What are the Advantages of a Digital Truck Scale versus a Digital Conversion Box?

Digital truck scales and digital conversion boxes both provide distinct advantages that increase efficiency, calibration, and diagnostic information communication. The following is just a portion of the information contained in this article which highlights the advantages for both and how they provide more value for those willing to make the switch to these invaluable truck scale technologies.

Cardinal Scale Digital Truck Scales

What are the advantages of a digital truck scale vs. a digital conversion box?

Digital truck scales offer many more diagnostic options regarding weight offset, maximum weight, cell capacity, calibration within the cell, hot and cold temperature compensation values, and temperature offsets for external temperatures. Digital truck scales feature internal calibration and all truck scale diagnostics originate from within the digital load cell itself. Digital truck scales feature load cells and load cell cables that are plug-and-play to simplify the connection process and reduce time spent terminating wiring connections. Load cells can be very easily and quickly replaced to save time and effort. Since the cell circuitry is internal to the cell, the need for a junction box and all of the accompanying wiring is eliminated. Digital truck scales also have the added benefit of remote digital monitoring, which can monitor the digital truck scale system in real time.

Digital conversion boxes have the capability of updating an analog load cell system to a digital version. If the scale owner already has an existing analog scale, then upgrading to a digital conversion system might make sense. Digital conversion boxes tend to be used more often with multiple scale systems to maximize utility of the digital conversion box system. They can be configured to a remote digital monitoring system, so they can view multiple locations at a time.

How do digital truck scales and digital conversion boxes increase efficiency over an analog system?

Digital truck scales greatly decrease the time and effort needed in diagnosing potential failures and, in turn, decreasing downtime due to cell failure. Since digital load cells are calibrated to the system before shipment, set-up time is minimal. The quick and exact digital diagnosis from remote diagnostic software reduces guesswork and time needed to find the root cause of the load cell failure. Since the system is completely digital, there is little chance of loss of signal resolution due to an analog signal. Digital truck scales feature a much simpler daisy-chain design regarding load cell wiring and load cells, and load cell cables can be replaced much quicker.

Digital conversion boxes expedite the conversion of analog information into a more manageable signal and can make diagnosing cell problems easier to detect when compared to an analog system.

A digital conversion box begins the diagnostic process within the conversion box. The digital conversion box gathers analog signals that are converted to digital signals and diagnoses cell failures when summing signals within the conversion box. Digital conversion boxes provide a panel of diagnostic attributes when checking for cell viability. The cell failure will be isolated to the faulty load cell section that includes the load cell, load cell cable, or analog section. This means less specific information is provided to the digital conversion box due to limitations within this type of system. When a cell fails, the replacement cell will be calibrated to the existing system.

Digital truck scale systems are monitored through remote software. Digital conversion boxes have the capability of being remotely monitored to diagnose problems as well. Any digital system will have an immediate advantage when giving the end user the capability of receiving alerts through the indicator and/or remote monitoring software when an issue arises.

What is required to replace a digital load cell vs. an analog load cell working in conjunction with a digital conversion box? How long does it typically take?

Since digital conversion occurs within the load cell in a digital truck scale system, digital load cells can be replaced quickly and easily. The scale corner must be lifted, bolts holding the load cell in place must be loosened, and the load cell cable connector must be uncoupled. Once the faulty cell has been taken out, the replacement cell will be connected to the load cell cable, bolted back into place, and then the digital load cell is back in full operation. This whole process takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

Digital conversion boxes monitor a system of load cells from within the conversion box. Once a load cell has been shown to possess an error, errors will be checked for the cell. The scale corner is lifted and the junction box will be opened to disconnect the five-wire cable from the load cell that must be pulled through the conduit. Then the load cell cable must be pulled back through the conduit to connect the new load cell. The wiring is then connected to the digital conversion box. After this, the junction box must be re-sealed. Special attention must be paid to prevent moisture or sediment from gathering or entering the junction box enclosure, due to the increased likelihood of leaks from within the junction box, leaks from gland connectors, and exposure from wiring load cells onto the board inside the junction box. On average, replacing an analog cell through a digital conversion box will take roughly an hour or more.

What are the connection differences between digital truck scales and analog truck scales with digital conversion boxes?

