Truck Scale Purchasing Decisions Guide

Anytime that you need to make a large investment, it’s only natural to ask a lot of questions. That is certainly true when it comes to purchasing a truck scale. Manufacturers and dealers are sure to hear all kinds of questions like…

What kind of truck scale do I really need?

What are the local requirements and environment that must be addressed for the application?

Which scale options would be most beneficial for the application in question?

Which type of construction would be best for the environment the truck scale will be used in?

Should the truck scale be installed in a pit that is flush mount with the road or include ramps and be installed above ground?

Which technological advancements will pose the best advantage for my application?  Things like hydraulic or digital load cells for example.

All of these questions must be taken into serious consideration to get the most out of truck scale longevity, maintain truck scale functionality, decrease downtime, and maximize the return on your investment.

Cardinal Scale Pit Type Truck Scale

Below is a portion of the truck scale purchasing decision guide by Cardinal Scale Manufacturing. This document will analyze strengths and limitations of options available on the market today, and which weighing technologies are the most appropriate in a given environment.

Concrete Deck Truck Scale
A concrete deck truck scale is ideal for environments where high levels of moisture and a corrosive environment are a concern. Scrap yards, trash dumps, transfer stations, chemical distribution centers, and grain elevators are ideal environments for concrete decks due to their likelihood of causing rust. Climates where road salt is frequently used may influence the purchase of a concrete deck to combat the corrosive effects of the salt.

Concrete decks yield a more reliable surface texture when in used slippery or snowy conditions. Concrete decks also distribute weight better, which gives them an advantage in applications that are of very high traffic. On average, they will require less maintenance over the life of the truck scale, and they will last longer than a steel deck truck scale.

Not without drawbacks, concrete deck truck scales are more expensive, require an initial curing period, and require some additional finishing work that a steel deck scale would not. Their mass is usually greater than that of a steel deck, which will make relocation of the deck more arduous if performed at a later date.

Steel Deck Truck Scale
Steel deck truck scales will cost less than concrete deck truck scales, eliminating the costs of labor associated with concrete pouring. Steel decks are much easier to install and can be functional within a day, saving much-needed time when production output is of the utmost importance.

Recent improvements in steel deck design provide a more robust weighbridge and less susceptibility to corrosion caused by moisture. Steel decks that utilize close-spaced, thicker I-beams and stiffeners ameliorate deflection caused by high-stress concentrations, i.e., bowing or dimpling. Minimal spacing between I-beams allows for greater CLC (Concentrated Load Capacity), a load rating which measures maximum load capacity in a moderately small area of the scale platform. Steel decks that feature an open-bottom underside prevent moisture build-up, thus alleviating one cause of deck corrosion.

Despite these improvements, steel decks still have more issues with moisture in comparison to concrete decks. They tend to be more slippery in wet environments and are more disposed to corrosion. Because of their inclination to corrode, steel deck truck scales require more maintenance and tend to have a shorter service lifespan if not properly monitored and cared for.

Electronic Truck Scales
Electronic truck scales are the most common type of truck scale available on the market. This type of truck scale accumulates electrical signals, which are derived from analog strain gauge load cells and summed up in a junction box, combining signals from each individual load cell. These summed signals are then fed from the junction box into an indicator and converted into a digital value displayed for the customer to view. Analog load cells come in many variations, but the two most common types of load cells for truck scales are the compression load cell and shear beam load cell.

An electronic truck scale system employing analog load cells has some distinct advantages. Analog load cells are inexpensive and have been on the market for a relatively long period. There are many variations of analog cells that are available, and they have a fairly wide range of weight capacities.

Analog load cells have many drawbacks, however. Analog load cells, because of their construction and electrical characteristics, are especially sensitive to lightning damage. When a 70-foot-long piece of steel is placed in the middle of a field, like a truck scale platform used in a trash dump, it becomes a lightning rod that is very susceptible to lightning strikes. Suppression circuitry is added to the overall wiring to divert extreme lightning current from the strain gauges. However, this does not prevent load cells from being destroyed by lightning and require replacement by a trained scale service technician.

