10 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Truck Scale
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Buying a replacement truck scale or installing one for the first time can be daunting. Are there new technologies and options that could help with my processes or save my business time? Are there regulatory issues that I need to be aware of now?
Could I install a temporary truck scale as I need to move it later? Should I choose a concrete platform? What's the advantage of digital load cells? Should I go wireless? So many questions, we can help!
If you purchased your current truck scale 10-15 years ago, as you can imagine there are options available now that were not available to you then. This articles lays out a few things to consider but a good, long conversation with your scale company can help you navigate the options available and end up with the right scale for your business.
1) Choice of truck scale
Deciding on the width, length, capacity needed, what records you need to keep, electronic or paper, ramp length and design can be overwhelming, seeking expert advice from the outset can save expensive changes or upgrades at some point in the future. If you are provided with a questionnaire make sure you complete it as the document becomes part of the feature selection criteria and your scale supplier may well cover off features you may not know existed or would help in your application.
2) Manufacturing pedigree
Reputable truck scale suppliers should be able to demonstrate the quality of the key components and materials used in their truck scales, together with a documented and structured manufacturing process. Seek advice from others within your industry, what works for them? What would they avoid?
3) Key component manufacture
Truck scale performance and long term reliability is directly linked to the quality of the key components of the measuring chain. These include the all-important load cells, junction boxes and instrumentation. There are distinct advantages if all these are designed and manufactured by one company. The load cells are considered to be one of the most important components in a truck scale. Field data shows that stainless steel canister load cells, together with well-designed mounting hardware, provide the best long term solution. For optimum environmental sealing, load cells should meet the strictest IP69K international classification. Instrumentation must be robust.
4) Single source responsibility
There are clear indications that ‘single-source’ supply for all the key truck scale components, including software, offers a number of long term advantages, ensuring components work seamlessly together to provide optimum performance and reliability. In parallel, modern truck scale systems are becoming more complex and can include a wide range of peripheral equipment including traffic controls, vehicle recognition systems, driver-operated terminals and radiation detection systems. The seamless and effective integration of all these by a single supplier is very beneficial – and if there is a problem, there is only one point of contact. Our trained technicians can help enable communication between various manufacturers equipment including PLC's and wireless control systems.
5) Truck scale service and support
Truck scales are expected to work day-in-day-out in some of the harshest environments. It is therefore essential that they are regularly serviced and maintained. Ensure that your preferred Scale Maintenance company is part of your buying process to ensure that you can call on those you trust when you need regular servicing or fault diagnosis and repair services.
6) Truck scale software and data management
Many different manufacturers are increasingly relying on software diagnosis tools to provide modern diagnostic, use data and integration into other business management software systems such as SAP, Sage etc. as such ensure that the manufacturer makes their software available to use for maintenance and repair. Manufacturers who restrict and control access to their software programs are essentially tying you into using their service network and giving you no choice but to pay their (often higher $) fees.
7) Future proof designs
However well-defined a truck scale system is, there may well be operational changes that require modifications at some time in the future. Working with a reputable supplier, will ensure any upgrades to instrumentation and software can be carried out without unnecessary redundancy. It is not necessary to have all components supplied by the same company, ensure that the manufacturer enables your system to purchase and integrate components from other manufacturers, this way helps to future proof your scale.
Inaccurate truck scales are illegal and can cost you money through lost revenue or damaged customer relations. As a result, truck scales need to be checked for calibration on a regular basis. In addition, if key components are replaced, re-verification is required. Working with a company that is can provide for the self-verification of truck scales and can test with test weight vehicles, ensures your truck scale calibration can be re-verified quickly and efficiently, minimising any downtime.
9) Third-party references
Third-party references from existing users provide strong testimonies to the capabilities of a truck scale supplier.
10) Cost of ownership
This may be considered an over-used or even outdated term, but it is still very relevant when it comes to truck scales. Initial low-cost truck scale solutions will soon become expensive problems in terms of downtime, unwanted repairs and replacement. Potential purchasers should consider all the important factors and seek expert advice before making a choice on which truck scale system to buy. Also consider the Cost per Use over the entire lifetime of the scale, the heavier use, likely the more expensive the scale but ultimately the cost per use will be very low if the heavy use is matched to a heavy duty scale.
Give us a call on (613) 878-2062 to help you select the right scale for your business.