Friday, 5 October 2018

The Perfect Place to Talk Business

We’re back at the NEC for Fleet Live next week and if last year is anything to go by it could be an interesting couple of days.

Exhibiting at events like Fleet Live is very important when your product is of a technical nature.
Mass market products with several suppliers all selling identical items can easily be bought online.  Just find the company selling it cheapest and place an order.

But where the product is more technical then a face to face conversation is essential.
Frequently clients have a good idea of their needs and even strong opinions about the best solution. But there is more than one type of axle weighing system and not all are suitable for every application.
Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator - See it at Fleet Live

So Googling what you think you need then buying the cheapest one on line could turn out to be costly mistake.

For instance, operators with vans out on the road all day with ever changing loads, any sort of system in the yard probably wouldn’t be the best option.

Overloading a van can have serious consequences. It affects all the major components – brakes, suspension, tyres etc.

Vehicles that have been involved in accidents can be weighed to establish if overloading was a factor and it has been known for insurance to be invalid if they are found to be overweight.
But preventing van overloads need not be expensive or complicated.
Axtec OnBoard shows front, rear and gross weights permanently on a simple to read colour display.

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.

There are no manual controls making the system simple to use and drivers cannot say they don’t know how to use it. They simply have to look at it.

And whilst you can pay for a full calibration if that’s what you need, every system can be reset by the customer saving vehicle downtime and money.

So if avoiding overloads is a priority for you this year come and have a chat with us on stand H8 at Fleet Live at the NEC next week.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Overloading costs us all.

Overloading not only affects most of the major components on a vehicle, it also has an unwanted affect on the road surface.

Was the tragic collapse of the Ponte Morandi in Genoa caused by years of overloaded traffic? It is surely one of the factors that the authorities will be looking in to.

Building and maintaining the country’s roads costs literally millions. And roads are designed with a life expectancy based upon calculations of how much traffic there will be and estimations of how heavy those vehicle will be. If the road surface needs to be replaced sooner than predicted, part of that will be down to increased traffic.

But part will also be down to heavier than anticipated loads.
Axtec OnBoard Protects Against Overloads Away From Base

One of the major issues is overloaded axles. In simple terms, a 100t evenly loaded vehicle with 100 axles each bearing 1t will cause less damage to the road surface than a 10t evenly loaded vehicle with 2 axles each bearing 5t.

And the money for repairing those worn out roads comes from taxation both business and personal and I’m sure everyone agrees the less tax we have to pay the better.

There is a broad range of systems available for preventing overloading and getting good advice is vital to ensure the right one is specified. Vehicles on multi-drop work would probably benefit from an onboard indicator. Artics taking full loads from a DC are best weighed on a dynamicaxle weighbridge. Two axle rigids maybe a static axle weighbridge or possibly portable weighpads.

Whatever your needs Axtec have a system to suit and offer free, impartial advice on the correct system for any application.

And the good news is that checking vehicle weights means you can ensure your vehicles are running at peak efficiency on every trip which will save your business money.

But the best news of all is that it may even help keep those tax bills down.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

How many of your vans might be overloaded?

Two weighing exercises in recent weeks with two very different clients, one a utility company the other a housing association, but both operating very similar 3.5t vans.

The objective with both was to determine what if any incidences of overloading they were experiencing.

Both were aware of the dangers of overloading – it affects the brakes, steering, clutch, suspension, tyres and the basic safety of the vehicle – so were hoping that no issues would be found.

Using portable weighpads we arranged for a number of their vehicles to be weighed at different locations under supervision to ensure the pads were used correctly.

Checking for Van overloads Using Portable Weighpads
Whilst finding no overloads would have been ideal it was perhaps inevitable that some issues would be found.

Much to the clients’ disappointment, there were quite a few vehicles that caused concern. In one case 16% and in the other a staggering 20% of the vehicles were over their permitted weight.

Many more were very close to the limit and the addition of a passenger, more fuel or even marginally more in the load space and they would have been overloaded.

Most of the overloads were fairly minor and in isolation unlikely to attract a prosecution. But it has been known for insurance to be invalidated if an overloaded vehicle is involved in an accident and persistent, minor infringements would certainly attract the attention of the authorities.

Sometimes these weight checks can provide peace of mind but without going through the exercise operators are usually unaware if they are running legally laden or not.

One of these latest clients also operate larger vehicles and whilst the smaller 3.5t vans are not on the ‘O’ licence, any overloading offences must be reported to the Traffic Commissioner and could affect an application or renewal at a later date.

Are your vans running legally laden? If you think a free weight check might be useful help then contact us and we’ll be delighted to help.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Advice on axle weighing is always free from us!

Getting good advice when installing an axle weighbridge is vital. Putting it in the wrong location, not taking account site conditions, traffic or intended use might lead to an expensive mistake.

Which is why Axtec  take time to thoroughly understand what a system is going to be used for, where and by what vehicles.

Recently we were approached by a client needing to weigh vehicles for Type Approval purposes. The multi axle vehicles they were weighing meant that a dynamic axle weighbridge was called for.

A dynamic axle weighbridge needs perfectly flat approaches for a vehicles length either side of the platform because compensating axles will transfer weight from axle to axle when driver over uneven ground.

We discussed the application, vehicles and location with the client, surveyed the area and submitted a quotation for an installation that would do the job perfectly.

