Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A tale of two axle weighbridges.....

Well six really. And spread across three different customers in different parts of the country.

In quick succession recently we were contacted by some existing customers enquiring about upgrades for their axle weighbridges. Different customers scattered all over the UK in different industries but basically with the same need - to ensure their vehicles remained legal.

In order to provide an accurate price for upgrades we visited the customers to discuss their current needs. Over the years, the requirement had changed a little but in one respect all these systems had one thing in common - they were installed 25 years ago!

That's a whole quarter of a century.

But the state of the machines couldn't be more different.  All of these customers are major fleet operators and household names not back street cowboy outfits.

One customer, who installed four of them had not done any maintenance at all over the years but the other two had placed their systems under maintenance contracts.

One customer based in York had a need to move some components as his operation had changed over the years. Other than that the though machine was in good order and once the modifications have been completed there's no reason why it won't last another 25 years. Or more even.

The second customer, based in east London wanted to know if there were any new developments he could incorporate to improve the operation. Having discussed his need in detail, weighed a few vehicles, which proved the accuracy we concluded that his current set up was best for his needs and, as the saying goes, if it isn't broke, don't fix it. Happy that he's got the installation for his needs, again the machine should be good for another 25 years.

Unfortunately, the final customer based in East Anglia had not done any maintenance on the systems over the years, largely due to a difference of opinion as to which part of the business owned them. With no one willing to take on the responsibility for them there is really no option but to replace them.
A static axle weighbridge that has been abandoned
An axle weighbridge after 25 years of no servicing

Regular maintenance always pays but how often it should be done varies. We try to be objective and give the best advice we can.

There are some customers who have very dirty or heavily trafficked axle weighbridges and we recommend that they have regular servicing and preferably a maintenance contract. Others, such as a stage lighting company in Kingston have a nice clean yard, only five vehicles and weigh them each once a week so our advice to them was just to call us out every couple of years to give it a once over.

Getting the right level of service for your axle weighbridge would easily see it lasting a quarter of a century and who knows - even half a century or more?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Why Weigh Axles?

Some people wonder why they should weigh their vehicles at all. The obvious is to avoid being caught for overloading. Often though we only get a call from a client after they've been caught and are facing prosecution.

Obviously avoiding getting caught for overloading is an important reason to check axle weights. The fine is often the least of the problems it causes. If a vehicle is stopped at a weight check and found to be overloaded it could well be parked up while the problem is sorted.

Can you afford to have your vehicle stuck at a weigh station for hours while your customer waits for his goods or service? Can you afford to pay the driver while he is sitting there unable to move? How are you going to correct the problem - redistribute the load, or do you need to send another vehicle and driver to take the excess load? Have you got another vehicle and driver just waiting around doing nothing to dash out to the weigh station?

Something that isn't widely known is that an offence with a light commercial vehicle could have an effect on the operators licence. Even though light vans aren't actually on the 'O' licence, offences involving these vehicles will be taken into account by the Traffic Commissioner when considering the matters of 'O' licensing for larger vehicles.

In most cases the knock-on effect of having a vehicle stopped at a weight check far outweighs the fine.
Overloaded vehicle abroad
Overloading - never a good idea!

Weighing axles is not only about avoiding overloading though and many customers find there are some definite positives. To get the most from your vehicles you need to maximise the load. More than one of our customers have found that after installing an axle weighing system that they can get more load on their vehicles than they thought.

Getting more load on your vehicles means you are getting more out of them; working your expensive assets harder.

There are many other reasons to weigh vehicles.

Overloading a vehicle effects many of the major components - brakes, steering, suspension, clutch, tyres. Can you afford to wear out all these expensive items quicker than normal?

And most importantly of all, it has been known for insurance companies to take a negative view of any accident claims which involve an overloaded vehicle. On more than one occasion we have been asked by police accident investigators to weigh vehicles which have involved in accidents.

So, overloading axles can be far more costly than you think.

Monday, 18 November 2013

A very useful exercise

Almost every enquiry we receive involves the mention of portable weighpads.

Weighpads are a terrific product but they do have limitations and can be unpleasant to use when the weather is poor. It's important to use them only for the right applications as they are not the best in every application.

