The National Type Evaluation Program & Why You Need it
Many people ask why they should use an NTEP (Legal for Trade) scale or balance instead of any old scale, surely all scales are the same?
In the USA the NTEP program is recognized by all states, but the interpretation of which applications should use an NTEP scale varies from state to state. There are some state weights and measures agencies, like California, who say that every transaction that uses a weighing machine to determine the price should be NTEP, and some other states do not. Please contact your local Weights and Measures office to see if you need an NTEP scale in your state and which type would be appropriate.
The big question you should ask yourself is not “does the law require an NTEP scale?” but “is buying an NTEP scale the right thing to do for my business”?
NTEP Scale vs Cash Register
We all know that starting up a new business or operation takes more time and money than first anticipated, but consider buying a cash register cheaply. It may be made of poor materials, it may be difficult to operate, the drawer may break or there may be many other faults. However, it will very likely always add up correctly even though it makes life a little difficult for you.
Now consider buying a scale or balance cheaply. Whatever you buy or sell is calculated by that piece of equipment. If you sell $300,000 a year of chicken legs and your scale is 1% out (in the customers favor) then you lose $3,000, which is way more than you saved by buying a cheap scale. Consider your scale or balance to be a cash register. It counts your money for you!
Buying an NTEP scale or balance is a protection against poorly manufactured equipment. NTEP scales go through a rigorous set of tests that not only take months, but also cost a great deal. They check to see if the weighing device stays accurate when the temperature changes over time and to ensure the scale will take a lot of abuse, and most importantly that you, the customer, get the correct result.
Recently a customer dealing in precious gems called us and said that he wanted an NTEP scale for the price of the one he had seen that says it is “Accepted in 23 States.” If you see this, this is not NTEP! Those 23 states happen to be those that don’t require NTEP for your purposes. That scale may be legal in those states, but there is no accountability for the supplier to make a reliable product.
If you need legal for trade, always look for the NTEP seal. It may cost a bit more, but when it comes to scales, you get what you pay for!