For many farmers, getting grain trucks properly loaded in the farmyard depends on looking into the box and estimating when the correct number of bushels are onboard. But getting it wrong costs money. Too small a load and you’re adding extra runs to the terminal to get everything delivered. Too big and you’re being hard on the truck, not to mention running the risk of getting a very expensive overload ticket.
For trucks equipped with air suspensions, farmers can use the PSI gauges tied into the air bags on each axle group to estimate the load’s weight. The pressure readings displayed correspond directly to the amount of weight loaded into the box. That makes getting the right sized load a little easier, but there is still a way to improve on that advantage.
Now, drivers can replace suspension PSI gauges with a different, more detailed option. Air Weigh’s load measurement system converts
those suspension pressures to exact weight readouts. “It’s an onboard weight measurement system for both truck and trailer,” says Chris Dunn of Beaver Truck Centre, a Volvo truck dealership in Winnipeg that sells the Air Weigh package.
“There are sensors that tie into the airbags and a small gauge that mounts right on your dash,” he explains. The gauge reads weights on trailer, drive and steering axles independently, so operators will know both the GVW and individual axle-group weights. That’s important. Even loads that do not exceed a truck’s maximum allowable GVW can net the driver a ticket if they’re not distributed properly.
To calculate the load on the steering axle, the Air Weigh system uses deflection sensors on axles equipped with leaf springs to measure flex. The company’s product information claims the system is accurate to within 300 pounds per axle, but Dunn says he regularly sees accuracy rates to within 20 pounds.
The system includes a warning alarm that alerts drivers to an overload; and the load sensors can also be connected directly to an onboard computer to print out weigh slips at the loading point, something that can help truckers who may be purchasing grain or other commodities like scrap metal.
“You get it all for about $1,300, everything in,” says Dunn. “And it’s very, very simple to install. Some guys already have an air suspension gauge. With this system all you do is pull your air gauge out, put this one in and you’re done.” Even if you have to install the full system, Dunn says it’s an easy job that only involves a little basic wiring; most farmers will be able to do it themselves.
If a farmer has more than one trailer, the in-dash gauge will automatically recognize Air Weigh sensors on any of them through a wireless connection when the trailer is connected to the truck. Additional trailer installation kits can be purchased separately for about $650.
For more information, contact Dunn at Beaver Truck Centre in Winnipeg via email at [email protected] or call 1-888- 38VOLVO.
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There are sensors
that tie into the airbags and a small gauge that
mounts right on your dash