Opinion

Future trends in weighing technology

What do a cow, a suitcase and a waste truck have in common? At first glance, these three things may seem totally unrelated but in fact, they all represent the future trends in weighing technology.

As surprising as it seems, cattle in rural Queensland, a traveller’s suitcase at a modern airport and a heavy vehicle involved in the waste management industry are all examples of how changing technologies and advanced automated weighing technology are playing a significant role in how the world operates.

Here’s how.

Researchers are developing technology which uses data from a number of source, including automatic weigh stations in paddocks to help predict the future weight and growth rate of livestock. What this means is that farmers will be able to make more informed, accurate and timely decisions about a number of important issues including feed management and livestock growth rates, and they will eventually be able to use this information to know when their cattle meet market specifications and when the best time is to sell the cattle for optimum profitability.

A farmer’s ability to optimally manage their livestock and their pastures is a key factor in the success of their business and whilst it is impossible to eliminate uncertainty completely, the remote measurement and monitoring of the weight and condition of their cattle in real time has the potential to substantially improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their production systems.

An important component is the farmers’ ability to weigh the cattle remotely – and this reflects a wider trend in the overall weighing industry towards automatic weighing.

This trend is also clearly illustrated in the growth in the proliferation of automated bag drops at airports around the world. Many travellers would have noticed dramatic changes in the way that the check-in process works and would have seen that in many airports, manned booths have been replaced by DIY systems for check-in, seat selection, boarding card printing and baggage drops.

For example, passengers flying Qantas Airways now use automatic baggage check-in points at all major airports around Australia – a move which has had considerable positive spin-offs for both passengers and the airline. Queues are virtually a thing of the past and passengers have a much faster and more efficient check-in experience.

When it comes to luggage check-in, advanced technology which can include RFID (Radio-frequency identification), 3D analysis, biometric systems and remote weighing, means the dimensions and weights of bags can be checked automatically once the boarding passes or luggage tags have been scanned.   These highly efficient and user-friendly DIY systems are likely to become standard at all domestic and international airports in the future – another example of how weighing technology is changing the world as we know it.

Which brings us to the last of the three seemingly disparate elements, the waste truck.

A waste truck is likely to have an onboard weighing system which enables individual loads to be weighed as they are loaded. These systems enable truck operators to increase collection efficiency by allowing the trucks to be accurately loaded to legal weight limits, but they deliver a range of other benefits, which impact not only on the company itself, but on the general public too.

Because onboard weighing technology ensures that the heavy waste removal vehicles are loaded accurately every time and that they don’t exceed legal weight limits, it means they’re safer on the roads. Overloaded or incorrectly loaded vehicles pose a major safety risk as they are harder to handle, require additional braking distance and can be unstable, so the benefit of automatic weight calculation through onboard truck scales is very apparent.

This onboard vehicle weighing technology isn’t limited to waste trucks however. There are many different truck scale systems on the market today which are changing the way that waste management companies operate, revolutionising their payload management processes and making them more efficient, productive and profitable.

There are clearly some fascinating trends in the realm of weighing technology and the increasing ability to integrate these highly advanced and precise measuring instruments with software systems and digital communication networks adds an even more exciting dimension to the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about onboard weighing systems, truck scales or any other aspect of advanced weighing technology, you should talk to the experts at AccuOnboard at 1300 367 861.

Mark O’Leary is the national marketing manager at Diverseco – a privately-owned, Australian-based investment and management company that oversees and provides corporate services to its portfolio of assets, many of which specialise in measurement, automation, packaging, software, engineering and fabrication.

O’Leary is responsible for managing the strategic and operational marketing functions for companies in the Diverseco group. He has extensive experience in the research, development and implementation of sales, marketing and communications plans, budgets, campaigns and programs for companies across a wide range of industry categories.