Lightning Protection Solves Downtime Problem
A lightning strike can shut down a truck scale in a flash. When suppliers and customers started taking their business elsewhere, the Layton Mill & Timber Company resolved to put an end to the downtime caused by lightning damage. METTLER TOLEDO provided a solution by supplying a new truck scale with superior lightning protection.
The Layton Mill & Timber Company is a growing supplier of railroad ties and lumber located in the hills of northern Arkansas. Randall Layton started the company in 2006 when his older brother, Tommy, helped him buy a sawmill yard outside of Leslie, Arkansas. The mill purchases timber by weight from local loggers. After processing the timber, the mill sells it as lumber, railroad ties, cants, mulch, wood chips, and saw dust.
When Layton acquired the mill, it came with a truck scale. Although the scale was far from new, it was functional and essential to the business. The company uses the scale to determine the net weight of the logs delivered to the mill, weighing each incoming truck when fully loaded and again when empty. If the mill’s scale is not working, log trucks have to go elsewhere to use a truck scale that is open to the public.
Scale downtime was a major inconvenience for suppliers. Whenever the mill’s scale was out of order, trucks delivering logs to the mill were forced to drive an extra 30 miles and pay twice to determine the net weight of the delivery. Some suppliers preferred to deliver their goods to another mill rather than spend the extra time and money. As a result, problems with the truck scale had a direct effect on the mill’s business.
The Layton Mill & Timber Company is located on top of a hill in the Ozark Mountains. Unfortunately, this site is prone to lightning strikes during thunderstorms. The frequent lightning in the area was a constant threat to the company’s truck scale, causing costly unplanned downtime. In fact, the mill’s truck scale was damaged by lightning strikes many times over the first four years that Layton operated it. Each time, it took more than a week to get the scale working again.
Randall Layton realized that truck scale downtime was causing major problems for his business. Each time lightning shut down the scale, some truck drivers took their loads to other mills. But the mill suffered from more than the business lost during the downtime. After the scale was repaired, it would take time for Layton to regain the confidence of suppliers and customers.
After the scale was damaged twice during the span of a few weeks in 2010, Layton decided to replace it. When investigating his options, he looked at the POWERCELL® PDX® load cell system from METTLER TOLEDO. He recognized that this new technology, with its superior lightning protection, could have a huge positive impact on his business. Independent laboratory tests have demonstrated the POWERCELL PDX system’s ability to survive lightning strikes up to 80,000 amperes. That is more than twice the destructive power of the average lightning strike.
METTLER TOLEDO Value
Layton compared the features of various scales and received quotes from several suppliers. Although it was not the lowest priced option, he purchased a METTLER TOLEDO steel deck truck scale with a POWERCELL PDX load cell network connected to an IND780 terminal. This advanced technology gives him the most reliable vehicle weighing solution on the market. With proper routine maintenance, the POWERCELL PDX predictive diagnostics system virtually eliminates unplanned downtime.
Layton also purchased a maintenance contract to help ensure the scale’s continued high performance. It gives him the peace of mind of knowing that his truck scale will no longer disappoint his suppliers and customers.
System Scale provides preventive maintenance and calibration services for the mill’s weighing equipment. An authorized METTLER TOLEDO distributor, System Scale has been providing scales and service to customers in Arkansas for decades. In fact, Sales Engineer Rod McElhaney sold his first Toledo truck scale in the 1960s. Quality products from METTLER TOLEDO and excellent service from System Scale ensure that businesses continue to operate efficiently.