The grueling conditions endured by the port-of-entry weigh stations in Perry, Utah, weigh heavily on the minds of officials at the Utah Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Division (UDOT MC).
The scales, which UDOT MC uses to ensure that all passing motor carriers meet state regulations, take quite a beating – and from more than the consistently heavy loads.
“Our biggest concerns are snow and icy, and we have to combat these conditions with large amounts of salt and other means,” said Kim Banks, UDOT MC coordinator. “The salt can lead to corrosion in metal scales or cause concrete deck scales to crack.”
In addition, the Perry, Utah, port, located north of Salt Lake City on Interstate 15, is near a wetland area, causing thetable to be high. In such an environment, a scale not only must withstand challenging conditions but also must be easy to maintain.
Previously, UDOT MC had employed several scales by manufactured by Fairmont, Minn.-based Avery Weigh-Tronix for similar applications, and the department found that the scale systems were durable and reliable. Consequently, for its recent renovation of the port of entry, UDOT MC approached Meldrum Scale Co. in Sandy, Utah, for a new kind of Avery Weigh-Tronix solution.
“Avery Weigh-Tronix offers a galvanizing option and corrosion-resistant steel for their scales, making their weighing equipment better suited for harsh environments. Plus, the fact that the equipment is self-checking has made the biggest difference for us, since we haven’t had to deal with checking rods or other extraneous equipment to ensure the scale is centered correctly,” Banks said. “Avery Weigh-Tronix weighing systems also come with a better warranty than competing models, and so far we’ve had nothing but good luck with the scales. There have been several we’ve used extensively without issue, including a double-ended strain gauge Weigh Bar-type load cell scale, which is 21 years old and still operating well.”
Streamlining the weighing process
The application that UDOT MC was seeking for the Perry location would vary significantly from prior scale installations. To weigh the semi trucks more efficiently, UDOT MC decided to employ a 120-foot-long multideck truck scale that would allow the vehicles to stop only once, streamlining the weighing process.
“The Avery Weigh-Tronix truck scale consists of six decks, each configured to accommodate the most common truck axle configurations and arranged in a row, ensuring an entire semi truck can be weighed in one step,” said Jeff Meldrum, co-owner of Meldrum Scale. “Over a three-month period, we replaced the old existing single-axle-type port-of-entry scales with two sets of six multideck scales (one northbound and one southbound), rebuilt the scale approaches and ensured all scales were configured according to their requirements.”
The six decks that comprise the scale are placed in a certain order according to size and length, and operators can select to stop a truck in one of several places on the scale. Most trucks only need to stop once. The arrangement makes the weighing process run smoothly for the port supervisor and crew, who were heavily involved in the scale’s configuration.
“When we were in the process of devising the scale system we wanted, we brought the idea of a multideck scale to the port supervisor and crew,” Banks said. “After measuring hundreds of the vehicles they worked with on a regular basis, they determined the actual formula we’d need for the length and placement of these scales. Letting the people using the equipment be involved in the process was one of the smartest things we’ve done.”
A driver-friendly system
The scales work in conjunction with Avery Weigh-Tronix E1310 indicators, which gather readings from all truck axles, as well as the total weight of the truck. The system has proven to be very driver-friendly – trucks simply pull up to the scale, the port operator presses the “Print” button on the indicator and all information is printed in a single step.
Banks said the assistance Meldrum and Avery Weigh-Tronix provided throughout the process was key to the project’s success.
“Avery Weigh-Tronix and Meldrum said, ‘Tell us what you want, and we’ll build it,’” Banks said. “They have been more than helpful. We had a good idea, received great input and whatever we’ve asked for, they’ve provided.”
An additional advantage to the scale’s design is the simple access it provides for maintenance. Since all the Weigh Bar-type load cells and additional components can be accessed from above the scale, nearly all maintenance necessary can take place without needing to perform any work underneath it – a great benefit when working in an area with a high water table.
By combining a team of UDOT MC employees, a flexible and helpful equipment provider and the tested durability and high performance of Avery Weigh-Tronix weighing equipment, the Perry, Utah, port-of-entry scale system now is in operation – and those involved in the project are excited about the results.
“These scales keep getting better and better,” Banks said. “They’re tough, durable – anything we’d want a scale to be.
“I know I sound like a salesman, but I’m a very thrilled customer.”
Avery Weigh-Tronix provided this case history. The views and opinions expressed in this case history do not necessarily represent those of GovPro.com.