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Case Studies - Brick & Block

Case Study #2: Mobile Weighing and Safety on the Road

It All Happens on the Job Site

Servicing the construction industry direct, one of the largest brick and block manufacturers in Canada and North America offers its services at the build site. With a North American wide construction boom taking place over the last decade the ability to get product to the customer quickly and safely is critical. With a fleet of 36 flatbed haulers and Moffatt truck mounted lift trucks this company served the province of Ontario. Everyday product is dispatched and offloaded and loaded using the Moffatt truck mounts. A semi-rough terrain portable lift truck with a 4000lb capacity is perfect for rougher terrain, a feature at most construction sites. Weight is key for this mobile operation as vehicle capacity must be respected for safety. But also, product is purchased and confirmed based on weight.

No Time for Guessing Weight

When delivering brick and block product to the customers job site means having the right equipment to fulfill the transaction productively and safely. The flat beds and Moffatts need to drop off product and provide proof of weight product received. In addition, surplus product needs to be picked up to be re-inventoried and assigned a credit. Just as important is the ability for the Moffatts carry loads within capacity range as they travel over uneven terrain with trenches and Mud. Overloading can provide dangerous tip over scenarios that could put not only the operator but anyone close enough to the lift truck and load in jeopardy. There is no such thing as a floor scale on a construction site pre-determine and confirm weight.

The Right Tools mean Having an On-board System

Sometimes it not about money, but it’s almost always about practicality. At first this company did an initial trial on a variety of systems and was leaning towards a load cell system that boasted an accuracy of +/-1% of rated load. With that kind of accuracy, the price tag of 10K per system seemed to have a reasonable R.O.I. with which to reclaim the investment. After just a few weeks that business strategy changed for the following reasons. With the application being severe with heavy loads and force on the lift truck carriage as well as the uneven terrain it was impossible to keep the scales calibrated. What would start out with a 5lb variance, by the end of the second day could be off as much as 50 to 150lbs off depending on how much force was put on the external technology. Furthermore, as long as the ground is thawed, construction season operate in sun, rain and snow. The generic indicators it would appear were never meant to operate outdoors.

Moisture and condensation started to quickly show corrosion on the back plate and water droplets formed on the inside of the screen. Perhaps the most concerning was the fact that the load cell system required a 265lb hang on carriage to house the external potentiometers and load cells that created an additional 2” of lost load compared to the original 24” load center. That required the lift truck to be re-plated with a 700lb loss in capacity. Fortunately, there was an alternative. The SkidWeigh ED2-SM hydraulic lift truck scale. Porting into the hydraulic system of the lift truck not only can the install be performed easily in 2 hours it does not de-rate the lift truck or alter the load center. It is also built to IP65 standards which is perfectly suited for even the wettest and harshest environments. The SkidWeigh ED2-SM provides an accuracy that is +/- 1% of vehicle capacity or better, guaranteed. Utilizing hydraulic technology means the system will lock down optimum capacity and retain it over time. What was also appealing is the SM function allowed them to preprogram a safety overload threshold warning the operator within seconds of lifting a load that could be problematic. The forklift operator never having to touch a button has all the tools and safety equipment to drop off and pick up product. At less than a quarter of the cost of the load cell system alternative it cemented the decision.
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