How have restrictions on international travel impacted the demand for weighing products across the rail and mining industries?

Monday, 21st June

With many global infrastructure projects coming to a screeching halt due to social distancing measures and banned air travel, a hoard of rail and mining industry bodies have used the current moment to consolidate their future plans and to prepare for emerging trends in rolling stock and civil project damages.

On November 4th, 2020, the Railway Industry Association held a webinar to address issues relating to the impact of Covid-19 that emphasised the importance of precise weighing equipment in relation to successful long-term projects for stakeholders. Porterbrook CEO, Mary Grant, fervent in her push for a 30-year plan to improve the industry, stated the importance of “creating a marketplace that provides for the customer, provides for the businesses but also provides crucially for the whole supply chain”. Echoing this sentiment for a big picture approach, Siemens Mobility rolling stock managing director Sambit Banerjee added “it also needs to cater for the needs not only of the industry but also of other stakeholders.” Rolling stock projects, at their core, often consist of thorough safety measures derived from meticulous engineering.

No stranger to this task, Trakblaze has commissioned two Mobile Train Weighing systems (Mobile Train Weigher) in India for the Alstom Transportation System in Sri City and the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) at their new Latur facility. They are used to weigh and balance rolling stock that is being manufactured for metro projects such as Chennai, Kochi, and Lucknow and come equipped with a ‘test press’ in aid of client’s adapting project-specific calibrations. The approach provides benefits from the start of the supply chain all the way to being customer ready as third parties are not required for calibration thus project creep is minimised.

As logistics, mining, and rail bodies across the globe adjust to a shift in operations, bridge degradation and closer routine inspections of heritage sites further underscore the importance of high-quality weighing systems in any civil project. The New Jersey Herald recently reported that a Department of Transport (DOT) employee noticed a vertical crack in the outside horizontal beam, “part of the superstructure for the bridge which carries Weldon Road over the four lanes of Route 15”.

The overpass is heavily accessed by overloaded dump trucks hauling stone therefore wear and tear is to be expected but routine exceptions- two inspections in the past 27 months (September 2018 and August 2020) did not prompt earlier action. DOT spokesman Stephan Schapiro cited a “significant drop off on traffic volume throughout the state,” due to the pandemic as the reason for the oversight.

Although residents in the area have reported increases in truck traffic, six days a week, a sudden change in traffic patterns due to a societal shift highlights the greater potential for oversight as well as confirming the need for more comprehensive weighing tests and gear in a project’s inception to enhance durability. Trakblaze’s TRUCKMATE (portable truck scales) and Force 1 truck axle scales boast high industry accuracy, reliability, and on-the-go weighing capacity that ensures the smooth upgrade of projects to allow commercial vehicles and trucks to be loaded within updated state guidelines and gross vehicle tolerances.