Analog load cells can be prone to moisture ingress. Internal circuitry can be compromised easily, leading to unstable readings, inoperable cells, or a completely defective system overall.

Hydraulic Truck Scales
Hydraulic truck scale systems operate on the same information transfer system, but the elicited signal is triggered by a different source, and the respective signals are combined by stacking pressure actuators or combining pressure transducers. In the transducer method, hydraulic load cells utilize hydraulic fluid to transmit force applied to the scale weighbridge to pressure transducers, converting that force into an electrical signal. This process operates solely on hydraulic pressure, meaning no electrical components are used in the scale weighbridge.

Hydraulic truck scale systems perform extremely well in moist environments, and they don’t experience many issues regarding lightning damage. Hydraulic truck scale systems do not have the onus of strain gauges or internal circuitry, allowing for superior capability in the aforementioned environment. A system based on this type of technology is more expensive than analog cells; however, this increased cost can offset the issues analog systems experience regarding lightning and water and create a lower cost of overall ownership over the lifespan of the hydraulic truck scale.

Digital Truck Scales
Digital truck scale systems produce a digital output signal, performing the analog-to-digital conversion in the load cell itself. This important distinction precludes signal degradation associated with analog cells. Digital load cell systems are much easier to manage due to the lack of a junction box and its associated wiring requirements. Digital load cells can be simply linked to one another in a daisy chain.

Digital truck scale systems, because of their simple design, are very easy to install, maintain, and repair. Since the load cells are more reliable and accurate, costs associated with diagnosis are decreased. Digital truck scale systems have the capability of detecting and diagnosing faults and failures more quickly, efficiently, and precisely.

Digital load cells also offer the highest protection against lightning strikes among electronic load cells due to the transient suppression circuitry that is located directly on each individual digital load cell.

Summing it all up, truck scale construction and technologies are a pretty broad range of choices. Often, the overall cost of ownership can be lowered by purchasing a higher quality hydraulic or digital truck scale that will offer more competitive features than a lower cost traditional analog truck scale. Taking these factors into consideration will improve your overall experience and satisfaction with your truck scale purchase.

New Digital Truck Scales With SmartCell Now Available

Cardinal Scale Manufacturing recently announced the official launch of the new ARMOR® series digital truck scales with SmartCell® load cells that offer unmatched performance built to last a lifetime of heavy-duty weighing use. Every facet of the digital truck scale weighbridge and electronics have been specifically built for long-lasting endurance, minimal upkeep, and IoT monitoring convenience. Deliveries are scheduled to start in January 2018.

ARMOR® truck scales feature a heavyweight 50-ton CLC, no moving parts below the scale deck (including the load cells), more structural steel than the competition, SmartCell® stainless steel waterproof digital load cells, and IoT-enabled iSite remote monitoring software.

The state-of-the-art, debris-inhibiting axis load cell stand design limits obstructions to the scale’s performance with the digital load cells mounted high within the stand near the scale deck. The load cell stands are fabricated from one-inch-thick steel to minimize rust and corrosion damage and ensure long-term strength and durability. The long-lasting baked-on tan powder coat paint finish ensures a lifetime of trouble-free protection. The Cloud-based iSite remote monitoring software offers e-mail and/or text alerts to ensure your scale is performing at all times.

cardinal scale smartcell digital load cells

ARMOR® steel deck weighbridges utilize a tight concentration of 7.5-inch I-beam spacing which minimizes unsupported deck plate area and ensures that truck tire contact patches are always directly supported by one I-beam. Four rows of welded stiffeners provide maximum structural rigidity and safeguard against I-beam deflection under loads for optimal strength and longevity.

