Waste industry companies are interested in refuse truck scales for several reasons: safety, because an overloaded vehicle is a hazard and a liability concern; maintenance, because overloaded vehicles break down more often, resulting in increased costs; regulation, relative to overweight fines and penalties; route management; and the tracking of recycling, for the purpose of meeting standards or to show progress.
Air Weigh on-board scales function well for a wide variety of trucking segments and applications. The products are sold through OEM, dealer and direct channels domestically and are also distributed through networks in the UK, Germany, Spain and Australia. Michael Ferguson is national refuse account manager at Air Weigh.
“We have a strong engineering team and our core strengths include weighing, and integrated weighing systems; on-board electronics, embedded software; capacitive, inductive, magnetic sensing; multiplexing, communication protocols and heavy-duty vehicle product packaging. Our Air-Weigh LoadMaxx Scales are designed for use on all over-the-road vehicles, including garbage trucks (roll-offs, side loaders, rear loaders and front loaders), and any recycling vehicles. The system can be used on trucks with air or mechanical suspensions, and can provide drivers with a tool to manage legal loading; the ability to operate safely with the proper legal load while avoiding fines or penalties from being overweight; reduction in equipment overloading and abuse; and a simple to install, reliable service,” said Ferguson.
Air-Weigh BinMaxx Scales are designed specifically for front load vehicles and provide drivers with accurate, real time weights for front load containers and can be used to audit routes and track recycling. The system is popular for weighing each individual container, route auditing, and tracking recycling and organics. The system can easily find customers that overload bins, improve routes with a weight history, and use weight history to improve service.
Ferguson said, “Increasingly, there is a trend to integrate scales into other technology, such as on-board computers. Users prefer a turnkey technology system on the truck that includes weight information. Air-Weigh products already provide that capability, including the RS 232 and J 1939 interface connections. Our products are not affected by environmental factors such as altitude, temperature or humidity. As waste is loaded, our product performs a dynamic weigh in motion, which is reliable and accurate.”
Since 1974, Avery Weigh-Tronix (AWT) has offered a wide range of standard truck scale products to meet the unique application requirements of each customer in the waste and recycling industries. Jim Little, vice president, OEM/national account sales, said the BridgeMont and SteelBridge XT truck scales are the most popular AWT products, and both are available in steel deck and concrete deck versions with options such as guide rails or manhole. Several hundred models are manufactured annually and each includes AWT’s patented Weigh Bar. The patented Easi-Post suspension components of the scales are constructed of hardened stainless steel and decouple the weighbridge from the foundation as vehicles stop on the scale. AWT truck scales are also used in agriculture, mining, chemical, manufacturing, food processing, shipping ports and timber industry applications.
According to Little, the waste and recycling industries have grown more conscientious about adhering to the defined limits of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The program determines road requirements for all trucking vessels and requires trucks to be weighed properly. “Fines have significantly increased in the last few years and that trend impacts a company’s profits. If a truck is overweight, it can cause damage to the roads, the vehicle itself and the people that are using those roads,” Little said.
He also noted an increased focus on traceability in the waste and recycling industry. “It is important for companies to establish the weight they are pushing through their systems and the payback they are getting for that weight. Relative to that, the cost of ownership is also a strong focus for waste and recycling companies. Fuel costs and vehicle maintenance costs are also primary concerns, so an accurate, reliable truck scale is critical to ensure that properly loaded vehicles achieve maximum efficiency in vehicle route management. The market has caused many recyclers to make staff reductions, and this has impacted resources dedicated to equipment and processes,” stated Little.
He concluded, “We strive to help companies operate smarter and utilize their data as much as possible. For example, if a company has employed a truck scale, an indicator and scanner, they are not simply weighing material but also tracking a variety of information, from who is coming, what they have and where they are going next. The technology around our truck scales set us apart from our competitors.”
Mettler Toledo (MT) designs, manufactures and services truck and rail scales for many industries including waste and recycling, mining and aggregates, bulk food and chemical, and more. “We’re known for innovative scale designs and for advancing load cell technology. This includes the highly successful Powercell® line of vehicle scale load cells, with over 1 million installed worldwide,” Craig Nickoloff, vehicle scale product specialist, said. Each year, MT supplies more than 5,000 vehicle scales and systems across the globe.
Nickolof also said the company is one of very few truck scale providers to design and manufacture its own load cells with features such as digital accuracy compensation, laboratory-validated lightning strike protection, self-monitoring networks, simplified scale service and more.
Peripheral products are also available, including unattended terminals that allow drivers to process automated weighing transactions. A range of scale house software (DataBridge®) is available to interact with the scale and streamline data management, transactions and customer records. This can help waste and recycling organizations more easily comply with measurement and traceability regulations.
“The rugged physical protections found in MT load cells, cables and network connections have reduced component failures that are commonly seen on conventional truck scales. When paired with a preventative maintenance program, customers using scales equipped with our Powercell PDX® load cells have seen a dramatic decrease in unplanned downtime,” Nickolof commented.
MT also provides products and services to improve and extend the life of an existing scale. That can include sandblasting and repainting the weighbridge and upgrading the load cell system and scale terminal. By incorporating a modern load cell system, an existing scale can perform even better than it did when it was new – at a fraction of the cost of a new scale.
“Walz Scale understands that folks in the waste and recycling industry work hard every day and they count on rugged, reliable products to keep their operation up and running. For nearly half a century, we’ve been supplying weighing truck scales and on-board scale systems that get the job done, and that meet the demands of some of the industry’s toughest conditions,” stated Matt Walz, vice president.
Walz said his firm has worked with clients for decades in improving designs and developing new solutions for weighing technology.
“All of our truck scales are built on the framework of a tension link suspension, proven over a century to be superior to other compression suspension systems available on the market today. Our suspension system eliminates the need for check rods and precast anchor systems, which in turn simplifies the installation process, eliminates maintenance requirements found in other scale systems and improves weighing performance.
“To help keep uptime high and operating costs low for our clients, we’ve built dozens of efficient maintenance features into our truck scales. Our service component designs provide customers and technicians with easy access to key service points. Perhaps our most important scale design feature is our customer’s ability to source all replacement components from any scale company in North America. While most other truck scale manufacturers require their customers to purchase proprietary load cells at extremely high costs, our design allows customer to source replacement load cells from any scale company,” said Walz.
He added, “Our line of on-board scale systems are extensive and ideal for managing the growing pressure to increase efficiencies and profits, and the need to meet industry regulations. Our systems help customers to comply with road and highway axle weight restrictions, and eliminate dead freight costs and overload fines on rail cars. Many of our customers also require greater automation in their processes so we developed an extensive line of automation solutions that interface to their weighing processes. For nearly half a century we have built our reputation by doing what is best for our customers.”