As clean as a weighbridge
The role of a weighbridge is to accurately capture weight data which can help to protect against human error and mitigate fraud. However, over time, mud, dirt and slurry can build-up under and around the weighbridge, especially within cement production.
This build-up can have a detrimental effect on the integrity of the weighbridge. In the short term causing inaccurate weight readings which can lead to either a loss of profit or overloaded vehicles (which break the terms of the Weights & Measures Act). In the long term it will lead to the early failure of the load cells or Weigh Bars®, which will put the weighbridge out of action.
Keep it clean
Carry out regular visual inspections of the weighbridge to identify any obstructions from debris or water, either in the pit, beneath the platform or around the load cells. If the weighbridge has a ‘T’ section rubber, ensure this is inserted correctly and there is no build-up of surface material around it.
Check for debris build-up around the load cell assemblies and remove any unwanted material, taking care not to damage the load cell cables.
Carry out a weight check (end-middle-end-test) using a loaded vehicle. Compare the weight of the vehicle when weighed at each end of the weighbridge and in the centre platform position and note the readings at each point. If discrepancies in excess of ±2 indicated divisions are found, they should be reported.
Check any pit drainage system and/or automatic pumps are working correctly. Should water or debris interfere with the weighbridge superstructure, it will affect accuracy and could result in the weighbridge being rejected by a Trading Standards officer.
Use the monthly check to inspect the leading edges of foundations for any sign of damage to the side frames and end frames. Check for any excess movement of the platform and report any significant changes since the last inspection. Repeat the weekly check for any build-up of debris and carry out an ‘end-middle-end’ test, noting the readings obtained.
Jet-wash the weighbridge platform to remove any loose debris and any build up of material beneath it, avoiding direct contact with the load cells and Weigh Bars®. Rebalance (zero) the weighbridge and repeat the ‘end-middle-end’ test. Compare the results of the two sets of tests and report any discrepancies found.
To avoid mud and slurry build-up, it is advisable to have your weighbridge cleaned professionally. Professional cleaners will use specialist equipment and highly trained staff who will clean a bridge safely, without damaging the component parts. The optimum time to schedule a weighbridge clean is spring and autumn. In spring, the weighbridge can be cleaned to remove the mud, dirt and debris build-up that will have occurred over winter. In autumn, prepare your weighbridge for the harsh conditions of winter by clearing away dirt and debris which may solidify around the loadcells in cold temperatures.
Trust the experts
Using unqualified workers for weighbridge cleaning should be completely avoided, as the cleaning can directly affect the metrological characteristics of the weighbridge and can impact the Weights and Measures regulations of the weighbridge installation. Look for weighbridge suppliers, such as Avery Weigh-Tronix, who can offer professional cleaning services as part of service and support agreements.