Truck Scale Deck Construction – Steel vs. Concrete

One of the questions we get most often when discussing a new truck scale purchase is, “Which deck surface should I choose: steel or concrete?”  There are a number of variables that go into making that decision. The below article is from the “Truck Scale Buying Guide” published by METTLER TOLEDO. It gives an overview of the two different surface choices and provides guidance as to when each type is the better choice.

Deck Construction – Steel vs. Concrete

The deck is the upper surface of the weighbridge. It’s the part over which the truck tires roll. In most scales, you have your choice of steel or concrete deck surfaces. Steel and concrete decks should provide equal weighing performance because both are built to the same design specifications. However, there are some differences that could make one deck type more advantageous for your site or application.

Comparison: Steel Deck vs. Concrete Deck
Steel Concrete (site-pour)
Installation time 1 day ~30 days for concrete to cure
Portability Lighter weight Much heavier than steel
Traction Can be slippery when wet Good traction when wet
Point loading Not recommended Suitable
Maintenance Comparable Comparable
Service life Comparable Comparable
Total project cost Comparable Comparable
Steel Deck
truck scale deck construction

A steel deck weighbridge is installed

Steel decks are built in factories and usually welded to an internal system of beams or structural components. Steel deck scales are ready for operation as soon as installation is complete. Because they are fully built in factories, there are few variables to performance. Most steel decks use a diamond-pattern tread plate as the driving surface. This assists with traction even when the scale is wet. Some users prefer the traction of concrete in wet or snowy environments, but in most cases driving traction with a patterned tread plate is comparable to concrete. However, pedestrian traffic may experience better wet traction with a concrete deck as opposed to steel.

Concrete deck
truck scale deck construction

Concrete is poured into the deck of a concrete weighbridge at installation

Concrete deck scales are steel structures into which concrete is poured for the creation of the driving surface. The scale supplier builds in all the structural components and reinforcement needed, and the concrete is then typically poured by a third-party contractor according to the scale supplier’s specifications. The concrete requires up to 30 days to fully cure before trucks can drive on the scale. When looking at the cost of a concrete deck scale, be sure to include the cost of the concrete and pouring services. The concrete deck has a much higher static weight than steel, which may also require a more stout foundation, adding to the cost. All things considered, prices between concrete deck scales and steel deck scales can be comparable. Some manufacturers will offer factory-poured concrete decks. This eliminates the need for curing time on-site. However, these scales can be susceptible to concrete damage during transport. They are also vastly heavier than their unpoured counterparts, making them more expensive to transport, sometimes requiring two trucks as opposed to one. They also may require a larger crane for installation. If you consider this option, be sure you are familiar with how this affects the cost of your project.

Overall, a concrete deck can offer advantages, particularly for small truck scales. Because they have about four times the mass of steel, concrete decks are better able to resist the longitudinal forces caused by the truck’s drive wheels during acceleration. The concrete deck also provides a uniformly strong surface for trailer-only use in bulk filling applications. The stationary wheels of a trailer can be lowered anywhere on a concrete deck, and find all the support they need for high-point loadings.

Corrosion resistance is a separate consideration. Steel is the better choice for some corrosives, while concrete is preferred for others. Your scale supplier can provide recommendations for your application.

Click here to get the truck scale buying guide