What to Look For When Buying Axle Weigh Pads
Overloading your commercial vehicle makes your vehicle significantly more dangerous on the road; causes additional wear and tear on the vehicle and roads; and gives unfair advantages over those who are loading their vehicles safely. For these reasons, it’s illegal to load your vehicle beyond its capacity and can come with heavy fines for drivers and business.
For this reason it’s worthwhile for companies to invest in axle weigh pad technology to give you the ability to check a vehicle’s individual axle weight and overall weight before being driven on the roads. This will help your business stay legally compliant and safe on the roads.
Axle weigh pads come with a range of different features and benefits that you’ll need to choose before investing in them for your business. In this post, we’ll go through most of the common features and technical aspects that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase.
Size is one of the 2 main considerations that you’ll need to make when purchasing this technology. You need to know exactly what kind of vehicle(s) needs weighing, where it’s being weighed and how often.
The surface weighing area of the pad needs to be tailored for the vehicle you’re weighing as larger vehicles with dual wheel axles may not fit on smaller axle weigh pads. Similarly, think about how often they are being used. Our most popular axle weigh pads are only 18mm tall. The height of these pads mean that vehicles can be driven straight onto them with ease without ramps or jacking up the vehicle. Compare this to taller pads which need space for ramps or extra time to jack the vehicle up off of its wheels. Whilst only a minor change, when weighing vehicles daily, this can make a huge difference to efficiency.
In addition, if these pads travel with the weighed vehicle to ensure compliance throughout its travels, the pads which you purchase should be as small and lightweight as possible. This is for the above reasons and to not take up too much space or weight which could be utilised for goods and cargo.
Capacity is the second important consideration to make. Capacity is the maximum weight that a single axle weigh pad can measure. If you plan on frequently weighing vehicles that are loaded up to 15 tonnes, you will need an axle weigh pad system with a capacity of over 15 tonnes. This is for 2 reasons. The first is that naturally, you will not be able to measure a weight higher than the maximum capacity of your axle weigh pad system. Secondly, placing a weight heavier than the maximum capacity onto an axle weigh pad can permanently damage it.
Maximum capacities are calculated based on the weight that a single weigh pad can handle, not the overall system. A system of 4 axle weigh pads, each with a maximum capacity of 5 tonnes, would have a theoretical combined maximum capacity of 20 tonnes. However, this assumes an even weight distribution, which no commercial vehicle has. If you placed a 20 tonne (or even a 17 tonne) vehicle onto this system, some of the system’s axle weigh pads will be damaged from overloading, due to more weight being placed over these wheels.
This is where overload protection comes in. Overload protection helps to prevent axle pads from being damaged by putting too much weight on them and offers an extra peace of mind when driving a 20 tonne truck onto your latest business investment.
Overload protection is usually listed in a similar manner to maximum capacity such as “Overload Protection up to 25,000kg” or as a multiple, “Up to 2X overload protection” for instance. The axle weigh pads will work up to their maximum capacity as expected, anything over this value will not be measured by the device but the weight won’t harm the axle weigh pad until it exceeds the overload protection.
Since you won’t know the weight of the vehicle until it’s weighed, overload protection is an important feature that can save your axle pads from becoming destroyed by a miscalculated or abnormal load.
You don’t want to be constantly trailing an extension lead to your vehicle in order to weigh it (or searching around for a plug socket) and you definitely don’t want to be spending hours trying to find batteries that are compatible should they die. Before purchasing a set of axle weigh pads, ensure that the batteries used in the system are readily available and easily changed. Should they run out mid-weigh, you don’t want to be put in a position where it’s easier to carry on without weighing than to simply change the batteries.
Most systems run on standard AAA batteries, which can be simply replaced and recharged. However, if your system of choice doesn’t seem to have this option available, take a look at whether they have some form of replaceable and rechargeable battery. You can simply buy a few extra and keep them charged with the pads, saving any future issues.
Some axle weigh pad systems, like our VWAM axle weigh pads, have built in indicators to make them simple and efficient to use. Other systems such as the Dini Argeo WWSCRF pads have wireless connectivity, allowing for a remote indicator, printer or touch screen.
Regardless of which features you want in your axle pads, ensure that the system you purchase comes complete with a compatible indicator (built in or otherwise). Without an included indicator, you’ll have to pay extra for a compatible system.
Ingress Protection (IP)
As nice as it would be to live in a country where it’s dry most of the time, it’s unfortunately not the case and we need to plan for worst case scenario. It’s safe to assume that once you make this investment, your axle weigh pad system will be used in wet conditions more than a few times. It’s important to purchase a set of axle pads that have adequate “ingress protection” – protection against the ingress of dust and water.
The protection against water and dust is measured in IP ratings. IP ratings are 2 numbers, the first indicates the protection against dust, the second against moisture. The higher the number the better. IP55 protects equally against water and dust, IP67 protects better against moisture than dust and IP69K is a total protection against dust and moisture.
Typical 'weatherproofing' begins at IP54 and most axle pad systems are rated much higher.