Friday, 24 February 2017

Another one for the network!

There is a real shortage of places around the UK where hauliers can check their axle weights.

So it’s nice to announce the opening of the latest one at the Wellingborough Council Depot operated by Wellingborough Norse.

Situated at the Finedon Road Industrial Estate, the new installation is strategically situated for M1 / A14 traffic. The new axle weighbridge will incur a cost of just £15 to weigh a typical commercial vehicle. Opening hours are from 8.00am to 4.00pm.

Weighing is fast too, allowing a six-axle tractor and trailer combination to weigh in just 40-seconds and to obtain individual axle and a gross vehicle weight to an accuracy of +/- 0.25% - the most accurate dynamic weighbridge in the world. The driver simply drives over the flush mounted platform at a constant speed of 2.5 mph before obtaining instant weight figures from a digital read-out.

Wellingborough Norse has also had its new Axtec dynamic weighbridge certified by Northamptonshire Trading Standards, making it available not only for public use, but also for DVSA and for other authorities to carry out inspections.
New Public Axle Weighbridge inWellingborough

This is the first publicly available axle weighing facility in Northamptonshire and the surrounding region, and will provide local hauliers and other transport companies with a fast, cost-effective and highly accurate method of checking their vehicles for correct axle weight distribution.

The Wellingborough, Kettering, Northampton intersection sees a high volume of freight traffic and is a popular region for transport companies to base their ‘hub’ operations.

So the availability of a new, dedicated and highly flexible dynamic weighbridge will be of huge appeal to hauliers, potentially saving them hundreds of thousands of pounds


Want to know more about the Wellingborough Norse site? Get in touch and we’ll give you all the details.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Don't just take our word for it!

In this blog we’ve made numerous mentions of how important it is not to overload your van. But we’re not the only ones that think so.


The FTA do as well and this week produced an article with their thoughts on the subject.

We frequently run a 3.5t vehicle at maximum weight to test out new software so we have first hand knowledge of how a heavily laden vehicle handles. And our drivers, some of them qualified Class 1 HGV drivers incidentally, report that they frequently feel unsafe driving the vehicle with that much weight on even though it is legally loaded.

Overloading  a van affects so many of the major components of the vehicle that it is hardly surprising it would feel unstable, handle poorly and could be extremely dangerous.

An accident involving an overloaded van could also conceivably invalidate any insurance. And make any new insurance difficult, and expensive, to obtain.

Many professional van operators have invested in axle weighing systems, either a permanent installation, portable or onboard.
Axtec OnBoard Protecting Against Van Overloads

A permanent system is ideal if the van is leaving the yard loaded and coming back empty. Drivers can check their axle and gross weights without leaving the cab in most cases.

Portable weighpads are ideal for infrequent weighing and spot checks but do have limitations and advice should be sort before buying them for regular high throughput use. Maybe even try a set out?

The most frequently specified system, and the best option for vehicles on multi-drop work, is the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator.

With a simple monitor showing axle and gross weights in colour, green for legal, amber for approaching maximum and flashing red for an overload, the driver gets a clear indication of how heavy his van is.

No manual controls, so the driver can’t change any of the settings or be in the wrong mode and a unique customer calibration facility so no expensive routine service visits are needed.


With modern technology, overloading a van can be easily avoided.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Why those approach levels are important

Getting an axle weighbridge correctly calibrated is vital if the system is to provide accurate axle weights. But as the concrete approaches are so important to system accuracy, the calibration must be done on site.


Testing a system at the factory is a useful exercise to check that it works as a basic weighing machine, but it’s only when the system is installed in its final location that any problems caused by incorrect approach levels show up.

Which is why we have invested a significant sum in a purpose designed test vehicle specifically for calibrating axle weighbridges.

Every single Axtec axle weighbridge is tested on site using this unique facility. Thus every system gets a thorough test in its actual place of work and customers can be sure that both weighing system and approach levels are correct.

