© Robert Andersen | Dreamstime

Solid waste transfer stations’ challenging environments often are home to heavy-capacity solutions by Rice Lake Weighing Systems, headquartered in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. RoughDeck AX Series axle scales are no strangers to these surroundings, where steady usage and corroding chemicals quickly can deteriorate equipment.

Xcel Energy, La Crosse, Wisconsin, uses the axle scale’s accuracy and dependability to enhance landfill trailer loads at its transfer station.

At the facility, waste arrives on incoming dump trucks and is transferred to larger containers that are shipped via semitruck. The transfer station handles residential and commercial waste and is never at a loss for material. The station is part of a larger operation: a power plant that generates electricity from waste.

While outgoing trucks conveniently are weighed on a truck scale, not all waste is suitable for shipping or processing to generate energy. Some items, such as mattresses, are too large and must be delivered to the local landfill. For this subset of material, a different weighing solution was needed. An additional truck scale would not easily fit at the location and would not be economical for the single trailer load per week of generated material.


Xcel Energy wanted to monitor the increasing weight of a trailer during loading and, as it approached the gross weight limit for local roads, stop loading activity. The operation wanted a scale with the same durability of Rice Lake’s Survivor truck scales but in a compact design.

A local certified scale distributor, La Crosse Scale, La Crosse, Wisconsin, installed RoughDeck AX tandem axle scales, which provided the right combination of strength and size. Designed specifically for heavy-duty environments, the axle scales feature environmentally sealed IP67 load cells to help survive the harsh environment of the transfer station.

While individual pieces of waste may seem relatively harmless, the combination of materials with water and other fluids creates leachate. This can wreak havoc on equipment with inadequate construction.

While individual pieces of waste may seem relatively harmless, the combination of materials with water and other fluids creates leachate. This can wreak havoc on inadequately constructed equipment. Scales with less steel will deteriorate quickly, resulting in inaccurate weighments and, ultimately, in complete system failure.


The operation is monitored in Xcel Energy’s nearby control center, where an interface is presented on multiple computer monitors, and live camera feeds are shown on flat-panel televisions. Here, an operator supervises the status of numerous systems, including the shredding line, ferrous and nonferrous conveyors, the tipping floor and the landfill trailer. It is a futuristic display of information that would make even the commander of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise envious.

Data are analyzed and incorporated into reports that summarize daily processes and identify opportunities for greater efficiency. While this is a key factor for any waste transfer business, one element is even more integral to success: uptime. If equipment goes down, waste can pile up in a hurry. Reliability is perhaps the most desired characteristic in this industry. Equipment must be able to stand the test of time—proving its reliability under extreme conditions.

In addition to its structural design, RoughDeck AX axle scales also include special features designed for added protection from harmful elements.

The IP67-rated load cells are manufactured to protect against water ingress while submerged up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, and the JB4SS NEMA Type 4X junction box surrounds sensitive electronics with a layer of stainless steel armor. Hostile-environment load-cell cable also is included and designed to complete the package of resiliency.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems says Xcel Energy uses the latest technology to provide the best service to its customer. The La Crosse transfer station follows this philosophy. By using the most dependable and accurate axle scales on the market, uptime is enhanced, safety is assured and there is no waste of energy.

The article was submitted by Rice Lake Weighing Systems, a manufacturer and distributor of weight-related products and process-control equipment headquartered in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Learn more about Rice Lake at www.ricelake.com.