Digital load cells are daisy-chained through load cell cables linked by cable connectors. The need for wiring back to a junction box is not necessary, since the digital load cells communicate directly with the indicator. If the cables are damaged connecting to the load cell, they can be replaced without having to replace the load cell.

Digital conversion boxes are wired from the analog load cell to the junction box. Once there, each of the load cells are wired directly to a digital conversion board, secured through gland connectors on the junction box, and adjusted to calibrate the analog load cell. Analog load cell cables do not have the advantage of being monitored as they are permanently linked to the load cell. If a section of the wiring to a load cell is damaged, the load cell will have to be replaced.

Ultimately, whether you’re purchasing a brand new digital truck scale or you’re updating your traditional analog truck scale to digital, one of the most important benefits to end users is the ability to keep their scale operating for longer, with less interruptions and smaller intervals of downtime. If you need additional information on this information, please contact the sales team at Central Carolina Scale.

Truck Scale Cost Justification Guide

We were reading the cost justification guide from Cardinal Scale recently and they brought up a good point. It is surprising how many truck scales are manufactured by one company and use load cells from yet another company and a digital weight indicator from yet another company. So if something breaks, where does responsibility for the scale begin and end with each manufacturer? Cardinal Scale Manufacturing is one of the very few companies that manufactures not only the scale weighbridge structure but the load cells and instrumentation that go with it to complete the scale. With Cardinal you really do have single source responsibility and reliability. If you’re thinking about a Cardinal Truck Scale or better yet thinking about going with a hydraulic truck scale, read here.

◾As previously mentioned, lightning and water are the two most common sources of load cell failure. Often truck scales are placed in locations subject to flooding or are subjected to routine high-pressure washings. While digital and analog load cells are sealed against the entry of moisture, they often fail due to damage to a seal or abrasion of a cable jacket allowing entry of moisture. Analog and digital load cells are both subject to lightning damage. The extremely small strands on a strain gauge are especially sensitive to voltage surges. Hydraulic load cells have neither strain gauges nor electrical wire and are immune to damage from both water and lightning. If your scale will be in a location subject to spring time thunderstorms, you should give serious consideration to Cardinal’s Guardian hydraulic load cells.

◾Guardian hydraulic load cells operate by sensing weight via fluid pressure, which means that they require no power within the scale itself. You won’t lose any operational time when lightning or other power issues strike at the scale location. Guardian load cells carry a lifetime warranty against lightning and power surges.

◾Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that if something can be overloaded, it will. Same goes for shock loading on a truck scale. Whether you’re filling trucks with rock or ore, shock loading will take place. Both analog and digital load cells use a steel spring element to sense the load. Applying a shock load, even one less than the capacity of the load cell, can and will cause permanent damage to the load cell rendering it unusable. Cardinal’s Guardian hydraulic load cells, on the other hand, act much like a shock absorber on your automobile dissipating the shock load in the hydraulic fluid.

◾Hydraulic tubing from the load cells is terminated at the scale house by a non-conducting Goodyear rubber line. This creates an important barrier of protection, preventing lightning from traveling into the scale house where your load-sensing digital weight display is located.

◾If you’ve ever experienced costly downtime and repairs due to lightning or a power surge, the Guardian hydraulic truck scale can help you save in the future.

We can definitely confirm to you that customers are buying hydraulic truck scales. Yes, they are more expensive than traditional truck scales with analog load cells but for quite a few customers, they feel the added costs up front are worth it. Lightning and water are the two most common sources of load cell failure. Often truck scales are placed in locations subject to flooding or are subjected to routine high-pressure washings. While digital and analog load cells are sealed against the entry of moisture, they often fail due to damage to a seal or abrasion of a cable jacket allowing entry of moisture. Analog and digital load cells are both subject to lightning damage. The extremely small strands on a strain gauge are especially sensitive to voltage surges. Hydraulic load cells have neither strain gauges nor electrical wire and are immune to damage from both water and lightning. If your scale will be in a location subject to spring time thunderstorms, you should give serious consideration to Cardinal’s Guardian hydraulic load cells.

What Type Of Scale Should A Metal Recycler Buy?

Another popular question we are asked is: How many types of 70 foot truck scales exist (low-profile, pit style, full electronic, concrete deck, steel deck)? Is there one particular type you would recommend over another for use within the recycling business? What benefit does it present to pick one over the other?

