Tamtron’s Product Manager for Heavy Weighing, Tuomas Jussila, and Sales Manager for Truck and Railway Scales, Antti Moisio, say that the heating feature of weighbridges and its versatile implementation options are news to many customers purchasing new truck scales. Although concrete weighbridges and their foundations are durable, heating is necessary for two reasons.
– The scales and their sensors are not in themselves sensitive to cold, but heating ensures that the scales operate reliably. When the weighbridge stays warm, it does not become load-bearing. The second is safety and comfort of use. Although concrete is hard, it is also porous, making it easy for snow and ice to clump on its surface. Weighbridges, especially those with ramps, can then become challenging to drive on.
At the same time as heating is needed, the increasing appreciation of more sustainable solutions and the rising energy costs due to the world situation has led many organizations to look for ways to reduce their electricity consumption. Tamtron offers solutions for the most energy-efficient heating of truck scales.
Intelligent heating control more critical than heating method
According to Tamtron’s experts, the essential way to save energy is to control the heating of the weighbridge intelligently, i.e. to heat it only when necessary and with an appropriate power level.
– For this purpose, we utilize high-quality intelligent control units, which have been standard equipment in our heating installations for years.
As part of intelligent heating control, sensors are installed in the weighbridges during their construction to monitor not only temperature but also, for example, air humidity.
– By monitoring different values, the intelligent heating control system obtains precise information about the actual heating demand. Compared to a standard air thermostat, this system allows energy savings of up to five times, Moisio reveals.
– After smart control, the energy production method chosen is the most critical factor influencing the total cost of heating.
There are options for electric heating of truck scales
The most common way to heat weighbridges is direct electricity or district heating. For electric heating, weighbridges are equipped with heating cables for district heating with water-glycol piping.
– We have been supplying weighbridges with electric heating for over 20 years and with the alternative glycol solution for over a decade. Tamtron has a lot of experience in weighbridge heating solutions, says Tuomas Jussila.
– Considering acquisition costs, direct electricity is the most affordable option and, as a system, it is simple and reliable. District heating is slightly more expensive but is also very reliable and has a low life cycle cost.
Like in housing, there are other heating options for heating scales too.
– Air-to-water heat pumps or geothermal heat pump systems can also be used to heat scales. In these cases, the weighbridge and its foundation are equipped with water-glycol piping, similar to the district heating option, Jussila enlightens.
– Water-to-air and geothermal heat pump systems are not only many times more expensive than direct electricity or district heating, but also more complex. However, in terms of life-cycle costs, they are very close to district heating and can even be more affordable.
Individual customer needs are always considered in weighbridge heating
Antti Moisio states the best solution for heating weighbridges is a case-by-case matter. Today, the heating system for Tamtron’s weighbridges is always chosen according to the customer’s overall needs as well as the operating and business environment.
– Our desire to enable a wide range of heating options stems from a large truck scale customer raising the issue that scales may be needed in various locations and remote sites where power supply can be challenging.
When purchasing a new truck scale, it is, therefore, a good idea to identify the different heating options available.
– If the framework allows for different heat supply options, the choice of method is of course, influenced mainly by the cost of energy. In areas with low-cost district heating, heat pump systems may not be the most sensible option. Buildings are necessary for the machines, plots are needed for the wells, and condensate collection has to be arranged. In addition, heat pump solutions require a backup system powered by direct electricity – although geothermal only partially, Moisio explains.
– If district heating is unavailable, pump systems are more cost-effective than direct electricity. And if the site requires several large car scales, the initial investment, even if expensive, will pay for itself. For the same reason, if there is still a question about how the area will be heated, geothermal heating is a worthwhile option for heating the whole area.
Tamtron's energy efficiency and innovation abilities are appreciated
Although Tamtron does not supply heat sources for truck bridges, it is happy to offer its experience and expertise to support the sizing of a suitable overall solution. Moisio has received good feedback from customers.
– With a growing awareness of green values and the impact of the global situation on energy costs, the ability to utilize electricity-saving technology and the preparedness for using the most energy-efficient heating methods possible is highly appreciated.
– Of course, we at Tamtron also want to keep up with the times and support sustainable development with innovative solutions, Moisio underlines.
One proof of this is Tamtron’s ability to implement customized solutions.
– We have supplied our systems for district heating implementations where the heating of the weighbridge is provided by a by-product of the customer’s own operations, such as waste heat from a power plant, says Moisio.
– While in the past the search for an alternative to direct electricity has been hindered by the lack of district heating, we are now delighted to be able to offer both lower costs for electric heating and altogether other alternatives.