecision refers to the closeness of two or more measurements to each other. For example, if you weigh a given substance five times, and get 3.2 kg each time, then your measurement is very precise. Precision is independent of accuracy. You can be very precise but inaccurate. You can also be accurate but imprecise.
Precision balanceA Precision Balance is a specific type of weighing balances which measures much smaller masses than the average scale. A precision balance is less precise than an analytical balance as it typically measures to the nearest 0.1-0.01g. It can measure capacities from hundreds of grams to kilograms. View Precisa’s range of Precision Balances here.
ReadabilityThe Readability of a balance is the amount of weight information displayed by the balance after the decimal point and the interval by which the information changes (usually displayed on the information plate found on the front or sides of the balance). Find out the readability of your balance:
Temperature checkAt Precisa we offer our customers with Moisture Analysers (a balance with a built-in programmable heating element) the option to have the functional temperatures achieved by the heating unit checked and, if necessary, adjusted to closer reflect the target temperature. Our engineers use calibrated Digital Thermometers and calibrated Probes custom designed specifically for Moisture Analysers to ensure that the readings we achieve are as accurate as possible.
Tare weight The Tare Weight is the weight of an empty container. It can be subtracted from the gross weight in order for the weight of what is inside to be calculated. Tare weight is accounted for by a button which resets the display to zero when an empty container is placed on the balance surface, resulting in the weight of the content to be displayed only.
ToleranceThe tolerance for a weighing balance is the acceptable limit or range in measurement that the laboratory can tolerate Find out how to determine the tolerance of your balance:
WeightThe weight of an object is defined as the force of gravity on the object and may be calculated as the mass times the acceleration of gravity. While the weight of an object varies in proportion to the strength of the gravitational field, its mass is constant, as long as no energy or matter is added to the object. Weighing balances measure weight rather than mass. They do this by measuring how much force exists between the object and the Earth. Although balances measure force, they give the measurements of mass in kilogramme.
VerificationAny business providing a service or goods using weight, e.g. scales used in manufacturing for goods sold based on weight are required by law to use verified scales to guarantee that measurements are accurate. It is therefore a legal requirement to present verification that these balances have been tested to give the correct results and guarantee the accuracy of the measurements. It is important to have weighing instruments calibrated on a regular basis, to make sure that they are still fit for purpose and giving accurate readings.
UKAS accredited CalibrationPrecisa are fully accredited to deliver UKAS calibration services. The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing and inspection and calibration services. Utilising fully-trained, experienced calibration engineers, Precisa offers UKAS calibration services across the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) and aim to respond within 48 hours to customer demands Find out more: