Onboard scales

The use of onboard scales by fleets is slowly growing, but that may shift into high gear as new regulatory focus, particularly CSA 2010, takes hold. In the past, the onboard scale market consisted primarily of very weight-sensitive, heavy applications and bulk hauling, Martin Ambros, Air-Weigh CEO, says. With increasing regulation, the market is growing to include a broader cross-section of the industry.

The use of onboard scales by fleets is slowly growing, but that may shift into high gear as new regulatory focus, particularly CSA 2010, takes hold.

“In the past, the onboard scale market consisted primarily of very weight-sensitive, heavy applications and bulk hauling,” Martin Ambros, Air-Weigh CEO, says. “With increasing regulation, the market is growing to include a broader cross-section of the industry. Maximizing payload to legal limits while eliminating wasted time check-weighing is becoming more important to many fleets.”

“Where a trucking company might once have viewed our scales as a nice but perhaps unnecessary add-on, they are now recognizing that they are an effective tool in cutting costs and [managing] increasing weight regulations,” Scott McCulloch, director of communications & business development for Right Weigh, says.

CSA 2010 is not the only change to the enforcement picture. Penalties associated with overweight vehicles add up for fleets. “The industry is learning the benefits of onboard scales and the real costs associated with weighing loads [to avoid] load violations,” Peter Panagapko, president of TruckWeight, a Smart Scale Technologies brand, says.

The scales themselves have not seen major changes in the past year. Right Weigh has made a relatively “minor” change to its systems, although McCulloch says it addresses the ever-important issue of driver comfort. “Over the last year, we've upgraded our interior-mounted dash scale,” McCulloch says. “It still shows drivers real calibrated weight, only now drivers can also cycle through seven different LED backlight choices and select the best color for their [truck's] specific dash.”

Right Weigh has also updated its standard exterior model with “more substantial air valves to help further extend the life of the gauge.” There is also an announcement expected soon regarding a product that will be a “game-changing addition” to Right Weigh's product lineup, McCulloch says.

The changes at Vulcan On-Board Scales are all about being wireless. The company just introduced its first wireless system for both mechanical and air-ride suspensions. The system will be available for all its models, although Rick Talbot, marketing & sales, says that fleets running straight trucks would likely still receive a hard-wired version. Talbot also says the company has made recent improvements to its accuracy readings for vehicles equipped with air-ride suspensions.

The company's new Deflection Transducer, primarily for straight trucks, mounts on a vehicle suspension and using Vulcan electronics monitors loading/unloading remotely. It is designed for use in applications with mechanical suspensions where air pressure isn't used to monitor weight.

Despite the economic climate, Air-Weigh continues to be busy, releasing several new products in the past year that have added to the depth of the options available, Ambros says. LoadMaxx is a full-feature scale offering tractor-trailer communications, vehicle data bus interfaces, onboard computer or communications links, and a variety of configurations for vehicle and suspension types. There are also models for straight or vocational trucks with non-air suspensions.

In addition, for fleets looking for a simpler version, Quickload is an option. Quickload includes all the core features found on the company's onboard scales without the more expensive advanced integration or automatic trailer swapping features. The result is a scale that is both functional and price-competitive with air gauges, Ambros says.

“The importance of these ongoing product releases is that Air-Weigh continues to bring feature-packed, affordable onboard scale technology to a wider variety of applications across the commercial transport industry,” Ambros says. “Air-Weigh can now offer our onboard scale technology to fleets that previously had limited or no options for onboard scales.”

The hardware itself is not the only thing changing these days. TruckWeight is offering a free beta version of its Smart Loader software, which is available on the company website. Part of a larger weight data collection and reporting system, Smart Loader generates weight data per truck and trailer or rig configuration with driver, location and commodity data options, Panagapko says. Users are able to collect data from vehicles moving in and out of a loading site, allowing for more accurate weight readings.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEBSITES:

Air-Weigh
www.air-weigh.com

Right Weigh
www.rwls.com

Smart Scale Technologies
www.truckweight.com

Vulcan On-Board Scales
www.vulcanscales.com

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