This industry is made up of establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing weighing and force-measuring machines and devices, except those regarded as scientific apparatus for laboratory work, which are classified under SIC 3821: Laboratory Apparatus and Furniture.
333997 (Scale and Balance (except Laboratory) Manufacturing)
Vehicle and industrial scales, which are used primarily in factories and truck weighing stations to measure amounts of goods to be packaged or delivered, comprise the largest segment of this industry, accounting for roughly 42 percent of U.S. shipments. Retail, commercial, and milling scales form the second-largest category at approximately 31 percent, and include household scales, scales in grocery stores and delicatessens, and postal scales. Parts and accessories total 22 percent of shipments, and miscellaneous balance and scale equipment make up the remaining 5 percent.
In 2001, manufacturers in this category shipped $716.7 million in products. Real growth in the industry has been largely flat to negative since the 1980s, when the industry posted record sales. New business for the industry is often dependent upon external factors, such as postal rate changes and other government regulations that require the industry's customers to upgrade their weighing systems.
The estimated 121 establishments in the U.S. scale and balance industry were geographically concentrated, with California and the Midwest employing roughly half of the industry's workforce. Almost half of the companies in this industry employed fewer than 20 workers; total employment for 2001 exceeded 5,000. Major occupations within the industry include machinists, machine tool operators, assemblers, and product inspectors.
In 2001, Mettler-Toledo International Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, was the industry leader, with $345 million in revenue and 1,400 employees. The company posted 2003 sales of $1.3 billion, and had 8,500 employees. In second place was Minneapolis-based Thermo Sentron Inc., with $108 million in 2001 revenue and 700 employees. Rounding out the top three companies was Pelouze Scale of Bridgeview, Illinois, with $59 million in sales and 400 employees.
Like many manufacturing industries, the trend for manufacturers of scales and balances was toward efficiency and automation. Mettler-Toledo conducted research and development to offer new digital equipment to the industry, including a "smart count" scale with an internal database designed for speed, flexibility, automation, and ease of operation. Value of shipments for this industry was projected to rise slowly but steadily through the mid-2000s.
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