Truck scales are some of the most important equipment at scrapyards. Without scales, there is no efficient way to tell how much metal customers bring into a yard. Scrapyards often do not have a lot of money to spend on a new scale, though. They must find an inexpensive solution that will withstand the rigors of a scrapyard. Steel-deck truck scales are both reliable and affordable. If you run a scrapyard and need new truck scales, here's why steel-deck ones might be the best option for your yard.
Concrete and Steel-Deck Scales
Truck scales are made of either reinforced concrete or a steel deck.
Concrete scales are also known as pit scales, as the concrete is poured into a hole in the ground. Their surface is flush with the ground, and all of the scales' components lie beneath it. A drainage system protects the scales' parts from water and debris.
Steel-deck scales, or pitless scales, lie completely above the ground. These scales don't need a drainage system since their parts are not underground. Water just washes away, as it does on roads. Steel-deck scales require ramps, however, so that vehicles can drive up onto and down off the scale safely. According to Rice Lake Weighing Systems, the ramps used with steel-deck scales are usually 25 ft. long.
The Durability of Truck Scales
Kelley Stoklosa, writing for Recycling Today, explains that concrete scales are more durable than steel ones. Concrete scales will typically outlast both slab and pier-foundation steel-deck scales, because reinforced concrete can withstand a heavier load than steel.
For scrapyards, this difference in durability is negligible. It might be significant if you were selecting a scale for an interstate weigh station, but scrapyards don't see the same traffic volume as weigh stations. When only a few trucks drive over the scale each day, and many of those are pickup trucks, concrete's strength is unimportant.
The Cost of Installing Truck Scales
Stoklosa also notes that the installation costs of steel-deck and concrete truck scales are comparable. Pit scales with I-beam guides on their sides can cost a little more than pitless scales, but even then the difference is not huge.
The Price of Maintaining Tuck Scales
There is a disparity in the maintenance cost of concrete and steel-deck scales, however. Concrete scales are more expensive to repair than steel-deck ones for two reasons.
First, concrete scales have more parts. Both types of scales have a weight sensor, weighbridge and suspension system. Concrete scales' drainage systems include sump pumps and passive drains. These pumps and drains can also break down, increasing the number of parts that might malfunction.
Second, repairing broken parts is more expensive with concrete scales. The repair process is more involved, and the parts are harder to access. Steel-deck scales parts can easily be accessed by crawling under the scale. Repairing a concrete scales' broken component often requires accessing the ground below the scale. Also, the repair person may have to deal with pools of excess water beneath the scale or gasses released from the ground; both factors can make a simple repair more complex.
The Best Truck Scale for Scrapyards
For scrapyards, steel-deck scales are preferable to concrete scales. They may not be quite as durable, but scrapyards don't have enough heavy-truck traffic to make a difference. Instead, the deciding factor is how much it costs to maintain the scales, and repairing steel deck scales is less expensive than fixing concrete ones.
The next time your scrapyard needs a new truck scale, look into the available steel-deck scales. They're affordable both to purchase and to maintain, and a well-made one will serve you well for years.