Cardinal Scale’s SmartCell® digital load cells are the newest solution in advanced load cell technology. Messy, time-consuming wiring is no longer necessary, since cables connect plug-and-play to the cell through metal braided rodent-proof cables. Internal cell circuitry eliminates the need for a junction box.

The ARMOR’s SmartCell® load cell pockets are surrounded on both sides by I-beams which run the entire length of the weighbridge. This alleviates any potential structural weakness around the load cell region like in competitors’ truck scales. The no-bolt bridge connections feature interconnecting load blocks and receivers welded directly to the I-beams for strength and durability.

Contact your local Cardinal Scale dealer today to begin taking advantage of the entire gamut of new features and functions of the Cardinal ARMOR® digital truck scale!

Cardinal Pit-Mounted Truck Scales Provide Port of Miami Ability to Weigh Greater Volume of Freight

Two Additional Cardinal Scale Pit-Mounted EPR Truck Scales Provide Terminal the Ability to Weigh Greater Volumes of Freight. Major ocean transport company adds more Cardinal EPR truck scales and 210 indicators to expedite traffic flow for 600 truck weighments per day at busy Port of Miami.

Traffic congestion was becoming a major issue at the Port of Miami with a steady increase in export freight volumes over the last several years and the completion of a new underground truck tunnel leading into the port. A lengthy line of trucks were typically waiting to be weighed before entering the freight terminals at the port.

It became apparent that a solution was needed to be able to move this increased traffic through the port more quickly and efficiently.

 

Cardinal Scale Pit Type Truck Scale

One of the largest ocean transport companies at the Port of Miami rearranged their container yard and came to Cardinal Scale seeking a solution for its truck scale needs.

Cardinal Scale had several meetings with Port of Miami officials and the ocean transport company’s personnel during which various yard and scale layouts were considered, including above or below ground scales, steel or concrete decks, network connectivity, and weight documentation.

It was ultimately decided that there would be two new inbound steel deck truck scales installed below grade in deep pits. The deep pit request presented an important challenge: How to ensure that a 4 1/2 foot deep pit would remain dry at just above sea level on an island?

Cardinal Scale had stressed the importance of keeping the pit dry during the design process.

Therefore, the ocean transport company contracted with an engineering company that designed and built an elaborate self-contained underground pump station, which was built adjacent to both scale pits to prevent the pits from flooding.

The ocean transport company decided to purchase two new 13570-EPR truck scales from Cardinal Scale, which were slightly modified to be installed in the pits. The pit design was chosen to save yard space, as well as, producing an easier and safer method for drivers and other personnel to move in and around the trucks. A steel deck was chosen over a concrete deck to avoid delays associated with the curing time of a concrete deck.

The scales were connected to Cardinal Scale model 210 weight indicators fitted with 10/100 Ethernet cards and attached to P500 receipt printers, which were installed in two separate scale houses. The Ethernet cards allow them to communicate the weight data to their remote server and the ticket printers allow them to produce a hard copy for the truck drivers, which not only includes their truck ID, but the time and date of weighment as well.

The ocean transport company’s freight terminal at the Port of Miami operates 24/7, 365 days a year.

It can now weigh more than 600 trucks per day with the addition of the two pit-mounted Cardinal truck scales. The ocean transport company has substantially reduced the weigh-in time for each truck, which in turn allows them to load the freight containers on the cargo ships more efficiently.

The additional truck weighing scales have led to shorter lines of trucks, thus improving the overall traffic congestion at the Port of Miami as well.

You can read more about the case study by clicking the link.

What Should A Metal Recycling Company Ask When Purchasing a Truck Scale?

For the next few entries we are going to answer some frequently asked questions about buying a truck scale. In the first entry we answer the question below.

What exactly is the difference amongst a full-length truck scale and an axle scale? Which variety do you notice recyclers employing most frequently?

