At stone quarries, truck scales are just as important as any other type of equipment. A quarry needs a scale that is reliable and accurate; otherwise, there's no way of telling how much stone is leaving the site. Of the two types of scales, steel-deck and concrete, steel-deck truck scales are cost less to calibrate and maintain. Therefore, they're the better option for stone quarries. Here's a detailed look at why you should get a steel-deck model if you run a quarry that needs a new scale.
The Importance of An Accurate Scale
Every company and agency that uses a truck scale should ensure that it's properly calibrated, but accuracy is especially important for quarries. Fairbanks Scales provides an example that shows just how significant a slight miscalibration could be for a stone quarry.
Although a 200-pound variance may seem small compared to an 80,000-pound load of stone, the inaccuracy can be costly for a busy quarry. By Fairbanks Scales' calculations, a site that saw 500 trucks per day, five days a week could lose $345,500 in the course of a year from this minor inaccuracy. (They assume a value of $26.50 per ton in their example.)
Your quarry's volume might not be 500 trucks per month, but even smaller quarries can lose a lot of money if their scale is inaccurate. Each mismeasurement in the above example cost $2.65. If your site sees just 50 trucks go through a day, that's a potential daily loss of $132.50 or an annual loss of $34,550.
The Cost of Constantly Calibrating
Because so much money is at stake, it's important to constantly calibrate your truck scale. According to Fairbanks Scales' document, an on-site calibration typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000. Even at $3,000, it makes financial sense to have your scales calibrated regularly so that you don't lose revenue as stone that's not properly weighed leaves your site.
A few thousand dollars, however, is not something to ignore. For sites that weigh 50 or more trucks each day, Brechbuhler Scales recommends having scales calibrated monthly. Having your scale regularly serviced, therefore, could cost anywhere from $12,000 to $36,000 annually. Picking a scale that costs less to maintain may mean a difference of $24,000 each year, which would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the scale's lifespan.
The Types of Scales: Steel-Deck and Concrete
As mentioned, there are two types of truck scales: steel-deck and concrete. Steel-deck scales sit on top of the ground, and trucks ascend and descend them via ramps. All components of their components are above ground and, therefore, easy to reach.
Concrete scales, on the other hand, sit level with the ground. Trucks can drive onto and off of them without ramps, but their inner-workings lie below ground level. If a repair needs to be made, the technician will need to access these parts. Concrete scales are designed so that they can be repaired, but working on them isn't as easy as fixing a steel-deck scale.
Because steel-deck scales are easier to work on, they cost less to calibrate. The precise cost of maintaining any scale will vary. In general, though, steel-deck scales will tend to be on the lower end of the $1,000 to $3,000 range, and concrete ones will often be towards the upper limit.
If you run a stone quarry, you can't afford to skip calibrating your quarry's scale. You should have a scale that's easy to work on, however, so that you don't overspend on calibration. Choosing a steel-deck scale for your quarry's next truck scale could save you as much as $24,000 a year, simply because it's above ground and easier to work on.