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.

What Are the Different Types of Load Cell Cables?

Responsible for channeling both power and communication between the load cells and the indicator, load cell cables are an integral part of building a custom scale. Though not just any cable will work. See, load cell cables are selected based on the distance between the two parts, as well as certain environmental conditions like temperature, contact with abrasive or flammable materials, or even rodents. 

Container truck on scaleBefore you can know the right type your custom scale project needs, it is best to have an understanding of the different types of load cell cables available. 

4-Wire Load Cell Cable

Perhaps the most common cable, the 4-wire load cell cable is used primarily for short distances. As its name suggests, this type consists of four wires: 

  • Power (excitation) +
  • Power –
  • Signal (output) +
  • Signal –

Once connected, the cable should run from the scale to the indicator display. These wires are calibrated and designed to handle the surrounding temperatures. Many custom scale projects use the 4-wire load cell cable since it is more affordable and suitable for most scales. However, should you need additional length or if your scale is in an unpredictable environment, you may need to reconsider the type of load cell cable you are using. 

6-Wire Load Cell Cable

Designed for longer distances and more difficult settings, the 6-wire load cell cable offers a lot more options. Again, as the name suggests, these load cell cables have six wires. They contain the four found above, as well as positive and negative sense wires. The long distances that 6-wire load cell cables cover can subject them to changes in resistance, temperature, and dips in voltage. The addition of these two sense wires helps to keep things flowing steadily.

Because they are not thermally compensated as the 4-wire load cell cables are, the 6-wires can be cut and used alongside other cables with no issue – making them perfect for larger commercial custom scale projects. 

Types of Load Cell Cable Shielding

While 6-wire load cell cables offer a lot of benefits when designing a project, it is important to note the surrounding environment and opt for shielding that will protect the cable from any outside environmental factors. Below are the most common types of load cell cable shielding.

Hostile Environment Cable

Hostile environment cable is best used in environments that are, well, hostile. Depending on where the scale is being used, the cables may come in contact with harsh or abrasive substances, such as fuel, ether, or even salt. Over time, these substances can damage the cables. 

Hostile environment cables are created with a polyurethane jacket that acts as a barrier against these damaging substances, keeping the cable safe and the scale running smoothly. 

Rodent Protection Cable

Rodents and their incessant chewing may seriously interfere with a scale’s functionality. If in an environment where there are rats, mice, or other pests, the load cell cable may become enticing – leaving you with hefty costs to replace some or all of the cable.

Rodent protection cable is a type of cable that protects against this pesky situation. The outside layer of the cable is a braided shield making it difficult to chew. And, as an added defense, it is coated with a chemical that will discourage them from wanting to ever take a second bite. 

Intrinsically Safe Cable

Flammable gases or liquids or generally hazardous materials can be damaging to load cell cables, requiring added security in the form of a jacket. For intrinsically safe cables, industry-standard blue double jackets are used to protect the cables from exposure to these dangerous materials. 

High-Temperature Cable

In environments where the temperatures fluctuate or reach extreme highs, load cell cables need an outer covering that will protect the wires regardless of how hot it gets. A high-temperature cable is designed with a fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) jacket that insulates the wires and can withstand the heat without getting damaged. 

Choosing the Right Load Cell Cable

Choosing the right load cell cable is important. If you would like to learn more about the different types of load cell cables or have questions about what would work best for your project, contact our sales department at (919) 776-7737. After all, at Central Carolina Scale, we have the largest inventory of load cell cables in the industry. 

Why Should I Consider a Truck Scale with Weigh Bar Weight Sensors inside?

Should I buy a truck scale with weigh bar sensors? The Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® was designed to overcome the shortcomings of the traditional strain gauge load cell and to provide the end user with a rugged, highly reliable and linear load sensing device at reasonable cost.

More than twenty years of extensive use in industrial, farm and transportation applications has demonstrated that the Weigh Bar has met these requirements. The unique, robust design of the Weigh Bar is the primary reason for this success.