We normally suggest that an annual calibration is beneficial and we offer this testing facility to anyone who has an axle weighbridge.

It will starkly show up any issues.

Such was the case recently when we went to calibrate an axle weighbridge in the midlands. It was clear to the naked eye that the system had been poorly installed with no account taken of the existing concrete levels. With a roadway that sloped in two directions either side of a joint and the platform just installed with minimal construction work, the system was never going to accurately weigh a multi axle vehicle as intended.
Correct levels mean accurate vehicle weights.

Tests done with our specialist weighbridge test vehicle showed errors up to 1,450kg different to the  calibrated weight which meant that vehicles could be leaving the site seriously overloaded.
And all because the concrete approach levels were wrong.

No doubt the system was dead weight tested in the factory and almost certainly producing results within specification but failing to take account of the effects of the approach levels on a vehicles suspension meant that it would never be accurate on site.

The only course of action in this case is to lay correct approaches to ensure accurate weighing.

Sorting out a poor installation could be a costly business.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Van registrations are up but overloading needs to come down.

Whilst it is good news that LCV registrations for the year just past were at record levels, the sheer number of vans on our roads could cause problems. 

As Nigel Base, the SMMT’s Commercial Vehicle Manager recently stated, “ ...overloading rates are far too high and rectifying this is a key priority for the coming 12 months.”

Overloading a van can have serious consequences as it affects most of the major components on the vehicle – the ability to brake, wear on the suspension and tyres, clutch life etc.

All of these add to the cost of operating the vehicle. More fuel is used and repairs and replacement parts are not cheap.

And we have in the past been asked to determine how heavy vehicles were that have been involved in accidents to establish if the weight had been a factor.

One of those accidents proved fatal.

 There a range of systems available to make sure that vans are not overloaded, the correct one will depend upon the application. Weighpads for occasional weighing or spot checks or a fixed axle weighbridge for those vehicles delivering full loads to a single point.

The system most commonly specified however is an OnBoard Load Indicator.

Axtec OnBoard Prevents Overloading of Vans

Axtec OnBoard shows front, rear and gross weights permanently on a simple to read colour display. Both the actual numbers and a graphical display are shown so there can be no confusion.

And drivers do not have to remember what their legal weights are as the system will do it for them
Legal weights are shown in green, anything over 80% is shown in amber and overloads are automatically highlighted in flashing red.

There are no knobs, buttons or switches which makes the system simple to use. No training is needed and drivers cannot say they don’t know how to use it. They simply have to look at it.

And for the fleet operator who wants to know what is happening out on the road, outputs for connection to a tracking device are provided as standard so that overloads can be reported back to base.


If avoiding overloads on your vans is a priority for you this year, then we have a range of systems and software to help.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Overloading no laughing matter!

Tis the season of good will, joy and merriment.

And certainly over the years we have gathered some axle weighing stories which, with the passage of time, might seem amusing.

There was the captain of a ro ro ferry who insisted that the axle weighbridge couldn’t possibly be right because he knew how heavy his load was because of how far down in the water his ship was.

Or the story of an artic stopped many years ago weighing over 90 tonnes, the heaviest overload recorded in the UK allegedly. That one was contravening all sorts of food regulations as well with sheet steel loaded beneath hanging beef!

Another artic steadfastly refused to stop for the authorities at a weight check and when eventually pulled by the police was found to be racing to his destination because he had onboard full load of fish in a non-refrigerated vehicle!

All of those are serious issues though.
Axtec Dynamic Keeping Vehicles Legal Whatever the Season

Overloading affects all of the major components of the vehicle; steering, brakes, suspension, clutch and tyres. The cost of repairing those would be quite steep. But imagine the consequences of that 90 tonne vehicle being involved in an accident.

That would be no laughing matter.

Overloading though can be avoided and quite cost effectively.

The range of systems available is extensive as is pricing. But as with all things you only get what you pay for.

