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Sykes Trucking & Aggregates

Don Sykes in Action
Customer Name: 
Sykes Trucking & Aggregates
Key Benefits: 
Bucket-by-bucket optimization of the railroad material load-out process – excavating, weighing and moving an average of 2200 tons of rock material per day
Weights are calculated and printed directly from the loader, saving time once spent getting out on platform scales and logging weights manually, which could lead to wasted time and effort
Southwestern Ontario, Canada

Sykes Trucking & Aggregates Ltd is a transportation and sand and gravel company based in Ontario, Canada. The family-owned company produces stone, sand, gravel and other materials used in aggregate production.

Business Challenge

Sykes Trucking purchased 225 acres of decommissioned railroad line near Chatham, ON. The company made plans to excavate the rail line and recycle the track material. The company turned to LOADRITE for a more efficient and cost-effective way to weigh each bucket load prior to processing.


Trimble® LOADRITE® X2350 excavator scales (on 2 excavators) and LOADRITE L2180 on loaders (5 loaders)


  • Bucket-by-bucket optimization of the railroad material load-out process – excavating, weighing and moving an average of 2200 tons of rock material per day
  • Still using a LOADRITE wheel loader scale purchased in the 1980s – provides consistent weighing and accurate weight information with +/-1% margin of error
  • Weights are calculated and printed directly from the loader, saving time once spent getting out on platform scales and logging weights manually, which could lead to wasted time and effort

Contact us to learn how LOADRITE can improve your operation today.

Located in the town of Merlin, in southwestern Ontario, Sykes Trucking & Aggregates Ltd was founded in the 1970s by entrepreneur Ed Sykes. Today, the company is owned and operated by Ed’s son, Don Sykes, and has grown to 15 employees. About 10 years ago, Sykes Trucking also purchased Orford Sand & Gravel Limited, located in the neighboring town of Muirkirk. Today, the aggregate production company produces sand and gravel and has a screening plant to develop its own custom sand mix and asphalt sand, which meets Ontario Provincial Standards for asphalt. Sykes trucking also manages and excavates farmland throughout the region, helps customers with snow removal, and produces custom crushed stone and other rock used for landscape projects and other applications.

Sykes Trucking is a loyal and longtime LOADRITE customer. Ed Sykes purchased the company’s first onboard loader scale in the 1980s, and since then the company has added to its program purchasing two LOADRITE X2350 excavator scales and five LOADRITE L2180 wheel loaders scales. Sykes Trucking has relied on its local equipment dealer and partner, Silver Top Supply, to install and calibrate the scales. Don Sykes has the company’s platform scale certified once a year and takes pride in the fact that his team still uses the original loader scale his father purchased in the 1980s.

“I am impressed with how well these scales hold up even in rough weather and a tough environment,” said Sykes. “They are extremely consistent and just downright accurate. The only time we have Silver Top out here is when we hit a branch with our bucket or something and one of our sensors goes out. They are great about coming out to help us in those cases, but other than that LOADRITE scales just work.”

Sykes Trucking operators use the LOADRITE L2180 onboard scales on loaders across the aggregate operation, moving material from the sand pits to the screener for processing. Sykes believes the L2180 scales are essential for his business because they deliver accurate and consistent payload measurement for every single load of material moved. The onboard scale works by using a rotary position sensor to continuously monitor the boom position over the entire lift. This allows the system to take multiple measurement points, and in doing so improves accuracy because variations in weights are calculated, averaged out or even discarded if they are outside tolerance levels. This brings the overall accuracy of the LOADRITE scales to within +/-1% or better.

Sykes likes that the onboard scales allow for consistent loading from machine operators, regardless of experience. It also helps the Sykes team avoid overloading trucks, and possible fines by ensuring trucks are loaded to the correct value. Sykes explains that his operators like that weights can be calculated and printed directly from the loader, which eliminates the need to log weights manually.

“Our LOADRITE scales save a lot of time because operators lift each load, weigh it, and can instantly record and print accurate weights,” said Sykes. “That saves times once spent getting out of the loader and onto the platform scale, which can lead to extra breaks and wasted time. And, if a customer wants a specific amount of stone, we can show them right there in black and white they’re getting exactly that. That gives a lot of confidence and credibility to your business.”

Looking to expand his aggregate operation, Sykes purchased a 225-acre parcel of decommissioned railroad lines outside West Lorne, Ontario. Officially known as CN Mile marker 118-138, this section of double track railroad was formerly part of the Canadian National Railway and dates back to the early 1900s. The bed of the track and rail is comprised of railway ballast and other crushed stone material. This material was selected as the track bed because of its ability to provide drainage and support significant loads carried by railcars. Railway ballast is generally produced from granite, trap rock, quartzite and limestone.

Sykes explains that he purchased the land and railroad line from the local municipality, with plans to dig it up and reclaim and recycle the old railway track and materials. He believes using recycled materials in this way is particularly important in this region of Ontario because there is a shortage of aggregate base material in the area due to increased demand and growth in the area.

Because of erosion and the compaction of material, using his excavator the Sykes operator must first dig down approximately 3.5 feet to the track bed to excavate the material. The operator then uses the X2350 excavator scale to precisely weigh each load of rock, which is then loaded on a truck and taken to the Sykes plant for processing. The LOADRITE excavator scale delivers bucket-by-bucket optimization of the load-out process, making sure each truck is loaded to its full capacity and weight is recorded accurately every time.

When working at full capacity, Sykes estimates the crew excavates and moves approximately 2200 tons of material per day. After nearly seven years of excavating the railroad track intermittently − generally working during periods of reasonable weather and when business is slower − Sykes estimates his crew has recycled about 80% of the existing track and has about two more years’ worth of track left. Sykes appreciates that the X2350 excavator scale allows his operators to track material movement in real time and to optimize loadout operations, even in a remote area, for every bucket and every truckload.

“Along the rail line there are grain elevators and scales that we could have used to weigh our rail material, but that overtime would make the project cost prohibitive,” said Sykes. “They charge $7 to $10 per weigh, so that would add up really quick to hundreds of dollars per day. Over weeks and years of doing that, it just wouldn’t work. For the stone recycling work we’re doing here, you couldn’t ask for anything better than the LOADRITE scale.”

Once the material is excavated, weighed and loaded into the trucks, the railroad track material is then run through the crusher, processed and turned into 2/3 inch and 3/4 inch crushed clear stone. Sykes then sells the clear custom stone for use in landscape applications and much more.

“With accurate, mobile weighing from LOADRITE, we’re able to cost-effectively offer this unique, reused and recycled stone that’s serving another purpose,” said Sykes. “That’s big in this area where this kind of material is limited. We’re also cleaning up the area and reusing a part of our Ontario history, which is pretty cool.”

Contact us to learn how LOADRITE can improve your operation today.

Father and Son - Ed and Don Sykes