The Weigh Bar has proven itself over the past 20 years to be one of the world’s most robust weight transducers manufactured today with over 500,000 installations world-wide.

The IP67 Weigh Bar design provides inherent strength and overload protection, while also providing accuracy and high reliability. A significant contributor for this is the positioning of the gauges on the outside of the Weigh Bar. More robust than a shear beam load cell for a given output – a shear beam load cell will reach its peak fatigue point much sooner than a Weigh Bar.

Error Reduction

The unique design of the Weigh Bar allows simple calculations to be made by the indicator, eliminating several types of errors:

End Loading – When an end load is applied to the Weigh Bar, it is subjected to a
uniform compressive strain throughout its length – all sensors detect the same strain.
Torsion Effects – When torque is applied to the Weigh Bar, a uniform torsional shear strain is developed through the length of the bar – both sensors detect the same strain.
Side Loading – When a side load is applied to the Weigh Bar, it acts as a beam, but at a 90-degree angle. When this occurs, the neutral axis of the beam (the point in the beam where neither tension or compression occur) falls directly under the center of the strain gauges. No apparent strain is seen by the gauges.
Vibration –The fine grain structure of aircraft quality steel is resistant to vibration fatigue and induced error. The strain gauges and adhesive used are also vibration and fatigue proven.

Load Cells – The Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® Weight Sensor

The exclusive Avery Weigh-Tronix Weigh Bar® is an extremely rugged, highly reliable, load sensing device. Over several decades, the Weigh Bar® has built a reputation for precision, reliability and durability that no other load cell can match.

Weigh Bar – Reduced cost of ownership 

Precision machined from aircraft quality, alloy steel, the Weigh Bar® offers excellent repeatability and long-term durability, reducing cost of ownership and need for load cell replacement.

Rugged Weight Sensors

With up to ten times more steel content than shear beams or compression cells, it absorbs impact to minimize peak forces and is virtually fatigue-proof. The Weigh Bar® is proven to resist electrical surges and is protected by a limited warranty that includes coverage against lightning damage.

Accurate Weigh Bar

The sensor’s design automatically cancels the effects of side loading, end loading and twisting, resulting in quick, accurate readings which are achieved regardless of temperature change, vibration, and shock loads on the scale.

Sealed “Load Cell”

The standard alloy steel Weigh Bar® is well protected against harsh environments by an exclusive 5-layer, sealing process. For the most challenging locations hermetically sealed stainless steel weigh bars are available.

avery weigh-tronix weigh bar

 

Features

Benefits

 

  • No mechanical restraints or stops

 

  • Less maintenance
  • Reduced physical damage
  • Lengthens the life of the weighbridge.
  • 500,000 in service over 20 years
  • Peace of mind with a proven design
  • Inherent lightning protection by design
  • Total reliability, less downtime
  • Impervious to end, side and torque loads

 

  • Consistent accuracy in arduous conditions
  • Faster weighing cycles
  • Prevents costly repairs and downtime
  • 5000 division accuracy as standard
  • 10 kg in 50 tonnes less give away at no extra cost
  • Completely sealed and airtight
  • Designed and tested to exceed IP67
  • Total reliability means less downtime

 

  • Protects cables from accidental damage and rodent attack
  • Prevents costly repairs and downtime
  • Weigh Bars mount off the ground

 

  • Out of the dirt and water, no need for costly stainless steel construction. Ensures a longer life

How Long Should a Truck Scale Last Before It Needs to be Replaced?

A lot of customers are curious about this question… how long should a truck scale last? Or perhaps it’s phrased like this… how do I know when my truck scale needs to be replaced?

The vast majority of truck scales are located outside. This means the scales have the hot sun blazing down on them all summer (every year). Then, they have the piles of snow on them in the winter (every year). In between all the hot and cold extremes, they have all the rain that you typically see fairly often.

