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 Does a Truck Scale Cost?

We get this question all the time! How much does a certified truck scale cost? New or used? Well, in today’s entry we are going to give you a rough idea of how much a truck scale costs. Now in our example we will be looking at new truck scales. Please keep in mind these numbers are 2014 numbers. As for used scales, generally if you’re looking for things like a used 70 footer watch out for things like too much rust and excessive wear on the under side of the deck. And let’s face it when you’re talking about a truck scale, it’s an item that is going to be outdoors in the elements and if it has decent traffic counts, it could go through a lot of wear and tear and in most cases a used truck scale will have little or no warranty. Just some things to consider when you’re looking at a used scale.

Now, let’s take a look at a new truck scale. Generally, in 2014 you can expect to pay Continue reading

The Power of Zap 3

The Third installment of the series “The Power of Zap” is called Grounding 101. Jim Daggon, Rice Lake senior product engineer and Chuck Crowley senior technical support manager focus on the importance of proper grounding for safety and the performance of sensitive electronic devices. The idea of grounding is that the earth itself acts as the electrical ground, providing not only a common reference for all electrical devices, but also a standard between devices regardless of location. The earth is used as the common reference conductor.

The consideration that the earth acts as a constant conductor is the underlying principle, and in the larger sense, it does. However, the connection to the ground or “earthing” needs to have the lowest resistance possible. Any resistance due to improper or faulty connections will allow the presence of a current to flow. In the context of safety, current flowing through a vital organ is what causes injury or death. The frequency of the alternating current, the duration of contact, and the path of contact are all important factors in determining the severity of the shock. The connection to the earth consists of two basic parts: the grounding electrode and the connection (or bonding) to that electrode. Any resistance introduced in the grounding path could lead to a damaging or dangerous condition.

The relationship between resistance, current, and voltage is revealed in Ohm’s Law1:
I = V / R
Where :
I = current flow
V = voltage
R = resistance2

Using this equation, if the resistance is 0, then the current flow will be maximized in the ground circuit. (This is what you want, not current flow in another path that does not include the ground, but may include YOU!) The accepted National Electrical Code (NEC), standard for a grounding circuit is 25 ohms or less, but much lower values can be obtained using multiple grounding electrodes. Click here to read the entire part 3 article.

How To Save $500 On Your New Truck Scale System

When you’re purchasing a truck scale, there are many different items and costs to consider. So, any costs that you can possibly reduce can make a substantial difference. One area to consider is the cost of the digital weight indicator. The odds are if you’re putting in a new truck scale, you will probably be quoted an indicator that is the same brand as the truck scale you’re buying. For example, if you’re looking to buy a Cardinal Armor “EPR” truck scale, you will probably be quoted a Cardinal 225 weight indicator. If you’re looking at a Rice Lake ATV truck scale, you will probably be quoted a Rice Lake 720i weight readout. These indicators are nice and will do an outstanding job for you. But, they can be a little pricey. An alternative choice that you might want to consider is the Pennsylvania 7600E which in some cases could save you $500 or more.

The Pennsylvania 7600E Indicator is IDEAL for TRUCK SCALE, Heavy Capacity, and BATCHING applications with convenient I/O connections and Menu Driven batching sequences or 300 Truck Tare memories with menu-selected Print Sequences. It was designed for expanded capabilities (using the PLUS+ Series Main Board) and is a DIRECT EXCHANGE REPLACEMENT indicator for thousands of similar units presently in use. Simplified 5-Button front panel model has all of the features and capabilities of the 7600E but is designed for direct replacement for many existing UMC600 or IQ700 series applications; dual independent RS-232 outputs, for example drive both scoreboard / remote display and ticket printer.

POWER & FLEXIBILITY– The 7600E adapts to the most demanding applications with a wide range of outputs, options, and features.  No need for expensive programming or expensive set-up. The 7600E is one of the easiest to use, easiest to install, easiest to live with indicators available today!

TRUCK SCALE APPLICATIONS: 300 Tare Weight memories and IN/OUT program plus menu-selectable ticket formats make the 7600E the obvious choice. 10 point linearization and tweak mode for calibrating convenience. Two separate digital outputs for printers and scoreboards plus optional relay alarms for truck-on-scale, overload warnings and more.

BENCH & FLOOR PLATFORMS: Keyboard Tare entry plus storage by ID# for up to 300 Tare Weights. Two independent digital outputs for printers, remote displays, scoreboards, control I/O. Free factory calibration to any Pennsylvania platform and fully
expandable for future requirements. SS enclosure with convenient U-Bracket mount.

