Scales Spares And Services (United Kingdom) - Weighbridge Installation: What Should I Expect?
Are you planning a weighbridge installation? This process will require some time and planning, so here’s what you should expect as it happens.
Which Weighbridge to Choose:
Before a weighbridge installation, you need to choose which type of weighbridge you need. There are several types that will be available. There are two main types, in-ground and above-ground. Let’s take a closer look at what each one does.
These weighbridges are available in several types, including:
Semi-pit: The semi-pit weighbridge doesn’t require ramps, because it is set into the ground and is at ground level. This means less space is taken up, but if there are any drainage pipes or electric pipes underground, this will affect the placement of the weighbridge. It may be single, twin, or multi-deck, depending on what you need.
Custom semi-pit: If you have a limited site where you can’t quite place a regular weighbridge, you’ll need one that is custom-built to fit the specifications of the site. It may be more costly simply due to the construction methods.
Fully in-ground: If you have very little space, you will have to set the weighbridge completely into the ground. The load cells are not usually reachable from the sides, but you can get to them through holes in the deck. These are perfect for smaller load weighing, as well as much larger options. You do need to prep the site, however. It’s the most expensive choice.
These weighbridges are the most common. They don’t require a lot of site preparation, so this means they are easier to install. That being said, they require a lot more space than the in-ground options. You can determine whether you want a single, twin, or multi-deck configuration. This will depend on the vehicles you intend to weigh and how long they are.
Another option that is quite cost-efficient is the portable weighbridge. These are usually used on temporary sites and are much like above-ground weighbridges. They use concrete slabs for load-bearing locations and they include removable parts so you can shift the entire thing around as needed.
Have you noticed that some weighbridges include multiple decks? This means more loads can be weighed. You can weigh individual axles or axle groups, which allows you to check axle breakdown weights. These may be above-ground, semi-in-ground or fully in-ground.
Which option is best for your needs? That depends on your current site and how much work you are willing to put into preparing the site.
Preparing the Site:
The area where your lorry weighbridge installation will occur has to be prepared before the installation. Above-ground industrial platform scales don’t need much in the way of prep, but you will need to add at least five metres of length at each end to account for the ramps. You will also need access space of one metre on either side of the deck.
Semi-pit and fully in-ground options will need excavation, which can be a lot of work. Semi-pit weighbridges must have retaining walls on either side of the deck, leaving at least a metre of access space to the sides. This is not necessary with fully in-ground weighbridges.
Cost of a Weighbridge Installation:
Weighbridge installation cost will depend greatly on the size of the weighbridge and which type it is. You can expect to pay around £18-20,000 just for the installation. The site prep will run anywhere from £12,000 to £25,000.
Often, the cost of the actual weighbridge is much less than the preparation cost, which includes machinery and labour, as well as muck away. It can all add up rather rapidly.
Prices may increase for longer or wider weighbridges, so be sure to ask for a quote before you leap into the purchase. You may wish to check with several different companies to determine the most common price for this.
Ongoing Maintenance for Your Weighbridge:
Once the weighbridge installation is done, you still need to keep up with the maintenance. A platform weighing scale is fairly simple, so it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but some will certainly be necessary.
The weighbridge will need to be cleaned weekly to eliminate any debris or water that is collecting. If you have an in-ground or semi-in-ground option, you’ll need to watch how much water collects in the pit. You may need to install a pump to help remove everything. There must be a proper gap between the deck and pit wall so you can inspect the entire piece of machinery.
On a regular basis, you’ll need to:
Check the clearances. Be sure that the clearances are correct and clean. This includes the gap between the pit and deck.
Check the T-section rubber. This is useful for maintaining gaps and will wear down over time. You’ll need to replace it when necessary.
Run end-middle-end tests. This will need to be done frequently to ensure the scale is weighing things properly. Inaccuracy can cause some serious problems for the lorries you are weighing. They will end up with poorly measured loads and could be fined or lose money.
Cleaning mud and debris off the surface of the scales must be done frequently. Any type of compacted mud may prevent the correct movement of the weighbridge, so you need to fix this as soon as possible. It’s often simplest to avoid having much mud in the area, by using gravel or concrete as needed around the weighbridge.
Calibration is also necessary and should be done at least every 12 months. However, if you have a more serious issue with the scale before that, you should do it earlier. Fortunately, you can outsource all of this to ensure that the job is done by professionals. They will be responsible for everything from calibration to cleaning the lorry weighbridge.