What’s in your load?
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator reports a fine of $249,500 against an operator for incidents where vehicles were 21% or more overweight. When you are talking in tonnes, this amounts to about one fully grown elephant.
Asian or African variety is of little importance.
Overweight loads are not only an expensive proposition, they are dangerous to drivers, equipment, and other cars on the road. They also contribute to excessive wear to your vehicle, excess fuel consumption, and pollution.
An accurate and easy to use truck scale is not only a money saver, but it is also necessary.
Read on to find the right one.
Calculate Your Truck Weight
Many operators take the attitude that they can use simple addition to calculate their total truck weight. After all, you know your truck weight, you know what your cargo manifest says and the size of your cargo space, so simple addition gives you the correct weight, right?
Except it doesn’t. What about the weight of fuel or estimated overages? A truckload of sand might weigh 15,000 kg or it might weigh 16,500 kg depending on the size of the particles.
Human judgment has a place in determining the weight of your load, but it is not your primary tool. For accuracy, you need a truck scale or weighbridge.
What Kind of Truck Scale?
There are several choices when it comes to determining vehicle load. Each has certain advantages.
Regardless of the type of scale, regional and federal transportation authorities define the types of loads and maximum weight for their roadways. This can be expressed as a maximum weight per axle or overall gross vehicle weight.
Overweight vehicles are a safety hazard and can rack up considerable penalties. Choose a truck scale that gives you the right kind of information to stay on the right side of the law.
3D Load scanners
These are supplemental “eyes” to help visualize and estimate truck weights. They develop a 3-D volume image, which is then calculated into weight. They incorporate scanner camera technology that makes them accurate and fast.
Load scanners optimize efficiency. They can be installed and operated quickly–often in a day or less. Once calibrated, they need little maintenance. Software solutions allow access from remote locations.
The software minimizes uncertainties due to load variations and moisture content. They only take moments per load. Trucks pass through the scanner without stopping.
They offer an inexpensive alternative to weighbridges or portable axle scales. They are an affordable payload solution costing up to 50% less than installing fixed weighbridges.
Load scanners are ideal for operations that require hundreds of truckloads of the same type of material to be weighed on a daily basis.
On-Board Load Scales
These scales prevent overloading of the truck. They are designed to weigh the load, however, you can also use on-board truck scales to track the total weight of a vehicle. This reduces the chances of overload fines.
On-board scales are extremely durable and come in both analog and wireless versions. They are easy to install and help drivers monitor weight compliance. different types of scales include load cells, air-suspension PSI sensors, and cushion sensors. They are easy to install, although they require frequent calibration for accuracy.
Weighbridge Truck Scales
The bridge-like framework of the weighbridge truck scale gives it its name. They are best for varied loads of raw materials and products. They are designed for heavy-duty use.
Weighbridge designs offer sturdiness, reliability, and accuracy. When looking for a weighbridge for sale, consider if you need pit-mounted, surface-mounted, transportable, or modular design. Most sellers offer customized designs too.
Weighbridge scales offer fast results and reduce the risk of both overloading and overweight vehicle fines. Some users refer to any platform scale as a weighbridge.
Low-profile and high accuracy, truck-axle scales are a portable and economical solution for vehicle weighing. They come in many configurations, lengths, and capacities.
They are ideal for situations where a permanent installation is impractical. Most scales are manufactured from heavy-duty steel and feature construction suitable for long service life.
In-Motion Portable Axle Scales
These small scales allow users to measure inputs speedily and calculate their final vehicle weight. They are battery-operated and highly portable. Users can weigh their load in almost any location.
Some scales come with an integrated weight ticket printer which allows the scale reading to become part of the official logbook.
Full-Length Truck Scales
These old-fashioned units are the most dependable truck scales. Many have been in service decades. They provide accurate weights for the mining and construction industries.
Full-length truck scales use a simple platform mechanism. A driver just positions the load on the weighing platform. These scales should be installed permanently and calibrated often.
Expect a lifespan of several decades with care and maintenance.
Which Scale Is Right for Your Business?
For businesses that depend on accurate load weights for billing and dispatch, scales that are legal for trade are necessary. It must be calibrated and certified by the relevant trade authority.
Sometimes these bulk weight scales are the same as scales used to determine road weight limits, but there are different requirements for accuracy and calibration.
For trade scales, a permanent fixed scale installation is preferable. Pit or in-ground installations need regular maintenance and debris clearance. A scale at grade means faster throughput.
Above-ground installations are easier to maintain but may take more driver time to position the load accurately on the scale. Wider than normal decks help ensure safety. Concrete ramps on either end make use easier.
Permanent installations require a concrete foundation. Temporary scales use a modular steel platform foundation. The ground beneath temporary scales needs special preparation to ensure accuracy.
Scale Size and Configuration
Large trucks and heavy loads need scales configured for the largest trailers and number of axles. The weighbridge of a scale needs to accommodate the axles of the largest truck in the fleet. A truck weight at the extreme ends of the scale range can be inaccurate.
For businesses that depend on accurate load weight for billing purposes, variances mean lost profit. Trade scale rules may specify the configuration and operation.
A full-length load scale with 6-10 load cells is an option for large trucks, but a multi-axle scale can give both the total gross weight and the weight per axle.
Most bulk weight scales are unprotected from the elements. Outdoor durability under harsh environmental conditions is a consideration. Expect to use your truck scale a decade or longer.
The deck of a scale can be concrete or steel. Steel is a tough material and quickly installed. However, it can be slippery in wet conditions and is not appropriate for point loading.
Concrete decks take longer to install. They may take 30 days or more to cure before use. They are appropriate for point loading and are not as slippery as steel. Concrete decks are thicker than steel and more resistant to longitudinal movement as a truck drives on or off the deck.
Modern truck scales require regular maintenance and calibration, but the complicated hydraulics and suspension systems of the past have been largely replaced. New load cells and movement arrestors can often be installed in older scales as long as the foundation and weighbridge are in good shape.
Of course, these upgrades are dependent on accessibility. Many pit installations have limited maneuvering space to remove old equipment and insert new load cells.
Software and hardware upgrades also lengthen the service life of truck scales. Computer software allows scale self-service, electronic log maintenance, and control of the entire weighing facility.
Find the Best Truck Scale to Own
Whether you plan on using your truck scale to load vehicles to their legal maximum or to measure the perfect truckload of corn, the right scale saves you money. Overweight Semi trucks are dangerous and the penalties for too heavy vehicles on the road are severe.
Scales used for trade prevent expensive losses by preventing truck overfills. Too much product per truckload results in losses. Each small load overfill wastes money and fuel.
Be sure to choose the right scale for your use. Some scales are better for calculating gross total weight, while others excel at the weight per axle. Still, others have a reputation for accuracy to the smallest increment.
Businesses That Need a Truck Scale
Delivery and logistics companies that use large trucks should maintain their own scales. They can ensure that overweight loads are partially unloaded and corrected before entering the public roadway.
In addition, construction, mining, and commodities sellers who price things by the truckload can reduce waste. Accurate measuring prevents “free” or underpriced deliveries.
Want more fascinating information about big rigs and vehicles? This is the place. Keep reading!