There are certain applications though for which they are ideal and we got involved in one such application last week.

A customer approached us asking if we could help with a health and safety training exercise. All the vehicles to be weighed were 2-axle rigids and the weighing needed to be done at three different locations on two different days.

This is the perfect scenario for using portable weighpads but even so it's not just a case of turning up, throwing the pads on the ground and weighing vehicles. It needs to be done properly to get the best results.

Fortunately all the weighing was done in an area of the country known for being flat so the first requirement, finding a level piece of ground, was quite easy. The more level the ground is, the better the results will be. If there is a slope, then arrange to do the weighing ACROSS the slope NOT up or down it.

Having found a level piece of ground, make sure there are no stones in the area. Ideally, sweep the area to make sure it's clear. A stone under the weighpad could cause an inaccurate weighing and in some circumstances, a heavy wheel could push the stone through the bottom of the pad causing expensive damage and curtailing the weighing exercise instantly.

The weighpads we provide are very low profile which means vehicles can easily get up onto them. Even so, on a day when it's raining the pads can slip on wet ground.
Portable weighpad picture
Portable weighpads - ideal if used correctly for the right job

This is something that is often not appreciated. So many people assume that they can just place the pads on the ground and leave them there. Unfortunately not, someone needs to be there supervising the weighing to make sure the pads are positioned correctly and do not slip out of position..

Even our slim weighpads can be shifted along the ground by an axle accelerating to get onto or off them. Higher, cheaper weighpads are far worse and often getting an axle onto them is impossible.

A supervisor is also required to make sure the drivers do things gently and to make sure wheels are positioned in the middle of the pad.

Drivers being drivers will often think they need to accelerate hard to get onto the pads. Some of the 'boy racer types' will even do it deliberately despite being told by the supervisor to do it gently.

There's a health and safety issue here as well. A vehicle which accelerates hard can cause the pads to fly out from under a wheel possibly hitting anyone in the vicinity and causing a nasty injury. We've seen it happen.

We completed the weighing exercise for our client who was very pleased with the results.

We didn't find any vehicles that were overloaded but we did find one or two that were very close and it wouldn't have taken much more load to cause a problem.

It was a very useful exercise which showed up how careful they have to be to avoid overloading and got the Health & Safety advisors who were there thinking about the issue.

The customer is now in the process of buying some pads of his own so that he can do his own training on a regular basis but on this occasion we were pleased to help out.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Not a lot of people know that....

We often get calls from Transport Managers, some of them working for major names in industry, who seem to lack knowledge when it comes to axle weights. Only yesterday we were contacted by a someone who was puzzled that his gross weight limit could be less than the sum of his axle weight limits. We put him right but it's a common misunderstanding.

So for those in doubt, yes the total of your axle weight limits CAN be greater than your gross weight limit.

There are many others so hopefully we can put some people right with this blog entry.

We also get calls from people who seemed bemused that we can't influence gravity. After all, a weighing machine is only measuring the effect of gravity. We can't influence it, make it pull at an angle because the yard is on a slope or correct weight readings if the driver has one wheel up on the kerb. No axle weighing system can.

The most accurate axle weights will always be achieved if the vehicle is on flat level ground.

The flatness of the ground is  crucial for a dynamic axle weighbridge for instance. Only one axle is on the platform at a time; all the others are on the concrete either side. And the levels aren't affecting the axle weighbridge at all but the vehicle. And every vehicles suspension will react differently to changes in level.We go to great lengths to lay the approach concrete to a very high tolerance to ensure the best accuracy we can.
In-motion axle weighbridge
There's only ever one axle at a time on the axle weighbridge

Beware anyone who says you can just dig a pit anywhere, throw in a narrow plate and weigh axles.

Another question which comes up frequently is the tolerance that VOSA allow. Basically, there isn't one as any overload could attract a prosecution.

Commonly they will only issue a fixed penalty notice for an overload of 10% or more but they will look at it in context. What state is the vehicle in, are there any other faults, is the operator a regular offender, was the load dangerous for instance.

There was one haulier who, thinking the 'tolerance' was 5% regularly sent his vehicles onto the road 4% overloaded. It didn't take VOSA very long to realise what was going on and said haulier was prosecuted as a repeat offender incurring a hefty fine.

