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Are you trying to decide between buying a steel deck or concrete deck truck scale? Is the process overwhelming for you?
We are going to tackle the differences between the steel deck and concrete deck truck scales in this article. We will look at the pros and cons of both while also helping you decide which one better suits your needs.
STEEL DECK TRUCK SCALE CHARACTERISTICS
Steel deck truck scales are built with structural steel beams and various thicknesses of tread plate that are welded on top of these beams. The beams act as a form of support under the tread plate and are typically positioned under the anticipated tire paths for most trucks.
Some manufacturers use a channel or formed channel design in place of actual support I-beams. While this method has been around for quite some time, it is not recommended if your scale is going to see a lot of truck traffic and you want the longest possible life out of your scale.
Tread plate thickness is also very important for higher traffic applications. Industry-standard is typically between 1/4" to 3/8” thickness. The more traffic the scale sees, the closer to 3/8” you should be. The highest traffic applications even utilize deck plate thickness around 1/2" for standard trucks. Additionally, scales that support off-road vehicles are often made with 1/2" thick tread plate and even sometimes reach 3/4" tread plate. Let this illustrate how important deck plate thickness is for the most demanding applications.
INSTALLATION OF A STEEL DECK TRUCK SCALE
A steel deck truck scale typically requires less labor and time for installation. Steel deck truck scales can be fully operational within a day at your site. This reduces production downtime and operational impacts on your business. A steel deck scale is also easier to move and less susceptible to damage because the modules weigh less and would require a smaller crane if moved later on.
FUTURE SERVICE OF A STEEL DECK TRUCK SCALE
This is often one of the most overlooked parts of a steel deck truck scale. If the steel on your truck scale wears down or rusts over time, it is significantly easier to make repairs to the steel structure or plate to extend the life of your scale. Cutting out steel and welding new steel back in is much less painful vs chopping out sections of concrete and repouring the new areas.
Now let’s look at concrete deck truck scales and specifically where those may be more useful for you.
CONCRETE DECK TRUCK SCALE CHARACTERISTICS
A concrete deck truck scale is almost like a giant bathtub. The scale arrives with the framing intact and the middle is filled up with concrete which becomes the actual scale itself. The middle area typically includes some wire mesh or smaller I-beams to reinforce the concrete and give it a longer life.
Most concrete deck truck scales are between 6" and 10" in concrete thickness. Any smaller thickness is probably a pre-cast deck that is poured at the manufacturer's location before shipping. While some people prefer these models because they don’t have to wait on concrete cure time, these pre-cast scales are not as durable and are typically engineered for lighter traffic applications and a much shorter life span.
INSTALLATION OF A CONCRETE DECK TRUCK SCALE
A concrete deck truck scale can be installed and wired within a similar time frame to a steel deck truck scale. The biggest difference comes after the scale is set in place, this is when the concrete needs to be poured. This almost always means a second day or two for the installation and much longer for the set-up and curing of the concrete.
Concrete typically needs four weeks for a FULL cure. Although, there are some faster set concrete mixes that can get you on the scale quicker by achieving 70%+ cure in a faster time frame. The cure time of a concrete deck truck scale is the single largest deterrent for most people. We live in an immediate world and most people want to use their new equipment right when it’s installed. There are many examples of this in all of our daily lives.
WHEN TO CONSIDER A CONCRETE DECK TRUCK SCALE:
If it sounds like we are recommending a steel deck truck scale over a concrete deck truck scale. We aren’t, but the number of steel decks in the market surpasses concrete decks by at least 5 to 1. Here are some specific instances where you should seriously consider a concrete deck truck scale:
- Drivers will be getting out of their trucks and walking on the scale – Concrete deck truck scales are much less slippery than painted steel deck truck scales.
- The product going over the scale is highly corrosive – Fertilizers, chemicals and many liquid gases can prematurely corrode a painted surface and even the steel underneath.
- The scale will never be moved – Moving a concrete deck truck scale is very difficult due to the overall weight of the scale once the concrete is in it. The crane and trucking costs become more than double for that of a steel deck truck scale if you decide the scale needs to be moved later on.
- The scale will be in a coastal environment – Much like the corrosive products mentioned earlier, salt can quickly eat away at a scale. This is true for saltwater in the air but also salt that is physically coming into contact with the scale. If you plan to salt your scale in the winter or if your trucks are carrying salt, you should consider a concrete deck truck scale.
We hope this helps you make your decision regarding which model truck scale to purchase. Should you need any more information please feel free to contact B-TEK for an unbiased opinion.