Weighing Trailer-Loads of Sawdust

Ideas for gauging the weight of sawdust as you fill trailers or trucks. March 14, 2006

I'm looking for an easy, inexpensive way to weigh loaded sawdust trailers, preferably while they are being loaded. Does anyone have any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
Are you just trying to avoid overfilling and overload tickets? I haul wood products and soil and on my trucks I load them with legal weight, then get a chain. I weld it to the bed of the truck/trailer and when the link touches the top of the spring then thats my legal limit. I cut the chain to meet the need.

If Im getting loaded where there are no scales I refer to the chain above the springs. It keeps the truck legal. Some of the overloads can run a $1.00/lb. There are also onboard weight systems that use the airbag suspension to weigh the load.

From the original questioner:
I'm trying to avoid overfilling and I load about 500 trailers a year. The trailers I load are not mine and I don't usually get the same trailers back every time, so it would be difficult to fabricate something to each trailer.

From contributor J:
What are you loading them with? Is the sawdust consistent in weight/moisture/and size? I load with a 5 yard Volvo loader. The bucket is consistently filled and shaken so the first bucket is as accurate as the last.

That will assist you - get a bucket and measure its volume. I use a square 5 gallon bucket. Its .6 cubic feet of material x 45= 1 yard. I fill the bucket and weigh it with a hanging scale. When I load dumpsters I get weights within 100 lbs. Its consistent with all the dumpsters that I load.

Your weakest link is probably different operators loading the trailers. You could invest in a onboard loader scale. They are pricy however. You could get an axel weigh scale that they use in the woods to measure logging trailers they are portable.

From the original questioner:
I load dry maple sawdust direct from a silo. The only way to kind of judge the weight is by timer and pulling the pipes off and keep looking to see how full the trailer is. It's not very accurate. I'm probably going to have to talk the higher up in to buy some sort of scale.

From contributor J:
I would suggest getting a belt scale - that will do the trick for you. Install a belt scale somewhere in the line. I worked at a place where they loaded shipping containers with bulk items - cubed feed, sawdust, plastic and etc. They had an auger with a long snoot on it that was like a cannon and they would back the shipping container or trailer up to the snoot and auger it in. They fed the auger with a chain drag hopper (filled by a front end loader) then it fell into the auger. It was real slick and not really expensive. You can find used augers almost everywhere.