You and your vehicle don't even have to be there to be prosecuted. It has also been known for Trading Standards to visit Public Weighbridges and check back through weight tickets. One large waste haulier, now defunct, was found to have committed 133 overloading offences all of which were traced by weight tickets at Public Weighbridges. A sample of around 5 offences were taken to court and prosecuted.

As we know from the calls we get, axle weighing is often misunderstood but we're always happy to answer those questions for you. After all, our combined experience in this specialised field runs into hundreds of years now!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

On the importance of getting advice.

Two  really interesting meetings this week to discuss axle weighbridge installations. And they both starkly illustrated how important it is to get good advice and thoroughly consider what the system needs to do.

Neither of these two clients would have got what they wanted just by Googling axle weighing and then buying the cheapest system they found. Axle weighing is a complex operation and specifying the right system, location, peripherals, method of operation etc are all important for ensuring the system does what you need when installed.

Buying a TV or washing machine on the web is fine and something we've probably all done many times. Just pick the model you want then Google it and see who is selling it cheapest. It doesn't matter where you buy it from because it will always be the same make and model.

But that won't work for a more complex purchase. With a washing machine you don't need to consider whether it'll be used by left or right hand drive vehicles or whether they need to do the washing in the transport office as well as the gatehouse!

It was only after a meeting yesterday with all the people involved in the requirement that we established they needed to weigh in two directions, connect to their computer network, already had a means of identifying vehicles electronically, needed to weigh foreign vehicles and were part way through a major construction project. There was more but just for a start try putting that into a search engine and see if it finds what you want!
Dynamic axle weighbridge
A properly specified dynamic axle weighbridge.

The other client is trying to buy his system 'electronically' and the lack of human involvement is making it a longer and more complicated process than it needs to be.

Frustratingly, the lack of face to face contact might mean they end up with a system that doesn't do as much for them as it could do. Suppliers have in depth knowledge of their products and what they do, customers have in depth knowledge of what they do and what they want and putting two humans with this knowledge together will always end in the best solution.

Again, try bouncing ideas off Google and see where it gets you.

Fortunately after a meeting with the main contractor, who is getting equally frustrated with his client, a specification has been put together which will probably do the job. It's just a shame that the end user could have had some additional benefits from the system by taking part in the discussion.

And by taking half an hour or so, that's all it usually takes, to discuss what you want will save loads more time, effort and money in the long run.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Looking for something cheap?

Another phrase which crops up time and time again when we get enquiries is, "I'm just looking for something cheap." I often wonder if that's how they start the conversation when they buy everything - a forklift or a new truck perhaps?

Generally we explain to these people, as nicely as we can, that they already have the cheapest system available - they just need to walk round the truck or van, kick the tyres and guess. A 'weighing system' doesn't get much cheaper than that.

Quite often these same people have previously bought something cheap and then been astonished to find that it doesn't actually do the job. Or falls apart after a short while. Or the supplier seems to vanish without trace. Buying something cheap is rarely a good idea and a saying we've heard many times over the years is "buy cheap and you buy twice."
Tyre being kicked
Kicking the tyres will be much cheaper than any axle weigher.

Only this week I spoke to someone who "just wants a light to come on" when the front axle is overloaded. But what would make the light come on? And how would you calibrate it? Or know that it was right? Or by how much it might be out? Just making a light come on in response to an overload is not as simple as it sounds.

Other people are just trying to pull the wool over the eyes of VOSA, usually if they've just been caught overloaded. Quite often they will appear before the magistrate claiming they've spent a fortune stopping overloading when in fact they've spent the least amount of money possible hoping the problem will go away. We walk away from these sorts of enquiry.

I've got little knowledge of any other industry but I know that axle weighing is more complex than it appears. And I've seen quite a number of companies enter the field, some of them in a blaze of glory, only for them to disappear a few short months later when they realise their idea to make a few quid wasn't quite as simple as they thought.

For instance, the last time I looked our OnBoard Indicators had to deal with 91 different possible axle configurations. And as the last time I looked was about five years ago, the number will have increased since then. Nobody will be able to produce a system capable of doing that on the cheap.

