Understanding the “True Cost” of a Truck Scale

truck scales

There’s no question that truck scales are a significant investment for just about any company.

Although a lower-cost truck scale may seem like a more enticing option, the hardware price is only one element of the total cost of a scale.

If you are a potential buyer, then you should be aware of the ways truck scale design, construction techniques, steel content, quality and installation all contribute to the initial price of the scale.

The purchase price is just one element of the total cost of ownership for any truck scale.

You should also understand how maintenance fees will impact the scale value.

Truck scales that require frequent or extensive maintenance can lead to a higher total cost even if their purchase price was lower.

You can use the resources below to help understand every element of truck scale pricing.

Article: What Impacts the Price of a Truck Scale?

Calculator: Total Cost of Ownership

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about explaining truck scale pricing or about additional information or price quotes on the Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® line of truck scales.  Call (919) 776-7737 for more information.

CARDINAL ARMOR® TRUCK SCALE COST JUSTIFICATION FACTORS

Over the past month, we have layed out in great detail some of the benefits of the Cardinal Armor truck scale.

If you consider one of the aforementioned issues problematic, Cardinal Scale’s
ARMOR® digital truck scales can provide the solutions you need.

The ARMOR® provides a great leap forward in truck scale technology. Costly load cell
diagnosis, replacement costs, and load cell damage have been greatly reduced due
to the ARMOR’s paradigm-changing technology. Carefully consider the following cost factors affecting your bottom line:

  1. If your current scale system lacks remote monitoring, factor in the time and costs spent in trying to diagnose the true failure in the weighing system. Diagnosing a
    load cell or cable failure can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days… sometimes more. The costs associated with not having your scale in use for that stretch of time can be as expensive as losing a day’s business.
  2. What are the costs associated with constantly having to repair an analog truck scale’s inefficient and delicate wiring system?
  3. What are the labor costs associated with changing a load cell should it fail?
    Most load cells cost anywhere from $900 to well over $2,000 each… and don’t forget to consider the labor associated with replacing a faulty load cell. Additionally, don’t neglect to factor in the return trip charges associated with having to constantly replace faulty load cells. Return trip charges are a cost that adds up over time and can become a considerable sum.
  4. Routine cleaning and maintenance for load cells that are exposed to debris and moisture can add more costs to the ownership of a truck scale.
  5. If your truck scale is in a location that is susceptible to lightning and power surges,
    digital load cells are a fantastic safeguard to protect your weighing operations.

Contact the heavy capacity sales department at Central Carolina Scale and request a quote for one of these scales. You can call (919) 776-7737 or complete the Request a Quote form.

DOES IT TAKE YOU A LONG TIME TO CHANGE OUT LOAD CELLS?

Replacing the SmartCell® load cell is incredibly simple. Most importantly, it is
a very fast procedure that gets your scale back to work in rapid time.

• Ease of use is also continued with installation or replacement of digital load cell (DLC) cards or 225D mainboards in the truck scale’s weight indicator. The 225D indicator can detect whether either option has been replaced using checksums and board identification numbers. The new DLC card or 225D mainboard will be reconfigured to the existing scale by the indicator acknowledging the new card and asking the user to verify if it is new. This simple reconfiguration process saves time and effort.

• One of the most important upgrades the SmartCell® digital load cell offers is the ability for truck scale dealers to change out the load cell in a matter of minutes. Normally, with analog load cells, dealers will have to check, replace, or pull a whole host of wires from the summing box when changing one out. Now, Cardinal’s digital load cells can be removed and replaced in as little as five minutes without any specialized equipment. It really is that short and simple!

• Electronic truck scales with analog load cells require many more moving parts. With an eight-cell system there are up to 100 wires that have to be prepared and terminated, up to 14 configuration jumpers to be set for proper operation, and sense lines must be utilized to regulate excitation voltage. This complicated wiring system lengthens time spent when trying to simply replace a load cell and calibrate it. This cumbersome process is no longer needed with the ARMOR® digital system.

• The ARMOR’s simple load cell connector design and the axis® frictionless centering system’s unique construction permit just a few steps for load cell replacement. After turning off power and jacking up the weighbridge a minimal amount, a single technician
simply has to remove the dual load cell cables, remove two bolts that hold the cell to the weighbridge, and place a new load cell in its place. Next, after applying cleaner and Dielectric grease to the load cell cable connectors, the connectors are reconnected, and the load cell bolts are tightened. It’s just that simple—not another moment needs to be spared on time-consuming load cell replacements.

