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A variety of industries like transport, agriculture, pharmaceutical, construction, manufacturing, and many more rely on weighbridges for their operations. The weight data they provide is valuable for quarries, recycling plants, waste energy plants, ports and terminals, cement plants, and processing plants. Today’s weighbridges can operate, collect data and connect to a wide variety of equipment, including flexible instrumentation, user-friendly software, and peripheral control equipment. As well as serving as critical control points, weighbridges can improve traffic flow and site security on many sites.
Weighing scales come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs, constructed from steel, steel-concrete composite, and prestressed concrete. Designs include surface mounted, pit mounted, modular, and transportable. They typically have capacities ranging from 30 to 100 tonnes, lengths of 9, 15 and 18 metres, and widths of up to 4.5 meters. Each of these variants has the common characteristic of being robust, accurate, and accurate. Weighbridges are typically operated in a drive-thru manner. The choice will depend on several factors, including the maximum size and weight of the vehicle, the available space, usage, and, of course, the budget. Vehicles drive on at one end, then off at the other. However, in applications where space is at a premium, vehicles may be driven on and off from the same end. For plants that weigh vehicles in and out, it makes sense to operate two separate weighbridges. This not only improves traffic flow but also allows for the maintenance of one bridge while the other remains operating. However, this is unquestionably the more expensive choice, and in many cases, a single weighbridge is sufficient.
Key points to consider before buying any Weighing Bridge:
1. Pit or Surface mounted weighbridges
When it comes to deciding on a weighbridge, one of the first and the biggest decisions is whether to go for a pit or surface-mounted bridge. In many cases, the answer will be decided not only by usage and budget but mainly by the site conditions where you want to install the weighbridge.
a. Surface-mounted weighbridges
- Simply sits on the top of a road surface
- Minimizes the amount of foundation work required
- Often selected temporary installations or when the bridge needs to be moved
- Each end of the scale has an on/off-ramp to enable easy access.
- Extreme-duty guide rails are bolted in place for providing a strong and effective way of keeping vehicles centrally positioned on the weighbridge.
b. Pit mounted weighbridges
- Installed in a pit, keeping them flush to the road surface
- They don’t require ramps as they take up a lesser surface area
- They are ideal for smaller areas or sites where vehicle flow can change direction
- Initial civil and foundation work can make pit installation a more expensive option but many weighbridges can be mounted in existing pits which reduces the need for costly foundation changes when replacing existing bridges.
2. Weighbridge decks
Weighbridges come with both concrete and steel deck surfaces. Both of them offer their separate benefits.
a. Environmental considerations
- A steel deck can provide a very hard-wearing finish which will help you to keep the elements at bay
- A concrete deck may provide a more durable solution with greater traction in extremely wet and potentially corrosive environments
b. Short vs long term benefits:
- In some cases, steel decks can prove faster, easier, and more cost-effective to install as it will also benefit you from being easier to relocate.
- A concrete deck can offer a longer life in tough conditions even if concrete requires additional time to pour, level, and dry out before use
c. Design and construction
- Concrete decks should be reinforced by a high strength steel construction as it is extremely strong in compression but is known to be weaker in tension
- The deck offers excellent strength in both compression and tension by reinforcing the concrete with steel.
- The deck should be designed and constructed to offer maximum strength.
- Similar consideration should be applied when selecting steel or concrete approach ramps in the case of surface-mounted weighbridges.
- Steel is ideal if the weighbridge is likely to be moved while concrete can offer longevity.
3. Types of load cell
Both Analog and Digital Load Cells provide an accurate and dependable solution, but their suitability varies on the frequency of use and environmental pressures.
a. Analog cells
- Most common solution
- As a vehicle enters the platform, the cell is less likely to be influenced by the negative effects of shock loading, movement, torque, and twist that can occur due to the natural movement of the weighbridge.
- When selecting the right cell for your application, the design of the bridge is an equally important factor
b. Digital cells
- A popular choice in weighbridges.
- Offers additional safety from the unwanted electrical intrusion
- Offer high accuracy weighing
- More costly if compared to Analog
4. Data requirements and access
Your weighbridge has the potential to provide a wealth of information. It can help you to control wastage, monitor costs, and improve efficiencies too. Always consider what you need from your weighbridge –
- Data transfer for invoicing and purchasing
- Added security and fraud protection
- Reporting for legislative purposes
- Sharing data across multiple sites
5. Traffic management and weighbridge automation
- Can work without the need for a designated operator
- Reduces operating costs
- Extends the hours of availability
- Managing traffic flow adding entry and exit barriers, video surveillance, traffic lights, and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).
- Providing important data about who and what is entering and leaving the site by improving security and combating weighbridge theft and frauds
- Without having the drivers leave their vehicles it allows them to complete weighing transactions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
6. Maintenance, repair, and calibration
- A weighbridge is a major investment.
- Ensure that your weighbridge keeps operating accurately and efficiently by investing in a service and maintenance contract that will minimize downtime, maximize uptime to ensure that your weighbridge keeps operating accurately and efficiently.
Owning a weighbridge can be a useful asset in your industry as it can assist you in several days to day jobs such as steps to avoid pilferage, avoid overloading and maintain enforcement.