We all work in a competitive market and sell our products as cheaply as we can. If it was possible to produce something cheaper that would do the job then we would. But to produce something that actually works, will stay working and to have a service operation behind it if something goes wrong can't be done on the cheap.

Often buying cheap mean buying the wrong machine for the job as well. Systems range in price from £1,000.00 to over £20,000.00 and there's a reason for such a wide range so getting the right advice on what you need for the job is crucial.

A buyer I know in another industry used to have a sign on his office wall. It read,

"If you want good clean oats, you'll pay a fair price. If you're happy to accept oats that have already passed through the horse, then they come a lot cheaper."

Glad to see it isn't just our industry where people look to buy cheap.

Friday, 11 October 2013

An interesting statistic.

Keeping up with industry news is important so reading Commercial Motor and Motor Transport every week is important. And last week a startling statistic leapt out.

According to VOSA figures, 93% of the vans they weighed were found to be overloaded.

From our experience with customers we know that many light commercial vehicles are overloaded. But that figure of 93% took even us by surprise. But having thought about it for a day or so, it's probably not surprising at all.

When we started to think about some of the customers we had dealt with and what they were trying to do it becomes a less surprising statistic. And there are a number of reasons for it.

One of the most common reasons for vans running overloaded is that companies are now trying to do with a 3.5t van what they used to do with a 7.5t truck. Why? Avoiding tachograph regulations, paying for a 'professional driver', no need for a transport manager and all the other legislative hoops that need to be jumped through when running bigger vehicles.

One of our major customers had an interesting problem. Their load was changing through the day with the vehicle often getting heavier not lighter. They were delivering electrical goods and due to the rising number of collections for recycling, the drivers would frequently unload a nice shiny new light flat screen television but pick up an old and much heavier model. As the day went on, the load got heavier not lighter. They fitted the whole fleet with our OnBoard Load Indicators to prevent overloading.
Transit van weighed on a static axle weighbridge
Not overloaded as it's been weighed on an axle weighbridge.

Another common scenario is a lack of advice from bodybuilders. We know of many instances where the customer has asked for a crewcab, a tailift, a crane, a tool box etc etc and yet gets no feedback from the bodybuilder about how much payload is being use up. Only last week we went to install an OnBoard Load Indicator on a 3.5t crewcab in Irvine. With only our engineer in the cab, the vehicle weighed 3.4t and would be well overloaded as soon as the crew got in and seriously overloaded with all their gear in the back too.

It works the other way though. We went to see a customer a while back who had a TV outside broadcast van. The vehicle looked to be down on the back axle and we were convinced it was overloaded. But when we weighed it, we found that both axles and gross were just within legal limits.

Vans are a great tool but they are notorious for being overloaded. and they're dangerous when they are too. Whilst doing some research we loaded one of our own 3.5 tonners up to maximum and were concerned at how dangerous it was to drive. The steering became very light and the whole vehicle was very unwealdy.

Overloading affects the brakes, steering, clutch, suspension and just about every major component on the vehicle. With insurance companies taking a dim view of vans that are overloaded being involved in accidents, not making sure they are within their legal weight limits could prove very expensive.

Friday, 27 September 2013

These things aren't accurate, mate!

A topic that comes up time and time again is the subject of accuracy. If I had a £1 for every time someone has approached me a comment along the lines of, ‘my brother has a mate who met a bloke down the pub who says these things aren’t accurate” I’d be very rich now.

But the truth about weighbridge accuracy is somewhat different.

It’s not unusual to find a variation between weighbridges; if one weighbridge is working at +20kg and another is working at -20kg, that’s a 40kg difference and yet both could be weighing within specification.
The dynamic axle weighbridges we produce can be installed to an accuracy of 0.25%, good enough to allow them to be offered as a Public Weighbridge and the best accuracy in the world from an axle weighbridge.

What many people don’t realise is that after initial calibration, there is no legal requirement to have any weighbridge calibrated ever again unless there is a major fault. In reality it’s just simple good practice to have your weighbridge calibrated regularly; once every two years ought to be enough.
Public weighbridges will often be tested by Trading Standards without notice but many go some considerable time between tests.

