By Kevin Hill
Trucks are very efficient and convenient in the transportation of stone but unfortunately there are those pesky regulations. Strict roads and highways regulations concerning the total weight that a particular truck is allowed to carry are there for a reason. Overloading trucks can be hazardous in the worst case scenario, where accidents such as overturned trucks and failed brakes cause serious damage and even loss of life.
At the very least, overloading trucks may get you on the wrong side of the law and see you paying some hefty penalties and fines. In any case, having a truck carry more than it is designed to do will put more stress on its structure, leading to early wear and tear. Aggregates operations have a better chance of balancing effectiveness and efficiency by strictly controlling their truck loads to prevent overloading or under loading.
Safe loads which meet laid out regulations as well as the set levels of safety can only be reached through accurate weighing of the loads in the trucks. There are several ways of determining the weight of a truck, but the most effective methods make use of truck scales to get the correct weight. Among the various scales available, the weighbridge and on-board truck scales provide the more superior options of truck weight determination for most transportation and logistics management companies.
Weighbridges. A weighbridge is a special metalized bridge capable of correctly determining the weight of the object on it; in this case a truck passing over it. When placed at the point of the trucks’ departure from the plant, the actual weight of each truck can be registered and controlled accordingly. Weighbridge truck scales have the advantage of being able to weigh trucks continually and hence avoid hold backs within very busy companies. Also, they are versatile in that any type of vehicle can be weighed on them as long as it can get on it.
On-Board Scales. As the name suggests, on-board truck scales are systems fitted directly on the truck itself. They work by using load cell technology fitted in the truck as well as pressure sensors in the air suspension. These devices determine the total weight of the load as it is being applied on the truck’s axis. The on-board truck scales are capable of being installed in a variety of vehicles and customized to meet specific truck requirements. The most obvious advantage of this type of truck scale is that being on-board the truck itself, it eliminates the need to drive to where an external scale is. However, being on-board a truck means that it only works for that truck and therefore each truck in the fleet has to be fitted with one.
Most of the loading of trucks is done using a front-end loader and naturally, being able to determine the weight of the load being loaded before it is put on the truck facilitates more control over the total weight to be loaded. Loader bucket scales make it easy to weigh stone while being dumped into a truck and hence provide an easy solution to weight management and control for transport and logistics management.
Custom-Made Truck Scales with Intelligent Weight Indicators. This kind of truck scale works together with weight indicators that gather the total weight reading of the truck as well as those from each axle. It is a driver friendly system since all they need to do is pull up by the scale, from where the operator gets all information printed out by a simple touch of a button on the indicator.
Capacity and Sustainability. There is always the worry that there might not be enough truckload capacity in the near future, leading to tightening of shipping schedules. Such concerns over capacity can be mitigated by ensuring all truckloads carry maximum capacities without overloading and hence minimize the number of shipments required.
When it comes to sustainability, many aggregates companies are already looking at ways in which they can play a part in improving sustainability of their supply chains. The drive toward sustainability is not only being pushed by the need for such companies to reduce their carbon footprints, but also for their cost benefits which are quite significant.
Truck Scale Maintenance. Truck scale maintenance is as important as having the truck scale system itself installed. Without proper maintenance, testing and calibration, the accuracy of the truck scales will be adversely compromised. Frequency of use, among other factors, determines the appropriate routine for regular truck scale maintenance.
Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California. He enjoys everything mechanical and electronic, computers, the internet and spending time with family.