Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Van Overloads and How to Avoid Them.

Scrolling through the DVSA Twitter feed turns up some shocking incidences of overloading.

Vans that were up to 46% overloaded have been stopped and the operators prosecuted.

Overloading has a negative effect on all the major components of the vehicle. The brakes, steering and suspension are all adversely affected and pose a serious safety risk.

So serious is overloading that one removals firm was fined £48,000.00 for persistent offending.

A frequent claim is that there are not enough public weighbridges around anymore. That may be true but there are plenty of other options available especially if your work takes you to numerous loading points.

A cost effective option for 3.5t vans is Axtec OnBoard. Fitted on site in less than half a day, it shows all the information a driver needs all the time. Axle and gross weights are displayed as soon as the ignition is switched on. A full colour screen shows legal weights in green, anything over 80% is shown in amber and all overloads in flashing red.

Overloads can be reported by connecting the system to a tracking device or they can be stored in the onboard memory for later downloading.
Axtec OnBoard - Avoid Overloading YOUR Van

The system rarely if ever needs recalibrating but there is a simple customer function to reset the zero if necessary.

So no expensive visits by service engineers or taking the van to a workshop to be checked.

And if you change the van it can be de-installed and re-installed.

It’s a great way of avoiding a day in court and a hefty fine.

Are your vans running legally laden?

If you are unsure then contact us and we may be able to arrange a free on site survey or discuss your requirements in detail.

It’s a much cheaper option than an appearance in court.

Monday, 30 September 2019

How accurate is YOUR axle weighbridge?

The number of customers asking us to calibrate their axle weighbridges has risen sharply in recent weeks.

And all those customers are telling us versions of the same story – they don’t believe it is being done correctly by their current provider.

On being given the calibration specification being used, we were surprised to find that most of these axle weighbridges were only being calibrated up to 6 tonnes.

Given that most 44t artics have axles weighing 8t or more, calibrating to only 6t is bluntly, pointless.
There are two parts to getting a dynamic axle weighbridge calibrated correctly. One is to prove it works as a basic weighing machine. The other is to check that it does what it was designed to do – weigh axles on multi-axle vehicles accurately.

Testing a system with a capacity of 20t with only 6t of weights is far from sufficient to prove the former. And immediately throws into doubt the results from any dynamic testing.

Calibrating an axle weighbridge is not just a case of tweaking the indicator with a screwdriver. The concrete approaches and platform height are vital too.
Axtec have the only specialist test vehicle for axle weighbridges 

Yet one customer had documentary evidence that their weighing platform had not been lifted from the pit for nearly 20 years. So no height adjustment had been made in all that time.

Little surprise then that the systems are inaccurate. Some as much as 3t light.

Imagine the consequences of putting an extra 3t on your vehicle because the axle weighbridge had said it was underweight?

An axle weighbridge is unlike a simple platform scale and requires specialist equipment and knowledge.

Axtec have invested in a purpose designed test vehicle allowing us to calibrate systems up to maximum capacity.

But that is only part of the story.

Knowing what the approach levels are and being able to adjust the platform height are vital.

Maybe we can help you check out your axle weighbridge for accuracy?

Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

Friday, 15 March 2019

A Day at the CV Show would be a day well spent.

It’s almost that time of year when anyone who has an interest in transport heads to the NEC for the CV Show.

For more than two decades the CV Show has been the go-to event for new product launches and if you head to stand 5G70 in hall 5 we will have our all new Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator to talk about.

Being able to catch up on new technology and new ideas is what makes the CV Show so important for those in transport.

For suppliers, it’s the ideal platform for reaching new customers and for transport operators it’s the perfect event for finding out how new ideas can make them more efficient and profitable.
Taking a day out to visit the show is rarely a waste of time.

There is always something new to discover and an excellent opportunity to compare products with many major manufacturers all in the same place at the same time.
We're on stand 5G70 from April 29th

Even in these days where much of what we buy is available on the internet, there are some products which have to be seen at first hand to appreciate what they might do for your business.

Vehicles have obvious attractions – you can sit in them, walk round them and try out some of the features.

But other products need to be seen close up and their features discussed too.

Axtec OnBoard is the most advanced system of its type on the market – but is indicating the load all it does?

Could connecting to a tracking device be a useful option?

How about storing overloads in the system memory?

Would displaying the view from a reversing or nearside camera?

These are all features available as standard which can improve efficiency and safety. But aren’t immediately apparent from just looking at a picture on the web.

But visiting a trade show, seeing the products at first hand and having a chat with someone who has specialist knowledge could be time well spent.

So make a note of the dates – April 29th,30th and May 1st and we’ll see you there.

Friday, 25 January 2019

There's more than one way to protect against overloads.

In a meeting with a client last week, it was interesting to note how much they had to do to ensure compliance.

And we were approached to help resolve any overloading issues.

The ideal solution would be to fit Axtec OnBoard to all their vans. Axtec OnBoard shows front, rear and gross weights permanently on a simple graphical and numeric colour display. And drivers do not have to remember their legal weights as the system does it for them.

Legal weights are shown in green, anything over 80% is shown in amber and overloads are automatically highlighted in flashing red.

But with the whole fleet 100% on short term hire that might not be the most cost effective solution at the moment.

