Simply put, a Legal-for-Trade Scale has been put through a series of vigorous tests in order to be marked with a national or globally-based certification that verifies the device’s accuracy and overall health.
By contrast, a Non-Legal-for-Trade Scale has not undergone the type of testing necessary to be certified, but is more cost-efficient than it’s Legal-for-Trade counterpart.
It’s worth noting that in some corners, you may hear the term “Trade-Approved” — This is just another way of saying “Legal-for-Trade.”
In the United States, a Legal-for-Trade Scale certification is carried under the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). When a Scale has been NTEP-certified/approved, you will see this logo included in literature of said Scale:
NTEP is a program that was created by both the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and is utilized to test and ensure that weighing equipment is in compliance with NIST Handbook 44.
During the testing phase for NTEP certification, Scales are subject to more than 100,000 load tests across varying temperatures, including shift and load evaluations. Once a Scale passes a test, it is deemed “Legal-for-Trade”, and a Certificate of Conformance is then provided for that Scale.
Legal-for-Trade Scales are generally considered to be acceptable for use in commercial operations where a product or material is sold by weight, such as the meat department at your local grocery store. However, that doesn’t mean that a Legal-for-Trade Scale is strictly developed for commercial purposes — The verified precision of the device provides absolute confidence to any operation, and can be used in any industry.
A Non-Legal-for-Trade Scale has not undergone the substantial testing that a Legal-for-Trade Scale has, translating into an overall lower cost for a Non-Legal-for-Trade Scale. However, with that cost-efficiency comes the inability to legally/appropriately utilize your device in certain, commercial-based environments.
If a device does not come with the NTEP logo (or a Certificate on Conformance on the serial plate), you should stop using it in commercial settings immediately, and begin looking into purchasing a Legal-for-Trade Scale (which we can help with).
The Bottom Line
If you have questions regarding Legal-for-Trade or Non-Legal-for-Trade Scales, we urge you to give our knowledgeable Sales team a call at 602-243-3951.
We’ll be able to provide you with more direct insight into the best type of Scale for your business, no matter your industry, background, or needs!
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