Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rail Scales: Revolutionized Technology for Large-Scale Weighing

Used in various farming, mining and resource extraction operations, rail scales are form of heavy-duty weighing technology that has revolutionized processes to optimal efficiency. Like most large-scale farm scales and mining scales that involve trucks and other forms heavy-duty equipment, rail scales are unique in that they involve trains and transport of the contents being weighed.


In short, rail scale technology offers an efficient way to determine the weight of payloads dumped onto trains. The most common applications are mining sites in which precious resources are extracted and dumped onto a rail car, or in farming and agricultural situations when grain and harvests are transported via train.

The Various Types Rail Scale Systems

Most rail scale systems are directly integrated on railroad tracks; however, there are two primary types of rail scales:
  • Static rail scales - which are often called "train weighbridges." These systems weigh railcar loads individually as they rest on the weighbridge, or scale.
  • In-motion rail scales - which are more advanced rail scale systems that can accurately measure the loads of trains while they are moving. These systems are more complex, yet offer incredible efficiency.
In-motion rail scale systems, such as those produced by Walz Scale, can be further classified into two primary categories based on the speed in which trains pass over them. Low speed rail scales measure the load weight of trains with speeds less than or equal to 15 km/hour. High speed rail scales calculate weight at speeds greater than 15 km/hour.

Static rail scales, such as those produce by TrackBlaze, use loadcell weighing technology and have been proven to be highly accurate and reliable in weighing loads. These forms of rail scales have also been around for more than 30 years.

Intricacies of How Rail Scales Communicate Data & Provide Value

Virtually all rail scales are equipped with a mass sensor which is the most important component. These sensors are integrated on or within the rail's structure. Based on their position on the railroad tracks, the mass sensors might be temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent.

The processor and data storage unit, which gathers and communications information from the rail scale system, is commonly installed next to the railroad tracks in which the mass sensor is placed. Connected to the mass senor, the processor unit receives and communicates the weigh data from the scale.

Applications of Today's Rail Scales

Many industries and operations demand accurate monitoring and data extraction of payload weights. Rail scales are used in several different operations, including industrial, transportation, food processing, farming, mining, and chemical contexts.

For instance, mining specific rail scale systems are designed to improve overall safety and efficiency, as well as to lower the costs involved with alternative mining scale systems. Rail scales are also commonly used to replace most farm truck scale systems as harvests need not be weighed on grain dump trucks and other farming equipment, but rather on the train as they are being transported.

The Progression of Rail Scale Technology

The first rail scales were developed as far back as the 1950's. However during these initial stages, rail scale systems did not have sufficient data and storage units, as well as mass sensors and instrumentation. The decades to follow progressed rail scale technology to what it has become today.

A prime model of today's rail scale technology is the Walz Scale rail scales which feature both in-motion and static designs. These rail scale systems utilized the latter cutting-edge technologies and provide incredible value for mining and farming operations all over the U.S. and North America

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