Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do I need a concrete or steel deck on my truck scale?


Concrete Deck or Steel Deck - Which one do I choose?

In the many phone calls we receive at, we often get asked by new users the difference between a concrete deck or a steel deck truck scale. We would like to discuss with you in today's blog the basic differences of each.

A STEEL DECK truck scale is the most common in today's marketplace. Probably 75-85% of new truck scales today are sold with a steel deck. Generally speaking, a steel deck truck scale has a checkered deckplate over the top of the truck scale that is either 1/4" or 3/8" thick which is welded to the support beams of the truck scale.

There are two main advantages of a steel deck truck scale:

1) They are ready to use once you drop the modules in place. With a pour in place concrete deck scale, you have to wait for the concrete to cure. (A few concrete deck models from different manufacturer's are poured at the factory but are usually expensive to transport).

2) They are easy to move when needed

3) They provide better re-sale value than a concrete deck scale since they are in higher demand

Today's common CONCRETE DECK truck scale is similar to that of a steel deck truck scale, but in this case, each scale module has a bottom skin with the top open and once the scale modules are set on the scale foundation, concrete is poured into each deck, making a bond with the support beams and the bottom steel plate of each module.

The main advantage of a concrete deck scale is that, once poured, it's heavier than a steel deck truck scale module. Looking back 40 years ago, manufacturer's only made concrete deck scales. The heavier each scale module is, the more mass the scale has and therefore the mass from the truck moving over the scale is absorbed easier. The theory here is the heavier the scale, concrete deck or steel deck, the longer it will last.

We hope this helps educate you on the differences between concrete deck and steel deck truck scales. is here to answer your questions regarding truck scales, please Contact Us at anytime!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Truck Scale 101-Buying Basics

If you are not familiar with a truck scale and you are looking to add one to your facility, adding a truck scale is a more complicated task than one would think. Completing your "Due Dilligence" in your quest for a truck scale is an absolutely necessary task that takes time and effort. In my younger years I always looked forward to watching an after school show called School House Rock where they repeatedly sent the message "Knowledge is Power". This is indeed the case when in the hunt for a truck scale.

Most reasonable business people understand that the lower the operating costs, the higher the profit margins. Therefore most people searching for a truck scale start with a search on the web for used equipment. A good used truck scale is hard to find and when you find one, chances are it has been sold or you may be in a bidding war just to get your hands on it.

Here are some tips and things to immediately consider BEFORE your search begins:
  • Location of the Used Scale - Never buy a used truck scale unless you can physically SEE it with your own eyes or the eyes of someone you trust. If the scale is not within a car ride of your facility, you can probably forget about it. A visual inspection is essential prior to purchase. The scale might be a good deal, but what are the costs to get it to your facility?
  • Size of the Scale - Remember that to buy and sell over the scale, split weighing is illegal. Today's standard scale size is usually 70'. Lots of used scales available are 60' and shorter. Take into consideration size of the vehicles going over your scale before starting your search. The smaller the scale, the better the price.
  • Visual Inspection - It is important to inspect the scale modules from top to bottom for steel condition, rust, wear and tear, etc. It's probably wise to take a hammer and tap on any sections of the steel that appear to be flaking, cracked, etc as some scales come with a sealed bottom where the supports are sealed in where you cannot figure out what is going on inside (i.e. the scale could be rusting from the inside out). If there is excessive rust, a good sandblasting and painting should be in order to prolong scale life.
  • Parts/Scale Components - Another common problem is if the scale is not currently in use, are all the parts still with the scale and more importantly are they working? Many times the scale modules are stacked off to the side and the electronics are not treated with care by the people who un-installed the scale to begin with. There could be potentially some additional investment underneath your initial investment
  • Mechanical Scales - If the scale you are looking at is a mechanical truck scale, you'll want to get a make/model and serial number (if you can get it off the scale) and run it by your local Weights & Measures officials. It is my understanding that in several states, mechanical truck scales taken out of service are no longer able to be placed back in service. This is not the case in all states, just some. Also if the scale has been modified such as an old concrete deck replaced with a steel deck, it is likely you will not be able to get the scale certified for use. Also many mechanical scales that are older have a lower gross capacity and concentrated load capacity when compared to today's models and truck loads. It is important also to have an educated scale company in mechanical scales inspect the scale with you to check the pivots and bearings and to make sure the suspension is in tact. An overhaul to the scale may be necessary shortly down the road, costing you time and more money.
  • Warranty - Remember that used truck scales do not come with a warranty. If the seller agrees to make any assurances that the scale will work in a certain way, get it in writing. Even if they are under the current manufacturer's warranty, it is not transferable to you if you buy the scale. A new scale does give you warranty piece of mind.
  • Installation and Service - When you buy a house do you get a home inspection? When you buy a used car do you take it to your mechanic? It is probably money well spent to hire a local scale company to visit the site with you to advise you on the condition of the equipment. This same company will likely be your company to help install and service should you purchase the scale.
You are probably saying, "man what a hassle!". There are lots of good deals on used scales that happen every day. What I am saying is BE EDUCATED and INFORMED in your purchasing decision. A scale is not like a loader or a tractor or other equipment-it is a more complex animal that you would think. When you look at the difference in cost between a new and used scale, weigh the pros and cons carefully.