I know we have a few customers who won’t spend the money on a calibration and as long as the display keep showing numbers, they’re happy and assuming the weights are right. If they are then there’s no problem but if they’re not then someone is going to notice and spread the word about ‘these things not being accurate’.
Dynamic axle weighbridge being dead weight tested.
Axle Weigher under test using our unique calibration vehicle

The VOSA network of enforcement axle weighbridges aren’t treated the same way. We have to test them rigorously every six months including checking that the concrete approach levels are still within tolerance. A VOSA weighbridge cannot be used for prosecution if its calibration certificate has expired and each calibration certificate lasts a maximum of six months. So if you are weighed on a VOSA dynamic axle weighbridge you can be sure it has been well maintained, regularly calibrated and highly accurate.

Even so, the weighbridges are operated with a tolerance allowing hauliers some leeway.

That’s not to say you’re allowed to run above the legal axle limit. Even small overloads if they are consistently found will be prosecuted but the tolerance allows a margin for error in the event of an inadvertent overload.

Incidentally, we operate the only weighbridge test vehicle purpose designed for calibrating axle weighbridges. And as well as calibrating the VOSA network we use it for installing every single system we install and can hire it out to anyone who needs to check their axle weigher.

Accuracy is basically all down to good practice and routine maintenance. You’d do it with your trucks so why not the weighbridge?

Friday, 13 September 2013

An Expensive mistake!

We've just completed a very successful three days at the RWM exhibition at the NEC. Hard on the feet but good enough for us to provisionally book our stand for next year again.

All of the conversations we have with potential customers are interesting but some can be more interesting than others. And sometimes it's the ones who aren't going to buy anything which give us most to discuss when the customer has moved on.

The one that sticks in my mind this year is the conversation we had with a guy from a company who had bought an axle weighbridge from a company that clearly didn't know what they were doing. It was, as this chap said, a very expensive mistake.

The system in question had been bought from a company with quite an impressive website albeit one that gives the impression they are a bit of a 'jack of all trades.' They certainly aren't the master of the axle weighing trade.

Intended to weigh the largest of goods vehicles, it was actually installed with a slope either side of the weighing platform. This meant that no amount of adjusting the calibration, changing the load cells or electronics was ever going to make the system weigh accurately.
A Dynamic Axle Weighbridge correctly installed.
It may just look like a flat piece of boring concrete
but it's vital for system accuracy.
Multi-axle vehicles need to have perfectly flat concrete approaches either sided of the weighing platform. Years of research by ourselves and independent bodies have shown how important it is for weighing large, multi-axle vehicles accurately.

The customer we were chatting to had clearly been badly advised. Not only had he spent in the region of £8,000.00 on a system which didn't work, he then replaced it with a much more expensive system which, although it weighed accurately presented a number of other problems.

Not only did he pay twice to solve his problem, he now has a large structure in his yard taking up loads of space and is a target for vehicles to hit and get damaged. Tyre damage was one example he gave us while we were chatting.

One can understand how he might be shy of installing another axle weighbridge. I think anyone would if they have had a bad experience but with the correct advice on siting and installation, there is no vehicle an axle weighbridge won't be able to weigh accurately.

We couldn't help that customer but hopefully he's got food for thought and might pass what he's learnt onto others. We look forward to hearing from them if he does.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Think an axle weighbridge is an unnecessary expense? Think again!

As we're exhibiting at the Recycling & Waste Management Show at the NEC this week, it seemed appropriate to mention how we helped one of our customers in the waste industry.

D & E Roberts are a well established skip hire company based in Leatherhead covering large parts of Surrey. In recent years they have developed their site to incorporate a waste transfer station as well.

They are also within about a mile of the VOSA axle weighbridge at Junction 9 of the M25 and regularly had to drive past it in the course of their daily work. Any truck operation needs to run legally and being stopped for overloading can be costly.

Not simply in terms of the fines. But an overloaded vehicle will be prohibited from moving until the load has been reduced. That usually means finding another vehicle and driver and sending him to the prohibited one. Not an easy thing to do when every vehicle is out earning it's keep. And all the while there is an expensive vehicle and driver parked up at the weight check not earning a penny.

There are also knock on effects. You may be late for a pick up or collection because your're vehicle is prohibited from moving. And what happens to the customers who are awaiting the 'spare' vehicle you've had to find at short notice to take some of the excess load?

