Buying a weighbridge for your business is an investment, and whilst it no longer costs quite as much as it once did (due to advances in technology, engineering and manufacturing) it is still a sizeable investment to consider.
Every weighbridge installation is different, and often it can be the installation, rather than the weighbridge itself, which can end up increasing the cost.
In this article, we’ll go through some of the factors you will need to consider when looking into purchasing a weighbridge.
Surface Mounted or Pit Mounted Weighbridge?
Your first consideration might be whether to opt for a surface-mounted or a pit-mounted weighbridge. There’s no difference in their functionality, but a surface-mount requires more room, or space, around it for vehicles to drive on and off than a pit-mount weighbridge does. We have a whole article on surface mount vs pit mounted weighbridges, available here.
If you’ve chosen a pit-mounted weighbridge, there are a couple of extra considerations to make when it comes to pricing up your investment. A pit mounted weighbridge requires groundwork for the pit to be created. This includes adequate foundations and drainage. If the pit does not drain correctly, the weighbridge could become damaged and require additional repairs and servicing. It’s estimated for budgetary purposes that the groundworks cost roughly £1k per meter required.
If your facility is better suited to a surface mounted weighbridge, then you could bypass some of the costs associated with the installation of a pit-mounted weighbridge.
There are various options for the material of the weighbridge deck. Most commonly available are two options; concrete and steel. With proper maintenance and care both types of weighbridge deck should last over 20 years. The primary consideration here is weight. A concrete deck on a weighbridge is incredibly heavy and naturally transportation and installation costs begin to increase when opting for this construction. A concrete deck does have the benefit of avoiding rust, etc. However, they can be prone to cracking and crumbling through freezing weather cycles.
A steel weighbridge deck construction needs to be of a high quality and strength in order to reliably take the weight of vehicles. Cheaper steel-decked weighbridges may seem a good option, but cheaper construction and materials may leave the weighbridge prone to the elements and the weight of heavier vehicles. Poor quality steel weighbridges are constructed from low grade steel, have a lesser physical weight due to minimal sub-structure, and they usually have lower quality load cells fitted. These cheaper, steel weighbridges would have an expected lifespan of around 5-7 years depending on the amount of traffic going over it. Steel weighbridges constructed from high-grade steel, good load cells and substantial sub-structure can last upwards to 20 years (especially with regular care, servicing and maintenance).
A cost that you may not have accounted for is maintenance. Weighbridges are a large investment for a company, and yet many businesses neglect the maintenance and end up having to pay hefty repair bills and suffer loss of business when they fail.
If purchasing a weighbridge from Solent Scales, it's worth remembering that we can offer you a flexible service and maintenance plan which will help to ensure your weighbridge remains functional and calibrated. However, it’s down to you to ensure that preventative maintenance (such as cleaning under and around the weighbridge deck) is done regularly.
There are two considerations for what we call 'peripherals'. First is the indicator. This is the device which takes the readings from the weighbridge’s load cells, and translates it into a live weight reading. Although these don’t have to break the bank, but they are still an additional cost, and the price will gradually increase if you require more features, new technologies or accompanying software.
Secondly, the weather in the UK is not the best; it’s not fair to have your weighbridge attendant stood outside all day weighing in incomings and the outgoings. Most weighbridges are accompanied by a small building which allows the entirety of the weighbridge related peripherals to be housed (such as the indicator, paperwork etc.) and protects it all from the elements. Be sure to factor this into your calculations.
So, a typical, high-quality steel weighbridge would cost somewhere in the region of £16k and above, it's not just the price of the weighbridge deck alone you must consider. As you can see above, there are a number of potential additional costs that might catch your business out if you’re not prepared. At Solent Scales, we offer new British-built surface and pit-mounted weighbridges from our tried and tested UK manufacturer.
Still want to read more about the benefits of investing in a weigh bridge? Click here to read about the dangers of overloading vehicles.