Friday, 28 March 2014

But sometimes weighpads are ideal!

Having spent a fair bit of time explaining how weighpads are not always the best system to use for weighing axles, there are circumstances where they are absolutely the very best option.

We have many customers who use them very successfully but it’s after all the other options have been thoroughly explored, the customer is operating right vehicles for use with weighpads and full and thorough training has been done.

We had one such enquiry only last week. The customer is running 3.5t and 7.5t vehicles delivering specialist products to all parts of the country. With two locations on the same industrial estate it would seem that the obvious choice would be the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator.

Fitted to the vehicle, it goes everywhere the vehicle does and instantly shows the driver his front and rear axle weights and gross weight and alerts him to any overloads.

However, at peak times, when vehicles are likely to be at their heaviest, the company hires in vans for short periods.

Those vehicles need protecting from overloading as well but as they only have them for a short period, fitting an OnBoard Load Indicator is not an option.

A fixed Static Axle Weighbridge, a variant of the systems we supply to VOSA but designed specifically for 2-axle rigids, is a possible solution. But which of the company’s two sites should it be installed at? And could the drivers be relied upon to drive from one site to another, weigh their vehicle and drive back to get any overload corrected?

They ought to obviously but human nature being what it is, they may take the line of least resistance and just take the chance they won’t get caught. It’s odds on that it’ll be that one heavy vehicle which gets stopped in a weight check and, as their industrial estate is only three miles away from a VOSA check site, the risks are quite high.
Portable Weighpads - sometimes the ideal solution!

The solution for this customer is a pair of portable weighpads. Lightweight, not that they need to be as these guys lift and shift some quite heavy equipment, and portable they are ideal for moving between the two locations. So management can take them to the vehicle rather than rely on the drivers.

The hired in vehicles can be weighed as well without any modifications to the vehicles and after full training to ensure they are used correctly the pads will provide an effective protection against overloading for their fleet. And with a fleet comprising of only 2-axle rigids they are the ideal user for portable weighpads.

More than anything this enquiry demonstrates the benefit of getting good advice and taking the time to thoroughly think through what your operation needs and what the best long term solution is.

And the end result is another satisfied customer.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Portable weighpads - not always the best, cheapest option

Just about every enquiry we receive touches on the subject of portable weighpads. 

Whatever type of vehicle people want to weigh and in whatever circumstances they are often seen as a quick, simple and above all cheap method of weighing axles.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Portable weighpads are superb in some applications and we have many customers who use them very successfully. They are perfect for weighing 2-axle rigid vehicles especially where more than one depot needs a temporary weighing solution.

But other than that, their usefulness is quite limited.

Even when weighing 2-axle rigids, the ideal vehicle for them remember, someone needs to make sure the pads are charged up ready for use, they need to be kept under lock and key, after all they’re inherently portable and easy to carry, and someone needs to make sure area the weighing is being done on is flat and level and to supervise the weighing to ensure it is done correctly.

Portable axle pads weighing a larger vehicle 
All of this is multiplied the more axles you need to weigh. For a start there are more weighpads to be kept safe and charged up. And of course someone has to carry all of them  out to the weighing area and position them.

A customer recently purchased three sets of weighpads from us, against our best advice, to weigh large 3-axle rigid vehicles. Technically this is possible but it’s extremely hard work.

We received a call a couple of weeks after the pads had been delivered to say that there was a discrepancy of around 750kg between the weighpads and a local weighbridge. So we sent someone out to make sure the pads were in good order and being used correctly.

Unsurprisingly  it was method error that was causing the problem. Simply placing the pads on the floor in front of the axles, driving the vehicle up onto them and taking a reading is not enough when weighing a bigger vehicle.

It actually took three people almost an hour to get the vehicle weighed correctly and produce an accurate result. This was nothing to do with any deficiency with the weighpads which worked perfectly throughout but simply because it takes that much time, effort and manpower to do it correctly.

So, far from being a cheap, simple solution to the problem, to achieve an accurate weight takes plenty of time and manpower plus of course the cost of enough weighpads to support the whole vehicle in one go.
The cost of the correct axle weighbridge to weigh those vehicles incidentally would have been about the same as all those weighpads.

We’re happy to talk to anyone about portable weighpads and especially happy to point them in the direction of customers who have experience of using them both in the right and wrong circumstances.