By BRAD HUDSON, Marketing Specialist, Vehicle Weighing Segment, METTLER TOLEDO
Many companies believe unplanned truck scale downtime is unavoidable. However, this costly downtime is not a necessary variable in the productivity equation. Newer technologies, such as self-monitoring load cells and the elimination of troublesome junction boxes, help keep scales operating and ensure in-plant performance gains are not made in vain.
No matter how excellent in-plant operations are, process gains are lost if goods cannot flow in and out of the facility due to unplanned truck scale downtime. Water ingress/lightning, heavy loads, high volume, rodent damage or debris threaten scale performance and squeeze margins. Newer, more reliable technology combats these threats, while enhancing scale uptime and performance.
Enhancing Accuracy — Microprocessing
Innovative technology provides first-line defense. Replacing analog load cells with microprocessor-equipped load cells is a good start. Microprocessors offer assurance that a vehicle scale is accurate. They also alert operators to potential problems, so they can be prevented or pinpoint existing problems for quick correction. Time-consuming troubleshooting and parts-swapping is eliminated.
Encased Electronics & No Junction Boxes
Smart physical design also helps. Encasing critical electronics in hermetically sealed, fully welded IP68/IP69K enclosures ensures flooding does not impact a company’s maintenance budget. Eliminating junction boxes — which reduces the number of scale connections by at least 25 percent — prevents ingress, and simplifies installation and maintenance for continued performance enhancement.
Breach Detection & Lightening Protection
Built-in networked breach detection can indicate accidental load cell puncture or tampering to prevent failure with quick component replacement. On-board surge protectors, which redirect voltage, offer lightning protection. Single-point grounding keeps scales running in circumstances in which electrical damage would previously have knocked them out of operation for added uptime.
Better Performance — Real ROI
Eliminating unplanned service events can result in significant savings and productivity increases that continue adding up. In a high-volume throughput situation, avoiding just one day of downtime can offset the cost of a new vehicle scale system. An upgrade should pay for itself in less than 12 months — and some times just one or two — in performance gains and bottom-line results.