An axle scale is designed to weigh only a single individual axle of a large vehicle at one time and may possibly give an overall total gross weight at the conclusion of weighing the truck. Axle scales are frequently portable, but could also be permanent installations as well. For example, check out the video below.

On the other hand, full-length truck scales, usually 70 feet long can weigh the entire truck (all axles included) in a single weighment, so axle scales need more time to weigh up a truck than full-length weighing machines. Recyclers will normally use full-length 18 wheeler scales due to the fact axle scales will not be NTEP legal for trade, which is needed in the recycling industry.

Recycling businesses are having to pay men and women depending on the load of the timber in their particular vehicle load, so consequently it’s important for the scale to be NTEP listed for correct weighments. In brief, the process involves individuals bringing in their recycled copper, the metal recycling company compensates these individuals for it depending on the weight displayed on their truck scale, and so the recycler then usually utilizes a railcar to deliver the material to steel mills. For more information on Cardinal Truck Scales, contact authorized distributor Central Carolina Scale, located in Sanford NC.

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.

What Is The General Guidelines For Ordering A Truck Scale?

This week’s question asks what sort of site preparation could be required prior to scale installment?

Site preparation will vary due to whether the set up is a new or replacement truck scale. A concrete deck truck scale will add construction time on account of pouring the concrete inside the scale deck and curing time.

For brand new installs, the common truck scale installation method is as follows. Blueprints arrive from the scale vendor. After that, scale house is built or installed on location. Next, concrete foundation and approach ramps poured by either scale service business or the consumer. And then, truck scale is delivered from the scale supplier. After that, scale service organization wires the truck scale to the scale house and links all the peripherals. At last, calibration and certification with test weights and weight cart.

Much less site prep work is needed and faster installation times can sometimes be achieved with systems like Cardinal’s SnapStream Wireless Truck Scales, which provide wireless radio frequency connection in between the truck scale and the weight indicator in the scale house. Moreover, all peripheral gear like remote displays, computers and printers could be attached wirelessly with SnapStream, which perhaps conserves a large number of bucks in installation costs. SnapStream is really a fully-integrated NTEP legal-for-trade wireless scale system for commercial recycling applications enabling connectivity up to 1 mile line of sight between the truck scale and scale house.

Cardinal’s SnapStream is a fully-integrated NTEP legal-for-trade wireless scale system for commercial applications. It’s completely proprietary to Cardinal Scale and offers a number of competitive advantages for new (or pre-existing scale installations).  SnapStream allows a scale to send weight data wirelessly to an indicator and the indicator in turn to send that data wirelessly to a host of peripheral equipment such as remote displays, printers, PC’s and networks. SnapStream is a digitally-controlled weighing and diagnostic system designed utilizing 802.15.4 Zigbee protocol for reliable and accurate weight and data transmission. SnapStream may be used with Cardinal Scale 205, 210, and 225 weight indicators, where scale diagnostics can be viewed directly on the digital weight indicator. For additional information on the products mentioned in this article contact the heavy capacity sales department at Central Carolina Scale today.

How Often Does A Truck Scale Have To Be Calibrated?

Spring is a great time to perform some general maintenance on your truck scale. A popular question we hear from folks is how often does a truck scale have to be tested, adjusted, and/or calibrated? Also, what factors can influence how often scales should be calibrated?

The general consensus is normal routine scale calibration is often determined by state requirements and the scale owner’s quality assurance standards which sometimes might be something as simple as comparing truck weights with a nearby truck scale owner. Many states require the truck scale to be tested and adjusted at least once per year. Furthermore, several states call for calibration to be carried out by way of the State Weights and Measures Department or utilize certified scale service organizations to carry out routine calibration. Of course, state certified test weights are needed for appropriate calibration accuracy.

As for the question of how often do you need to calibrate your scale, it’s usually a good idea to do this at least two or three times a year. Number of truck weighments per day and also the age of the scale add to how frequently a truck scale needs to be adjusted. In most cases you should try to work with a scale company that sells and services truck scales. The company should also have a test truck with certified test weights and a portable weight cart which will allow the scale company to drive the cart around the scale and position the weights in certain places on the scale deck to find little errors that might not be found with just test weights.

