Electronic on-board scales are not new. They were introduced over 30 years ago into trucking applications where monitoring gross vehicle or payload weight was necessary, but platform scales were not readily available.
Over the years, improvements were added to these early electronic on-board scales. Load cells were improved and specialty load cells were developed for fifth wheels, center hangers, single points and most other types of spring suspensions. Vulcan On-Board Scales developed the double shear beam load cell, which is now an industry standard in the timber and other industries. Strain gage based air sensors were improved and added for an increasing number of air ride suspensions. Hydraulic sensors were designed for vehicles equipped with hydraulic lift cylinders. Today, Vulcan On-Board Scales can be installed on any truck or trailer with air, spring or mixed suspensions.
Based on this product evolution, the applications for on-board scales are rapidly expanding. On-board scales are found in almost every trucking industry, such as general trucking, dirt & aggregate hauling, construction & demolition, refuse, agriculture, mining, and bulk hauling. Today, truckers using on-board scales are reaping benefits far beyond just monitoring gross vehicle weight to avoid overweight fines. Given the high cost of time and equipment, on-board scales are having a dramatic impact on the efficiency and profitability of operating a truck.
Key benefits that on-board scales offer truckers are:
- Optimize fleet efficiency by hauling the maximum legal payload on every trip without going to a platform scale.
- Eliminate overweight fines.
- Load to the maximum legal weight quickly at the loading point, without waiting in scale lines or driving to the nearest platform scale.
- Eliminate travel to certified scales.
- Reduce maintenance costs and increase vehicle life by hauling loads that the vehicle was designed to carry.
- Reduce fuel usage by hauling at capacity for less trips.
- Increased safety by keeping weight within legal limits allowing braking distance to remain constant and tracking around corners to be more predictable.
- Eliminate liability exposure due to increased braking distance from overweight vehicles.
- Measure pick-up and delivery weights such as: dirt, waste removal, recycled commodities and farm and dairy products.
- Improve customer service by providing individual pick-up or container weight to better assure your commercial customers that they are being billed fairly.
- Increase revenue by more accurately charging individual customers on pick-up and delivery operations.
- Increase driver retention.
- Improve operation efficiency by recording weights, load cycles, dump cycles and amount of haulback. With the increasing use of on-board computers, wireless communications and GPS equipment, weight information can be collected and transmitted real time back to the home office.
Truckers that consider the above benefits obtained from on-board scales, typically calculate their payback to be from 3 to 12 months. This will only shorten in the future as the cost to haul without on-board scales increases.
In the past only certain types of trucking applications were predominate users of on-board scales. Today, a significant number of new trucks and trailers in a wide range of applications come equipped with on-board scales. This will continue to expand due to the following industry trends:
- Increasing competition and the need to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
- Increasing enforcement of overweight regulations.
- Increasing need to reduce liability exposure.
- Increasing difficulty finding and retaining competent drivers.
- Increasing demand for more information.
- Increasing use of on-board computers, wireless communications and GPS equipment.