IDEAL REPLACEMENT INDICATOR—grams to tons, designed specifically for fast, seamless installation in a wide variety of replacement applications as well as new installations.
• (2) Programmable Serial Data Ports standard
• 300 Truck IN/OUT Tare Memories
• Smart Serial™ Setup programmable serial data strings
• Calibration designed specifically for Batching/Truck Scales
• Optional Analog Output (4-20 mA/0-10 VDC)
• Optional Digital Relay I/O with menu driven Batching features
• Drives up to (8) 350 ohm or (10) 1000 ohm load cells
• Proven PLUS+ Series Main Board fits all Pennsylvania brand products
• ESD and RFI shielding are standard
• Stainless Steel enclosure with U-bracket mount standard

So when you’re looking to put in a new truck scale, one of the easy ways to save a few bucks is to go with a less expensive digital weight indicator like the Pennsylvania 7600E, which is made in America by the way.

The Power of Zap 2

In our last article we looked at a few of the possible sources of electronic equipment damage due to power transients. In this article Jim and Chuck will further investigate ways to troubleshoot and correct these transient conditions to protect electronic equipment.

Although there are four types of power anomalies, there are three ways that transient voltages can enter an electronic system (including scales):
•The power source
•Peripheral ports
•Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

The basic goal of any protection device is to divert the excess charge along a path to ground that does not include any of the sensitive electronic components that will suffer damage. This is done in a number of ways and the methods are tailored to the source of the excess voltage.

The power source

Most electronic scales need a source of AC power. Some battery-operated units can be exempt from this type of disruption, but during their charging cycle, they become susceptible, sometimes even if the unit is turned off. Most electronic devices use a power supply that converts the raw AC power into a lower DC voltage. A linear power supply can shield against passing many transients through to the circuitry, but more modern switching power supplies can block many common transients also. The power source can contain any combination of surge (overvoltage for one half cycle or longer), sag (under voltage for one half cycle or longer), or transient, over or under voltage that is very short in duration (less than one half cycle), but can contain very high voltage peaks.

Most modern electronic devices are internally grounded and protected from a static electricity discharge from any outside surface of the device. The problem becomes greatly magnified when either the grounding is subverted or the case is opened. The use of a three-to-two wire adapter on the AC cord is one of the most common ways this is accomplished. The ground pin on an AC cord and receptacle is provided to do just that—connect the device to a legitimate ground (see sidebar “Respect for the AC receptacle”).

If an extension cord is used, be sure that not only is the grounding pin intact on both ends, but that they are connected. Use an ohmmeter to confirm this before plugging in either end of the extension cord. A simple method to check the basic wiring and to ensure that the ground, neutral and hot wires are connected properly is to use a simple tester as shown below. These are available in hardware and electrical supply houses and are quite inexpensive. Any problems that show up using this test require immediate action. NO EQUIPMENT OF ANY SORT should be plugged into any receptacle showing a wiring problem. Remember this device will only tell you if the wires are connected properly, not if the quality of the connection is good or even adequate. Once the wiring has been tested for correctness, the problems of surges, sags and transients need to be addressed. These will require more rigorous testing. All three can be monitored using a device which plugs into the receptacle and monitors and collects information such as the voltage, frequency and any transients outside of specified norms. The data is stored and can be downloaded later into a computer for analysis. Click here to read the rest of part two.

The Power of Zap

This is the first of a three part series of posts that discusses electronic components and static electricity courtesy of Rice Lake’s Jim Daggon, senior product manager, and Chuck Crowley, senior technical support, who use static control wrist straps and use a dissipative work surface to protect sensitive components and circuits from ESD and once you read these three articles, you will probably be interested in doing the same.

Zap! Unseen, unfelt and unheard, electrostatic discharge (ESD), commonly known as static electricity, is damaging millions of dollars’ worth of electronic components every year. Electrostatic discharge is an electrical charge transferred between bodies at different electrostatic potential. “Static” electricity is the buildup of a charge on one object without a circuit for the current to flow through. When the charge builds up to the point where the voltage can “jump” the distance to a lesser charged object, it discharges with a spark. Once that spark occurs, the circuit is completed and current flows along the path of the spark. Lightning is the largest static electricity charge most of us will ever see. But we’ll discuss lightning more later.

That ZAP! you get when you shuffle across the rug in the winter and touch the TV can be annoying, but the voltages that build up can be deadly to today’s electronics. Quite often that damage is unseen. A zapped electronic device may work when it leaves your hands, but more than likely, its length of service has been reduced significantly. You cannot feel ESD below 3,000 volts, hear it below 5,000 volts, or see the spark below 10,000 volts. Many electronic devices can be damaged by ESD of well under 1,000 volts—EPROMs can be damaged by only 100 volts!

If this sounds hard to believe, look at the following stats:

• In low humidity, walking with rubber-soled shoes across a vinyl floor can build up 12,000 volts.

