How Do Truck Scales Work?

If you are a truck driver and happen to crisscross different states, then you must have taken note of the truck weighing stations on the sides of different stretches of interstate highways. These weighing stations ensure that the trucks plying on the highways do not exceed the maximum weight that is capped by law for safety reasons.

These stations help the government in calculating the amount of tax that is to be levied on a particular truck. The tax amount is calculated on the basis of the weight of the goods that are being transported. The maximum weight that each truck can carry varies from state to state.

These weighing stations are essential for they determine the amount of damage that can possibly be caused to the highway by the truck. This damage estimate is then charged as tax and that tax fills the coffers of the government which is later used for maintenance of the highways.

The weight of the trucks is usually calculated by two different measurements-axle weight and gross weight. Axle weight is the load which is borne by each axle while gross weight is the total weight of all the axles.

Types of truck scales

Truck scales are manufactured tough so that they can withstand the humongous loads with ease and survive the daily abuse meted out to them. Some modern scales can tackle weights of more than 90,000 pounds each day. These scales are built from steel, concrete and other tough materials. Let’s have a look at the types.

1. Load Cell Scales: One of the most commonly used truck scale is the load cell scale. Each cell of this scale is made from steel or other durable materials. A strain gauge is then fixed or embedded in the cell. This strain gauge consists of a wire which sends mild electrical currents. When a weight is placed on the cell, the wire inside the cell is altered. The variations in current is recorded and sent to a nearby junction box. These variation is used to calculate the amount of weight that was put on the scale. The strain gauge is of two types- compression gauge and tension gauge. Compression gauges depend on how much the scale cells compress when a weight is subjected onto the scale whereas the tension gauges rely on slight changes in cell shapes.

2. Bending Plate Scales: The main difference between load cell scales and bending plate scales is that the latter does not have cells to determine the weight but have metal plates attached to the strain gauges. Whenever a weight is placed on the scale, the plates experience stress. The strain gauges calculate the amount of stress that is put on each plate to determine the weight which is sitting on the plate. The measurements from each gauge are then added which reveals the total weight on that axle.

3. Piezoelectric scales: These scales depend on a series of piezoelectric sensors to calculate the weight of each truck. When a weight is placed on the scale, the pressure within the scale changes the voltage of the current flowing through the electrical conductor on which the sensors are located. The sensors record the variations of the voltage and use them to calculate the weight on the scale. The records from all sensors are then summed up to determine the total weight.

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