Ways to Clean & Protect Your Truck Scale from Snow & Ice this Winter

Just like any tool or device that generates revenue for your business, a high quality truck scale should perform reliably for many years. But, with many years of use comes years of changing seasons. And, in many areas throughout the United States, a truck scale may be affected by winter weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, along with snow and ice.

snow around a truck scale weighbridge

Once you’ve invested in a truck scale and installed it in an area that experiences freezing temperatures, you may wonder… How do I protect my truck scale from ice and snow, and precipitation build up around a truck scale?  

If snow and ice accumulate around suspension components or between the weighbridge and the foundation, it can compromise scale functions. This can result in incorrect weighments and a potential loss of profit. Even if you manage to avoid the snow, build up of dirt and debris may contain moisture which can freeze and prevent a scale from functioning properly. Continue reading

Importance of Vehicle Scales at a Rail Logistics Facility

Using vehicle scales at a rail freight logistics facility is important for a variety of reasons, including cost savings, safety, and efficiency. Below, we will explore these reasons in more detail.

Rail service has an amazing history of fueling this country’s overall economic growth by moving freight across the country.  But if you think about it, rail service isn’t the most popular choice of travel in most folks minds when it comes to their logistics and supply chain optimization strategy. 

In addition to railroad track scales, rail logistics service solutions can often benefit from having a 70’x11′ truck scale at their facility. Or perhaps a larger platform such as 80′ x 11′ or even 90′ x 11′ would work better?

70 ft long truck scale for rail logistics

Intermodal Travel for Containers or Trailers

Intermodal freight focuses on the best way to send long haul shipments domestically, utilizing both truck and rail to move containers & the traditional 53′ domestic containers that you’ve surely seen on the highways. Basically, in a lot of people’s minds, “intermodal” is the better way to ship, both economically and environmentally, for truckload shipments of 700 miles or more. There are two types of domestic intermodal shipping in container-on-flatcar (COFC) and trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC). 

Using truck scales at a rail freight logistics facility can help to save money. Accurate measurement of cargo using vehicle scales allows facilities to optimize the use of railcars and ensure that they are not overloading or underloading them. Overloading railcars can lead to additional costs, such as the need for additional railcars or the need to pay overweight fines. On the other hand, underloading railcars can lead to wasted space and lost revenue. By using scales to accurately measure the weight of cargo, facilities can optimize the use of their railcars and reduce costs. Continue reading

What Does 5000 x 1 Mean? Scale Capacity x Readability

We’re going to discuss something that many folks wonder about the first couple of times they are tasked with buying scales.

What Does it Mean when you see 5000 x 1 on a Scale?

If you’ve done any research at all online for scales, you’ve probably seen something written like 5000 x 1, or perhaps you’ve requested a quote and seen that number written. Either way, you may be wondering what these mean. 5000 x 1 lb, or it could be 60 x 0.02lb or it may have been 3000 g by 0.01g. 120,000 x 20 lb, 500 x 0.1 lb etc….

600 x 0.1 LB

 

 

But what exactly does that mean? It’s actually pretty simple.

In the case of 5000 x 1 lb, this means that the total weighing capacity of the scale is 5000 pounds and the scale increases or decreases in weight by 1 lb increments from zero all the way to 5000 lb.

Some people refer to the 1 lb in this example as the readability or the graduation size. In the 60 x 0.02 lb example, it would be as follows, 60 lb is the capacity and 0.02 lb is the graduation size that the scale increases or decreases by from zero all the way to 60 lb. Continue reading

Importance of Vehicle Scales at Solid Waste Facilities

The waste industry demands heavy-duty scale equipment that is built to survive long periods of service and harsh environments. From truck scales and onboard weighing systems to digital weight indicators and scale controllers, we have several heavy-duty weighing products ideal for the waste industry.

Using scales at a solid waste facility is important for a variety of reasons, including regulatory compliance, cost savings, and environmental protection. 