Truck scales come in numerous sizes and types. Truck scales could be portable axle, weigh-in-motion, self-contained transportable, electro-mechanical, electronic, and hydraulic versions. In a traditional truck scale you would need to choose either an above ground or pit style scale. Then, a painted steel deck or concrete deck that you would pour on location.

For the recycling business, generally the most effective choice will be the steel deck electronic truck scale because it provides the fastest setting up time and if you’re replacing an existing scale, the lowest down-time in swapping out a pre-existing truck scale. If the metal recycling company is replacing an older truck scale installed inside a pit that is experiencing water damage concerns, a hydraulic truck scale could be a good decision to think about for an advancement. The load cells within a hydraulic truck scale have excellent defense to water and lightning issues.

As with any big decision like this, we recommend that you contact your local scale company to provide you with a recommendation and truck scale price quote. It could be that your best choice might be a pit style scale. Or maybe a hydraulic scale would work best for you.  A local scale dealer should be able to provide that recommendation to you and present you with several buying options to consider.

Keys To Success For Your Truck Scale

Cardinal Armor Truck ScaleIf you think about it, maintaining your truck scale calibration, keeping your truck scale clean and in good working order and watching out for any operational errors can help ensure that you keep your vehicle scale on track for a solid year of great weighing and perhaps a great year of profits for your business. As you can see from Steve Langford’s  article, a lot of this just makes sense. In some businesses a truck scale is the device that ultimately enables you get what you pay for when buying raw materials as well as making sure that you receive proper payment for your products. An accurate scale is not only necessary to maintain profitability but to comply with applicable local and state weights and measures laws. For most of us, the purchase of a truck scale is a major investment and, when you consider its use, it only makes sense to make sure the scale continues to do its job and to help maximize your profits for many years to come.  Let’s take a look at some of the ways to do just that.

Perhaps the best advice to ensure that your truck scales continue to meet your expectations is to be proactive. Don’t wait until your scale is out of calibration before calling your service company. Have your scale’s calibration checked at regular intervals. How often? How long can you go with an inaccurate scale causing you to pay for material you don’t get or to give product away? At a minimum, a truck scale’s calibration should be checked by a reputable scale service company at least once every six months. Between calibration checks, keep an eye on the readings to make sure that the readings stay within the ballpark and are not obviously wrong. If there’s any question, call your scale service company. It’s better to spend a few dollars verifying the calibration of your scale than to loose thousands or more with an inaccurate scale.

Truck scales are designed to maintain calibration, within predefined limits, over a range of temperatures but calibration can vary from winter to summer. If you are in an area subject to temperature extremes, it is a good idea to schedule the calibration of your scale to coincide with the temperature extremes. Granted, the scale may still be in calibration and only slightly high or low but, the greater the number of weighing operations, the greater the influence on your bottom line. Keep in mind that you are obligated to keep the calibration as close to a zero error as reasonably possible so that the scale favors neither the buyer nor the seller. Why would an honest business owner want it any other way? Continue reading

Product Spotlight: Rice Lake Survivor Truck Scale

Rice Lake Weighing Systems SURVIVOR® truck scales are commonly referred to as the Toughest Scales on Earth®. They are designed to provide reliable performance under the most demanding conditions. SURVIVOR truck scales are built with more structural steel, a superior support structure and innovative design features that provide consistent accuracy, less downtime and longer scale life. Each SURVIVOR is built with the exclusive five-step finishing process. Take a look at some of the different Rice Lake Survivor truck scale models below.

SURVIVOR® OTR
The SURVIVOR OTR Series truck scale is an outstanding design that incorporates the most advanced engineering and production technology to manufacture the highest quality vehicle weighing system in the marketplace.

SURVIVOR® ATV
The ATV is rigidly constructed for heavy-duty weighing, yet lightweight and compact for convenient portability. The pre-assembled modules (available in lengths from 10 – 30 ft.) and unique self-seating hinge connectors provide easy installation, expansion and relocation for your growing business.

SURVIVOR® SR
The SR concrete or steel deck modes are ruggedly designed with massive outboard beams available in a bolted or welded design. Load cells and mounting assemblies are easily accessed in the rugged, reinforced load cell pocket, through side access.

SURVIVOR® PT
The PT Series truck scale is available in many standard sizes to satisfy most requirements, but we also understand that pit-type installations often involve replacing and existing mechanical or electronic scale.

