Weighbridges are important to ensuring that trucks with loaded cargo are the proper weight. Without the help of a weighbridge, many trucks and trailers would be in harm’s way.
When trucks haul vehicles and other heavy cargo, it’s important that they aren’t too weighed down. So, it’s vital that load scales are functioning properly at all times.
Are you interested in learning how to identify if your weighbridge needs to be replaced? If so, check out the information below.
What Causes Weighbridge Issues?
Before you can identify the signs that your weighbridge needs to be replaced, it’s a good idea to understand what causes the problems in the first place. By knowing this information, it could help you avoid issues and prolong the life of your weighbridge.
Here are some factors that contribute to malfunctioning weighbridges:
Before you assume that it’s time to replace your weighbridge, make sure that each load cell operate exactly as the manufacturer specifies. A load that’s improperly applied can distort the weight.
For instance, a twisting load creates strain gauges in the cell and causes the signal to change. So for accurate weighing, all of the low cells must be supported by all the weight that is measured.
To avoid problems with inaccuracy, use flexible connections that don’t just support a portion of the load. Correctly align each low point.
You can do so by loading each cell along with the mounting equipment. This ensures that the hardware channels are directly loaded through the load cell.
Also, make sure that the floor or ground underneath the load cells are durable enough to handle the weight of the load and all of its cargo.
The environment plays a huge factor in whether or not your weighbridge gives an accurate weight. Issues like wind, temperature changes, and pressure differentials can trigger errors with the load cell signal.
Let’s say the wind outside is going 30 mph crosswind over the weighbridge. When this happens, it’ll cause the windward cells to pick up a lighter load and the leeward cells to identify a heavier load.
This type of issue won’t just happen with outside wind. It could also occur indoors if there is an overhead air conditioning vent. The air conditioner may create small inaccuracies of 1-ounce measurements.
Furthermore, when there’s a drastic change in temperature, your weighbridge will likely be affected. It causes errors on the scale because the temperatures can damage the load cells.
If your weighing scale is interrupted by vast temperature changes, integrate load cells and mounting equipment that can withstand the weigh system’s expansions and contractions.
When it comes to weighbridge accuracy, you not only have to consider the loading cells, but the signal as well. Radio frequency interference (RFI), moisture, and electromechanical interference (EMI) can all hinder electronic signals.
Both RFI and EMI are electrical disturbances that disrupt the low cell signal that’s sent from the cells to the weight controller.
Sources of EMI and RFI include two-way radios, lightning, static electricity, large power lines, solenoids, and electromagnetic relays.
One of the best ways to avoid these types of electrical interferences is by isolating the loading cell low voltage signal in a protected cable. Then, route it to the cable in a conduit that’s separated from the other cables.
Signs That Your Weighbridge Needs Replacing
Now that you know some of the causes of malfunctioning weighbridges, it’s time to learn the signs for replacement. Obviously, every time your weighbridge gives you trouble, it doesn’t mean that you need a new one.
However, there are a few telltale signs that will definitely let you know that it’s time for an upgrade. Here are some of the clues to look out for:
1. Inconsistent Scale Readings
One one of the most noticeable signs that is time for your scale to be replaced is that the readings are inconsistent. Sometimes, if the figures are off, there could be some other problem going on.
Once you adjust the scale and balance the load, that should do the trick. But if the reading is still off, there’s a problem. One of the best ways to test whether or not it’s a technical error or an issue with the scale is to weigh items one at a time.
Take one object and place it on the weighbridge. If the numbers are off or you’re getting the same figure from the previous load, that’s an indicator of a problem.
If you notice this sign, it’s best to replace the scale. Don’t trust the weight given if the figures are inconsistent.
2. Drifting Readings
Drifting readings occur when the weight doesn’t stay the same. Usually this happens because of an electronic malfunction within the scale. In this situation, you’ll notice that the weight flusters while the object is still on the scale.
One of the main causes of drifting is low humidity. Because of that, it causes static build up on the load cells and the weight controller. When the humidity shifts, it creates static charge within the air.
Weighbridges pick up on small alterations in input voltage. That means that even static discharges can create drifting on the way scale.
3. Rust and Corrosion
When your weighbridge isn’t operating properly, it’s not always a technical issue. Sometimes it’s mechanical. If there is corrosion or rust on your scale, it’s bound to stop working properly.
Rust normally occurs when the scale is in a moist environment.
Once the load cells come into contact with certain chemicals, it makes those parts degrade and malfunction.
It’s also important to mention again that temperatures also create moisture and corrosion. When the weighbridge is in a harsh environment, it’ll inevitably harm the internal mechanisms.
Therefore, you have to make sure that the weighbridge you choose can withstand various outdoor environments.
4. Inaccuracy Between Scales
If you believe that your weighbridge is malfunctioning, the best way to find out is by putting it on a different scale. If there are inaccuracies between the faulty scale and the calibrated scale, then you know there’s an issue.
Most of the time when this occurs, it’s because there are issues with the load cells in the inaccurate weighbridge. Depending on the type of scale that you have, it may only need calibration.
This is something that you should do annually or every few months—depending on how often you use it. But if you calibrate the weighbridge, and it’s still giving inaccurate figures, it’s time to replace it.
5. Poor Readability
Another one of the major indicators that your weighbridge is faulty is distorted readability. This occurs when parts of the numbers are burned out or blurry.
In this situation, it may require a new battery or a connection to a stronger power source. If that doesn’t work, then there’s a bigger issue at play.
If you identify this problem, be sure to replace the scale as soon as possible. Also, notify the other weighbridge attendant. An inaccurate weight can lead to a bad situation while the truck driver is on the road.
Factors to Consider
Getting the correct weighbridge accuracy means looking at all possible issues—both operational and mechanical. In addition to that, it’s imperative that you select high-quality devices for your work site.
Making sure that you use good equipment ensures that your weighbridge system provides accuracy for the long-term.
As a basic rule of thumb, you should always choose load cells and a weight controller with accuracies that are 10 times better than your desired accuracy.
That way, you can expect performance that goes beyond what you need. It lowers the chances of receiving a distorted weight.
You should also pay close attention to how the weighbridge system is installed. Doing things the correct way will prevent electrical noise and other mechanical malfunctions from minimizing weight accuracy.
With that said, if you’re looking for a reliable weighbridge supplier, follow the highlighted link. The information explains what to consider when shopping for a reputable weighbridge retailer.
Replace Your Weighbridge as Soon as Possible
If you identify any of the signs listed above, it’s time to replace your weighbridge. As you know, it’s imperative that weighbridges are operating properly at all times.
So don’t procrastinate. Do yourself a favor and get a new scale as soon as possible.
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