First and foremost, using scales at a solid waste facility helps to ensure regulatory compliance. Many states and localities have laws and regulations governing the handling, processing, and disposal of solid waste. These regulations often include requirements for the accurate measurement and reporting of the weight of waste materials, which can help to ensure that waste is being properly managed and disposed of. By using scales to measure the weight of waste materials, solid waste facilities can ensure that they are in compliance with these regulations, which can help to avoid costly fines and penalties.

rice lake truck scales for solid waste facility

In addition to regulatory compliance, using scales at a solid waste facility can also help to save money. Accurate measurement of waste materials using scales allows facilities to accurately charge customers for the disposal of their waste. This can help to reduce the risk of overcharging or undercharging customers, which can lead to lost revenue and a less competitive business. In addition, using scales can help facilities to optimize their operations and identify opportunities for cost savings, such as by identifying and reducing the amount of waste that is being generated or by identifying and separating recyclable materials that can be sold to generate additional revenue. Continue reading

Truck Scale Manufacturers You Need to Consider

A truck scale is a rather large purchase for many businesses. In many cases, whether you choose a 70×11 legal for trade truck scale, or portable truck scales, or portable axle scales… Once these items are purchased and installed on a concrete foundation, it’s likely going to cost over $100,000 when it’s all said and done.

So, anytime that you invest that kind of money into a new truck scale, you would like to know as much as possible about the items and the companies who build the items. So, in today’s article we’re not going to answer questions like how much does a set of truck scales cost or how long should a truck scale last?  We’ve already answered those questions. Instead, we’re going to look at some of the top vehicle weighing scale factories in the U.S.

Who are the Top Truck Scale Manufacturers?

As we’ve established, truck scales are a relatively expensive purchase for most companies. So, you want to make sure that you make a smart buying decision.

We’ll discuss this later in more detail, but it’s also important to rely on your peers and your trusted local scale company too. For example, maybe you think that you have found the right scale, but it turns out that it actually has a load cell issue. Perhaps, it’s becoming difficult to source load cells for that scale or perhaps it’s something else.

More on the local scale company influence later….

rice lake truck scales

So, who are the best truck scale builders? In our opinion, the following scale manufacturers are the top companies in the business. And, this applies to all you fans of used truck scales too. Continue reading

Truck Scale Basics & Terminology You Need to Know

We’re going to try & help you understand all the truck scale terminology that you need to know. Especially if you’re new to truck scales.

So let’s say your business has decided to purchase a truck scale in order to determine accurate and reliable vehicle weight for your application. That’s great! Understanding fundamental truck scale basics will help you know which questions to ask your local scale distributor to ensure you purchase the truck scale style that fits your needs with the options and accessories that can enhance your application.

 

Whether monitoring a vehicle’s weight for safety guidelines or to complete business transactions, you should know what the info determined by a truck scale means to your business.

For example:

Gross weight is the total weight of the vehicle and loaded product.
Tare weight is the weight of only the vehicle.
Net weight is the weight of only the loaded product.

how accurate are truck scales

Today, most scales at solid waste facilities or recycling centers are installed with above ground or concrete pit foundations. Depending on state or regional requirements, scales can also be installed in a shallow pit, as opposed to the deep pit required by older mechanical scales. A pit installation requires less space than an above ground scale since longer approaches are generally required for above ground configurations. However, pit-styles require sump pumps and drains, and are generally more vulnerable to corrosion due to potential standing water.

The truck scale’s driving surface is called the weighbridge. Weighbridges are composed of steel or concrete decks, and are typically manufactured in modular designs that are connected together during installation.

weight indicator

The indicator, also called a controller, or terminal, can display basic weight functions, as well as serve as the command center for a weighing system with truck in & out programs to control the entire truck scale system, including any remote displays and ticket printers.

Load cells are vital to truck scale performance. There are various types of load cells, but they all basically have the same function—to accurately measure weight on the scale. All load cells take an analog measurement, and then that signal is converted to a digital output either at the load cell, junction box, or in the scale indicator. Load cells are typically constructed of steel and are integrated within the weighbridge, usually at the corners of each module.