• If you have to spend large amounts of time dealing with wiring analog load cells, the SmartCell® digital load cell streamlines the tedious task of getting your new load cell in operation.

IS YOUR TRUCK SCALE SUBJECT TO DAMAGE FROM DIRT, GRIT, AND GRIME? ARE YOUR LOAD CELLS EXPOSED TO WATER?

SmartCell® digital load cells provide many layers of protection against damage from water and debris. The SmartCell’s construction, placement, and ingress-blocking technology keep water and grime from damaging the load cells.

• As part of the axis® frictionless centering system that is provided, SmartCell® digital load cells are moved from an exposed area near the ground or beneath the deck to a
placement above the bottom of the deck. Generally, most failures that are associated with debris and sediment build-up happen at the base of the truck scale near ground level, which greatly contributes to corrosion. SmartCell® digital load cells are given
an extra layer of protection against the filth that typically accumulates under truck scales by being situated much higher in the scale weighbridge

• The orientation of the SmartCell® digital load cells in their load cell stand also provides the added bonus of selfcleaning. SmartCell® load cells rest on top of a cup-and-ball system that grinds up sediment and pollutants that might settle in the receiver
cup from day-to-day operations. Normally this accumulation of pollutants would be left
to build up and cause issues with load cell integrity or might cause inaccurate readings, but this self-cleaning feature can help protect the load cell modules from incorrect weighing.

• If, by chance, water levels rise high enough to expose SmartCell® digital load cells to moisture, their rating provides the highest level of protection afforded: IP69K. Their stainless steel casing and potting-filled cell body prevents water from entering the load
cell and damaging valuable digital components that transmit weighing information.

• SmartCell® load cell cables are also placed above the load cell housing to keep wiring clear of exposure to sediment and water. Load cell cables include rat-proofing protection from nibbling rodents.

IS YOUR TRUCK SCALE APPLICATION SUBJECT TO EXTREME TEMPERATURES?

Extreme weather and temperatures will cause issues for analog load cells. SmartCell® digital load cells provide the much-needed protection to prevent important internal components from failure.

ARMOR® load cells can operate in a wide range of temperatures. SmartCell® load cells are designed to function at high performance in a wide range of settings. Whether your scale is in an extreme environment or a location that has wildly fluctuating weather, SmartCell® digital load cells provide the stability needed to keep your scale weighing accurately.

SmartCell® digital load cells feature a much more simplified wiring system than an analog truck scale system. Generally, within an analog eightcell scale system there are up to 100 wires that have to be prepared and terminated correctly. Traditional analog wiring systems have several runs of wiring that can be exposed to the normal expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations. SmartCell® digital load cells are connected point-to-point in a “daisy-chain” manner with shielded PVC cables; this reduced total wiring and greater wiring protection lessens the damaging effects of severe heat and cold on the ARMOR® digital truck scale system.

If your scale location is in an area that that experiences load cell and wiring failures due to extreme hot and cold temperatures, SmartCell® digital load cell’s innovative design provides the most protection and return on your investment.

HAVE YOU FACTORED IN THE COST OF DOWNTIME? ARE SCALE DISRUPTIONS A REGULAR PART OF YOUR TRUCK SCALE OWNERSHIP EXPERIENCE?

As we discussed in the last entry, the Armor truck scale is a scale worth considering. Today we look at the SmartCell. SmartCell® load cells and iSite software greatly reduce the monetary risks involved in scale ownership.

• Since the circuitry of the load cell is internal, wiring is not openly exposed to corrosion. The internal wiring and digital components are completely protected by
Cardinal’s proprietary potting compound process that fills all of the internal voids
of the load cell. This load cell technology prevents ingress from moisture and provides the SmartCell® with an IP69K rating. Load cell failures associated with exposure to
water and electrical surges are greatly reduced and load cell replacements become
much less frequent due to SmartCell® technology.

• Most truck scale manufacturers still offer electronic scales that feature analog load cells. Analog load cells require time-consuming wiring and load cell fault diagnosis. Analog load cells are also much more prone to fluctuations in temperature and wiring degradation and damage due to moisture and sediment. Cardinal’s SmartCell® digital load cells feature stainless steel double-ended shear beam bodies and patent-pending
complete internal encapsulation via proprietary potting methods to protect internal circuitry.

SmartCell® load cells are daisy-chained together by waterproof load cell
cables and there is no junction box that is susceptible to water and lightning damage. SmartCells can be remotely monitored through Cardinal’s cloud-based iSite portal so dealers can be alerted to a load cell malfunction. Time spent having to randomly diagnose wiring failures is eliminated, and costs associated with lengthy diagnosis periods are also minimized.

