The best reason for purchasing an onboard truck scale is the increased carrying capacity it represents, and today there are a variety of scales available to fit almost any fleet's application and budget. One of the most innovative new products is an onboard scale from Air-Weigh that can be integrated into a cab's existing in-dash display. Previously, the only way fleets could reap the benefits of onboard weighing was to purchase a standalone aftermarket product.

The new Air-Weigh technology will facilitate the transfer of trailer weight data to the cab using a tractor's existing J-1708 data bus. By combining controls, the integrated scales will help reduce the number of distractions in the cab. Up to six different axle suspension groups can be displayed on the screen at once, along with GVW and payload. Accuracy is within 300 lb. of a DOT scale, according to Air-Weigh. When drivers have had some practice with weighing procedures, data should be even more accurate.

Weigh-Right has also recently introduced a scale product for tractor-trailers equipped with air suspension. A variation on Weigh-Right's Easy Air portable air ride meter, the Easy Air II offers an onboard weighing solution for owner-operators and over-the-road fleets that use other companies' trailers. The battery-operated meter is not permanently connected to either the tractor or trailer, the manufacturer explains, but fitted with a quick-disconnect. The opposite end of the quick-disconnect — the meter connect with weather protection cap — is attached to the tractor and the trailer, allowing the scale to be moved from truck to truck.

A memory chip in the meter cap enables air pressure data to be transferred to the portable meter, which reads out data directly as weight. The scale can read individual axles, or axle group weights, as well as total vehicle weight. Weigh-Right says a two-calibration process ensures accuracy from an empty to a full trailer.

The portable meter is also easy to use, featuring a two-line display that prompts drivers for each step in the scaling operation. The mechanical gauges are said to be accurate to within 2%. However, the company emphasizes that scaling is a process in which procedures have to be followed correctly to get the best results.

Right Weigh is a manufacturer that also offers analog onboard scales for trucks and trailers with air-ride suspensions. Using a single calibration process, the mechanical gauges are designed to provide accurate readings in real weight rather than air pressure.

Several models are available, including the 320-64 AV, which features a 3.5-in. gauge with values to 62,000 lb. This gauge is designed for a standard tandem axle system using a single leveling valve, but others are available for single- and tri-axle trailers.

Vulcan Onboard Scales, which manufactures onboard weighing solutions for spring, air and mixed spring/air suspensions, has a new product for roll-off style refuse trucks. The V500 electronic meter installed in the cab displays gross vehicle or net payload weights. It also alerts drivers to unsafe or overload situations. An optional meter can record net daily payloads and print individual load receipts.

The Vulcan roll-off scale uses two pin-style load cells for the rear hinge and a hydraulic sensor connected to the lift cylinders. It includes a rear hinge assembly with composite bushings designed for maximum durability, accuracy and long load cell life. Recommended for both on- and off-road applications, it provides accuracy within 1% of GVW, according to Vulcan.

For fleets that use mechanical and air suspension trailers, Air-Weigh has also introduced an onboard weighing solution using load cell technology from Vulcan Onboard Scales. Working in partnership with Vulcan, Air-Weigh designed a product that enables mechanical or leaf spring suspended trailers to talk directly to Air-Weigh equipped tractors. Beta testing has also been completed for a scale that's integrated into a mechanical steer-axle sensing device; it should be available by late spring.

The system includes a master controller on the tractor called ComLink, as well as remote load-cell sensing devices on all trailer axles. ComLink uses multiplexing technology, which Air-Weigh developed in 1995 as a way for tractors and trailers to communicate without the need for a second connector. ComLink provides fleets with drop-and-hook capability so they can use the tractor's master controller with mechanical or air-suspended trailers.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CIRCLE NUMBER ON REPLY CARD:

Air-Weigh 334
www.air-weigh.com

Right Weigh Inc. 335
www.right-weigh-scales.bigstep.com

Vulcan On-board Scales 336
www.vulvanscales.com

Weigh-Right Inc. 337
www.weighright.com