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8167 1920x720 ccurate Container VGM Certification Bison 1
Tech & Development

Bison Container Scales Certified

Bison Group

2 Mar 3 Minutes

At Bison

In 2016, our portable Bison C-Legs and Container Scales were OIML certified in accordance with OIML R76:2006. Along with this our container scales were type approved in Europe, having passed the performance tests for non-automatic weighing instruments of EC Directive 2014/31/EU.

Having a certified weighing scale means that the weight value you see on the equipment can be relied upon. The scales passed rigorous testing by a Government accredited organisation who have checked that the equipment and its components are:

Designed well and of a high standard

Not susceptible to any form of interference

Will show the correct weight regardless of temperature, humidity and the like

When we started developing our portable container scales back in 2014, it was always our ultimate goal to achieve these marks of excellence for the product. This was for three reasons:

To offer the first internationally certified, portable container weighing solution to the global market

To demonstrate that our scales meet the most rigorous international performance standards.

To provide shippers a useful new tool to verify the gross mass of shipping containers under the SOLAS VGM rules, which require shippers use “calibrated and certified weighing equipment”.


The International Organization of Legal Metrology (a.k.a. OIML) sets the international standards for weighing instruments. Having OIML certification means that our scales meet the highest international standards and have undergone a rigorous testing process.

OIML certification means that the scales can be “type approved” under Weights & Measures regulations in OIML’s 126 member countries. Type approval is independent recognition from a government-appointed authority that the design of the weighing equipment meets the required standards.

To get type approval in Europe and New Zealand, Bison Container Scales had to be tested for accuracy, repeatability, eccentricity and other factors with certified test weights over the range from 500kg to 35,000kg on a flat rack container. All test results had to fall within a permissible margin of error. At the top end of the weighing range, the maximum permissible error is +/- 75kg, that is +/- 0.2%. If the scales didn’t meet this standard at any point through the test program, the scales wouldn’t get type approved. The Bison scales came easily within this tolerance.

Once a scale design is “type-approved”, another common requirement in many countries is to have the individual scales you purchase “trade approved”. This involves a similar testing process - an accredited person putting the scales through a range of performance tests with certified test weights over the range from 500kg to 35,000kg. This “initial verification” process ensures that the individual set of scales you purchase is accurate and reliable. The scales may need to be re-certified depending on the country's regulations; sometimes annually, sometimes bi-annually, sometimes at the user’s discretions.

Having achieved OIML certification and the type approval in Europe and New Zealand, we’re now pursuing the national type approvals in Australia, South Africa, Central America and a bunch of other regions. These approvals are a further step toward providing shippers globally with a simple, efficient and certified tool for weighing shipping containers and managing SOLAS VGM compliance.


Whether you need certified or trade approved scales really depends on what you are using the weighing equipment for and the specific regulations in your country.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are using scales for transactional or legal purposes, then you will most probably have to use scales that are certified. So if you are trading containerised commodities such as scrap metal by weight, for example, then the weighing equipment you are using to measure the weight of the goods will likely need to be trade approved.

It is mandatory to use trade approved scales for weighing containers to produce a verified gross mass (VGM) under the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention in many countries; but not all. Even if not mandatory, using weighing equipment that can be trade approved gives assurance about the pedigree of the equipment, and reduces the risk of your container being held up during shipment due to irregularities in the declared VGM value.

If you are “check weighing” for private purposes, then trade approval may not be essential. But even in these cases, you can be more confident about the accuracy and reliability of the weight measurements if you use certified scales.


How to calibrate scales depends on the type of scale you using. Typically industrial weighing equipment needs a scale technician and certified test weights on hand to perform the calibration. This can be expensive and is not always convenient.

One of the advantages of Bison container scales is that we can supply a calibration rig and software that enables our customers to calibrate the scales periodically for themselves. The accuracy is better than 1%, which is sufficient in many cases, and avoids the need to pay for specialists with test weights to visit your site. For customers in remote locations, this is particularly attractive. A major industrial gas company with operations in Papua New Guinea realised this, buying Container Scales with a calibration rig from us recently.

Where the high absolute accuracy of trade approval is required, Bison container scales can be fine-tuned by calibrating against a known mass of certified test weights. The scales can be sent to a weighing technician for this service.


If you’re looking for a portable container weighing solution, you can rest assured that Bison C-Legs and Container Scales meet the gold standard in scale certification.

For those of you in the shipping industry, these innovative scales offer a simple, efficient and compliant way to produce verified weights for the SOLAS VGM rules.

Feel free to contact our sales team here if you'd like to find out how these useful scales can help you improve efficiency and compliance in your container shipping operation