About twelve years ago, while on a real-life run with a produce-hauler, I watched as he drove 19 miles off route to weigh his load -- at the consignee's request. While he backtracked, I thought that this was a great argument for on-board scales.
On-board scales allow users to load to the maximum every time with no need to check-weigh or rework the load,
On-board scales allow users to load to the maximum every time with no need to check-weigh or rework the load,

Since then they have become quite popular, according to Air-Weigh, one of the original suppliers of the products.

"Air-Weigh is in the data books of most truck and trailer manufacturers and was prominently displayed on 65 vehicles at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville," said Martin Ambrose, president of the Oregon-based company. Now one of them has made the product standard.

Sidump'r Trailer in Plainview, Neb., is including Air-Weigh's QuickLoad on-board scale on all its vehicles. The company's general manager, Jennifer Koepke, called it "a major customer benefit, providing protection from overweight citations, improving productivity and, at the end of the day, extending trailer life by protecting from overloading.

"Our users are now more diverse in what they haul. While maybe they once only hauled rock, now they could be hauling dirt, sand and distillers. They don't always know the weight (of a cargo) and could get a ticket, especially if the material gets wet."

Users can load to the maximum every time with no need to check-weigh or rework the load, she said.

"Because the scale prevents overloading in those environments where there is no scale at the loading point," said Koepke, "we see less abuse and our customers get the maximum life from their Sidump'r trailers."

The move by Sidump'r "sends a clear statement that there is real value in using QuickLoad Trailer Scales," Ambrose said.

The QuickLoad Trailer Scale features an icon-based touch-screen display showing weight on the axle group to within 300 pounds. This screen also gives access to Settings and the Alarm feature. The scale is configured with an LED alarm lamp that indicates the customer-set threshold for maximum load, allowing accurate maximized loading without the driver leaving the cab.

In many loading situations, the driver is forbidden from leaving the cab for safety reasons, he noted.

Sidump'r trailers tip to either side and are extensively used where materials must be spread as the truck moves forward. Other applications include those where height is limited or on uneven or soft ground that can result in the rollover of a conventional end-dump.

"Sidump'r has been around since 2000," said Koepke, "but in July 2010, we had a change of ownership and it has been a phenomenal pairing of ownership and product experience.

"Since the new owners have been using the equipment for a number of years, they have a history with it and have been through the model changes. They have experienced the side-dump trailers and understand manufacturing."