Earthmoving News

The Conundrum of Material Measurement – Weight Or Volume?

An interesting anomaly in the earthmoving world is how quarry suppliers and civil contractors use opposing material measurement systems – quarries use weight and civil use volume.

This creates a number of issues for both operators.

If you’re purchasing your construction materials in cubic metres then it makes sense that you manage and account for infill coming onto site using a common method, because disputes over supply can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive. Traditional methods of determining truck load volumes, including converting from weight, counting loader buckets, or simply counting trucks, are inaccurate and contribute to supply disputes.

Loadscan developed the original patented load volume scanner in order to measure and accurately track all material movements out of the quarry and onto the civil construction site. The accuracy of volumetric laser measurement ensures that contractors only pay for what they receive, and no more. On the other hand, quarry operators can guarantee aggregate supply volumes and manage stripping with ease and accuracy.

Plus, supplying product by volume (rather than weight or simple bucket-count) helps win civil jobs and keeps customers happy. Loadscan customers are winning large earthworks tenders thanks to their ability to provide accurate supply monitoring as part of their contract.

Over the past few years, the Australian federal government has allocated billions of dollars towards projects that reduce road congestion, as well as the Roads of Strategic Importance Fund. The obvious outcome of this level of spending is an explosion of new largescale civil construction projects, and a significant rise in demand for efficient and cost-effective contractors. Confidence in the accuracy of material measurements is a key factor in achieving this.

Measuring loads purely off weight often leads to inaccurate measurement. If the material is subjected to environmental conditions like rain, dry spells or varying rock densities, the volume converted from the weight of the product will vary. Variances can be as much as 10 per cent to 12 per cent, which most operators find unacceptable in today’s challenging economic conditions.

For quarry operators, this level of variance can be detrimental when accounting for production and inventory of processed and stockpiled material.

Road Metals Co Ltd, a New Zealand contractor, uses their Loadscan volume scanner to determine the exact cubic metres of gravel their trucks are carting to a contract, which are paid for by volume. They find the scanner is an ideal measurement solution because it gives them cubic metres for each truck and trailer, plus a total tally for the day, week and month. In addition to better understanding the exact quantity of material being hauled in or out of a construction site, multiple contractors can be easily managed using the radio-frequency identification tag system installed on the trucks.

Continuous real-time measurement of accurate volumes is the key information generated through the volume scanner.

This allows contractors to check on daily productivity and provide useful crosschecking data for payments, as well as enabling them to improve their operational efficiencies by monitoring individual driver/ operator productivity.

With no moving parts, the load volume scanner is a fast, accurate, cost effective and low maintenance measurement system. The non-contact nature of the measurement system ensures that it’s relatively maintenance free. The truck being measured simply drives beneath the scan head and the scanning system does the rest.

Based in Hamilton, New Zealand, Loadscan is the only volumetric scanning manufacturer with weights and measurement certifications* in Australia and New Zealand, guaranteeing accuracy to +/-1%. *Pattern Approval Certificate 13/1/15 (NMI AUS) and Trade Approval Certificate 1556 (MAPPS NZ).

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