Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Some real world figures on overloading.

The statisticians tell us that around 80% of the vans on the road are overloaded. We’re not sure how large a sample that is based upon but it’s an alarming figure.


In the world of real vans, real weights and real drivers, one of our customers has established his own level of overloading and, whilst the sample figure is relatively low, the incidence of overloading is high.

As part of their drive to ensure they are operating legally, one of the major utility companies bought some portable weighpads from us last year. With a number of depots around the company, the Transport Manager wanted to have a weighing facility in his car to do on site spot checks and driver training.

The perfect application for weighpads incidentally.
Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator - preventing van overloads

During a recent exercise at one of his depots, he weighed 60 vehicles before they left for work. Alarmingly, he found 40 of them were overloaded. That’s two-thirds of them.

Some were only slightly over the legal limit but some were seriously overloaded, one or two approaching 300kg overweight. A significant figure on a 3.5t van and well within the area that could attract a prosecution.

The reasons were the usual ones given by drivers such as not clearing scrap from the van after a job, keeping ‘one-extra’  spare component in the back just in case etc. These are common, daily occurrences for many operators. All avoidable but all could possibly lead to a prohibition, prosecution, and a fine.

And with overloading adversely affecting the brakes, steering, clutch suspension, tyres, fuel consumption etc, all of which are not cheap, not to mention possibly invalidating the insurance in the event of an accident, overloading your vans is something to be avoided.


If overloading is something you would like to discuss a resolution to in detail, come and see us at CV Show next week where you’ll find us on stand 5A79.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Nothing like seeing it demonstrated

Having vast experience in axle weighing means that we know all about the see-saw effect.

But not everyone, including some that have been in transport a long time are aware of what can happen when the load is incorrectly positioned on the vehicle.

A training exercise for transport and depot managers at one of the major builders merchants produced an interesting reaction from those attending when we showed them what happened.

Placing a set of portable weighpads, correctly set up and on flat level ground, beneath the front axle of a 2-axle rigid we then got them to place a couple of pallets of bricks right behind the cab. With plenty of space left on the load bed our audience were genuinely surprised to learn that the vehicle was now illegal because the front axle was overloaded.

We then put some pallets behind the back axle. And again there was genuine surprise when everyone learnt that, even though the overall weight had increased, the vehicle was now legal.
Weighpads - great for driver and operator training.

The action of putting load behind the back axle had caused the front axle weight to decrease.
The see-saw effect nicely demonstrated.

The issue of load distribution is often overlooked even by those with a great deal of experience in managing a fleet of vehicles but it is high point loads that cause most damage to the road surface.

Which is why there is a national network of axle weighbridges to check not only gross weight, but individual axle weights as well.

A vehicle can be well within its maximum gross weight but could be operating illegally because the distribution of the load is incorrect.

This is often a problem for operators with diminishing loads. The vehicle leaves the yard perfectly legal but as weight is removed from the rear, it is vital that the driver redistributes the load or the front axle can become overloaded.

As we said, even those with great experience may not be aware of this and have to have it demonstrated to them.


If you think your staff could benefit from some free axle weight training, feel free to get in touch.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The CV Show at the NEC will open it's doors on 25th April for arguably the most important three days in the transport calendar.

And we'll be on stand 5A79 by the way so come along and chat about all things axle weighing.

Even in this electronically connected world, exhibitions are still excellent for learning new ideas and discussing new ways of doing things. There's still nothing quite like a face to face meeting and getting a real feel for a customer’s operation and needs.

And the people who attend an exhibition and visit our stand have made a conscious decision to take time out of the office to come to the show, to see what's new and talk business.

Many have a specific problem and have to come to talk directly with people like us who have the experience and knowledge to offer a cost effective solution.

One such customer came to tell us that he was operating around 50 box bodies 7.5 tonners and that he’d been advised to fit load cells to them. The costs though were astronomical and although the problem remained, getting a budget to solve it would be an issue.
Axtec OnBoard find out if its right for you at the CV Show

At the CVShow we discussed his needs in detail. And whilst OnBoard system would have done the job a better solution was a Single-Axle Static weighbridge in his yard. Total cost around £7,500.00 and a far cry from the £250,000.00 he had been quoted.


More importantly, he bought the right system for his needs. Fully loaded 7.5 tonners taking products from his factory to his customers' sites with no multi-drop work really only needed to be check weighed before they left his site.


So if you need advice on what is the best system for your needs, make sure you visit the CV Show this year. Even if it's not an axle weighing system you're looking for, there will almost certainly be an expert there with a solution that could save you money.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Axtec OnBoard - use it again and again.

Something that might not be immediately obvious is that an operator can get more than one life out of the Axtec OnBoard Axle Load Indicator.

Designed with the minimum number of components which means there is less to go wrong in the first place, it also means the system is fast to de-install. 

And that means it can be reinstalled onto a new vehicle.

So when you buy a new van, there’s no need to buy a new OnBoard Load Indicator. And because the system uses the same sensors regardless of the van, it is pretty much interchangeable with any van on the road.

So if you’re switching from a Movano to a Transit or a Daily to a Crafter, the system will simply transfer over.

Size doesn’t matter either. Replacing a 3.5t van with a 4t van makes no difference. Even moving up to a 7.5t truck wouldn’t cause any problems either. The system is simply reprogrammed with the new calibration information and it’s ready to go.
Axtec OnBoard On a 3.5t Van

The system is pretty much future proof, using the very latest touch screen technology, which means you wouldn’t be installing old technology into a shiny new van.

Axtec OnBoard shows all the information a driver needs all the time. Axle and gross weights are all shown the second the ignition is switched on. Using a colour display, legal weights are shown in green, anything over 80% is shown in amber and all overloads in flashing red.

Outputs for connection to a tracking device are included with every system using a standard output. That means if you change your tracking system too, Axtec OnBoard will be able to communicate with it.

And the customer calibration facility works with all vans or trucks old or new too.

The age of the system has no effect on its ability to be recalibrated. So it could be fitted to 2, 3 or even more vans.

We have a number of customers who take advantage of the ability to de-install and re-install.

It’s a great way of keeping the cost of running a van down.

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.