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How To Safely Protect Your Truck Scale from Snow

If you’re in an area that experiences moderate to heavy snowfall, you may be wondering how this impacts the accuracy and performance of your truck scale. The short answer is that freezing conditions and precipitation/ice build-up can adversely affect the accuracy of scale readings produced in those conditions.

The long answer is that the build-up of precipitation either in or around the truck scale (for example, ice accumulating on the weighbridge or suspension components) can lead to incorrect weighments. This presents a problem for operations who rely on accurate truck scale readings no matter what the weather is like. For instance, snow build-up in the suspension components can cause them to stiffen, producing incorrect weighments. And snow piling up between the foundation and weighbridge can add a further layer of resistance that impacts accuracy.

However, it’s not just snow or sleet that can cause problems when looking at the effects of winter climates on truck scales. Even if there’s been no active precipitation, dirt and debris build-up under the scale components can contain trace moisture. And when freezing temperatures are reached, that moisture also freezes, creating similar problems and inaccuracies.

If not properly dealt with, these inaccuracies can pose large problems for operations. A misreporting truck scale at homebase can lead to a false confidence in truck load and even more problems down the line. These can range from overload fines to vehicle breakdowns.

So how does an industrial operation protect their truck scale from precipitation, ice build-up, and other freezing-weather hazards?

The first method is removing the snow and debris from the scale itself. If there’s no snow (or if the snow is removed promptly), then the snow can’t impact the readings. However, the method of removing the snow itself is important.

When encountering heavy snowfall, the initial reaction may be to get out the snowplow or contact a snowplowing company. But this may not be the best option for dealing with snow on a sensitive weighing instrument like a truck scale. Maneuvering heavy machinery forward and back across the scale can potentially damage it further, compounding the problem. The blade of a snowplow also poses problems to the scale, as it could damage the deck while trying to clear the snow. Damage like this can put the scale entirely out of commission.

A better solution for clearing snow from a truck scale is a snow blower. This is less labor-intensive than a shovel or other manual means of clearing snow and less damaging than a snow plow. This is an ideal choice for heavier snowfall (ie, >2″).

Once you’ve cleared the snow from the truck scale, it’s important to implement methods of further protection. For instance, blowing the snow from the top of the scale will allow trucks to use it again. But by simply blowing the snow into piles directly beside the scale, you’ve created future problems.

Piles of snow directly beside the scale can blow under the scale over time, leading us back to the original problem. Or, as the day goes on and the temperature rises, the snow can melt and leak underneath the scale, only to refreeze when temperatures drop at night. An effective means of combatting this is some kind of barrier between snow build-up and the sides of the scale itself. Some operations will use haybales, sandbags, or even poly drums.

One final consideration is how to deal with ice storms, sleet, or freezing rain. This poses a similar problem to the function of the scale itself (ie, that ice freezes suspension components or joints designed to flex, impacting accuracy and functionality). But now there’s an additional problem where it’s become difficult or dangerous to walk on the weighbridge surface due to the ice buildup.

In cases of ice build-up on the weighbridge, steam-cleaning is a more effective solution than use of chemicals. Investing in mobile steam-cleaning equipment for truck scales is a worthwhile endeavor for facilities relying on consistent and reliable scale operation in inclement weather.  This is a more sustainable solution than salting the truck scale, which can corrode the steel components.

Looking for truck scales that can withstand the weather? Cross Company can get you the truck scales you need from leading manufacturers such as Rice Lake and Mettler Toledo while also providing feedback on how to keep them functional, calibrated, and clean. Contact us today to learn more.

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Did you know… Cross Company is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Our ESOP started in 1979 and as of 2006, we are 100% employee-owned! Learn more about our ESOP and how that benefits both team members and our customers.
Did you know... the precision measurement group at Cross was founded in 1939 by our current CEO's grandfather, Jim King. That's a whole lot of calibration!
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Did you know… Cross Company has grown significantly since our start in 1954. Over the years we've acquired 26 companies! Today, our five groups have expertise in everything from industrial automation to precision measurement, and industry knowledge going all the way back to 1939.