Calbag Metals: Accurate and Efficient Scrap Metal Weighing with a Truck Scale

Calbag Metals: Accurate and Efficient Scrap Metal Weighing with a Truck Scale

As the scrap metal industry relies heavily on accurate weighing to determine material pricing – with many bulk metals bought and sold by the pound – customers who sell scrap metal rely on their buyers to deliver a fair price for all materials purchased.

With 100 years of experience, Calbag Metals based in Portland, Oregon, USA, stresses integrity in all their transactions with scrap customers in the industrial and retail sectors, as well as other scrap dealers. Calbag then processes these metals for milling and provides full quantity, single material loads to domestic and foreign mills. From their trained staff specializing in metal grading to their regularly calibrated onsite scales, Calbag makes accurate scrap weighing a priority.

Retail customers deliver their materials directly to one of Calbag’s public drop-off sites in the Pacific Northwest area. For industrial customers, Calbag drivers visit manufacturing locations directly to pick up roll-off boxes kept onsite for scrap collection. At Calbag’s facility, smaller metal quantities – particularly high-grade metals – are weighed on the company’s floor scale to provide precise readings within 1-2 lb. increments. Calbag’s truck scale is used to double check scrap loads sold by dealers, as well as to determine the final weight of bulk scrap from roll-off boxes typically weighing 20,000 to 50,000 lbs. The latter scale takes much abuse in the company’s scrap yard, from frequent use to heavy rain. When their truck scale was ready to be replaced, Calbag needed a durable solution capable of high accuracy and designed to meet their current weighing needs.

Longer, wider scale accommodates bigger vehicles

“The 70-foot scale we were replacing was about 12 years old, so it had reached the end of its useful life, but we also wanted to lengthen the scale,” said Greg Will, operations manager at Calbag Metals. Calbag noted that many over-the-road trucks are delivering trailers and hauling roll-off boxes were now longer than their counterparts a decade ago. A longer scale would allow a full truck to be weighed at once, saving the time and hassle of progressively weighing each vehicle axle by axle. Thus, Calbag sought a scale replacement with a longer platform to better accommodate larger trucks and roll-off boxes – one that was also slightly wider to make it user friendly for drivers.

“The old scale was narrow – it was 11 feet wide, with safety railing placed along the scale platform  that consumed part of the working width. We wanted a scale that was 12 feet wide and allowed us to use that full width during the weighing process,” Will said. “We also needed to make sure the scale featured load cells that could withstand side and lateral forces to handle our many types of trucks and roll-off boxes.”

Low failure rate

The replacement that Calbag selected – the Avery Weigh-Tronix SteelBridge IMXT truck scale – uses the company’s Weigh Bar® electronic weight sensors to provide a low failure rate and resist errors due to the side-, end- or torsion-loading common when utilizing roll-off boxes. The Weigh Bar is designed to withstand 2 million fatigue life cycles while continuously providing accurate, repeatable weighments.  In addition, the scale platform features high-strength, all welded steel sandwich construction – with a heavy duty design that provides greater deck rigidity and minimizes deck deflection. The scale platform features a 15-year warranty, but it often provides a usable life of 25 years or more.

“We needed a heavy-duty scale platform to handle our increased business. Even though a rugged load cell could handle this stress, we needed additional support for the deck to withstand heavy use,” Will said.

10% more trucks weighed

The Avery Weigh-Tronix truck scale utilizes an 80-foot scale platform, and this additional 10 feet allows the scale to weigh approximately 10 percent more trucks using a single measurement, rather than axle by axle. The replacement also added a foot in width to the platform, making the scale easier to access. It is also accompanied by a unique railing design that ensures truck and driver safety while keeping nearly all 12 feet of the scale width usable.

Mark Hudzinski, account manager at Avery Weigh-Tronix, worked with Will to provide a scale system that met all of Calbag’s specifications and was built to last.

“The company calls it the U.S.S. Calbag,” Hudzinski said of the new truck scale. “The scale platform is designed with a substantial amount of steel in the weighbridge to withstand heavy rain and frequent use, and the load cells are well protected from environmental elements.”

Short scale approach

As the new scale would consume a greater footprint than the prior one, along with installing the scale, Hudzinski and his team of technicians were required to redesign the scale approaches. Space is limited in Calbag’s busy scrap yard, so all of this needed to be accomplished within a confined area while maintaining safety and ease of use. Their efforts made an impression on drivers.

“They did an excellent job designing new approaches. Our truck drivers may not know about the heavy duty deck and load cell design, but they tell us that the extra scale width is helpful – and the approaches are better than before,” Will said. “The project was completed in a timely matter, and they made sure I was involved in the design process,” he added.

With this new truck scale in place, Calbag can continue running its busy operations efficiently while ensuring the highest accuracy in all scrap weighing – optimizing transactions to ensure reliable pricing, thus maintaining customer satisfaction.