The repercussions can be serious too; a black mark on the 'O' licence, a poorer OCRS score probably leading to more vehicles being stopped, checked and delayed and possibly a court appearance.

Overloading is to be avoided.

Whilst it's true that some investment is needed to avoid the problem, it can also bring positive benefits as well.

D & E Roberts were deliberately underloading their vehicles to ensure they weren't caught in the weight checks at Junction 9 but it wasn't until they'd installed the axle weighbridge that they found out by how much and how much it was costing them.

The company discovered were wasting up to a third of their vehicles payload in trying to prevent overloading. Wasting huge amounts of fuel, drivers time, tyre wear and making far more trips to the tip than they needed to.

Dynamic axle weighbridge
D & E Roberts - the axle weighbridge paid for itself in a matter of weeks.
The axle weighbridge cost in the region of £15,000.00 including installation but by their own calculations, D & E Roberts had paid for it in around twelve weeks. From now on, they're adding around £60,000.00 a year to their profits simply by running their vehicles at maximum capacity on every trip.

And as the system has been installed and working for around ten years now, that extra profit adds up to a tidy sum.

Think an axle weighbridge is an expensive luxury? It's more likely to be a highly efficient money making tool.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Exhibitions - an excellent place to discuss axle weighing

We'll be attending the Recycling & Waste Management Show in a couple of weeks. Running from 10 to 12 September at the NEC it's now the premier show to discuss all things waste.

In this age of email, mobile phones, Twitter etc, trade shows like this may seem old fashioned and maybe even unnecessary. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

Our experience has shown that if you are selling a highly technical and/or specialised product, electronic media only plays a very small role in the sales process. Some products, like our axle weighing systems, really need face to face meetings, site visits and frequently input from many people with each putting in their ideas and bouncing them off each other.

With 35 years experience in axle weighing, when I visit a client these days I can learn a lot about their operation, the vehicles they run and even possible installation locations simply when walking from the car to meet the client. I can't do that via an email!

If you're selling a mass market product direct to consumers then on line selling, Facebook etc are essential and could well be your main access to your market these days.

But when you're looking for something more technical, it can prove a costly mistake just to Google it and then buy the cheapest you find on line.

The vast majority of our customers approach us with a good idea of what their problem is but not what the solution might be. And as axle weighers come in many formats all designed to perform different tasks, without expert input it would be easy to make an incorrect and expensive choice.

The RWM is an excellent opportunity to meet face to face people who have a problem to solve, to discuss what can and cannot be achieved and how to cost effectively solve their problem.

Here's a typical example.

Two years ago at the Show we were approached by a client who was about to purchase a traditional plate weighbridge. He was about to buy a 'cheap' system he'd found on the internet and had only approached us with a mild interest in our prices. During the conversation we established what vehicles he was operating, how much room he had and what information he needed.

It became clear to him during the discussion that what he was about to buy wouldn't actually do the job he wanted. A site visit was set up and we specified a dynamic axle weighbridge which would weigh the largest vehicle in his fleet, take up far less room and be far easier to maintain and keep clean.
A dynamic axle weighbridge in a waste application
Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge - the right system for this job

None of these issues would have been discovered simply by browsing the web for the cheapest deal.

So long live exhibitions and face to face meetings.

Come and see us at the NEC on Stand 20A21 at the RWM Show and we'll be happy to discuss your needs and see if we can help.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Axle weighing - buying the right product.

Despite the growth in electronic media, there are some products that really do still need face to face contact.

Most enquiries we receive for axle weighing need a detailed discussion about the customers' operation, the type of vehicles they want to weigh, the location, the information they need from the system etc. And rarely is it possible to get all the information  and make a professional judgement on the right system for the job just by swapping a few emails or a (probably interrupted) conversation on a mobile phone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly many people do not realise what a technical subject axle weighing is and will try to order something from the internet. An axle weighing system though is not the same as buying a TV or DVD player. If you've plumped for a specific make of TV or DVD player, the internet is a great place to hunt down the cheapest supplier and grab a bargain. The same doesn't apply to an axle weigher.

