Upgrading Load Cells Saves Money and Ends Downtime
The prospect of replacing a vehicle scale before its time can leave a business owner shuddering. In addition to the high cost of buying a new scale, the disruption caused by downtime is a major concern. For many businesses with troublesome scales, there is a simpler solution: a load-cell upgrade.
An upgrade dramatically reduced maintenance costs for a busy North American steel manufacturer. The company’s facility receives more than 12,000 trucks every year and sends out about 10,000 shipments. It also receives rail shipments each month.
To keep the large number of trucks moving, the manufacturer uses an automated weighing process. An empty truck enters at the facility’s east truck scale and is given an inbound tare weight on a barcoded ticket. After being loaded, the truck proceeds to the truck scale at the west exit.
With the truck positioned on the scale, the driver scans the bar code to identify and weigh the vehicle. A final ticket is printed and the gate opens, allowing the truck to leave the facility.
Costly monthly repairs
Even the best automated processes are vulnerable to equipment failure. The load cells in the facility’s scales failed at the rate of one per month, costing an estimated $18,000 each time. Whenever the rail scale shut down, the impact was tremendous. Repair costs added up, along with demurrage charges from the railroad and the rail cars waiting to enter the facility.
Scales are critical
Maintenance costs aren’t the only problem. The performance of the scales is critical to the overall profitability of the business because the weights are used to determine the value of inbound and outbound shipments. When there is an inaccurate weight reading for a truck or rail car, the company stands to lose money. With the large volume of traffic the facility handles each year, that loss can be significant.
Fixing the problem
Concerned about the problems, the company asked METTLER TOLEDO to perform a Truck Scale Health Check. During the inspection, the service technician noted a “rat’s nest of wires lying in mud with broken and missing check rods and approaches.” This neglect was probably contributing to the regular failure of load cells and driving up repair and replacement costs. The regular service provider had been charging the company to replace load cells continually without fixing the root problem.
To remedy the situation, METTLER TOLEDO upgraded several vehicle scales at the facility with POWERCELL® PDX® load cells. The improvement prompted the company to drop its service provider of 12 years and entrust the care of its scales to METTLER TOLEDO. In three years of operation, only one of the new load cells has needed to be replaced.
The replacement was covered by the five-year warranty on POWERCELL® PDX® load cells. Given the rate at which the old load cells had been failing, the warranty was appealing to the company’s transportation manager. Combined with this solid warranty, the new load cells have reduced maintenance costs and enabled the steel manufacturer to keep operating without costly disruptions.
The superior accuracy of POWERCELL® PDX® technology is also a notable advantage to the high-volume operation. POWERCELL® PDX® load cells provide a higher level of accuracy than their analog counterparts. Digital-compensation capabilities in each load cell monitor weighing performance to prevent the scale’s accuracy from drifting out of tolerance over time.
By finding the right solution, METTLER TOLEDO saved the customer time and money. The new load cells were a perfect fit. Standard conversion kits make it quick and easy to install the high-performance load cells in scales from a variety of manufacturers.
From the METTLER TOLEDO Vehicle Weighing News 11