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Onboard weight sensor for material usage.

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by CK82, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. CK82

    CK82 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Hey Fellas,

    I am looking for some insight on how one monitors the amount of bulk salt being used at any particular site. Do you use an onboard weight sensor? I know some spreaders such as the SnowEx I believe can monitor the amount of product being used. Are there any relatively inexpensive weight sensors or options to keep track of material being used?

  2. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 785

    You could always get the DOT scale truck to follow you around from lot to lot. They seem to follow me a lot.
  3. newhere

    newhere PlowSite.com Addict
    from Fenton
    Messages: 1,288

    We would All be using them if there were.
  4. Maleko

    Maleko Senior Member
    from Ct
    Messages: 777

    I think that would be a great idea though.
  5. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    I believe I will continue to use my "guestimate" method before I flagged them down and requested a "nice handwritten form with my weight on it."
  6. G.Landscape

    G.Landscape Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 836

    I did talk to a scale manufacturing company at a trade show last year and he mentioned they have been tried but since the trucks bounce around so much there isn't a reliable way to keep a scale calibrated. Best thing to do is rig a timer so you know how long your salter is on for. Then as long as you know it takes say 30 seconds to fill a 50lbs pail you can do the math. It's essentially what the snow ex thing does.
  7. Golden Boy

    Golden Boy Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 15

    The snowex device, once calibrated, only counts the revolutions of the auger and figures out how much yardage of salt is applied.
  8. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    1yd of salt is roughy a lil over 1 ton

    That's our way
  9. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,111

    Maths! Is there anything it can't do?...

    How do the loader scales work and stay calibrated?
  10. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    Gotta make sure the loaders don't bounce...

    STARSHIP Member
    Messages: 35

    Use a stopwatch. Load up X amount of materials in your spreader, and divide out by Y (the seconds/minutes) at each place. You will know pretty close how many tons or yards were applied at each place. Obviously if you change your auger and/or spinner speed, it will effect the rate, but it would still be closer than sticking your finger in the air and coming up with a wild ass guess. I use excel to do all of the calculations for me.
  12. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    Please a sample calculation?

    STARSHIP Member
    Messages: 35

    I will use yards as the unit of measure for this example:

    Say your Bobcat bucket holds 1/2 yard, and you load 7 scoops in the hopper (3.5 yards)

    You run your route, and in the end it takes a total of 1541 seconds to do the route (I use excel to input the minutes and seconds at each place, convert the minutes to all seconds, and total it all up. Then use excel to divide the total yards into the seconds)
    Site A 55 sec = 55 seconds
    Site B 2 min 36 sec = 156 seconds
    Site C 2 min 26 sec = 146 seconds
    Site D 12 min 5 sec = 725 seconds
    Site E 1 min 29 sec = 89 seconds
    Site F 4min 40sec = 280 seconds
    Site G 1min 30sec = 90 seconds
    Total 1,541 seconds

    The calculation is .0022712 yards per second (3.5 yards/1541 seconds). Apply this to the above seconds at each site and you will have a pretty close to accurate figure for each place. Then if you bill according to materials used, you can apply your rate.
    Site A 55 sec = 55 seconds x .0022712 = .125 yds x your rate
    Site B 2 min 36 sec = 156 seconds x .0022712 = .354 yds x your rate
    Site C 2 min 26 sec = 146 seconds etc, etc.
    Site D 12 min 5 sec = 725 seconds
    Site E 1 min 29 sec = 89 seconds
    Site F 4 min 40 sec = 280 seconds
    Site G 1 min 30 sec = 90 seconds

    Does this help give you an idea of what I am talking about?

    Edited to add: If you apply at the same rate all night, this works very well. If you open the gate a little more or less at the beginning of the night to adjust for weather conditions (ice, colder temps, etc.), it will still work great and be accurate. If you adjust your rate during the night, that's when things will become inaccurate. We determine the conditions we want to apply before we start our route that day, and basically keep it that way for the entire route.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  14. mtnbktrek

    mtnbktrek Senior Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 144

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just do flat rate on smaller sites? And on larger sites just charge by the 1/2 yard or yd? I mean if you salt as much as we do that's a lot of info to hang onto for billing. And I know you will say "nah I use excel" but I use excel too and it is a lot of unnecessary info. If you salt the same sites every time the numbers are going to be close enough to just flat rate it.
  15. CK82

    CK82 Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Guys thanks for the replies. I do and have used the timer method once our spreaders are caliberated on the amount of material dropped. Problem is, the salt does not always flow the same. I was hoping for an onboard scale of some sort. I have just started researching them, no costs yet, however I am sure there not cheap. Checking the weight would be when the vehicle is stopped. Well, I will continue with the timed way x amount of product dispersed per second or minute, for the time being anyway. Our properties are mainly per time salting charge, however its imperative to know how much product is going down.

  16. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    The do make scales, for air suspensions - Right Weigh load scales. We thought about it, never did it - more thinking of going with a techier controller like a Dickey John.
  17. G.Landscape

    G.Landscape Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 836

    Their website says its accurate to 250lbs, I can be that accurate justby looking at the hopper. I suppose then your dealing with +/- 50,000 lbs when it's ok, but a 2 yard hopper spread over a bunch if small sites would be useless. It's the right track and cool too see.

    I have no idea how the loader ones work. I was just going by what the Canadian scale guy at landscape Ontario was telling me.
  18. potskie

    potskie Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 768

    You could dole out an arm, leg and first born and get a dickey john system.
  19. MR. McBEEVEE

    MR. McBEEVEE Junior Member
    Messages: 25


    The loaders that I have seen, scoop up the salt then, while the bucket is still raised, they have to pause for a few seconds. Then the built in scale can weigh the material with no movement.
  20. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    Looked at loader scales. Likely putting one on a miniloaoder next year. Reads the hydraulic pressure on lift ram to figure out weight.