SURVIVOR® M-Series
SURVIVOR® M Series Levertronic Scales combine innovative features with time-proven durability that only a mechanical scale can deliver. In a market crowded with scales manufactured to compete on price alone, SURVIVOR M Series Scales are built from the ground up for lasting performance under the most extreme conditions.

SURVIVOR® Rail Scales
SURVIVOR railroad track scales incorporate Rice Lake’s best-in-class weighbridge design to create a rugged, accurate heavy duty weighing system. Used in static weighing operations, the SURVIVOR RT Pit Type railroad track scale and the SURVIVOR PL Modular Type railroad track scale excel in high-accuracy, legal-for-trade weighing and meet AREMA and Cooper E-80 design specifications.

SURVIVOR® Livestock Solutions
Rice Lake’s livestock scales are built from the ground up for lasting performance under the most severe circumstances. Whether you choose the RoughDeck™ SLV for single animal weighing or the SURVIVOR® AG, LV or LS, you’re getting the Toughest Scale on Earth®.

Take a look below at “Six Facts” regarding heavy capacity solutions from Rice Lake. Did you know for applications where steel is preferred or downtime is critical, a great choice would be the SURVIVOR® OTR Steel Deck. Operational within a day, this easy-to-install steel deck scale sets the standard for truck scale design and performance, keeping downtime to a minimum. Tightly spaced wide flange I-beams form the industry’s strongest weighbridge design, weighing as many as 250 trucks per day for 25 years without a trace of weighbridge fatigue.

Built to Withstand Extreme Use
Weighbridge design and the weight of structural steel used directly affect the life of a truck scale. Many truck scale designs incorporate low grade, non-certified steel and an inferior design to reduce the cost and decrease production time. These reductions also reduce the life of the scale. Rice Lake SURVIVOR® series truck scales utilize up to 30% more steel than most competitive models and incorporate a longitudinal highway bridge design. More I-beams are strategically placed longitudinally with the traffic flow to ensure tire support regardless of truck position.

Ultra Load Cell Protection
Load cell pockets that are welded or bolted to exterior I-beams allow excessive bending and flexing, causing damage to the weighbridge. Bumper bolts loosen and break. Check rods bind. Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® series truck scales are designed with the load cell pocket integrated into the steel structure of the scale. The pocket is built inside the outer I-beam, offering a more durable, long-lasting load cell pocket. The SURVIVOR® series scales feature the G-Force™ self-checking mounting system, eliminating the need for check rods or bumper bolts.

Breathing Room Below
Closed-bottom weighbridge designs with both top and bottom plates, typically using lighter weight components, create cavities that tend to hold moisture causing rusting of internal components. Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® steel deck truck scales feature an open-bottom design providing unrestricted airflow eliminating rust causing moisture buildup, which accelerates rusting of internal steel and imminent scale failure.

Tough, Start to Finish
Harsh environments and corrosive materials can quickly deteriorate improperly finished truck scale components. Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® series truck scales are steel shot blasted according to the highest industry standards to remove mill scale and surface imperfections. An asphalt emulsion undercoating is applied to all non-visible steel surfaces on all steel deck models to protect against moisture damage. High-performance epoxy primer and specialized hard-coat alkyd enamel is applied to all visible steel surfaces for a car-like finish that protects the scale from the elements.

Custom Sizes are Customary
Replacing truck scales on existing foundations or fitting truck scales to unique locations or space limitations need not incur extra design fees. Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® series truck scales can be custom-built to fit almost any application.

A Complete Solution for Any Application
These truck scales are only a part of the equation. Rice Lake offers not only the scale, but also the complete solution for your weighing application. From automated ticketing and truck transaction data collection systems to intelligent controllers like the 920i, to advanced cell diagnostics. And of course no truck scale is complete without a Ticketpress ticket printer and Laserlight Remote Display.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Cardinal EPR What are some other features metal recyclers need to look for inside a truck scale?