Initially, service trips and calibration charges might seem expensive but in many cases the savings a company will enjoy far outweighs the service fees. If a scale is tested and is off just a couple of graduations, that could be over 40 pounds of material you’re losing for each truck that drives over the scale. That could be pretty expensive as well.

Legal for Trade Truck Scales

Why should you purchase a scale that is “Legal-for-Trade” when you don’t intend to use the weighing instrument  in a commercial weighing setting? Defining a commercial weighing application can sometimes be difficult. Scales can be moved around your facility and get utilized for things that perhaps you didn’t originally intend. Basically, an NTEP approved device is required any time money changes hands based on a scale’s reading. Freight scales, for example, must be NTEP approved. For these situations government requires that a scale must pass tests put forth by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). These regulations are meant to protect the consumer. Click here to see the rest of the story.

The other legal for trade question we wanted to discuss is related to Classes. Often you will see NTEP Legal for Trade Class III. But, what exactly does Class III mean? Handbook 44, the book that spells out rules and regulations for the weighing industry, separates weighing devices into five accuracy classes. Depending on the number and value of scale divisions, equipment can be either class I, II, III, IIIL, or IIII, with Class I having the highest precision. All Legal-for-Trade scales fall under one of these five classes.

Table 7a of Handbook 44 breaks down the description of each class. Class III states: “All commercial weighing not otherwise specified, grain test scales, retail precious metals and semi-precious gem weighing, animal scales, postal scales, vehicle on-board weighing systems with a capacity less than or equal to 30,000 lb, and scales used to determine laundry charges.” Continue reading

Installation Video of a Cardinal Truck Scale

Everyone knows that Cardinal Scale offers a wide variety of vehicle weighing scales. Cardinal’s wide variety of USA-made truck scales includes options for every type of weighing need, including electronic and hydraulic truck scales with concrete, steel, and pit type decks. Wireless truck scales are a convenient way to wirelessly transmit data from the scale to the indicator to peripheral equipment like printers, PCs, remote displays, and networks. Models such as the Yukon Off-Road provide high-capacity off-road vehicle weighing for use in the mining industry and other off-road applications, while the CWL-40 and 760 series axle weighers are lightweight and convenient portable scales wheel load weighing.

As the name implies, Cardinal’s ARMOR® truck scales provide customers with superior-strength, long-life steel construction for optimum vehicle weighing. The ARMOR’s durable baked-on, anti-corrosion tan powder paint stands the test of time. The NTEP legal-for-trade Armor® arrives fully-prepared for installation and includes DB75000-lb stainless steel load cells standard, which are factory assembled. A wide selection of Armor® capacities, platform sizes, and types are available. Each Armor® scale bridge features interconnecting load blocks and receivers for an efficient, no-bolt installation. Rodent protection is standard throughout the scale via conduit integral throughout each scale module. Every Armor® truck scale is 100% assembled and tested before shipping.

Wouldn’t it be great to see this scale actually being installed at a customers location? That’s just what this video below does. This video will guide you through the installation of Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Company’s ARMOR® Series Model EPR Truck Scale. The legendary ARMOR® truck scale has been on the market since 1997 and undergone continuous improvement every year since. It offers the most efficient installation of any full-length Cardinal truck scale. The key installation steps covered in the video include weighbridge alignment after offloading, removal of the shipping brackets from the load cell stands, using fish tape to run the load cell wiring, drilling holes for the load cell stand bolts, dropping in the optional guide rails, and test cart calibration.

Cardinal Scale Manufacturing is headquartered in the small community of Webb City, Missouri, a city nestled on the edge of the Ozark mountains, with a population of just under 12,000. All around are wide, open prairies, hills and woods.

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