But doing nothing is not an option and fortunately there is  more than one axle weighing system to solve a potential overloading problem.
Axtec Static Single-Axle Weighbridge

The vans should be fitted out with specific racking and a specific toolkit. In theory, no chance of being overloaded. But keeping a check on those vehicle weights is vital.

A good option is to introduce a program of spot checks and the Axtec Static Single-Axle Weighbridge offers a solution.

Using the same frame, beam and load cells as the dynamic systems used for enforcement, the Static Single is purpose designed for operators of 2-axle rigid vehicles.

Simple to use – instructions and weights are shown to the driver in his seat on a large display – and designed for a long life, drivers and management would be able to check that vehicles are not overloaded every time they leave the depot.

Quickly, simply and accurately.

Axtec offer the widest range of axle weighing systems available from one company and we always offer best advice for any overloading issue.

And the Axtec Static-Single provides a great solution in the right circumstances.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

We don’t have a problem….

Sometimes the people on the front line have difficulty persuading management that there is a concerning issue.

It’s something we encounter often where those on the ground actually operating vehicles on a daily basis are aware of an issue but those with the decision makers fail to see what the problem is.
Ignorance though is no defence.

Recently we were approached by a transport manager worried about potential overloads. The nature of their business meant drivers frequently worked away from base and thus responsible for their vehicles without any checks on their behaviour.
Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator

He sent a report to his senior management expressing his concerns. When he got a response form them it was - we don’t have a problem.

Frustrated at the negative feedback he asked if we could help. So we provided some weighpads to run some trials. And the results were astonishing.

Far from there not being a problem, several overloads were discovered. In fact one 3.5t van weighed in at an alarming 5.5t.

That’s more than 50% overloaded.

An overloaded vehicle causes significantly more damage to the road surface than a legally laden one. Damage that we all pay for through our taxes.

But a vehicle that badly overloaded is seriously dangerous too.

The consequences of that vehicle being involved in an accident could have been catastrophic with the brakes, clutch and suspension all affected by the excessive weight.

Vehicle weighing systems should not just be seen as an unnecessary expense to avoid prosecution. The savings in tyre, brake and clutch wear and the reduction in repair costs to the suspension will all mitigate the cost.

And in many cases over the years, operators have found they can actually increase the load on their vehicles, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

As for our client, armed with some real-life information from some of his own vehicles, he has resubmitted his report and is planning to fit the fleet with onboard load indicators.

Helping to gather evidence for hard pressed operators is all part of the Axtec service.

Friday, 16 November 2018

We only used them once…

Those were the words of a client recently who borrowed a set of weighpads to test weigh some of his vehicles. 

Fortunately, we loaned him the weighpads free of charge otherwise he would have had an expensive investment not being used.

Portable weighpads are ideal for many applications and we have numerous customers who use them very successfully. But they do need managing if they are to provide useful information and it’s often not until a customer tries them out that they discover they may not be the best solution.

Like all weighing systems, portable pads need to be used on flat level ground. And the surface needs to be swept so that no stones are under the pads. They need to be positioned correctly and drivers supervised during the weighing process. And all of this is usually done out of doors, possibly in poor weather and frequently early in the morning when vehicles leave the depot.
Axtec Portable Weighpads - Used for Free Trials

Even before using them, someone needs to take responsibility for ensuring they are kept securely, they are not a cheap item after all, and that the batteries are charged up.

This makes weighpads sound as though they are more trouble than they are worth. Nothing could be further from the truth – in the right circumstances they are the ideal tool – but many axle weighing requirements can be served better with an alternative.

We are always happy to loan clients weighpads for trial as it provides real world experience of whether they are the right tool for the job. Just as importantly though, it allows a transport manager to establish how much of an issue overloading is.

It may though prove that there isn’t a problem at all. Or that the vehicles are running underweight and thus inefficiently.

Whatever the outcome, carrying out a check with weighpads might be time well spent.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Unquestionably THE most accurate axle weighbridge in the world.

Achieving high accuracy from an axle weighbridge is not a simple task.

But achieving it, and then aiming for even greater accuracy, is something we always strive to do.
So to gain an Approval to Class 0.2, twice as accurate as the previous approval, is something we have worked hard for and are very proud of.

To gain that Approval, accuracy throughout the testing procedure, which involved a deadweight test to capacity and running the vehicle numerous times down the centre, the nearside and the offside of the platform, had to be within 0.1% at all times.

The Axtec Series 5000 Dynamic Axle Weighbridge was already the most accurate of its type in the world but now its Approved to twice the accuracy.
The Most Accurate Dynamic Axle Weighbridge in the World

Gaining such accuracy is all down to the precision manufacturing of the weighing platform and frame, the high tolerances required of the approach concrete and the care taken with the final installation.

There is more to getting good accuracy than just connecting some load cells to an indicator however good they may be as individual components.

There is more to the installation than just preparing the correct size pit in the ground.

And there is more to the calibration than just checking the accuracy when weighing test weights.

Gaining Class 0.2 Approval shows how important it is to get every stage of manufacturing, installation and testing right. Which is why we have all those disciplines in-house and can assure the quality and accuracy of the complete installation.

Getting the installation right means customers’ can be sure they are maximising loads on every trip without overloading.

It means the system can legally be used for buying and selling product by weight.

And it means the system can be offered as a Public Weighbridge and thus contribute a revenue stream to the business.

Only Axtec have the all of the skills necessary to achieve that level of performance.