“Payload Scanner Speaks Volumes” is a story from Industrial Weigh & Measure and was written by Dave M Mathieu. To see the original story, see page 8 at the May/June 2015 issue of the publication.
If you had a construction company that needed millions of yards of material for a project, what would be your biggest concern, besides a dependable source? If it’s to make sure you get what you paid for, then you would have the same concern as this Louisiana construction company.
So it wasn’t surprising that they invited Walz Scale of Peoria, Illinois to demonstrate its new load scanner to verify if indeed every loaded truck entering their site delivered the right volume of material. But what was surprising is what they uncovered within minutes of using the scanner.
A Revealing Demonstration
This large construction project required, over the course of the job, 8-million cubic yards of lime stabilized soil. Like many civil construction jobs, the material quantity is based on truck capacity. Since they know the capacity of each truck, they simply count a load as it enters the work site. But how accurate can that be?
At $25 per cubic yard, management was looking for a way to track and manage the material coming on site. Since they needed a number of monitoring stations, truck scales were out of the question due to their initial costs, space requirements, variations in weight due to changing material density and traffic slow downs at the weighing sites. When they heard that Walz Scale was working on new technology that could verify actual material loads, reduce existing labor through unmanned stations, and optimize vehicle throughput, needless to say they were very interested.
“When we demonstrated this technology to them we found almost immediately that they were overpaying on average two cubic yards per vehicle,” said Matt Walz, vice president of Walz Scale. “We also discovered that the vehicles had carry-back issues, so they were actually paying for the same material multiple times.”
As a result of this demonstration, the company ordered six Walz Load Scanners on mobile trailers. Three of the scanners are located at the entrances of the construction site, and are used to verify incoming material deliveries. The other three scanners are used to monitor and automatically adjust for carry-back in the empty trucks leaving the site.All six scanners inter-communicate via the Payload Pro web-based cloud site.
“The empty scan is important because it allows them to generate a volume tare,” said Matt. “With this information, they tare out the carry-back, so they aren’t counting it anymore.”
All of the trucks hauling material for this project are equipped with active RFID tags. As the truck enters the entrance lane the RFID automatically initiates the scanner, and a traffic light communicates with the driver as he enters. The scanner head is mounted on a tall pole above the vehicle, and as the truck moves below the scan head at speeds under 5-mph the laser scanner measures the load’s 3D profile. With this advanced technology, the company is able to have an unmanned scanning system.
The system is capable of measuring to an accuracy of plus or minus one tenth of a cubic yard in perfect conditions. However, in more extreme environments such as at this construction site, it averages plus or minus three-tenths of a cubic yard.
Cloud-Based Data Management
The scanner system uses the Walz Payload Pro operating software, which incorporates patent-pending algorithms to interpret the data returned from the scanner to determine the actual amount of material within the truck bed. Then system is tied into the web-based cloud site for real-time data synchronization of load volume and graphical imagery. The job site’s management personnel monitor the scanners’ data at the central office, and if required, they can print, text or e-mail load tickets to each driver and/or supervisor. When needed, they can also monitor what is going on in real time from remote locations using the Internet connection from virtually any device.
There are a variety of reports available to this construction company through Payload Pro Cloud. The reports available include truck production, truck cycle times, stockpile and inventory, production and material, plus other report options as needed.
By taking advantage of this new technology from Walz Scale, this construction company is poised to save over $10,000,000 over the course of the project. Needless to say, this speaks volumes for this new volumetric load scanner technology.
How It All Started
Walz Scale had a coalmining customer that was using their scales but also wanted to know the volume of the load to determine real time material densities. Being a company that was known for helping its customers with measurement problems, Matt debated whether or not this was an area Walz Scale should enter. After considerable research, he found that there were a lot of industries that deal primarily in volume.
“You’d be surprised how many industries are concerned with volume and not weight,” said Matt. “When you look at such industries as mining, aggregate/rock, mulch, bio-mass, bio-fuel, agriculture, and construction, they’re in that world of volume.
“Because the material in these industries fluctuate so much with moisture content, a fair way to do business is by volume,” Matt continues. “When you purchase aggregate after it rains, you’re paying for a lot of water. So this technology has potential to change how the aggregate industry operates. Also it is beneficial to the construction industry in determining how much material is moved from point A to point B. It’s not how many tons did I move, but how many cubic yards I moved.”
Those operating in this world of volume realize it is very unregulated. Matt believes this technology can actually help regulate it more. Since most producers don’t want to take advantage of the customer, they are embracing this technology because it helps them not to give product away while being fair to their customers. It’s a trustworthy tool for them since it makes doing business more transparent.
Developing New Technology
While everyone likes to read and hear about new and emerging technologies, most companies in today’s resource-strapped economy don’t have time and/or money required to really pursue innovative technologies for themselves. But Matt, his engineers and his father, Tom Walz, president of the company, did an up-front analysis and the decision was to make a commitment of time and money to create this new technology for measuring volume. But it was not an easy decision for them to step into another world of measurement. After all, the weighing business is the taproot of this third-generation family business.
Once the decision was made to pursue the creation of this new product, Matt and his team spent the next three years in intensive design and testing of a new payload scanner that would change the way in measuring volume of mass material loads.
Enter Walz Load Scanner
The scanner is available in both stationary and mobile models. The stationary unit is easy to install in minimal time. The mobile unit is a simple, compact unit mounted on a trailer that can be moved from site to site by a small vehicle. Both units are weather resistant and include internal heaters for operation in cold temperatures.
The laser scan head is able to scan loads with vehicles in motion to provide fast throughput without sacrificing accuracy. This allows the scanner to be unmanned as well as monitored from remote locations, which is easily done with its cloud based operating system.
The Payload Pro software provides provisions for interpreting data from the scanner and is easily expandable as future needs arise. The operating platform is able to provide many different types of reports including truck production, truck cycle times, stockpile and inventory, and individual material. It also provides hourly, shift, daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly production reports. The software is Cloud-based so users don’t have to purchase sophisticated computers to operate the system.
It’s a plug-and-play design that works on any type of computer, tablet or cell phone with Internet connection capability.
The opinion has often been expressed that no product has ever been introduced that was ahead of its time-advances are made upon demand. Today, you’ll get no argument from Matt on this point. It’s because Walz Scale works to create solutions to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by each of its customers that the Walz Load Scanner is a reality.
Matt made the point that their load scanner won’t replace scales by any means, but for specific industry applications it is a perfect solution, or another tool to add to existing truck and axle scales to capture material densities and load position analysis.
About Walz Scale
Walz Scale has been developing and supplying weighing and measuring solutions since 1965, with a focus on providing the very best customer support and development of customized solutions to meet their customers needs. Walz Scale develops and supplies a full range of solutions including Dynamic Volumetric Scanning, Dynamic Vehicle and Train Weighing, Dynamic Onboard Scale Systems plus much more. Learn more about the Walz Payload Scanner at the Website: WalzScale.com or contact Walz Scale directly at 1-800-747-0701, Dealer inquiries welcome.