Solid Waste & Recycling


A Matter of Scale

"I love being a garbage man," says Denny Pool, owner of SP Industries in Hopkins, Michigan. SP Industries supplies waste management equipment for businesses such as ReConserve Inc., which purchases scrap food materials to process into feed for...

“I love being a garbage man,” says Denny Pool, owner of SP Industries in Hopkins, Michigan. SP Industries supplies waste management equipment for businesses such as ReConserve Inc., which purchases scrap food materials to process into feed for livestock. Since joining SP Industries in 1983, Pool has seen a great amount of growth in this part of the waste industry.

“It has become a big market because of the high price of corn,” Pool says. “Now many of these businesses are buying from these scrap generators or providers.”

With the industry becoming increasingly competitive, ReConserve wanted a fair way to buy scrap materials directly from various providers. In order to do this, the company needed an efficient method of weighing scrap materials. Of the several scales ReConserve tested, one scale system, used in conjunction with equipment from SP Industries, stood out.

“We tried platform scales, but they constantly got dirty and generally didn’t work well,” Pool says. “We also thought of trying a paddle system with a load cell, but that would not take very much abuse — which is a concern in our industry. After some research, we decided to try the Avery Weigh-Tronix (AWTX) scale system, and it has worked extremely well.”

This scale system includes an AWTX SimulCast™ WI-130 forklift scale and an AWTX Model E1070 indicator, which communicates with a PLC to deliver a robust weighing solution. The system was the brainchild of Patrick DiCianni, president of Allied Measurement in Crestwood, Illinois.

“We incorporated the AWTX forklift scale into the lift forks of an extended height dumper (EHD) by SP Industries,” DiCianni says. When this combination was paired with the E1070 Indicator, ReConserve had a robust, efficient solution.

“First, a tote full of food by-product and scrap is placed onto the forklift scale,” DiCianni continues. “The EHD then rotates 135 degrees and releases the materials. The AWTX E1070 allows us to record the weight of the full tote on the way up, and also to record the weight of the empty tote on the way down. The indicator then reports this information to a PLC, which calculates the net weight.”

“So many manufacturers have tried to do this in many different ways, but the forklift scale made more sense,” DiCianni adds. “It’s very simple and works flawlessly.”

The AWTX forklift scale features Weigh Bar® weight sensors for reliable, repeatable results. In addition, the scale’s out-of-level compensation ensures that readings remain accurate, even when a fork changes positions. The E1070 provides process control and data management with flexible connectivity options and built-in network interfaces. In addition, the E1070 has a NEMA 6/4X rated enclosure to offer a robust solution for wet, dusty or otherwise hazardous environments.

This system also offers a simple solution for both scrap food providers and ReConserve employees, who pick up the scrap materials once the containers are filled. Employees dropping off scrap food materials simply punch a number into the PLC describing which area or department they represent, and the scale automatically raises the container of materials, weighs it and dumps the materials — hands-off, quickly and safely. This way, materials are both weighed and documented; allowing companies to determine which of their departments produce the most scrap waste — information that’s important in facilitating lean manufacturing. In addition, the E1070 is configured so that it sends out an advance warning to ReConserve when their containers are almost filled.

“This allows us to have a hands-off type of system,” Pool says. “An advance warning is automatically sent to let our customers know that someone needs to come and switch out the container.”

Pool says the system can be configured to define “nearly full” in different terms, sending a warning when a container is 75 to 90 per cent full, depending on the application. “It’s an adjustable type of system, which is nice,” Pool adds. “Some applications may take two days to have a ReConserve truck service the account, and others it may take two hours.”

SP Industries can mount the forklift scale onto any of several fork attachments, which are constructed to withstand varying weights ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 lbs. In addition, this system allows the company to dump materials from nearly any range required — from 3 to 29 ft. high.

“That’s the nice thing about this system — the flexibility,” Pool says. “We try to keep it broad enough fit into different categories but fine-tuned to each particular application.”

The system helps ensure the safety of employees as well.

“Safety is a major issue in this industry,” Pool says. “This system is compliant with OSHA and ANSI Z245.2 safety standards for waste equipment compaction and dumping.”

The simplicity, safety and flexibility of this system, in conjunction with its rugged construction, makes this combination of an AWTX forklift scale and E1070 indicator an effective solution that can be applied at many companies.

For more information on Avery Weigh-Tronix products and distributors, visit

Guy Crittenden is editor of this magazine. Contact Guy at

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