With a dedicated scale system maintenance routine, you will be able to rely on accurate weight data for many years.
In order for any on-board scale system to provide accurate weights, it is important to keep it properly maintained. This includes daily vehicle inspections and preventive maintenance. Depending on your scale option—body scales, front fork, roll-off, suspension specific options for transfer trucks and trailers, or deflection transducers—maintenance procedures can vary. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the manual of your specific on-board weighing solution and the maintenance requirements. This article will touch on some of the basic scale inspection and maintenance procedures that you need to know in order to keep them functioning efficiently.
A well-maintained Vulcan On-Board Scales load cell on a G&H hoist, low hinge roll-off.
Image courtesy of Vulcan On-Board Scales.
Driver’s Daily Vehicle Inspection
After installing your on-board scale system, it is important for the driver to become familiar with the scale. It is especially important in regards to the meter in the cab. Making sure the driver is comfortable with the operation of the meter will help he/she know when something is not functioning properly as well as emphasize the importance of gathering accurate weight data to the daily operation of the vehicle. A quick inspection of the meter before heading out on the route will help ensure the accuracy of the data:
- Check the meter mounting and wiring, make sure they are secure.
- Check the green plug attached to the back of the meter. Make sure it is secure.
- Check the system. Make sure the meter powers up after it has been turned on, digits arelegible, and the system functions normally.
Monthly Maintenance Procedures
The following simple, but important, preventive maintenance steps should be performed monthly or more frequently, if needed:
- Check and remove any build up of mud, ice or other debris that may obstruct the load cell load path.
- Check load cell connectors and make sure that they are tight. Additional tightening might be necessary to prevent scale errors, which can occur from moisture entering into the load cell connector. Do notgrease or lubricate inside the load cell connector or electronic connector. These components are highly sensitive to foreign substances and inaccurate readings will occur if these components are contaminated. If a connector is opened for any reason, you must clean the load cell connector and cable connector following the instructions specific to your scale system manual.
- Check the torque on load cell cap screws monthly. If torque stripes have been applied, make sure they are properly aligned. To apply a torque stripe: Use a durable, brightlycolored paint. Paint a stripe crossing the head of the fastener, continuing down the fastenedstructure. New trucks must be checked once a week for two weeks. Refer to themanual specific to the scale system to determine the optimum torque values. Special toolsmay be required to reach optimum torque.
- A quality load cell is plated for increased rust protection. Annuallyapply a high-qualitypaint to the load cells, bearing pads and mounting brackets. For environments where highconcentrations of salts are used on road surfaces, undercoating is recommended. Sprayundercoating when load cells are connected to electronics and fully assembled with bearingpads and brackets.
- Fill unused holes in load cells with grease to protect against rust.
- Check welds on load cell brackets. If a weld repair is required, either remove the load cell or do not exceed specified temperature on the load cell. Arcing on the body of the load cell may seriously damage the load cell’s structural integrity and must NOT be installed if this occurs.
- Check all wiring for condition, routing and protection. Depending on the specific application, wiring is particularly susceptible to mechanical influences. Make sure the cabling is installed per the manual, and continue to check for security, chaffing, strain relief and protection from possible damage.
- Check meter for secure mounting and strain relief of wires.
- Check system for functionality.
- Review and address any driver concerns.
When purchasing your on-board scale system, make sure it meets your requirements for ruggedness and dependability. Then with a dedicated maintenance routine, you will be able to rely on accurate weight data for many years.
Byron Mucke is Senior Marketing Specialist for Vulcan On-Board Scales (Kent, WA). He has been with Vulcan On-Board Scales for 20 years and believes that accurate and reliable weight data is a critical component to improving the efficiency and success of any hauling operation. For more information about on-board weighing call (800) 237-002, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.vulcanscales.com.