What to Look For When Shopping for Truck Scales

Recently one of the Vice Presidents of our suppliers, Rice Lake Weighing Systems was interviewed by Recycling Today.  Joe Grell, Vice President of Heavy Capacity offered recyclers his on what to look for when shopping for truck scales.  We’ve provided a few paragraphs from that interview with a link back to the full article for your information.  We hope this is informative to you.

Recycling Today (RT): What is the difference between a full-length scale and an axle scale? Which type do you find recyclers using most often? Why?

Joe Grell (JG): Axle scales are non-legal-for-trade weight estimators, and full-length scales are typically legal-for-trade, can be used to determine commercial transactions and are more accurate than axle scales. Axle scales are valuable in determining if a vehicle is close to or over legal highway loading regulations. They are a cost-effective precautionary scale to ensure that vehicles are not sent out on public highways over legal load limits. Full-length legal-for-trade scales are available in configurations that weigh axles individually and provide commercial accuracy at the same time.

RT: How many styles (low-profile, pit, full electronic, concrete deck, steel deck, etc.) of full-length scales are there? Is there one style you’d recommend for use in the recycling industry? What advantage does it offer?

JG: Vehicle scales are commonly available with either steel or concrete decks. Concrete decks are more durable and will generally outlast steel deck scales. Steel deck scales install quickly and do not require a cure time before they can be used. The finished cost is similar.

Most modern scales are above-ground designs, are fully electronic and the most popular are steel-deck configurations. They are low profile (16 inches to 18 inches above ground), and can be placed on a slab or pier foundation.

Another popular pit scale is the side-rail design, named for the two heavy steel I-beams on either side of the scale. Most of these are concrete and are more durable than typical flat-top above-ground scales. They are also slightly more expensive. Pit-type scales are placed in the ground so that the surface of the scale is even with the surrounding road or lot surface. Most mechanical scales are pit type and are the least common scale offered today.

A good choice for the recycling industry is the above-ground steel-deck scale. It is a cost-effective solution that can be moved as the enterprise grows and changes.

RT: What other features should recyclers look for in a truck scale?

JG: Data collection options are very important. Look for a full-service provider with a comprehensive product line. Automated ticketing, kiosks at the scale, messaging systems and remote displays are all important options that allow operators to reduce labor costs and improve throughput for their enterprise. Automated ticketing also keeps drivers in the truck where they are safe. Most accidents involving drivers happen when drivers are outside their vehicles.

How the Price of Cottonseed Affects the Sale of Scales

It always amazes us at Carolina Scales how sales for particular types of scales can surge due to something unforeseen by our staff.  It is definitely a lesson in world commodity markets, global economics and how each of those can have an effect on a company located in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Cottonseed
The cottonseed, used for cooking oil and livestock feed, remains after the cotton is ginned.

This global story begins with the cottonseed, something that many in South Carolina and throughout the South have seen being planted in local fields throughout the years.  Cottonseed has been used for many decades as a source for creating cooking oil and in particular it a highly prized supplement for livestock feed.

In June of this year, the rumblings of shortages began to be heard throughout the agricultural sector that produces cottonseeds.  It has been known for some time that the number of acres of farmland being devoted to cottonseed production was on the decrease.  Several sources have noted that cottonseed production was likely to drop to a 3-year low due to these smaller plantings.  This was partly due to the movement of farmers from planting cottonseed to other more lucrative crops.  Couple this with the ongoing drought in places like Texas and the affect the drought has had on the overall corn crop and a sudden demand by China for cottonseed. Now with corn production predicted to be at historic lows and since corn is the main ingredient for feeding livestock, alternatives will be in greater demand.  Cottonseed can be added to other feed like soy, wheat for added nutritional value and to “fill” in the gaps left from lower corn production.

Now how does this seed affect Carolina Scales?  These increased demands for the product have made the industry make some hectic moves to obtain appropriately sized shipping containers and scales to weigh the crop.  At first we were quite surprised by the surge in interest for scales to weigh cottonseed.  Fortunately, we were and are ready, willing and able to provide the necessary scales to help cottonseed producers get their product out the door and into the marketplace.  Whether it is cottonseed, other crops or materials, we have a variety of scales, balances and weighers to meet your needs.  Give us a call to discuss!