Nobody wants tickets for overloaded trucks, yet you can’t afford to let under-loaded trucks leave the jobsite. Onboard weighing systems provide the solution. You can maximize your legal load, and save time loading, weighing and reloading. These systems also eliminate maintenance and liability issues due to overloading.
Eric Elefson, director of marketing and sales, Vulcan On-Board Truck Scales, explains that truckers using onboard scales reap benefits far beyond just monitoring gross vehicle weight (GVW) to avoid overweight fines. “Given the high cost of time and equipment, onboard scales dramatically impact the efficiency and profitability of operating a truck,” he states. “For instance, you reduce fuel usage by hauling at capacity for fewer trips.”
Adventure Trucking LLC, Clackamas, OR, has a long history with onboard scales and made the switch to its current LoadMan system in 1995. The company owns seven of its own trucks and contracts another 40 to 50 dump trucks, including trucks and pups and a couple of semi end dumps. “All of the trucks and trailers have the system,” reports Brock Chandler. “I am not going to run anybody who does not have [the onboard scales].”
The benefits are immediate. “A 3,000-lb. overload ticket costs $4,000,” says Chandler. “You get a couple of tickets annually, it is going to easily pay for that set of scales. For the most part, we don’t get any more than one or two tickets a year and we go over state scales every day.”
The productivity jumps by getting the load right the first time. Many pits will not let you leave if you exceed maximum GVW. “Then you waste time going back to dump some,” says Chandler. “If you have to run back and forth, you can blow 20 minutes pretty easily.” With the onboard scales, you get the load right. “Not to mention you are increasing the amount of load you are hauling in less time. They are probably the best investment there is for a truck.”
Carefully tracking weights is important to Adventure Trucking, especially since it operates in several states with different weight limits. “We run all of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah,” says Chandler. “We have been to Wyoming. None of the states are the same.” In Oregon, trucks are limited to 105,500 lbs. “We go to Utah and run 112,000 lbs.” These systems allow the company to maximize its payload wherever it goes.
“Onboard scales allow for loading to desired capacity at any time and nearly anywhere,” says John Riley, senior manager, SI Onboard. “Weight can be observed at the point of loading. Therefore, the additional time and effort required to seek out the nearest ground scale becomes an inconvenience no longer experienced.”
The more accurate the scale, the more productive you can be. “With onboard scales similar to what we have at TruckWeight, you can typically load to within 1% of maximum payload,” says Peter Panagapko, president, TruckWeight. “That will translate to about $10,000 to $20,000 per year in increased revenue considering that most loads run between 5% and 8% under weight of maximum legal GVW. The savings apply to fuel and other expenses related to operating the vehicle. These are significant gains in productivity and it improves the overall efficiency, providing real and significant improvement to the bottom line.”
Stationary scales do not improve loading efficiency. “Even when dump trucks load in quarries where there are platform scales, they don’t get loaded on platforms,” explains Alan Housley, LoadMan. “Therefore, if they are under loaded, they simply leave. If they are overloaded, they pull off to one side and tip material out, then get back in line to be re-weighed .”