MEET Andrew Wong, an energetic young man who knows literally everything about weighing scales.
Even at a tender age of 10 — when other children were busy with their hobbies — the boy was already learning about the functions of the machine from his father.
Now at 33, the “weigh master” is very well-versed when it comes to repairing just any type of weighing scales, be they for small businesses or the heavy duty industrial ones.
However, he admits that repairing these machines is “a boring job”.
“It really is. Moreover it is difficult for me to find any worker who can do what I do,” he told The Star in Sibu.
Depending on the complexity of each problem, Wong said it would usually take him between 30 minutes to one hour to fix a machine. However the “critical” ones, especially those needing spare parts, might take up a few days of repair.
“I will also do calibration on weighing scales that have lost reading accuracy. Most break down due to failing batteries. These machines need to replace the batteries at least once in two years,” he said as he shared his expertise.
He said whether mechanical or digital, a weighing machine must undergo calibration at least once a year and then sent for annual stamping at government-authorised company.
In Wong’s case, it is Metrology Corporation Sdn Bhd, the company that services the central region.
Any operator who failed to do this, he warned, must be prepared to face legal action.
“Weighing machines will experience breakdown or lose its accuracy depending on the type of business they are used in.
“The heavier your goods are, the higher are the chances of breakdown,” he said.
According to Wong, there are close to 8,000 weighing machines of all types in the central region.
“Most hawkers selling lightweight items such as vegetables prefer to use the mechanical type, but not for fish and gourmet sellers — who will lose substantially even with a slight variation in the reading,” he said.
For example, a fishmonger selling a white pomfret at RM40 per kilogramme, would lose RM2.25 for every 50g “missing” in the reading.
“Under the misreading, if he’s selling 5kg a day, he could stand to lose RM11.25. “Multiply this by 365 days, he might face a whopping loss of RM4,106 a year!”
Asked on the prices of such machines, he said 20 years ago, a piece was rather pricey.
“A digital one could fetch up to RM1,600 back then, while the mechanical type was between RM100 and RM200.
“Now a digital scale sells for RM200 to RM300 while its mechanical counterpart can be obtained for just RM50.”
Wong said most traders selling heavier stuff preferred the digital type as the reading was 10 times more accurate than the mechanical ones.
“Moreover the digital type is more convenient as one can set the prices of goods to be weighed, usually in 1kg denominations.
“In Sibu, there are people like me in the business but only 11 are still active. Our shop do both repair and sale.
“Most of our equipment are imported from China, with several from India, Korea and Switzerland,” he said.