A Trade Instrument

A trade instrument is one used in "determining the consideration in respect of a transaction". In other words, if the weight reading of an instrument is used to buy or sell product, or to charge a tax or toll, it must be considered as a trade instrument. As a trade instrument, it must be either certified by an inspector from the National Measurement Institute of Australia (NMI), or certified by a licensee (that is, a company or individual licensed to perform a limited range of similar functions as an inspector from NMI. QWM/Accuweigh is licensed to certify trade instruments in all states of Australia.


Instruments to be used for trade must be of a trade-approved design. That is, their design (or pattern) must be approved by NMI, after undergoing and passing stringent analysis and testing by NMI. Once an instrument's design is approved (typically just prior to being released into the market), the manufacturer of the instrument is issued with a Certificate of Approval.

Instruments that do not have a trade-approved design may (but not necessarily) be just as sensitive and as accurate as an instrument with a trade-approved design, but if it is not trade-approved, it is illegal to use this instrument for trade, and can incur very severe penalties if found to be used thus.

Why are Trade Approved Scales More Expensive?

As explained above, an instrument, that is proposed to be trade approved, is initially submitted to NMI for stringent analysis and testing. This takes time and, more importantly, money. For a manufacturer to submit an instrument for trade approval, this represents a significant investment both initially and on an ongoing basis. Manufacturers of these instruments therefore feel it quite reasonable to charge more for these instruments, given that they would like a return on their investment.