• In the event that there is damage to the load cell, it can be easily swapped out and replaced quickly. Simply removing a few bolts and two screw-on cell cables is all that is needed. Technicians of any level can complete such a simple task, and your scale
can be back to running in a fraction of the time—increasing profits. Electronic truck scales with analog load cells still rely on time-intensive traditional wiring methods that can keep a scale out of commission with long waiting periods to find the source of the issue.

• If your scale is to be positioned in a location where chronic downtime is going to be a problem, digital load cells provide the greatest solution to preventing unwanted interruptions and costly load cell repairs and replacements. Lightning-fast load cell diagnosis and quick-and-simple load cell replacement with superior protection create a massive windfall for the end-user that no longer needs to be squandered.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING A TRUCK SCALE


Over the next few blog entries, we are going to take a look at a few of the reasons why Cardinal’s ARMOR® Digital Truck Scale arguably provides the best return on investment.

Cardinal Scale’s all-around innovative truck scale and load cell design
provides the most protection against circumstances—seen and
unforeseen. The combination of Cardinal Scale’s SmartCell® load cells,
ARMOR® weighbridge, and axis® frictionless centering system provide
a well-rounded vehicle scale package that protects against the
harshest conditions while transmitting valuable weight data digitally.
Cardinal Scale provides customers with the versatility and efficiency
required to fit their individual scale needs while saving valuable time
and effort.

Cardinal Scale engineers, develops, and manufactures their truck
scale hardware, software, and load cell technology in one location.
Weighbridges, indicators, load cells, and related instrumentation
are produced to meet the individual customer’s needs. Due to the
highly-vertically-integrated nature of Cardinal Scale’s manufacturing
processes, the company can easily modify and customize each truck
scale they make to fit a customer’s application—a benefit that is
becoming increasingly rare in today’s truck scale market.

Keeping with its visionary heritage, Cardinal Scale has again pushed
the boundaries of truck scale technology by developing SmartCell®
digital load cells. The added benefit of transmitting weight digitally
is greatly augmented by Cardinal Scale’s iSite remote monitoring
system. Dealers can now see, in real time, load cell issues as they
happen. Most importantly, time spent checking load cell wiring
is greatly reduced thanks to the streamlined, digital load cell
diagnostics. Dealers can now quickly and remotely diagnose load cell
issues and replace defective load cell elements in a fraction of what
analog load cell diagnosis requires.

Carefully consider the following questions for the purchase of a truck
scale to see if Cardinal’s ARMOR® digital truck scales will provide the
best solution for your time and resource investment.

Consider iQUBE² as a Digital Truck Scale Solution

When most potential customers seek a vehicle scale that also performs diagnostics, they often think of truck scales that use digital load cells. Digital load cells require A/D cards to be placed in every load cell to obtain diagnostic information.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems’ iQUBE², however, conducts A/D conversion at the junction box rather than the load cell. This means you will receive intelligent diagnostics from new or existing scales that use analog load cells.

Both devices sum the signals from each load sensor to determine the weight of the entire vehicle on the scale. The output of each load cell is compared to establish diagnostic information including real-time status of potential component failures, weighing errors and overall system health.

The iQUBE² Advantage

While analog and digital devices perform the same function, iQUBE offers impressive benefits at a more affordable price. In addition to providing diagnostics for Return to Zero, Load Cell Balance, Noise/Instability and Drift, iQUBE²:

  • Is non-proprietary
  • Pairs with analog load cells, which are more cost efficient
  • Conducts A/D conversion at the junction box, protecting sensitive electronic components

Download and review “Upgrade to a Digital Truck Scale Using iQUBE²” to understand how the iQUBE² can operate like a digital truck scale. After you read the guide linked above, contact us for additional information or a quote.

Popular Truck Scale Accessories to Consider

Quality truck scale accessories increase efficiencies and optimize the flow of trucks in and out of your plant.

Knowing exactly which truck scale accessories will complement your current operations can help you better select an overall truck scale system and manufacturer. Refer to your site planning flow map to see where an accessory can speed up processes and reduce the risk of human error.

Always consider the space an accessory will need prior to installing your truck scale system to ensure the best truck maneuverability and flow.

Accessories include attended and automated ticketing kiosks, remote displays, traffic signals, printers, guiderails and more.


Guide Rails
Guiderails offer drivers protection against accidental drive-offs.

