Friday, 1 May 2015

How much does YOUR supplier know about axle weighing?

There aren’t any really big global players in the field of axle weighing. One reason is that it’s a bit of a niche market and not something that is required by all.

Another is that it’s more complex to get right than it appears.

So many companies don’t understand how much work is involved in accurately weighing axles. After all, how hard can it be? Just put four load cells under a piece of metal in a hole in the ground and away you go.

Or just measure the distance between chassis and axle and hey presto you’ve got yourself an onboard weighing system.

Knowing about weighing systems isn’t enough though. A detailed knowledge of vehicles, suspension systems, the application and place of use are all vital.

Some manufacturers have even gone so far as to claim that they make systems which don’t need calibrating such is their lack of knowledge of the subject.

With an onboard load indicator that simply can’t be the case and shows a fundamental lack of understanding about what is going on.

All the most cost effective onboard systems monitor the vehicle’s suspension. This provides enough accuracy to prevent vehicles from being overloaded. But what happens when the vehicles suspension wears as it inevitably will simply by being used?

Any onboard indicator measuring the suspension will start to indicate incorrect weights. It’s not the fault of or caused by the load indicator but is simply a reaction to the vehicle being used. The suspension will lose it’s ‘newness’ and move a lot more in reaction to loads.
What happens to these springs when they wear?

Thus a simple means of correcting the change in weight is required. It’s a routine task that will need doing from time to time, typically every six months.

If the customer can do it himself, then it greatly reduces the cost of owning the system. If you have to call for a service engineer to come and do this routine job then the cost could be considerable over the life of the vehicle.

It’s not just the cost. Keeping vehicles in the yard waiting for a service engineer is inconvenient and costly in itself. The vehicles ought to be out doing the job they were bought for.

And what if a vehicle is in for repair or otherwise unavailable? Does the engineer come back another day, at additional cost, just to calibrate the onboard indicator?

Making re-setting a simple customer function is quick, cheap and convenient.

It’s not unusual for manufacturers who claim to make axle weighing systems to be ignorant of what can affect accuracy. It’s something we’ve seen many time over the years.

Or maybe they’re not ignorant? Maybe they’re trying to hide the real cost of owning equipment? Or possibly claiming that a competitor is using components which cause inaccuracy?

It’s more likely to be ignorance and is the reason we have seen so many companies come and go in the axle weighing game in our time.