Accurate Weights in Seconds
Every minute spent coupling and uncoupling railroad cars holds up traffic. To move material efficiently, a manufacturing facility needed to eliminate those delays. The solution was an in-motion weighing system that saves time and money by keeping traffic moving.
Located in Hungary, a facility produced fiberboard for use in flooring, furniture, and building materials. It weighed inbound shipments of logs that served as raw material and outbound shipments of finished fiberboard. Using the weights of the material, the company calculated prices for shipments and kept track of its inventory.
Logs are delivered by both truck and rail. During a typical week, the facility handled three trains, each with as many as 15 railroad cars. With no railroad scale on site, the company needed to transport every train nearly 40 kilometers to have it weighed at a remote location. To eliminate this unnecessary expense, the owners decided to install a railroad scale at the facility.
Before the project could go forward, the company needed to solve a problem that affected the local community. At the entrance to the facility, the railroad track crosses a highway. Stopping trains to weigh them would block the highway, delaying traffic for unacceptable lengths of time.
A conventional static scale was not a practical solution. To weigh a train on a static scale, workers must position a railroad car on the scale and uncouple it from the adjoining cars. After weighing the car, they reconnect it to the train and then move the train to position the next car on the scale. Weighing an entire train this way can take hours.
METTLER TOLEDO worked with the company to develop a custom coupled in-motion (CIM) railroad scale for the application. The engineering team designed the weighbridge to accommodate the local rail size, special rail hardware, and a custom anti-creep solution.
Downtime was a major concern. Pouring a concrete foundation would have prevented trains from entering the facility for a month while the concrete cured. A custom foundation design allowed the installers to minimize disruption to the plant’s production schedule by setting a fully cured concrete foundation in place.
The CIM scale is equipped with wheel detectors that identify the type of railroad car as well as the car’s speed and the direction it is traveling. To automate the weighing procedure, the facility uses an IND9R86 weighing controller that records weights and speeds for each car.
With the new railroad scale, transporting logs by rail is a more efficient and economical option. The ability to weigh railroad cars on site makes it viable for the company to ship more material by rail and less by truck. That change reduces the large tolls paid for highway truck traffic and makes the facility’s operations more environmentally friendly.