A junction box properly manages multiple load cells. By matching the signal of each load cell and summing them into a signal that’s sent to the indicator, junction boxes equalize the system for accurate and reliable weight readouts.

Handwriting a ticket for each weighment is time consuming and tedious, and also leaves room for human error. Ticketing kiosks, scale data management software, and/or ticket printers eliminate those problems. Most states also require ticket printers and Remote Displays.

We’re going to wrap up our entry on truck scale basics and terminology.  I hope we made all this truck scale jargon a little easier to understand for those of you in the market for a truck scale. If you need some truck scale buying advice or scale recommendations, we are just a phone call or email away.  

How Accurate are Truck Scales?

Maybe you were driving by a weigh station and saw a bunch of semi-trucks in line waiting to drive over the scale or perhaps your company owns a 70 foot long truck scale. Or, maybe you are curious about buying a truck scale to weigh your vehicles.  Either way, you’ve probably wondered at some point just how accurate are truck scales?

how accurate are truck scales

Truck Scale Accuracy

The truck scales that we offer are designed to meet NTEP Certification per Handbook 44 and they are NTEP Class IIIL. The scales are typically listed as 120,000 x 20 lb for example. The 120,000 lb is the max capacity of the scale and the 20 lb is the increment amount (graduation) that the scale displays weight in.

The scale is tested from zero to at least 12.5 % of scale capacity using known test weights and then to at least 25 % of scale capacity using either a substitution or strain load test that utilizes known test weights of at least 12.5 % of scale capacity. Whenever practical, a strain load test should be conducted to the used capacity of the scale. When a strain load test is conducted, the tolerances apply only to the test weights or substitution test loads.

Methods of Adjusting the Truck Scale

From time to time, truck scales will become inaccurate and need to be tested, adjusted, and calibrated. In most truck scales, individual load cells are adjusted and scale sections are adjusted by potentiometers in junction boxes. There may be as many as three truck scale junction boxes, usually located inside the truck scale weighbridge. The overall span adjustment for the scale system is usually done through the vehicle scale weight indicator.

So, How Accurate are Truck Scales?

Ok, so what is the actual answer to the question, how accurate are truck scales? The tolerance that we adhere to for accuracy is 0.1 of one percent of the applied weight. For example, if we place 25,000 pounds of weight on the scale, we are allowed +/- 25 pounds. Please see our entry on truck scale basics for more truck scale fundamentals. 

 

Is it Worth the Extra Cost to Galvanize Your Next Truck Scale?

Does it make sense for you to pay extra and purchase the option for galvanizing your truck scale? Honestly, I haven’t given galvanizing a whole lot of thought in the past since everyone is so focused on truck scale prices and lowering the upfront costs. However, if you could come up with a process (Galvanizing) that could extend the life of your investment, it could well be worth the extra cost up front.

Have you noticed that most outdoor light posts and highway guard rails have the same grey color?

Do you know why?

Most people don’t pay attention to this but if you’re familiar with the steel industry you know that preparation, coatings, and paint systems are the single most important factors to prolonging the life of steel.

The reason for this grey color is because these metal products have been galvanized.

Generally, any metal made to be outside in the elements is commonly coated with a zinc finish through a process called galvanization.

Did you know that galvanizing has been around for over 200 years?

It flat out works, but is it worth it?

What is Galvanizing?

Hot dip galvanizing is the process of immersing raw steel into a liquid zinc “bath.” In order to provide the most effective galvanizing, steel must not be previously treated and prepared properly to ensure that zinc finds its way into the pores of the steel. The first five steps of the galvanizing process are related to cleaning and removing any impurities before the final zinc bath.

How Expensive is Galvanizing?

