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.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Showtime!!


April is the time of year everyone who  is anyone in transport heads to the NEC for the CV Show.


Axtec have been supporting it in all its formats since day one and this year we’ll be on stand 5J102 in hall 5.

With just about everything available on the internet these days, are trade shows still relevant?

Surely buying everything these days is just a simple job of looking online, finding the cheapest price and clicking the order button?

Whilst that might be true of all manner of things, some products are more technical and require professional advice if they are to work at their best.

And that usually starts with a chat with a specialist – and where best to meet specialists in the transport industry than its premier industry event?
See you on stand 5J102 at the CV Show 24-26 April

Many show visitors come to see a specific product or supplier but it’s also a great way to pick up new ideas and find new solutions to old problems as well.

Technology in the transport industry does keep moving on after all.

We upgraded an axle weighbridge with some new software for one customer. He was having issues determining who was using the system and when but a brief chat about what he needed suggested that the Fleet Management Program would help.

Recording every tractor and trailer that weighed in date and time order with a report available whenever he wanted meant that he got exactly the information he needed.

And can now look out for efficiencies in his operation by knowing what his vehicles weighed and when.

Not every detail about a product or its options can be easily listed on a website.

Taking a day out of a busy schedule to visit the NEC may seem a wasted day but talking to an expert about a highly technical installation may well be the most productive thing to do that day.

So make a note of the dates – April 24th,25th and 26th and we’ll see you there.

Friday, 2 March 2018

It’s not all about avoiding overloading!


An axle weighbridge is sometimes seen purely as a means to avoid overloading. A high cost, capital investment that only has a role in preventing a problem.


There is another aspect to installing a system which is often far more important, especially among major logistics providers.

Often the default position when trying to avoid overloading is to underload the vehicles.
Which can mean that a fleet is not being run as efficiently as it could be. Utilising the full load on every vehicle though, means that every trip is at optimum efficiency and profits are maximised.
There are other spin off benefits too.
Maximise Payload & Profit with an Axtec Dynamic Weighbridge

By checking every vehicle for optimum loading on every trip, a picture builds up of how efficient the fleet is being used and points up opportunities to make even greater efficiencies.

Is every 44 tonner fully loaded? Would smaller, less costly vehicles be of benefit? Could some of the vehicles be downplated? And what sort of mix should the fleet be?

Without accurate axle weight information it can be very difficult to make decisions on what vehicles should be in the fleet and how best to utilise them.

Some computer loading programs can help with ensuring vehicles are fully loaded but it is vital that the information they work with is kept up to date. What happens if a pack size changes and no one updates the computer for instance?

More than one client has made startling discoveries about their vehicle loading since installing a high accuracy Axtec axle weighbridge. One found they were sending half empty double deck trailers out on some runs for instance. Now questions can be asked and efficiencies made.

Sometimes running a half empty vehicle is unavoidable. But maximising loads most of the time with an accurate axle weighbridge would certainly add to profits.