Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Weighing Waste? See you at the RWM!

Only three weeks until the biggest exhibition for the waste and recycling industry takes place at the NEC.

And once again we’re delighted to be at the RWM, stand 5P151 from 13-15 September if you’d like to come and chat.

There isn’t much waste handled these days that isn’t weighed at some stage and if it’s bulk weighing or material that needs weighing on the vehicle, we’ve probably dealt with it before.

No one system can serve every requirement though which is why the RWM is such a good opportunity to chat about your requirements. The right system for keeping caged tippers legal probably won’t be the right system for monitoring throughput at a recycling centre.

And our customers include both those applications and more.

If you have an issue with keeping collection vehicles legal when out on the road, then the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator will monitor weights throughout the round.

If it’s maximising loads on bulk vehicles taking waste for processing or monitoring throughput for statistical purposes, then the Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge will provide the information you need.

But both of those systems are capable of much more than just weighing axles.

Axtec OnBoard can output detailed information to a tracking device – individual axle weights, gross weights, overload alarms – which may then be reported back to base.

The Dynamic Axle Weighbridge can be Stamped as a Public Weighbridge, the only one of its type which can, which means you can offer it to other hauliers and legally charge them for the use of it thus adding a revenue stream to your operation.
Latest Touch Screen Technology on show at RWM

This is the same system that is the choice of the government body DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) for its national network of vehicle weight enforcement weighbridges and is certified as the most accurate system of its type in the world.

Both these systems make use of the latest touch screen and wireless technology making them simple to use, reliable and difficult to break. Vital when working in the harsh world of recycling.

The RWM is an excellent opportunity to discuss the latest thinking and technology in recycling and we’ll be there with the latest products in our range.

So if your shopping list includes vehicle weighing equipment come and see us, stand 5P151 remember, and let’s talk.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

How do you spot an overloaded vehicle?

How do you know whether your vehicles are overloaded?

Just looking at them can be deceiving even to the most experienced eye. A while ago we were asked to check weigh a Luton van kitted out with TV production equipment. The load never changed other than fuel and the driver’s lunch box so investing in their own equipment wasn’t cost effective. So we offered to weigh it on some weighpads for them.

Arriving at their premises the vehicle was ready and waiting for us and even before we got out of the car we commented on how low it looked at the back and how the rear axle was definitely going to be overloaded at least.

But having set the weighpads up on level ground and carefully weighed the vehicle, everyone was surprised to find that both axles and the gross weight were just within legal limits. Even our experienced eye had been fooled.
Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator - no guessing weights here!

Back in the days when DVSA were called Vehicle Inspectorate, overloaded vehicles approaching the enforcement site at Beattock Summit were easy to spot as they always struggled to pull up the hill but these days with modern engines, any vehicle climbs that bank with ease and the overloaded ones are not so easy to spot.

So if experienced ‘overload spotters’ can be fooled, how does the average operator know if their vehicles are legal when they leave the yard?

The only sure fire way to ensure legality is to install the correct axle weighing system for your fleet profile and operation.

And as we offer the widest range of systems available from one manufacturer, we can offer impartial advice on the best system for your job.

Running service engineers vans out on the road all day – then Axtec OnBoard would be a useful tool.
Need to invoice customers for bulk materials on artics – then the Trade Approved Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge would be the best option.

Or maybe you need something for spot checks or driver training then a set of portable weighpads would be a good option.

There are many factors to consider – yard space, information required, fleet profile, product mix – with a free in-depth survey to really understand your operation you can be sure that any system you buy will be the right one for your job.

And remove the guesswork that even the best can get wrong.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Keeping rogue hauliers off the road!

We’re delighted to have has once again secured a four-year contract to maintain and certify the DVSA’s network of 55 roadside enforcement weighbridges.

We’ll be doing all the routine maintenance and calibrations using our own purpose designed axle weighbridge calibration vehicle, a unique tractor and trailer combination that means the job can be done by one vehicle instead of four. We’ll also be surveying and maintaining the flat weighbridge approaches, so important for weighing multi-axle vehicles accurately.

Under the contract we’ve had to maintain a variety of different systems. That means we can look after any type of axle weighbridge to a very high standard.

Keeping rogue operators off the road is very important for a number of reasons and we’re pleased to be doing our bit.