Many suppliers offer guiderails…. make sure you examine the designs of each with your scale supplier closely, including the shape and strength of the rail.

Some guiderails have open-ended rails, while others are sealed or plugged with an end cap. Open-ended rails can accumulate debris and moisture, and guiderails plugged with an end cap can corrode from the inside if moisture seeps past the cap.

Caps with a welded seal offer the best protection, keeping debris and moisture build-up out of the rail.

Truck Scale Accessories

Automated Ticketing Kiosks
From RFID truck identification to load assignment, weighing and ticketing, unattended automated ticketing kiosks optimize truck traffic and improve safety by keeping drivers behind the wheel. Many manufacturers’ kiosks can integrate with your central office and accounting systems.

Printers and Printer Kiosks
Printers and printer kiosks improve more than just speed and accuracy. Many printer kiosk systems offer state-of-the-art features like RFID, vehicle recognition and durable weatherproof designs.

Truck Scale Data Management
Truck scale data management software can print tickets or reports, as well as store information to a central database.

Data management software enhances the functionality of automated ticketing kiosks by providing advanced data management and reporting capabilities. Most software systems are adaptable to a wide variety of industries and are compatible with many popular operating systems, streamlining your scale house or front office operations with your truck scale.

Most manufacturers’ software allows you to generate reports, often broken down by a number of variables including customer, hauler, truck, product and vendor.

Remote Displays
Whether you need to see weight readouts up close or messages at a distance, remote displays light up information to increase efficiency and provide direction to drivers. Many remote displays are customizable and feature stop/go red and green signal lights.

Traffic Stop Lights
Industrial-strength stop lights professionally communicate the universal stop/go red and green signals at a distance, speeding up scale traffic and eliminating congestion.

Barrier Gates
Barrier gates block access at the entry or exit of your truck scale. Most gates are electronically controlled to open or close after a designated action is taken.

Truck Scale Calibration Overview

Since 1980, Central Carolina Scale has been providing outstanding weighing equipment and scale repair service for our customers. Our truck scale calibration and inspection service is what our customers depend on to keep their scales accurate and dependable year round.

Most customers choose to have their truck scales checked and calibrated at several predetermined points during the year. We can customize your service based on your needs and requirements. And, by choosing this method of periodic scheduled service; the customer benefits by receiving priority scheduling, reduced labor rates, and discounted parts.

Before our factory trained, state certified scale technicians hit the road, they perform all mandated DOT vehicle inspections. Safety has always been a top priority.

Once our scale technician reaches the job site, the technician will notify the customer. Then the technician blocks off the scale to keep trucks from entering during the inspection and adjustment period. Keep in mind, Central Carolina Scale works with our customers truck traffic to be as accommodating as possible.

truck scale technician

BUILDUP UNDER THE TRUCK SCALE

The next step in a truck scale inspection is to inspect all critical components. Depending on the scale, the technician checks for buildup of dirt, sand, mud and debris underneath the scale. Dirt buildup under the scale platform is often one of the top reasons for scale inaccuracy.

If the scale has bumper bolts, the technician will examine these and adjust if necessary. It’s also a good time to look at any other areas that may need to be addressed periodically such as junction boxes, grounding, rubber t-grip molding, load cell caps, pit cleanliness and more depending on the type of scale. The technician also checks cabling, structural steel, and concrete approach pads.

scale calibration test truck

Next, the scale technician will drive the fully loaded test truck across the scale and check the sections for consistency and accuracy. Weights are recorded and used to assist with adjusting.

certified weight cart

Next, the technician unloads all the certified test weights into a specialized weight cart. This cart is also certified by the state weights and measures department and is traceable to NIST. Then, the technician checks each section of the motor truck scale.

When we mention the word “section” we’re referring to an area of weighbridge which bears on two supporting platform points. Once the section testing of the motor truck scale has been completed, the scale can be adjusted and calibrated if needed.

scale test truck on platform

The technician can once again drive across the sections with the fully loaded test truck which includes the certified weights and certified weight cart. The section weights and the overall weights should be consistent and accurate. The calibration and inspection is now complete.

The technician loads his vehicle and reopens the scale for traffic. Once the technician has moved off the scale and the scale has reopened, the technician completes all the necessary paperwork. The inspection detail report shows both the condition of the scale and components, as well as the as found and as left test results.

Central Carolina Scale has the factory trained technicians, certified test weights, and certified test carts to accurately and thoroughly check your vehicle scales. Give us a call today (919) 776-7737 and we can work with you to customize a service plan that will improve your accuracy and limit downtime.