The better question is how expensive is it NOT to galvanize? In 2017 the NACE estimated the cost of corrosion to be $2.5 trillion! It estimated that by implementing early corrosion control practices, such as galvanizing, between $300 and $800 billion could be saved, annually!

While we can see this is a large sum of money globally, exactly how does this apply to your scale?

galvanized platform scale

Scale Applications

If you plan to buy a scale and run ten trucks over it each day in the warmer parts of the United States, you don’t need to read any further – galvanizing is probably not for you.

However, if you operate in an area where snow or saltwater are factors, then you should seriously consider a galvanized scale. If your scale comes in contact with caustic materials or it sits in water and grime, then you should definitely consider a galvanized scale!

Replacing something prematurely is never anything someone looks forward to, but consider the cost of prematurely replacing a truck scale – EXPENSIVE!

Cranes, downtime, steel repairs, etc.… not to mention the headache of dealing with the whole project. The price of galvanizing will far outweigh the cost and hassle of having to replace a truck scale prematurely.

Galvanized steel corrodes at a rate of 1/30 of bare steel in the same environment. If your current scale is corroding rapidly and you could likely obtain 30% more life from a galvanized scale, you should consider making the additional investment.

What does galvanizing my truck scale really cost?

While zinc fluctuates in price, you can typically expect to spend ~ 30% more for a galvanized scale vs. a painted scale. This price typically includes the galvanizing, handling of the scale and shipping it to and from the galvanizer and back to the factory.

Because this is a specialized process, scale manufacturers and many steel producers do not galvanize their own products, so the extra handling will have to be considered.

After galvanizing, the scale is returned to the manufacturer for inspection where the steel is inspected to ensure the heat of the galvanizing process did not warp any beams or effect any welds. Holes and open areas on the scale also need to be checked to make sure they aren’t plugged. If there are any issues, they can be remedied by the scale manufacturer before shipment.

Galvanizing your truck scale is always an option that should be considered based on the factors mentioned above. Considering that most static steel structures in harsh environments are galvanized, it’s compelling to believe that a wear surface exposed to harsh environments should be treated the same way. If you need any assistance deciding if galvanizing is right for you, the experts at Central Carolina Scale will be happy to assist.

Truck Scale Options & Accessories You Should Consider

Purchasing a truck scale can be a challenging project.

There are numerous options to consider. Much like choosing options for a car, your truck scale can be customized to fit your specific needs and requirements.

Listed below are a number of standard options to consider when ordering your new truck scale.

Sight Rail / Guide Rail for Truck Scale

Sight rail is an extremely common option to include with a truck scale purchase. The pipe rail is used as a visual guide to help vehicle drivers stay centered as they enter onto the scale. For most commercial and industrial truck scale installations, standard 8” tall sight rail is a common choice.

truck scale side rail

For most aggregate and mining type operations, 24” tall double pipe sight rail is required for safety. The sight rail assemblies are bolted to the weighbridge so they can be added in the future or easily replaced if damaged by a vehicle.

Sight rails can be customized with handrails or gaps in specific locations along the scale length to avoid hopper supports or other structures very close to the scale weighbridge.

Scoreboard for Truck Scale

Large, bright outdoor mounted weight displays are known as scoreboards. A scoreboard is placed near a truck scale within the driver’s sight so they can verify the scale reads zero prior to entering and verify gross vehicle weight prior to exiting the scale platform. Scoreboards are available in a wide array of digit sizes with 4” being the most popular.

In fact, some state’s Weight & Measures departments mandate the use of a scoreboard next to a truck scale. Scoreboards can be hard wired to the scale weight indicator located in the scale house / office or connected wirelessly. Another useful feature that can be built into the scoreboard enclosure is a red/green signal that can be used for traffic flow control.

Truck Scale Printer

Another popular option to consider for your truck scale is a ticket printer.  We have several to choose from and they allow you to print out the gross, tare, and net weights of the trucks that you are weighing.