Not only is an overloaded vehicle extremely dangerous but the damage caused to the UK’s infrastructure costs all of us many times over. And it’s not only the damage to the road surface that we all have to pay up for.
Dynamic Axle Weighbridge Under Test

An operator who overloads his vehicles is taking business away from you. He is trying to obtain an unfair advantage. He is under cutting your rates by operating illegally.

Fair competition is a good thing as it drives companies to do things more efficiently but unfair competition is exactly that – unfair. With margins tight and profits hard to come by, losing work to a competitor doing it cheaper by breaking the law is something that needs to be tackled.

Inadvertent overloads can happen and there is leeway built into the tolerances of the enforcement axle weighbridge Code of Practice to allow for that. It is highly unlikely that anyone is going to be prosecuted for a minor overload.

But even minor overloads can lead to a prosecution if a haulier does it consistently. A while ago, one haulier thought he was being very clever by overloading his vehicles just within what he thought was the tolerance allowable.

When weighing his vehicles, the authorities found that every time they were overweight by a small but consistent margin. It was clear that this haulier was doing it deliberately and trying to gain an unfair advantage so a prosecution followed.

So our new contract with DVSA using specialist equipment and know how means we’ll be able to keep the network of enforcement axle weighbridges up and running.

And keeping overloaded vehicles and those unfair competitors off the road.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

New SOLAS regulations on container weighing go live!

The new rules designed to prevent accidents caused by overloaded containers went live on 1 July.

The International Maritime Organisations Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention now state that all containers must be weighed before embarkation.

Whilst some weighing is being done at the ports; some have axle weighing systems, others have weighing equipment built into the dock loaders, finding that your container is overloaded when you get to the port might be too late and present problems.

The Regulations do in fact state that the weight must be presented to the Master of the vessel in sufficient time for a stowage plan to be prepared. There are contingencies for obtaining the weight when a container arrives at the port without it but there could be costs attached to the shipper if the port have to do the weighing.

Customers have approached us about weighing containers before they leave their sites using our dynamic axle weighbridge. We advise them that it is perfectly feasible and existing systems can even have a minor software modification to allow the entry of additional information such as container number.
Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridges used for container weighing

The largest trucks can be weighed in around 40 seconds and accuracy of 0.5% is achievable with the right installation. Two-way operation is also possible which means that the tare weight of a truck can be obtained prior to the container being loaded onto the trailer as well.

The consequences of a vessel being overloaded can be catastrophic. With an incorrect centre of gravity, containers can fall overboard and be lost forever. The paperwork in making an insurance claim would almost certainly be time consuming and tedious but the loss of a shipment means customers not having their orders fulfilled.

But that’s the least worst outcome. A stack of containers collapsing whilst a ship is at sea could have extremely serious consequences and it has even been known for a ship to break its back due to severe overloading.

The Safety Of Life At Sea regulations mean exactly that and preventing overload containers from getting onboard makes perfect sense.

For the transport operator, obtaining the weight of containers prior to shipping by investing in their own weighing facility also makes perfect sense. It’s a one-off cost which is then available for evermore and will minimise delays at the port and the cost of having them obtain the weight for you.

And the added benefit of ensuring your vehicles are not overloaded when they leave your yard and go out on the road is almost a side issue, albeit a very important one.

Monday, 27 June 2016

More legislation or more enforcement? Van operators in their sights.

Whilst the country appears to have voted to leave the EU, for the moment at least we are still a member and likely to remain so for a number of years. 

So we will be subject to their rules and regulations for a little while yet whether we like them or not.

And with news of new European Commission consultations launched relating to ‘O’ licensing changes, operators in the UK and it seems especially van operators, there could be even more need to ensure your vehicles are not flouting the rules on overloading.

The FTA point out that no new laws are needed and that there are already regulations covering van operators. Members of their own Van Excellence scheme have a strict code of practice to adhere to which pushes up standards and gives confidence to customers about the professionalism of van drivers. They argue that better, more frequent enforcement of existing laws is needed.

New legislation or better enforcement, either way ensuring your vans are not overloaded will become even more important in future.

After all, an overloaded van is dangerous. Many of the major components such as steering, brakes, clutch, suspension, tyres are all adversely affected by overloading. Even if they don’t fail, possibly causing an accident, the increased wear just adds to your costs.
Axtec Static Single Axle Weighbridge- is it right for your fleet?

But which is the right system for your needs? Recognising that not every van operator is doing the same thing, we have designed a range of systems to suit all applications.