So, with all the weather conditions, that means a truck scale must be able to withstand all the environmental challenges while working reliably and accurately…. For years and years! And, be able to handle 80,000 lb vehicles everyday!

steel deck above ground truck scale

So, how long can I expect my truck scale to last?

That’s a really good question and it’s a question that has a variety of answers.

Depending on the environment and application, most truck scale owners can typically expect a truck scale to last anywhere from 15-30 years.

You’re probably thinking that’s a pretty wide range of years. It is, but there are several really important reasons which can affect the truck scale lifespan.

Typical Truck Scale Lifespan

If you’re looking to buy a new truck scale. It’s important to look at the total cost of the truck scale and it’s expected years of service. One of the most important keys in this equation is truck traffic.

If your location consistently has over 250 trucks a day going over the scale (or you project it will eventually have that kind of truck traffic) then you will need to choose a truck scale built for that kind of traffic. Choosing an “economy” or standard duty truck scale in that situation may be cost effective now… but will most likely lead you to have a shorter truck scale life and force you into looking for scale replacements or weighbridge repairs sooner than you would prefer.

Sometimes spending an extra few thousand dollars up front will allow you to purchase a heavier duty “HD” scale that will last you significantly longer than the “SD” model. What’s an extra few thousand dollars when you average it out over twenty-five or thirty years of use? Especially if the extra cost helps you gain an extra five or ten years of scale use?

Can I Repair My Truck Scale Instead of Buying a New One?

This is a good question and a common question that a lot of people ask when they have an old truck scale. In most cases, the answer is yes. Depending on the age of the truck scale and severity of the issues, repairing a truck scale can certainly work and be a cost savings.

However, once a truck scale has been in service for over 20 years or so… repairs may not be the best choice. Often you will hear people refer to the scale repairs as “band-aids”. We understand what they’re referring to, but the truth is that truck scale repairs on a 20+ year old scale weighbridge are just that, repairs…

A “band-aid” is supposed to heal your wound and help you get back to 100%. A “band-aid” on a 30 year old truck scale is not going to “heal” the scale. It is simply designed to get a few more years out of the scale before the scale will need to be replaced.

Unfortunately, truck scales that have been repaired often don’t last as long as you would like. One of the reasons is simply the age of the steel and the components. Often the areas that were repaired may be ok after the repair, but then the other areas that were doing ok before the repair, are now starting to fail.

When you think of a truck scale overhaul, the Truck Scale components can usually be replaced… things like load cells, junction boxes, summing boards, etc…, but the core weighbridge construction and integrity are sometimes challenging to rebuild in a cost effective & timely manner…. especially in a scale that’s 25 or 30 years old… or older.

how long before I need to replace my truck scale

It’s also important to look at the actual repair costs. Sure it can be overwhelming when you see a $50,000 quote for a new truck scale. However, if you attempt to repair and put “band-aids” on a 25 year old truck scale, how much money is that going to cost? Between materials and labor, we’ve seen these repair costs rise above $3000. Plus there is down time where the scale can’t be used.

And even after the scale is repaired, there really is no guarantee or warranty that the scale is going to last X number of additional years. So, in this example, you could spend several thousand dollars on scale repairs that may get you a few more years of service…. or, that $3000 could be used to help pay for a new truck scale.

Planning for Buying a Replacement Truck Scale on Your Terms

Here is one other scenario that we would like you to think about. Let’s say you have a 25 year old truck scale. It has some weighbridge issues and probably should be replaced. But, you and the scale company talk and decide that some weighbridge repairs could likely be made that might give the scale a little more life. Keep in mind at the same time this talk is taking place, new truck scales are readily available with a short 1 to 2 week lead time for fast delivery.

