Either as a finished good or during the various stages of manufacture almost every commodity you can think of, at one time or another is weighed and a value is then assigned to that commodity based on that weighment. Therefore, the accuracy of all commercially used weighing devices in Montana has an enormous economic effect on both consumers and industry.
On an annual basis, inspectors from the Weights and Measures Bureau will test, inspect, and certify over 10,000 scales. These range from small jewelry scales with a capacity of 1,000 grams to large belt scales found at the coal mines capable of weighing 7,000 tons of coal an hour. Other examples of common scale types we test are the 30 pound capacity scales typically found at the check stand in your local grocery store, hopper scales used to weigh fertilizer, livestock scales located on ranches, rail scales used to weigh railroad cars and large truck scales used to weigh raw and finished products in the timber, grain, and mining industries. Each of these scales is tested every year using certified test weights ranging in size from small metal foil weights weighing .001 of a pound to large weight carts with block weights weighing 25,000 pounds.
Since January 1, 1999, all commercial scales sold and installed in Montana must have a National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Certificate of Conformance number. Additionally, all newly installed or repaired scales must be “placed in service” by a registered repair agency and have the proper service report, completed by a registered repair agency, submitted to the Weights & Measures office prior to the issuance of a weighing device license and testing by the bureau.