World Metrology Day is just around the corner, with 20th May marked out on our calendars to celebrate the 1875 implementation of the framework we use to this day for measurement. This year’s theme is ‘Metrology in the Digital Era’ which was chosen to celebrate and acknowledge the great advancements in technology that are constantly revolutionising the way we obtain and use measurements.

This got us thinking on our own role within weighing across industrial and manufacturing environments and how, as a company founded in 1844, our own product development has influenced, and been influenced by, advancements in technology.

Weighing has come a long way from the first known scales dating back to around 2000 BC. These first scales used two plates that would be used to balance items with weight plates (stones) to determine the item’s weight. These kinds of scales are now a common symbol associated with Ancient Egyptian culture and the justice or legal system.

Since then, developments like the lever and dial scale have changed how weighing is operated. Stevens was founded as a manufacturer of these lever and dial scales, a technology that was used for almost a century until loadcell technology was developed and used even still to this day.

Read on below to learn more about how weighing practices have changed over time alongside Stevens since its founding in 1844…

metrology day
Stevens traceability

THE STEVENS TRACEABILITY TIMELINE

1844

C. Stevens & Son is established by Charles Stevens, a London based scale maker renowned for mechanical weighing machines utilising lever and dial technology, a technology that was used for almost a century.

These kinds of scales worked by using a spring system. The weight of an item pushes the attached lever, that will then turn a sprocket which is also attached to a dial that marks and displays the weight.

LATE 1940s

Loadcell technology is first developed based on the Wheatstone bridge circuit but is not used in the market. It would go on to form the basis of how weighing scales worked even still to this day.

There is a brilliant piece from the New York Times, which was originally published in 1981 and details how loadcell technology was developed and how it operated and still operates now.

MID 1960s

Our very own Contracts Manager, Alan Jackson, recalls his time as an apprentice engineer dealing with the various weighing scales of the time. These were similarly mechanical utilising components like leverages, headworks, and ribbons.

Alan has been with Stevens for 34 years this year!

Also around this point, loadcell technology begins to take off in some markets thanks to developments of technology in general.

“The fundamentals of loadcell technology haven’t really changed over the years” explains our Technical Manager Paul Coverley, who’s been with us for over 24 years now.

EARLY 1970s

Weighing is becoming more electronics based. At this stage machines would typically incorporate electrical elements within established mechanical functionality and could feature anywhere up to 10 circuit boards to function.

1979

Under new ownership, Stevens develops the first electronic force motor weighing system, a technology used by all leading laboratory balances today.

Our business mostly consisted of hardware-related requirements, providing high-quality, bespoke equipment, and providing service and repairs for customer equipment – like we still do today.

MID 1980s

Stevens develops the first Recipe Formulation System – the 290 RFS. This system becomes a pillar in recipe formulation and management and was sold to hundreds of baking operations across the country almost overnight.

Dave Hornby, our Electronic Development Manager who joined us around this time, explained that “this was a standalone system that was bespoke in its production, with all parts and components produced and manufactured in-house.”

LATE 1980s

At this stage, Stevens had 2 bases, one in Essex and another in Haslingden.

Stevens traceability

EARLY 1990s

The introduction of the PC opens the potential for further product development. As more people become computer literate the ways in which networks are used to present and transmit data evolve too.

MID 1990s

The wider deployment of the internet and PC technology enables businesses to implement networks onto their sites. This made communication and data processing easier across sites and internally, informing our own product development.

1997

Stevens moves to our current site in Blackburn, on Challenge Way.

Stevens Traceability Head Office

LATE 1990s

We see an opportunity to harness the fast-moving developments in technology to further develop on our existing systems, providing programs and hardware for Recipe Formulation, Parts Counting and Average Weight requirements.

Our Average Weight system was developed under the direct guidance of one of the individuals responsible for writing the legislation itself.

2002

The Vantage 1 weighing terminal is born.

This cornerstone development marked a new approach for Stevens to how we deploy weighing solutions and reflected the developments in technology to enable multiple applications on a single terminal, maximising functionality.

2014

Mike Wynburg joins as General Manager before becoming Managing Director of Stevens Traceability Systems Ltd. 3 years later in 2017.

2022

Stevens is a market leader in the weighing and traceability industry thanks to the guidance of our fantastic customers, whose expertise has helped to drive our own product development over time.

The Vantage 3 is launched, the latest and fastest iteration of our flagship weighing systems that, like its predecessors, takes advantage of the recent advancements in technology and processing capabilities.

BEYOND…

Our team is always working hard to further develop and improve upon our existing software and systems to make sure we’re helping customers as best we can across their weighing and production requirements.

LEARN MORE ABOUT STEVENS

Stevens provides industry-leading weighing and traceability solutions that are designed and supplied according to your business requirements. With a bespoke, modular design approach, our weighing equipment and systems are ideal for supporting your business across stock control, recipe management, accurate weighing, and more.

Browse our website to learn more about how Stevens can help support your business.

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