Not using an onboard scale yet? What are you waiting for? There are a variety of truck scale systems available on the market to fit the needs and budgets of all types of fleets.

“The smartest fleets are being very deliberate on where they invest their limited resources in this economy,” says Scott McCulloch, director of communications at Right Weigh. “The dollars that are being spent are primarily for things that can increase operating efficiency. Fleets are researching products that provide the fastest ROI and have proven efficiency benefits, like onboard load scales.”

In March, Right Weigh introduced an updated interior dash-mounted unit at the Mid-America Trucking Show. This scale offers a new seven-color selection LED backlight and comes in a choice of black or chrome bezel. As with all Right Weigh models, it shows on-the-ground weight in pounds (not just standard PSI) and calibrates for customized accuracy.

“There's a clear industry trend of moving away from the complex and expensive onboard scales toward those that are easy to install,” McCulloch states. Fleets want scale products that are “simple for the typical operator to use effectively and that are affordable.”

Air-Weigh also introduced a low-cost product last year called the QuickLoad scale for dedicated tractor-trailer combinations and trucks, along with a new scale for refuse vehicles. The LoadMaxx refuse truck scale includes J1708 and J1939 data interfaces and an inclinometer option for improved repeatability. This year the company plans to release a new scale for vehicles with the Mack Camelback suspension.

“We are seeing weight enforcement activity rising across the nation due to the tremendous cost of replacing infrastructure and the diminishing road and bridge repair budgets,” says Jim Morton, product manager, Air-Weigh. “Onboard scales are becoming more commonplace in a wide variety of applications, as fleets are realizing the benefits of maximizing payload before leaving the loading site.”

According to Morton, a single truck equipped with an onboard scale can help reduce a fleet's bottom line and will show an ROI. Drivers save valuable HOS time by not having to check axle weights at truckstops or on in-ground scales at shippers.

Vulcan On-Board Scales recently released the new V700 Electronics System, which makes it possible to view onboard scale information on the Vulcan V320 or V340 displays remotely. The pocket-sized remote, Vulcan explains, allows fleets to monitor weight safely away from the immediate loading area. It features a large LCD with three backlight settings and can operate over 30 hours on 2 AA batteries, with a battery level indicator and an auto-off function.

TruckWeight's wireless remote-operated truck scale systems enable drivers to monitor weights via a handheld device from up to 500 ft. away. Peter Panagapko, president of TruckWeight, says fleets want the flexibility to easily drop and hook their trucks and trailers without having to use separate scales (one for a tractor with air-ride, the other for a trailer with a mechanical suspension).

TruckWeight's Smart Scale offers that flexibility and can also be integrated with onboard computers and telematics devices to give fleet managers information they need to anticipate issues with utilization and compliance, which in turn they can pass along to the customer while the vehicle is in the loading area, he adds.

“Capturing and communicating data electronically can also eliminate the delays and errors that come with having to manually enter information into fleet management software,” Panagapko points out. “A scale helps you maximize payload, eliminate time spent repositioning loads and reduce the risk of running overweight.”

During the past year TruckWeight released two major products. The first is FleetLink, a telematics device that gives fleet managers the ability to electronically capture and communicate axle-weight data generated by Smart Scale. The data can be read by an onboard computer and sent to a home office via satellite- or cellular-based mobile communications systems.

The second new product is a Smart Scale for mechanical suspensions that TruckWeight says yields a weight calculation that's accurate to within 1% compared to a certified scale. Because it uses AA batteries rather than drawing electricity from the tractor, Panagapko explains, “the scale can produce a weight reading on an untethered trailer. Fleet managers can deploy their power units where they need them and eliminate the time and inconvenience of hooking up a tractor in order to use a scale.”