• Pulling tape off a dispenser just 6 inches can build up 4,000 volts.

• Walking across carpet can build up 35,000 volts.

Without a ground path to dissipate the charge, nonconductors like papers, plastics, foam coffee cups, clothing, and people can carry thousands of volts.

While moist air allows charged bodies to slowly drain off an excess charge to ground, dry air inhibits that charge dissipation. Simply adding moisture to indoor air may stop painful charges arcing to your fingertips from light switches in carpeted rooms, but it is not sufficient protection for sensitive electronic components. For this protection, a total system that prevents all damage by static must be in place.

Electronic Equipment Damage—Power Related

Today’s electronic equipment relies heavily on the power supplied to it to maintain its reliability, yet sometimes the power itself causes its downfall. Power for today’s high speed, fast-computing, and full-featured designs are very susceptible to power anomalies that, less than a decade ago, would have been insignificant. In the reel-to-reel tape recorder days gone by, the higher tape speeds were used for higher fidelity, since any noise was then spread over a wider section of tape. This higher speed works against us in today’s microprocessor clock speeds. A single extraneous pulse lasting a mere millionth of a second can disrupt 1,000 clock pulses in a 1 Ghz microprocessor.

Power anomalies come in a variety of types. Four of the more common ones are surges, sags, transients, and faulty wiring. Click here to read the rest of the part one article.

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.

New Satellite Unattended Truck Weighing Kiosks

Cardinal Scale’s New Unattended Weighing Terminals are Loaded with Valuable Features. Cardinal Scale’s new USA-made Satellite series unattended weighing kiosks provide the ultimate experience in unmanned truck scale efficiency and streamlined data integration. The lockable, weather-proof enclosure features a modern design aesthetic with optional rainhood/sun deflector. Select a Satellite model with the features you need including a high-speed thermal cutbar tape printer, proximity badge reader (AWID and HID), 240 x 64 pixel blue backlit LCD or 640 x 480 pixel backlit color touch screen LCD, and with or without a rainhood. True to its name, the Satellite offers independent remote control over your weighing operations and connects the truck scale to SB500 remote displays with integrated traffic signals, existing computer networks, other digital weight indicators, and WinVRS vehicle recording software.

The weatherproof QWERTY keyboard with navigation arrow keys and main soft keys provides driver input prompting controls. Fast, accurate, and easy to operate, the Satellite series offers models with a brilliant full-color graphics LCD touch-screen display and 10/100 Base-T Ethernet standard (TCP/IP or EIP). The Satellite may be mounted on a wall or pole (complete mounting bracket included), and the unique articulating arm allows the kiosk to be pulled toward the truck driver while weighing and then retracted away from the truck when not in use.

These unattended weighing terminals allow the driver to remain in their vehicle while weighing which reduces the risk associated with walking across truck scale platforms and traffic lanes. Not only is this a safer method of receiving truck weights, but it also speeds the weighing process for optimal efficiency and reduces overall operating costs.The Satellite kiosk may be interfaced via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet to Cardinal’s WinVRS Vehicle Recording System for seamless acquisition and integration of weight data to generate versatile reports of transactions. Truck ID storage comes standard in the Satellite series, and versatile connectivity ports allow weight data to be sent directly into record-keeping software.

Printing unattended truck weight tickets has never been easier than with the Satellite’s high-speed thermal cutbar tape printer. The printer with silkscreened sign on the front of the enclosure easily identifies for drivers where they are to retrieve their ticket. To easily refill paper rolls, simply swing out the articulating arm and unlock the cabinet from the back for internal printer access. An interior heater with thermostat comes standard in all Satellite printer cabinets for year-round, weather-proof usage.

•Articulating Arm Allows Kiosk to be Retracted When Not in Use
•Kiosk May be Pole or Wall-Mounted
•640 x 480 pixel Full-Color LCD Touch-Screen Display Available
•Full QWERTY Keyboard and Navigation Arrow Keys
•Main Soft Keys Provide Driver Input Prompting Controls
•High-Speed Thermal Printer Easy to Refill Paper Rolls
•Fast, Accurate, and Easy to Operate
•Lockable, Weather-Proof, Outdoor-Grade Enclosure
•Rainhood/Sun Deflector Available on Some Models
•AWID and HID Proximity Badge Readers Available
•Allows the Driver to Remain in the Vehicle While Weighing
•Reduces Risk Associated with Drivers Walking Across Platforms
•Modern Product Design Aesthetics
•Wi-Fi or Wired Ethernet Connectivity Available
•USB-B Connectivity Standard
•May be Interfaced with WinVRS Record-Keeping Software
•Internal Heater with Thermostat
•USA-Made Quality Construction