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Do You Need a Portable Truck Scale or Permanent Weighbridge?

Do You Need a Portable Truck Scale or a Permanent Truck Scale?

Whether you’re choosing between add-ons such as remote LCD displays, windows-based indicators, and custom software integration; or just deciding on the basics, finding the right truck scale for your application is a must. One decision you will make during your truck scale purchase process is the type of foundation you need.

Does your application need a permanent foundation or a portable truck scale? Both options offer unique benefits depending on your needs.

Let’s start with the portable truck scale.

Portable Truck Scales

Portable truck scales can be moved around rather than installed in one place. These vehicle scales are typically made with a steel deck for easy transport and a set of load cells in the core of the weight-bearing surface. They might also be designed with removable ramps, weigh-in-motion capabilities, and other features for efficient use.

Axle scales are an example of a portable truck scale. Our axle scale systems are field proven and used across many industries. These adaptable weight scales can be used on asphalt, concrete, or compacted gravel surfaces.

The Pros

Minimal prep for scale site

Portable scales are designed for mobility, requiring less preparation at the installation site. The surface must be level, but they can be added to a job site without concrete or cement under the scale.

Simple installation

One of the main differences between portable and permanent weighing scales is the installation. The frame of portable truck scales make these scale systems easy to install, requiring less manpower.

Quicker scale set-up time

Similarly, portable truck scales are simple to set up and can typically be installed in less than a day; compared to the weeks required for permanent truck scales due to concrete foundations needing time to cure.

Easier to relocate or resell

Portable truck scales can be moved around a job site with a crane. If desiring some residual value of the purchase, they can also be sold off and hauled to a different location.

Perfect for temporary or remote locations

A portable truck scale is a great choice for temporary job sites or locations where a heavy-duty permanent scale either won’t fit or is difficult to reach.

The Cons

Less durable

Portable vehicle scale frames are built for durability, but they don’t always offer the same level as a permanent truck scale. It’s difficult to match the durability of a concrete foundation.

Higher maintenance

Portable truck scales can require more upkeep. If you decide on a portable scale, expect to budget a little more money for service and calibrations.

Lighter capacity

Though an NTEP-approved, legal-for-trade, portable scale should be able to handle a wide range of vehicle weights, your application may require a concrete foundation with a permanent truck scale if you’re weighing large dump trucks at a rock quarry.

Adherence to state requirements

Some states require mobile scales to be moved or put on a permanent foundation after a designated time, making the logistics a bit more complex for portable scales.

Permanent Foundation Truck Scales

Permanent foundation scales are weighing stations with a concrete foundation installed onsite. These scales are designed for high-capacity usage, are functional in a variety of field configurations, and offer reliable, long-term use.

The Pros

Permanent solution for fixed location operations

A concrete foundation is the right choice if you’re looking for a permanent truck-weighing solution at a long-term job site. Designed for permanent use and higher weight capacities, these scales typically have a much longer lifespan. Our low-profile truck scales combine the industry's most advanced digital technologies with the toughest, longest-lasting weighing surfaces available.

Highly durable

Permanent truck-scale foundations are constructed to last. By utilizing concrete instead of steel, rust and corrosion are less likely to occur.

Capacity for high volumes

The capacity offered by permanent scales is generally higher than that of a portable scale, simply because the materials and installation are designed for heavy-duty use. If you expect higher weight loads, a permanent scale with a concrete foundation will likely meet your needs.

Lower maintenance cost

The installation process for a permanent scale is initially higher, but maintenance costs will remain slightly lower than a portable truck scale.

The Cons

Not designed to move from worksite to worksite

The total installation time for a permanent truck scale can be around 30 days due to the time it takes the concrete to cure before use. With such an extended installation period, permanent scales are rarely used in temporary locations.

More expensive to purchase

The upfront cost of a permanent truck scale is higher than a portable solution due to construction costs.

Sunk Costs

Because of the intensive construction process, permanent truck scale foundations are not made for reselling. When installing a permanent truck scale foundation, you may be able to sell the scale, but you’ll never be able to recoup the cost of the foundation.

Determining which type of truck scale you should purchase depends on your specific needs and applications. Unsure which scale best fits your job site or use? Contact us to learn more about portable and permanent scales or to request a quote.

About The Author

John McGill
John McGill
Southeast Regional Manager
John joined B-TEK with 14 years of scale experience from the service side of the industry, most recently operating as the sales manager of a four-branch organization in the SouthEast territory. Read More

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