Truck operators are becoming increasingly aware of the value of onboard scales. And now many more of these scales can be ordered as a factory option on new vehicles. There are models available for tractor-trailers and vocational trucks in a variety of applications, including dump and concrete mixers.
The biggest benefits to fleets are reduced loading and adjustment times, since onboard scales allow for loading the vehicle to the maximum legal limit on-site. In addition, they allow for maximized payloads on every trip and the elimination of overweight fines.
Cost savings also come in other, less apparent ways. For example, since onboard scales allow fleets to avoid overloading a vehicle, this puts less stress on components like the brakes, tires and suspensions. They also allow loads to be distributed properly. Both of these help reduce maintenance costs and increase vehicle life.
Air-Weigh has introduced two new electronic scale models available for both OEM and retrofit installations on vehicles with air suspensions. The company says its AW5800 truck scale is an easily installed in-dash scale system that allows it to be offered as a factory option.
The Air-Weigh display fits into a standard 2-inch gauge hole. The suspension air pressure sensor is installed in the existing under-dash air gauge line and the ComLink ECU is also mounted under the dash. The in-cab unit displays axle group weights, GVW and net payload.
The new Air-Weigh AW5802 self-weighing trailer scale has its own keypad and display so it can be operated as a stand-alone scale. One or more scales can be used on a trailer. Through multiplexing, they can also communicate weight data to the truck's J-1708 data bus, so weights are available for on- and off-board communications integration. The company says its scales are accurate to within 300 lb. when calibrated properly.
Right Weigh Load Scales offers direct air analog scale systems that it says are simple for drivers to operate and less expensive to purchase than electronic scales because they have fewer parts. The company offers a standard 2-in. lighted dash gauge available for retrofit and its 710 Series 3-in. lighted dash gauge for installation at the OEM level.
In pointing out the benefits of onboard scales, Right Weigh notes that sometimes drivers may need to shift their loads several times in order to be legal. It's better to be able to do this at the loading dock than to have to go back and forth to public scales, which wastes driver time and costs fleets more in fuel and extra weigh fees.
Right Weigh's new model 430FH 2-1/2-in. trim-line scale is made of stainless steel for exterior mounting. The scale features a new, pre-installed 5-in. hanger that has a spring-actuated lens cover also made of stainless steel. The system can be installed at most trailer manufacturers when ordering new equipment and is available for aftermarket purchase as well.
Next year the manufacturer will be testing a new space-saving 3-inch dual gauge that will have two calibration needles, one for tractor axle weight and one for trailer axle weight. Right Weigh anticipates the new model will be available to fleets by 2006.
According to Vulcan On-Board Scales, safety is an important benefit of onboard scales. By keeping weight within legal limits, braking distance remains constant and tracking around corners is more predictable. Vulcan offers onboard scales for trucks and trailers of all types with spring suspensions.
For the vocational truck market, Vulcan is offering a new dump truck scale with V300 meter and electronics designed to simplify its use. For use in on- and off-road applications, the scale is accurate to within 1% of GVW. The V300 meter in the cab displays gross vehicle or net payload weights, and alerts the driver to unsafe or overloaded situations.
Also new from Vulcan is a McNeilus concrete mixer scale that can be retrofitted onto existing vehicles or purchased for new trucks. The scale operates as a stand-alone system with the weight displayed in the truck cab; it can also interface with an onboard GPS system.
Weighing instruments for cement mixers are now also available from Hardy Instruments. The instruments weigh one end of a rotating drum on the mixer, so operators can determine when a cement truck has been completely emptied of its load at the job site. Weight can also be measured while the truck is running, eliminating downtime. Computers mounted in the truck cab send weight and pressure information directly to fleet management without driver intervention.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:
Hardy Instruments 311
Right Weigh Load Scales 312
Vulcan On-Board Scales 313