Well, the truck scale repairs take place and it turns out that you did in fact get an extra year of use out of the scale. Unfortunately, the scale now has more weighbridge issues and repairs will likely not make much sense at this point. And, as often happens, the scale failure has just happened right in the middle of your busiest time of the year! And, now it looks like the lead time on truck scales is closer to 14 weeks and there is a 8% steel surcharge now in place.

This scenario that we just mentioned above is all to real and can very well take place. Sometimes if your scale has lasted for two or three decades, it can be a smart move on your part to setup the replacement purchase on your watch (before the scale actually “breaks”). Maybe you talk with your scale company and decide the next time there is an incentive offered, you’re ready to purchase. This can be a wise decision because we all know that no one wants to be in a situation with a broken scale that must be replaced and then be facing extended downtime and a 14 week lead time before your scale can ship.

how long should my truck scale last before I replace it?

There are a variety of options in the truck scale market today and, to the casual observer, initial acquisition price may be the only differentiator. However, manufacturers promising great bargains are able to do so only because they’ve cut corners at some stage of the process—design, materials, components, finish or all of the above. While the price may seem attractive now, the eventual failure of a lower quality truck scale could mean a higher total cost of ownership from extensive downtime, increased maintenance costs, lost revenue and premature replacement.

One other note to mention on the subject of money would be taxes and leasing. This article is not going to be in depth on either of those subjects but if you purchase a new truck scale there can be tax advantages (see IRS section 179). We also have leasing programs which can make it easier to afford a larger purchase like a truck scale.

One other thing we wanted to mention on this subject is the overall trend for truck scale pricing. Generally speaking, the price for new truck scales is not going to get any less expensive in 2021 and beyond. In fact, at the time of this article in early 2021, we have received word from at least (3) truck scale manufacturers that there will likely be surcharges very shortly due to steel prices. (So if you’re in the market for a new scale, it might be time to act now!)

Believe it or not, the goal of this article is not to be completely gloom & doom about repairing a truck scale weighbridge. There are certainly situations where a truck scale overhaul makes sense. Most of the time, it makes more sense to upgrade components and less sense to try and do major weighbridge structural repair.

replacement 75k truck scale load cells

However, if you’re in the market for refurbishing a truck scale or purchasing a new truck scale… we encourage you to look at the entire picture and get a true understanding of the costs involved and the expected lifespan with each scenario. The fact is that many truck scale manufacturers are getting really good at building their truck scales to fit existing foundations. This can help to lower costs and lessen the down time when you’ll be without a scale.

Truck scales are important to the daily operations of the facilities that use them. That means that selecting a truck scale is an important decision. Whatever scale you choose (or have chosen), will likely be your scale of choice for possibly two or three decades! Often, a little extra thought or cost up front, can pay off down the road with a durable truck scale that can provide decades of service with proper scale maintenance.

If you have questions or would like to obtain a truck scale quote, please complete our RFQ form on our website or you can call our heavy capacity scales team at (919) 776-7737.

What Are The Different Truck Scale Foundation Types?

Today, most large vehicle scales 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 aboveground configurations. However, pit-styles require sump pumps and drains, and are generally more vulnerable to corrosion due to potential standing water.

PROPER SITE PLANNING FOR TRUCK SCALE FOUNDATION

Before we talk about truck scale foundations, it’s important to think about the overall site to make sure we find the perfect location to actually locate the foundation.

To ensure the longest lifespan and best performance for your truck scale, proper site planning is essential. Your truck scale supplier will help you select the best site, considering the traffic flow of your operation, the best location for a foundation, electrical and conduit requirements, soil conditions and drainage, ease of maintenance and accessory locations.

Before purchasing your new truck scale, it may be helpful to draw out a flow map of your current operations and determine if there are any areas for improvement. It is also important to consider future site use when planning. If you expand your site in the future, will the traffic flow and truck scale location still allow for easy operation?

Creating an efficient traffic flow is important to keep operations running smoothly. Be sure there is adequate room around the scale to perform maintenance and to accommodate driver safety. Is there often a waiting line to use your truck scale? Consider the amount of space needed to accommodate a line of trucks, if needed.

