New year, new weighbridge?
Avery Weigh-Tronix highlight 10 key things to consider when choosing a weighbridge supplier
PLANNING a weighbridge purchase in 2019? If so, Mark Wilcox, industrial market manager with Avery Weigh-Tronix, offers these top 10 considerations to help you choose the right supplier for your business.
1. Expert advice
The way that you plan to use your weighbridge both now and, in the future, can impact on your choice of supplier. Choose a provider who fully understands your requirements and can offer best-practice advice on what would work for your business, perhaps through optimizing your existing weighbridge operations before even having to make a purchase. Weighbridges are a long-term investment and the right weighbridge supplier should be able to help you maximize your investment by saving on changes or upgrades in the future by specifying the right product
No two businesses are the same, meaning a one-size-fits-all design approach does not always work. Customization options, including type of weighbridge, size, capacity, load-cells and even paint finish, are important elements of the decision-making process and can sometimes be overwhelming. However, these decisions are vital to ensuring your weighbridge fits your business needs (making getting expert advice even more important to guarantee the specification is right first time).
3. Service and support
Weighbridges play a critical role within the operations of many businesses, but they are often put to work in some of the harshest environments. Your weighbridge supplier should offer preventative service and maintenance from qualified engineers to ensure your weighbridge is kept in full working order and to minimize your risk of downtime. Cleaning is an important part of maintaining the accuracy and uptime of your weighbridge and should be performed regularly. Check if your service provider can offer a cleaning service alongside your regular planned maintenance works. In the event of your weighbridge not working, how much time can you afford to lose? Look for a supplier who can offer service plans that maximize uptime and minimize disruption or at the very least can offer nationwide service cover, especially if you are in a hard-to-reach location.
4. Build quality
It goes without saying the UK is notorious for its unpredictable weather conditions, which can affect the longevity of your weighbridge. Freezing temperatures and torrential rain can lead to water ingress and rust, whilst lightning strikes can damage load-cells and take out peripheral equipment. Combine these weather conditions with harsh operating environments and it is imperative to make sure your weighbridge supplier can offer a durable and robust bridge that is built to withstand the elements.
It is important to pay close attention to the design features proposed for your new weighbridge. Weighbridges come in a variety of shapes and sizes but getting one that will perform well in your specific environment is important to help avoid issues in the future. Common problems from badly designed weighbridges include load-cell failure or inaccurate weight readings due to lack of drainage or a build-up of spoils around the load-cells. Although it is always advisable to regularly clean your weighbridge and have regular maintenance, the right design for your usage and environment can go a long way to minimizing the risks of downtime. When it comes to load-cells, as a key component of a weighbridge it goes without saying quality is a must. A good-quality load-cell provides reliability, which is key as any replacement cells need to be reverified for trade applications. Design features such as load-cell inspection covers keep load-cells safe from harm and minimize weighbridge downtime.
6. Manufacturing process
Reputable weighbridge manufacturers should be able to demonstrate the quality of the key components and materials used in their weighbridges. Weighbridges should be manufactured in line with recognized ISO standards, covering the full traceability and quality of the steel, as well as the competence of in-house automated welding. Another consideration is the manufacturing country as this could impact on stock availability, lead times and shipping costs, especially post-Brexit.
7. Customer testimonials
Nothing says ‘you’re doing a good job’ more than a customer willing to say how much they value your product. Look for a weighbridge provider who has customer case studies and reviews on their website or can point you in the direction of some previous happy customers who are willing to share their experiences.
8. Total cost of ownership
A weighbridge is a big investment and price can often be a deciding factor when choosing a supplier. However, a lower initial price can often lead to a higher overall cost when looking at the lifetime of the weighbridge. Instead choose a supplier who can help you unlock the value in your weighbridge, through fraud prevention, future-proofed plans and configurable options.
9. The complete solution
Weighbridges can come with a long list of peripheral equipment, including driver-operated consoles, printers, traffic barriers and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Ensuring all these different components work seamlessly together can be difficult, so choosing a supplier who can provide the full weighing solution makes the process simpler and means one point of contact if anything goes wrong.
10. A brand with longevity
Investing in the right supplier can see your weighbridge last years and grow with the changing needs of your business. Look for a recognized name in weighbridge production who has a proven history and strong track record when it comes to delivering quality products and service. It is important that whoever you choose will be around to support your business over the lifetime of your weighbridge.