Thursday, 6 October 2016

And the cost of having your van stopped is...

Estimated at £4,000.00 per day.

That's the figure estimated by DVSA as published in their Guidance notes. You can access these notes by clicking this link. 

The DVSA stops more than 15,000 vans a year. And of those stopped, almost 84% of them were found to be overloaded. In fact, overloading was the single biggest fault found with vans by some considerable margin.

Unlike Large Goods Vehicles, that is anything over 3,500kg gross weight, vans can be operated by anyone. No special licence or training is required and yet there are estimated to be around 3.6 million of them on our roads.

Many of them are obviously making deliveries, supermarket home delivery vans and parcel delivery vans but often they are seen as a mobile toolbox.
Axtec OnBoard - prevents van overloads

In those cases the driver of the van is employed as something else – a service engineer or installation engineer – and little thought is given to the van they drive with the emphasis being on how many physical tools or equipment they can get in the back rather than the weight of it.

The design weight of the van though must not be exceeded. The design gross weight includes the van, the driver and any passengers, fuel, the load and anything else that happens to be in the van.

And these days, most drivers and passengers will be kitted out with safety boots, hard hats, hi-viz jackets etc all of which add weight to the vehicle.

The cost of having a van stopped is far in excess of any fine that may be applied. Finding another van and driver and then sending them possibly miles to the prohibited vehicle is very costly.

Or how about the time and effort that might need to go into preparing a case and attending court?

And with your van prohibited you’re not getting to the job. That delivery isn’t being made. The vital piece of equipment isn’t being serviced. Your customer is being let down.

The bad will that a late delivery or missed service call generates could cost your company considerably.

Overloading a van is something that is costly and needs to be avoided so Axtec offer a range of systems to prevent it with prices starting under £1,000.00

So which could you afford more?

I would guess it’s certainly not the £4,000.00 the DVSA estimate it could be costing you.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Another interesting conversation about weighpads

So that’s the RWM show over for another year.

And as with every exhibition it threw up some interesting conversations.

One that stuck in our minds is a conversation we’ve had many times over the years. It was from a company who originally contacted us about three years ago. At the time they felt that they were best served by some portable weighpads which they bought from a competitor.  Not a view we shared as we felt a more permanent solution would be a better option.

Unfortunately, as with many others in the past, they found out the hard, and expensive way, that weighpads weren’t really up to the job they wanted to do. Their weighpads spent more time away being repaired, recalibrated or awaiting parts than actually doing what they had been bought for.

Often seen as a cheap option, and there are plenty of very cheap ones on the market, - hand portable, no special installation work, simply park each axle on the one at a time – they seem the perfect solution for weighing axles.

Weighpads are ideal for many applications and we have plenty of customers who use them very successfully.
Portable weighpads - great for some jobs but not for all!

But for long term, heavy duty use by non-skilled personnel they are rarely the best or most cost effective option. Especially if they are cheap ones of which there are many on the interet.

Driver training and spot checks out on site are perfect examples of where weighpads score. When used by a responsible manager who is going to look after them, make sure the batteries are charged and ensure they are used correctly, they can provide very good results.

But even then they have a limited lifespan, typically five years whereas a fixed system can last for 30 years or more.

We’re happy to discuss and demonstrate weighpads with anyone who is interested in them. Even offer short term trials to determine if they are the right tool for the job.

But we’ve got a long and growing list of customers who have tried them, usually after getting poor advice, and found them to be wanting.

And that customer from the show – we’re off to see him in a few days to discuss a more permanent, less fragile solution for his needs.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Three days and counting....

Next week, everybody who is anybody in the waste industry will descend on the NEC for the RWM exhibition.

Between 13th and 15th September, it's the place to be if you have any involvement in waste and recycling.

Axtec are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and we’re proud to have attended every CIWM show in all its formats since day one. This year you’ll find us on stand 5P151 so come and have a chat.

The RWM is an internationally recognised industry event, the only one of its kind in fact,  a great event and as usual will be brimming with new ideas for the waste processor.

Whether you are processing or producing waste there will be new innovations and ideas throughout all the halls and it’s not to be missed. Meeting up with existing clients is an essential part of the show. Some of the projects we are involved in are very long term so keeping abreast of progress and bringing them up to speed with the latest in axle weighing technology is vital.

Some of the equipment on show, ours included, needs a ‘hands on’ approach to buy. Seeing the equipment in a working environment can be vital. Will it fit to my vans? Can it weigh multi-axle bulkers? How will it fit into my operation? Will it fit at all??

There’s only so much that can be learnt by downloading a brochure from the web and talking to people face to face, arranging site visits and post show meetings is essential when buying axle weighing systems.
Look out for us on stand 5P151 at RWM

Axle weighing is extensively used in the waste industry today and offer a number of advantages. Traditional plate weighbridges still have a role to play, but advances in technology now mean an axle weigher can be a better option.

Need to save space? A dynamic axle weighbridge doesn’t up anything like as much room as a surface mounted weighbridge.
Making sure your caged tippers are legal out on the road? An OnBoard Load Indicator will do that for you.

Doing spot checks or driver training? Maybe some portable weighpads would offer a solution.

So if you need new ideas for your waste operation, the RWM at the NEC 13th, 14th, 15th April September is the place to be.

And if it’s axle weighing you want to chat about, we'll be on stand 5P151. So feel free to come along and say hello.

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.