Technological advances have meant that weighbridges have moved way beyond merely serving as weight measurement instruments. They are now powerful management tools, acting as an important critical control point and providing crucial information about the supply chain.
However, not all weighbridge systems are the same and if you’re looking for an industrial weighbridge for your operation, it’s important to choose carefully in order to maximise the benefits it can provide. A weighbridge can give over 25 years’ of service, so you need to answer all the ‘where, what, how and why’ questions to make sure your investment makes sense in the long-term.
To help you make that choice, here are some of the essential features you need in an industrial weighbridge.
Quality design and build
Whether you choose an above-ground weighbridge or a pit-mounted one, it’s imperative that the structure is well designed, built and installed. Cheaper models may be appealing from an initial CapEX perspective, but the price point may indicate that corners have been cut in terms of the quality of the materials used and the overall engineering may not withstand the test of time.
Weighbridges are subject to heavy duty use in often harsh and extreme conditions which may result in the deck undergoing fairly significant expansions and contractions. This highlights the importance of good design and engineering and the reasons why it’s essential that the structure has minimal moving parts, uses high quality construction materials and has a proven history of good design that is appropriate to site conditions.
Good drainage is also important as a build-up of moisture can damage the load cells and ultimately cause the scales to corrode and fail.
Ease and speed of use
A key factor of any weighbridge is traffic management. How easy is it for vehicles to enter and exit the structure? What is the anticipated traffic flow? The system you choose must be appropriate to the site conditions and must meet your vehicle traffic requirements.
Quality load cells and instrumentation
The load cells are one of the most important parts of a weighbridge - if not the most crucial - so it’s essential to choose carefully. The design, materials and application of the load cell all need to be taken into consideration as they are subject to repeated use in harsh environments, so they need to be robust and reliable to consistently provide accurate readings.
Stainless steel is the material of choice when it comes to load cells. And the cells need to be sealed to withstand climatic conditions as well as high pressure cleaning. You should also make sure that the mounting assemblies are sufficiently robust to work efficiently under sustained heavy pressure.
Versatile and future-proof software functionality and system integration
The biggest advancement in weighbridges has come in the area of software functionality. Your system has the potential to provide a wealth of management information which can enable better cost control, improve efficiencies and fleet management, streamline invoicing, prevent legislative breaches and fraud, enhance security etc.
You need to consider what functionality you need from your weighbridge software and also ensure that any system you select is future-proof.
Service and support
Another essential consideration - which isn’t a physical feature of a weighbridge, but which is nonetheless very important - is service and support. The pedigree of the supplier will determine the quality of the actual weighbridge itself and the peripherals, but it will also determine the quality of advice and technical support they provide - so it’s advisable to choose an established, reputable supplier.