Cheap is also often not the best option. Frequently the best system for a given application is dictated by what needs to be weighed, how often, where and for what purpose.

A fleet of vans on multi-drop work wouldn’t best be served by a fixed axle weighbridge in the yard and onboard load indicators would be an expensive choice for a fleet of artics taking full loads from a DC.

So if you’d like some information on which system is best for your needs we’d be happy to hear from you.

Advice on the correct axle weighing system is free of charge from Axtec.


Now that really is something to bring joy and goodwill.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Enforcement DEFINITELY not a 9 to 5 job.

Operating goods vehicles is rarely a 9 to 5 job. 

Overnight deliveries are very much part of the job and in some industries essential and some parts of the economy would shut down if it were not for night time deliveries.

Some in the industry though believe that enforcement only takes place during the hours of daylight and that operating at night keeps them safe from prosecution.

We know though that is far from the truth.

We were chatting to a white van man the other day who told us a tale of being stopped with an overload. One of the enormous number of vans which the statistics tell us are overloaded on the roads every day.

This guy was delivering sundries to takeaway restaurants and does so when their customers are open which of course is during the evening. He was incredulous that the weighbridge site was open so late, as was his boss.

His boss was also incredulous about the amount of product that had to be removed to get the vehicle legal. Almost 50% of the goods on the vehicle according to the driver.

Even allowing for a little exaggeration, it seems that the van was seriously overloaded.

In a competitive market, letting a customer down can be disastrous.

Axtec OnBoard protecting vans from overloads.
With a van check weighed at a location more than an hour from base, a driver now missing deliveries due to the hold up plus having to find another van and driver to take the excess load, the cost of sorting the problem out was enormous.

For many van operators overloading is accidental. For those trying to remain legal but who might make an honest mistake, a system like the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator would help solve that problem.

However, given the amount of weight removed from the vehicle described above it’s hard not to conclude that the overloading was deliberate and probably a regular occurrence. And maybe the company thought that operating at night would be safe with little chance of getting stopped.


Just like some transport operators though, the enforcement authorities also work anti social hours and the risk of getting caught late at night very much exists.

Friday, 18 November 2016

It's good to just help out sometimes

We undertook a weighing exercise for a customer recently, with the help of those good people from DVSA, who had concerns about possibly overloading a doubledeck trailer.

Being based in a leafy part of the country it might be thought that an operator can pass under the radar of the authorities but that’s not the case when a long distance trunking operation is involved.

Quite naturally, the business has to run efficiently using the minimum number of vehicles but maximising the carrying capacity on every trip.

But that runs the risk of overloading so they needed to find an accurate, calibrated axle weighbridge to make sure they were running legally laden. With no local weighbridges around, and certainly none open during their operating hours, they approached us for help.

Once again it's an example of how there is a need for publicly available axle weighing systems around the UK. Axle weighing systems that are open when the transport industry needs them, frequently anything but what are considered normal working hours.
Could an Axtec help increase your profits?

There is a market out there for this sort of facility just waiting for enterprising operators to install their own dynamic axle weighbridges and charge other operators using it.

We invested our money into this by offering a system for hauliers check their axle and gross weights for a charge of only £6 per vehicle. And it now generates between £6-£10,000.00 income a year.

The purchase price of an installation might be £18-£20,000.00 but an income of £6,000.00  per year would pay for it in very short order. And the cost can be spread over a number of years too so no large upfront investment might be needed.

A well designed axle weighing system would have a life expectancy of 30 years or more so plenty of time to recoup the cost and thereafter generate income which goes straight onto your bottom line.

It's not only charging for using the axle weighbridge that could up your profits though. What if an overload is discovered? You could charge for a forklift to remove the excess and for its storage.  Or maybe even use one of your own vehicles to deliver the extra load. All at a price of course.


And rather than us have to arrange access to a DVSA weighbridge, we'd be quite happy referring those customers who need to weigh axles to your site instead.