Intercom Systems for a Truck Scale

Intercom systems allows office persons to communicate directly with a truck driver while on the scale. Systems range from simple hard-wired systems with outdoor PA horns to powerful wireless VHF radio-based systems that can be run by D-Cell batteries, AC line power or solar power.

For a more sophisticated system, Voice Over IP (VOIP) indoor and outdoor stations can be integrated into existing on-site phone system.

Manholes for a Truck Scale Weighbridge

Truck scales installed flush with grade are typically placed in a 48” deep concrete “pit” foundation. To access the inside of the pit area under the scale, 24” x 24” manhole access covers are built into the scale weighbridge. The manhole covers are removable by hand and allow for entry below the scale. Pit foundations will commonly have drains or sump pumps that will need to be serviced.

Riser Blocks for under a Truck Scale

In some industries and geographic locations, under scale clearance is very important for ensuring a truck scale remains operational for long periods of time.

Aggregate and mining type applications may want increased under scale clearance to prevent build-up of materials under the scale. The build-up may cause the scale to get bound up or impede accurate weighing, especially in cold weather climates.

The extra under scale clearance allows for easier / faster cleanout of built-up debris. The extra clearance is also good for on-scale filling applications such as asphalt where spills and over-fills are possible. Snow and ice in some areas warrant the use of riser blocks to reduce the possibility of winter scale freeze-ups.

Catwalk / Stairs for Truck Scale

Catwalk can be added to any truck scale weighbridge. Catwalk can be as small as 60” in length all the way up to the full length of the truck scale on one or both sides of the platform. Catwalk can attach to the side of the scale hanging on the sight rail or be mounted on the ground next to the scale. Catwalk is a way to safely enter or exit a scale platform with stairs and handrail features.

The number of options and variations for truck scale accessories can be overwhelming. If you have questions about which option(s) would best suit you and your truck scale, give us a call at (919) 776-7737.

Concrete Deck Truck Scale or Steel Deck? Which should I Buy?

Probably somewhere around 3/4 of our truck scale customers choose the steel deck truck scale, but in case you’re curious about purchasing a truck scale with a concrete deck, please keep reading to see which is better for your needs. 

With a steel deck truck scale, once the foundation is in place, the installation process is quick and the customer is weighing usually within 1 day.  However, you may prefer the durability and additional traction that a concrete deck truck scale provides.

So, what are the pluses and minuses of a steel deck truck scale versus a concrete deck truck scale?  Read below to find out. 

concrete deck or steel deck truck scale

Steel Deck Truck Scale Overview

Our selection of steel deck truck scales from well respected scale manufacturers like Rice Lake, Avery Weigh-Tronix, and B-Tek are constructed of high quality structural steel and then painted with quality paint. Now each manufacturer builds their weighbridge slightly different but most include steel I beams running the length of each scale module. The number of beams and the space between each beam varies depending on the scale manufacturer.

The advantages of purchasing a steel deck truck scale are the fast installation and since a steel deck truck scale weighs less than a concrete deck version of the same scale, it makes it easier years later, to move or relocate if the need arises. The disadvantage of a steel deck is typically the platform can become more slippery than concrete. 

Concrete Deck Truck Scale Overview

The concrete deck version of a truck scale is similar to a steel deck module, except there is no top treadplate of steel. There is an open top in each platform for the concrete to be poured in. In most cases, you will want to have the scale shipped to your location and fill the platforms with concrete once the scale is set in place. The normal cure time for the concrete is around 28 days.

The advantage of a concrete deck truck scale includes better traction in wet conditions such as rain and snow and better load distribution across the overall weighbridge. In some cases, concrete decks can provide a few extra years of service when compared to steel decks. The disadvantage of concrete deck scales is the extended wait time while the deck cures. Also, if you need to move the scale, it can be more difficult with the heavier platform.

We hope this article helps you to determine which truck scale top you prefer. They both have their +’s and -‘s.  If you need some guidance and are looking for truck scale prices and buying information, please call us at (919) 776-7737 or complete our RFQ form.