Checking that your vans aren’t overloaded before they leave for a job? The Axtec Static Axle Weighbridge could be the answer. Fitted in the roadway unaffected by traffic it can weigh any 2-axle rigid vehicle before it leaves the yard.

Vans on multidrop work with diminishing loads? Axtec OnBoardAxle Load Indicator could offer a solution by monitoring axle and gross loads automatically all the time the vehicle is on the road. And by connecting to a quality tracking system, live reporting can be done.

Or maybe your need is to do spot checks or driver training? Then a set of weighpads to keep in the car or ship from depot to depot might be the answer.

Regardless of any new legislation or toughening up of the current enforcement regime, Axtec have a system that will keep the axle and gross weights on your fleet compliant.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Are you maximising the load on YOUR vans?

According to the SMMT, May was a record breaker in terms of registering LCV’s. 

More and more vans are hitting the road, over 28,000 for the month, and that means more and more axle load indicators being fitted.

Axle overloading affects many of the major components on the vehicle; clutch, steering, brakes, tyres etc which makes it highly dangerous. It’s conceivable that an overloaded vehicle involved in an accident might have its insurance invalidated. We’ve been asked more than once to help with accident investigations where overloading has been suspected as a contributory factor.

So overloading is best avoided and many operators err on the side of caution and underload their vehicles just to remain the right side of the law. But not using the capacity to the full is inefficient.
As well as the obvious benefits of preventing overloading, Axtec OnBoard can do much more to help improve efficiency.

One of the standard features of Axtec OnBoard is the ability to connect to a tracking device. Not only does that output get recorded to indicate an overloading event by the tracker but by sending information continuously, a tracking device in communication with head office can gather other important information.

If the vehicle is overloaded, that’s obviously worth reporting back to head office but what if the vehicle is underloaded? What if it has spare capacity?

Operators need to run their vans efficiently and increasingly they are using weight information to plan vehicle routes.
Axtec OnBoard - preventing overloads and maximising payload

Does the vehicle have spare capacity? Maybe it can do that extra pick up after all. Is it close to maximum weight? Then the tracking system can identify the next nearest vehicle with spare capacity and route it to do the job instead.

Using vans to their maximum capacity is vital at any time. Whilst van registrations are expected to continue rising steadily, barring any unforeseen economic shocks, no operator buys a van for fun and most want to run the minimum number they need.

A van is an expensive asset when fuel and driver is factored in so the fewer you have the better.
Maybe Axtec OnBoard is the answer? It’s less costly than a new van but, when connected to a good tracking device, it will certainly prevent overloading and by maximising the load on every vehicle, it will be paid for in a very short period.

And after that it’s adding to the bottom line.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Computer says.... yes, no or maybe?

As usual we had a number of very interesting chats with clients at this years CV Show. Incidentally, you might want to put next year’s dates, 25th, 26th, 27th April, in your diary now.

A subject that came up once or twice was computer loading programs and how they ought to make weighing vehicles unnecessary.

In theory that’s correct. A computer that knows the weight of every product ought to be able to produce a manifest that ensures vehicles do not leave the depot overloaded.

But as is common knowledge, the output from a computer is only as good as the information that’s put into it. And does the computer know everything.

A real life example from a couple of years ago came when a customer with an expensive computer loading program found that he was still being pulled for overloading his vans. Upon investigation, it was found that the marketing department had decided to increase the number of items in a packet by 20% as a promotion.
Do you need an axle weighbridge as well as a computer?

But no one had told the computer which unknowingly carried on producing manifests telling the transport manager his vehicles were legal when in fact they were nearly all on the brink of a prosecution. The installation of an axle weighbridge to check weigh suspect vehicles before they left the yard solved the problem.

Another computer in the field of vehicle manufacturing apparently knew the weight of every nut, bolt and washer on a vehicle chassis. And it was only by check weighing some vehicles that the client discovered there was actually quite a wide margin of error and the installation of dynamic axle weighbridges allowed them to significantly tighten up the specifications on the computer and then check that it was now right.

There can be all sorts of variables that the loading computer might not know. How heavy the driver is, how much fuel is in the vehicle, will the vehicle be doing collections as well as drops or will some drops be missed?

So the sure fire way of ensuring your vehicles aren’t overloaded is to install the appropriate axle weighing system for your needs with details on our website.

After all, it’s you that might have to appear before a magistrate to answer an overloading charge not the computer.