Weight data collection: How it's key to waste

Written by: RWW | Published:

Monitoring weights and profitability of waste has never been more essential and weight data collection is key to operational efficiency. Weighbridge management systems play a pivotal role in providing this, acting as critical control points for vehicles delivering and collecting materials from sites. Claire Col, freelance writer, reports.

Local authorities need to do more to make recycling easier, according to Sita UK boss, David Palmer-Jones, who caused a stir recently by warning that not only is recycling in the UK flat-lining, but it might actually fall in England in the next few years, risking us ‘sleepwalking’ into missing the EU target of recycling 50% of waste by 2020.

The past 15 years have seen households significantly increasing the proportion of rubbish they recycle, from just 11% in 2000-01, to 43% in 2011-12. 

However, the rate of increase slowed dramatically in 2012-2013, rising by just 0.2% and, according to an analysis by SITA UK, in the year 2013-14 recycling rates may have fallen by at least 2% and could even be as low as 40%. Palmer-Jones says that this might be due in part to ‘green fatigue’ caused by councils imposing numerous confusing bins on households, but also because heavy items like glass and newspaper are being used less as producers use more lightweight materials. 

Moreover, as more cash-strapped councils introduce ‘paid for’ garden waste recycling, weights of waste are reducing, and with them, our chances of meeting 2020 targets.

Weight data collection

Over the past five years dramatic changes have occurred in the way weighbridge systems integrate with vehicle control equipment as well as management software and it’s recognised in the industry that cost is an important factor in choosing a system, and as weighbridges become more demanding and operationally complex, the pitfalls of buying on price alone increase. 

Weightron Bilanciai 

Experts in the field, Weightron Bilanciai have been designing and supplying weighbridge equipment for over 30 years, and say that pedigree and functionality must be carefully considered when making that all important purchase. 

“Weighbridges may seem to be merely pieces of metal or concrete,” says Weightron Bilanciai’s sales director Emlyn Roberts. “But sound mechanical design and build procedures are essential both for performance and longevity.” Indeed, cutting corners with factors such as steel quality or weld integrity may reduce prices short-term, but this can have a detrimental effect on overall reliability.

“The load cells and their associated mounting hardware are considered to be the most crucial part of the weighbridge and are required to work under a range of harsh and challenging environments,” continues Roberts. “Evidence from the field shows that compact stainless steel canister load cells, together with well-designed rocker mounting assemblies provide the optimum solution for weighbridges. 

“More cumbersome single ended bending beam load cells or vulnerable double ended shear beams with ball bearing mountings are more likely to fail,” adds the sales director. 

Traditional weighbridge instrumentation has also developed significantly over the past three years. Intuitive touch screen driver-operated terminals, such as Weightron’s DD2050 have replaced standard weight indicators, providing a wealth of operational and management features. 

“End-users should investigate how easy it is to set up fundamental features such as databases and libraries. Driver terminals must be capable of operating with the wide array of recognition technologies such as RFID, magnetic and voice activation,” Emlyn adds.

Today’s weighbridge systems are also expected to seamlessly integrate with an array of management software systems including SAP, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics and J D Edwards. In parallel the weighbridge software must be fully compatible with automatic number plate cameras, radiation detection systems, control barriers, traffic lights and card readers. Weightron have developed their Winweigh software to provide an interface with equipment and external software. 

“There are advantages for the customer if the weighbridge supplier is responsible for the design and manufacture of all critical equipment and software. This provides practical and efficient single source system responsibility and effective rapid response support to minimise downtime,” adds Roberts.

RDS Technology

Established in the 1960s, Cotswolds-based RDS Technology designs and manufactures a wide range of instrumentation for the mobile machinery industry and has recently launched the Loadex 100, a retro-fittable scale. “The Loadex 100 can be installed on both tracked and wheeled 360 degree material handling machines to weigh material in the bucket, grab or clamshell,” explains Claire Mattiolo of the company’s marketing department. 

“With a minimum of two pressure sensors that are installed into the hydraulic lift system, the pressure signals are captured and corrected by measurements taken by an inclinometer,” continues Mattiolo. 

Slope corrections are then made from another inclination sensor on the chassis and ultrasonic technology provides accurate bucket position compensation. The final calculation is then sent via CAN protocol to the Loadex 100 cabin terminal where the information is then saved and distributed.

RDS have also recently introduced the new Loadmaster a100 on-board weighing scale for wheeled loaders. This CAN-based system combines cutting edge sensor technology and signal processing techniques to provide precise bucket weight information. 

“Designed to operate within the fastest loading environments and toughest of conditions, Loadmaster a100 reduces cycle times and maximises tons per hour performance,” continues Mattiolo. 

It also allows loading correctly first time: “The Loadmaster a100 uses a 7” colour, resistive touch screen as well as additional physical keys to provide an ergonomic operator interface,” says Mattiolo.

The Loadmaster a100 can be retrofitted on to wheeled, telescopic and tractor type loaders. 

Mattiolo again:“The system continually measures hydraulic pressure using up to four sensors. All signals are then processed in the RDS Smart Box and the resultant weight calculation is sent to the terminal mounted in the cabin. Its SQL database capability provides virtually unlimited inputs and GPRS or Wi-Fi connectivity provides communication with the back office.” 

Shering

Family-owned Shering have been at the forefront of weighbridge manufacturing since 1946 and boast a global client base.

The company also specialises in weighbridge software, hardware and traffic management not only for individual site requirements, but also for specialist projects such as waste transfer stations, energy from waste plants, material recycling facilities and anaerobic digestion plants. 

“Our designs focus on strength, reliability, longevity, low cost of ownership, resilience and accuracy incorporating exclusive patented technologies which provide real additional benefits to our customers manifested in exceptional warranties on the deck and vital components such as the load cells” explains director Sally Shering.

Shering Weighbridge design includes patented technology, simple foundation construction with no foundation bolts, standardisation of parts throughout the range, along with an impact damage eliminator (IDE) restraint post system and hermetically sealed stainless steel load cells and lightning protection technology.

Shering recently worked with The Daily Telegraph and Sky Television on documentaries about their quality business model entitled ‘Best Practice in Manufacturing’.  

“Such recognition has significantly enhanced our global profile helping us to maintain our status of producing weighbridge products which are built to last and offer world-class innovation in their construction” says Shering. 

All Shering’s weighbridges are British made and manufactured at their headquarters in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland.

 


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