Plot out traffic patterns on your flow map, marking where trucks enter the site, load and/or unload material, and exit the site. Make sure there is plenty of room for drivers to maneuver. Take a test drive with a full-size truck around your plotted traffic flow to test for any tight spots or potential safety issues. Note any special filling or dumping that must take place on site to accommodate for the space needed.

Choosing a Truck Scale Foundation Type

Even the toughest scales are put at risk with a poor foundation… Many factors, such as the slope of the site and soil conditions, must be considered prior to construction. The ground must also be free of any settling prior to scale installation. If the foundation is not properly constructed according to the certified drawing provided by your truck scale manufacturer, your truck scale foundation could shift, causing the scale to be outside acceptable calibration tolerance.

Concrete curing periods can vary depending on the type of concrete being used. Work with your scale supplier to integrate the foundation and approach design into your installation and site plan. Your scale supplier should also be able to recommend local contractors with truck scale foundation experience. Of course all of these decisions will be factors in the overall truck scale installation costs.

Above Ground Foundation or Pit Foundation

Until the early 1970s, all truck scales were mechanical and installed in expensive concrete pits. Today, most scales are installed above ground or in concrete pits with floor foundations. With the benefit of new modular construction, scales can also be installed in a shallow pit, as opposed to the deep pit required by older mechanical scales.

One of the biggest reasons for choosing a pit-type installation is space—or lack of it. A pit installation requires less space than an aboveground installation since longer approaches are generally required for aboveground foundations. However, pit-type scales require sump pumps and drains, and are more vulnerable to accelerated rust and corrosion due to the potential of standing water in the pit.

truck scale foundation types


Truck Scale Foundation Designs

Deep Pier Foundation
Typical for colder climates such as those found in northern areas of North America, the deep pier foundation places part of the foundation below the frost line to eliminate the negative effects that freeze-thaw conditions can have on foundations. Discuss with your scale supplier if a deep pier foundation meets your application requirements, or if a deep pier or other specific foundation design is required by your state and region. Similar to isolated pier foundations, the deep pier foundation also requires 2,500-3,000 PSF soil bearing pressure.

Shallow Pier Foundation
Shallow pier foundations are a cost-effective solution for truck scale sites with adequate soil compaction and a warmer climate that will not encounter frost line issues. Discuss with your scale supplier if a shallow pier foundation is best suited for your application and meets state and regional requirements.

Floating Slab Foundation
A full slab foundation is a continuous or monolithic pour of concrete that runs the entire length of the weighbridge. This is the second most cost-effective type of foundation and is designed for ground that has a soil bearing pressure of at least 1,500 PSF. Discuss with your scale supplier if a floating slab foundation is ideal for your application and location, as well as meets state and regional requirements.

Pit Foundation
The pit foundation is available in numerous depths, from two to six feet. Your pit depth should best fit your needs as well as adhere to all federal, state and local requirements.

truck scale foundation design


Drainage Away From Truck Scale

One other thing to think about with truck scale foundations is water drainage and avoiding buildup that can collect under the truck scale or excessive water standing in the pit. Efficient water drainage around the foundation is key to preserve scale components. The installation site should have adequate runoff, allowing water to easily drain away from the scale. Areas with heavy rain and melting snow should take extra consideration when planning site drainage.

We sincerely hope that the information contained in this article assists you in your truck scale buying journey. If you need a truck scale quote or purchasing advice, please contact our truck scale sales department by calling (919) 776-7737 or you can complete the Request a Quote form on our website at your convenience.

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.

We offer Cardinal load cells which is the point of this article. We also offer various other brands that you likely have heard of like Artech, Tedea Huntleigh, Sensortronics, and Revere Transducers. However, we also have brands you might not know much about like Flintec load cells and Coti Global. Call us (919) 776-7737 or email us for complete information and availability.