There are several attributes recyclers ought to take into account when making the decision to purchase a 70 foot long truck scale, which includes deck plate thickness. Recyclers are normally handling a high traffic frequency daily on their truck scales, so weighing machine strength becomes a important aspect. For instance, Cardinal Scale produces truck scales with 3/8″ thick steel decks for maximum strength and resiliency to handle hefty loads over the long haul for exceptional overall performance. An additional quality element to look for is factory-assembled load cells secured in the truck scale. Every Cardinal truck scale is 100 percent factory assembled and examined prior to shipping to a job location. This requires calibrating the whole 60 foot long truck scale to make sure appropriate set-up before shipping for exceptional accuracy. Usually, a 70-foot-long truck scale dimensions are sought after in the recycling business to be in a position to allow for weighing semi-tractor trailers. Stainless steel, USA-made load cells and a NEMA 4X stainless steel junction box for load cell wiring can also be important to check for when making the decision to buy a vehicle scale.

Cardinal Truck Scale Load Cells

SCA Series Stainless Steel Compression Load Cells from Cardinal are ideal for multiple load cell applications including truck scales, railroad track scales, and heavy-duty tank weighing systems. The USA-made SCA series are environmentally-sealed for absolute water protection. USA-made quality, capacities range from 50,000 lb/22,680 kg to 200,000 lb/90,720 kg, waterproof, NTEP and OIML certified. Learn more about the cell by clicking here.

Also, DB Series Stainless Steel Double-Ended Shear Beam Load Cells from Cardinal are available. These waterproof stainless steel load cells are environmentally-sealed for absolute water protection, providing a barrier against corrosive, caustic, and wet environments. They are ideal for multiple load cell applications such as truck scales and heavy-duty tank weighing systems. Each cell is furnished with 32 ft/10 m of integral multi-conductor cable secured by a strain relief seal. USA-made quality, capacities range from 50,000 lb/22,680 kg to 75,000 lb/34,000 kg, waterproof, NTEP and OIML certified. You can read more about the item by clicking this link.

Load Cell Pocket Makes A Difference

Load cell openings that are welded or bolted to exterior I-beams make it possible for too much bending and flexing, leading to damage to the weighbridge. Bumper bolts ease and crack. Check rods bind. Rice Lake’s SURVIVOR® series truck scales are made with the load cell pocket incorporated into the steel framework of the scale. The pocket is built within the outer I-beam, offering a far more durable, long-lasting load cell pocket. Load cell pockets are made out of heavy-duty steel plates incorporated into the design of the scale. Large wide-flange I-beams encompass the pocket integrating it into the weighbridge structure. This adds extraordinary strength and dependability to a extremely critical section of the weighbridge.

Numerous competitive models implement either bumper bolts or check rods for centering the scale. Check rods will add to the initial price of the scale and bumper bolts require Continue reading

Load Cell Cable

Most truck scales have multiple load cells inside the weighing platform. Those load cells have cables. The load cell cable usually connects to the junction box. Then, Load Cell Cable runs from the Junction Box to the Digital Weight Indicator.  As you can see, there are a lot of parts inside the scale that require load cell cable.  Below are some different types of cable available.

EL146 Standard Load Cell Cable, 4 Wire
* 20 AWG tinned copper wire stranded for flexibility
* Braided shielding is encased in red PVC
* All conductors are industry-standard color coded
* Diameter – EL146: 0.25″ (6.4 mm); EL147: 0.29″ (7.4 mm)
* Use the 4-wire cable for repairing or extending existing cable
* Temperature rating -30º C to 80º C (-22º F to 176º F)

EL147 Standard Load Cell Cable, 6 Wire
* 20 AWG tinned copper wire stranded for flexibility
* Braided shielding is encased in red PVC
* All conductors are industry-standard color coded
* Diameter – EL146: 0.25″ (6.4 mm); EL147: 0.29″ (7.4 mm)
* The 6-wire cable is best suited for longer runs where remote sense lines can be used
* Temperature rating -30º C to 80º C (-22º F to 176º F) Continue reading

It is Important To Learn As Much As You Can During The Initial Buying Stage

Built to Withstand Extreme Use
Weighbridge design and the overall weight of structural steel used directly affect the performance life of a truck scale. Many “economical” truck scale designs incorporate low grade, non-certified steel and an inferior design to reduce the cost and decrease production time. These reductions also reduce the life of the scale. Rice Lake SURVIVOR® OTR truck scales utilize up to 30% more steel than most competitive models and incorporate a longitudinal highway bridge design. More I-beams are strategically placed longitudinally with the traffic flow to ensure tire support regardless of truck position. Continue reading