But someone was giving alternative, incorrect advice. It was suggested that the system only needed 3m either side of the platform to be flat. That it was ok to drive the front axles over the platform while the back axles were being driven over a roller brake tester. And that it would be ok to weigh the rear axles with the front axles travelling down quite a steep slope.
Axtec Dynamic with correct high tolerance approaches

But the client was basically being told that the vehicle and weighing machine could defy gravity.
Clearly this was incorrect and to install the system in such a way would have resulted in serious inaccuracies and not met the criteria for Type Approval weighing.

Even worst, the cost to correct it would be more than the cost of doing it right in the first place.

Weighing axles is not the same as other forms of weighing. Only one axle is on the weighbridge at a time and the rest of them are on the road surface either side of it. If the approach and exit to the platform isn’t to the right tolerance then serious weighing errors will be the result.

Advice from us on how to install a system is always free. And it will always be the right advice.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Need to run efficiently when fuel prices are rising?

With fuel prices on the rise, it’s important to squeeze every last kilo onto every vehicle to maintain efficiency.

Underloading is inefficient but it’s what many operators do to try and stay legal.

But in trying to maximise loads operators risk overloading and all the problems that brings – a vehicle prohibited at the weighbridge, delivery slots missed, having to find another vehicle to take part of the load, the fine and the risk to the ‘O’ licence.

We have numerous instances of customers remaining legal and at the same time improving efficiency but two very good examples in very different industries are a brick carrier and a waste haulier.

Our brick carrier was concerned that storing material out of doors was causing them a problem. They had a computer loading program which theoretically advised how to load their vehicles but when it rained the weight of product got heavier and this was never factored into the calculation.

The result was that they were sending vehicles out underloaded, and thus running inefficiently, as a precaution.
Axtec Dynamic - Paid for itself in a matter of months.

However, studies showed that by checking the vehicles with an axle weighbridge they were able to load to maximum on every trip.

Remarkably, the investment in the axle weighing systems was recouped in a matter of months and thereafter they were adding to their profits.

The waste haulier had to pass a DVSA axle weighbridge on his way to the tip. Concerned about overloading he deliberately underloaded his 8-wheelers on every trip.

To improve efficiency he installed an Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge and was astounded to learn that he could actually get around 30% more on each vehicle.

Again the system paid for itself in a matter of months and profit was added to his bottom line.

If you’re in the business of maximising your load on every trip then Axtec can help.

We’ll be glad to tell you what we can do and who we already do it for.

We think you’ll find it interesting.

Friday, 1 June 2018

What a year that was!

It was 1988 – the year that Microsoft launched Windows 2.1, the year Paddy Ashdown became leader of the Liberal Democrat Party and the year singer Adele was born.

It was also the year that one of our clients installed their axle weighbridge. Now thirty years later having given excellent service the system is due for an upgrade.

Nothing has broken. Everything works, it has benefited from regular servicing after all, but one of the posts has been hit a couple of times by vehicles and exposure to the elements down by the Thames for all those year’s means it’s beginning to look its age.

And of course technology has moved on considerably since then.

When we build an axle weighbridge we build it to last. And whilst the processing technology and size and number of components has changed beyond all recognition, some things such as the design of the platform are still just as good today.

The Axtec weighing platform is built for heavy duty use. We advise customers to install it right in the roadway so drivers don’t have to divert to use it. That way they have no excuse.

Axtec Weighbeam - hard wearing so put it right in the exit!

A design that puts the centre of the load cell directly beneath the edge of the platform means there is no tipping motion which significantly reduces wear on the load cell mountings. Those mountings themselves are hardened stainless steel and even the shims used to adjust the platform height are stainless steel. Ideal for a life in a pit subject to moisture.

And the whole platform has a 300% Safe Overload Rating before it fails – strong enough for even the toughest applications.

This installation is only one of a good number that are 30 years old or more and still in every day use ensuring vehicles are not overloaded or maximising payloads.

It costs more to manufacture the platform to that design but an axle weighbridge represents a considerable investment for some people so it pays to install one that is going to last.

And with an indicator upgrade, this one will last a good few years yet.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

What an event THAT was!

As a regular at manning exhibitions stands, and ever present at the CV Show, we know a good show when we see one.

And last week the CV Show at the NEC may just have been about the most successful we’ve experienced. Plenty of new enquiries to follow up and, very pleasingly, plenty of positive feedback from existing customers.

From customers with just one 3.5t van, through potential resale partners to the operators of the biggest fleets we once again had the full spread of conversations on the stand.
Axtec Stand at the CV Show - packed away for another year!
Fortunately we have such a breadth of systems and software that we are able to offer impartial advice on the correct system for the job.

Whilst a fixed axle weighbridge was right for those running full trucks from a DC, an onboard solution would be a far better solution for those on multi-drop work.

Others may offer only one type of system but it’s only by having a vast range, and vast experience of similar applications and industries, that we can offer impartial advice on the right tool for the job.

One or two customers were in the market for a  type of system that we don’t produce and, as our intention from day one was to only specialise exclusively in axle weighing, we explained clearly that we couldn’t help and passed them on to others who could.

Some of the applications we discussed were quite complex and will require site visits, in depth discussions about the best solution for the job and plenty of time and patience.

We know that an axle weighbridge can be a big investment and that we will no doubt still be talking to some of our new contacts when the show rolls around again next year.

So with so many interesting applications to discuss the time just flew by and before we knew it we were packing the stand away for another year.

But we’ll be back – and the dates for your diary in 2019 are 30 April, 1 & 2 May.

See you there.