Just about everybody has a TV and it's a widely understood product. People know what they want from it, what it looks like and what it will do for them. Axle weighing on the other hand, despite being around since the late 60's, is not something every transport operation needs and is a largely misunderstood concept. And when they do need it, they really need expert advice on what will be best for their needs.

A lot of expensive mistakes have been made by people having only the vaguest idea of what they want then buying the cheapest product that apparently fits the bill. We know this from our vast experience of helping customers understand why that the cheap system they bought off the web doesn't actually do the job they want.
Portable Axle Scale
Portable weighpads - simple but are they right for your job?

It's the reason we developed such a wide range of systems; because no one system will suit every application.

Because we offer such a wide range of different systems, we can offer free advice on the right one for the job. We never ever sell the wrong product for the job and will always advise the customer correctly even if it's not what they want to hear. It does nobody any favours for us to supply the wrong system for the application. Our reputation suffers and the customer still hasn't solved his axle weighing problem.

We even have customers who have bought more than one type of system to suit different types of their operation. Static axle weighbridges for the main depots, portable weighpads for compliance officers to use out on the road and onboard indicators for those vehicles which operate from the drivers home.

A phone call to discuss your needs won't cost the earth but could save you a fortune.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Extra profit to be made from an axle weighbridge

If you open any of the trucking trade magazines, you will inevitably find an article, statistics or both about fuel economy. Vital as that is, there is more than one way to add to the bottom line.

We recently installed eight axle weighbridges for Hanson who, just like any other haulier, need to squeeze the maximum profit from their operation. All operators need to run legally though and one way to avoid overloading is to run vehicles at less than full capacity. This though is costly; you have carrying capacity which you're not using.

To avoid this, Hanson priced up axle weighing systems and found that by maximising their loads they would get their investment back in 2-3 months. Yes that's right 2-3 months. After that, they are making extra profit on every trip.

Dynamic Axle Weighbridge installed at Hanson
One of the Hanson axle weighbridges
The system is completely driver operated so no extra staff are needed. As a vehicle approaches the axle weighing platform, the driver enters in a vehicle ID and a trailer ID. The system also asks if there are any axles lifted, it's not unusual for a 6-axle outfit to run at 5-axles if not fully loaded, so that the system weighs the right number of axles.

Each weighing is stored in memory so that management can get a print showing who used it, when, were they overloaded, did they weigh again after correcting an overload and most importantly what the percentage utilization of the vehicle is.

And the result of all this is that Hanson now load their vehicles to maximum, squeeze every last ounce of payload out of them and will increase their profits.

Adding to the bottom line isn't just about fuel economy and using an axle weigher to improve efficiency is a good alternative.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Sometimes the customer doesn't always know best.

Sometimes the customer doesn't always know best.

Last year I went to see a customer in the midlands who is running a mixed fleet of vehicles but whose prime concern was the front axle overloads on 3-axle rigids on multi-drop work.

I've come across this type of application before and the most cost effective solution is an OnBoard Load Indicator like the one pictured. It's fitted to the vehicle and shows axle and gross weights all the time the driver is out on the road.

Despite me explaining that this was the correct solution for the job, the customer insisted that he wanted an axle weighbridge 'like the ones VOSA use'. Well, we supply those systems to VOSA but they aren't always the right machine for the job.

We spent a long time finding a suitable location to install a system in the customers yard including three visits by two men to do levels surveys. But it wasn't an easy installation for an axle weighbridge and the cost rose.

Until the customer himself asked, 'I don't suppose you make anything that fits to the vehicle do you?' I had to concentrate very hard not to point out that I'd recommended that option a year ago!

Anyway, quotation done on Friday and an order received today for 13 vehicles. A much cheaper and better solution than the axle weighbridge.

Everything you wanted to know about axle weighing.

This is an occasional blog about vehicle weighing and specifically axle weighing.

No idea what to start with so perhaps introduce the company. Briefly Axtec are the only UK specialists in this field and we've all been doing it a very long time, about 35 years in my case.

Whilst what we do will hold no interest to the general public, it might be something that those involved in commercial transport might find useful and we may touch on other transport related subjects as well.

You'll find us at where you have all our contact information.

It should be noted that the comments and opinions contained in these ramblings are mine alone and do not constitute the policy of the Company or ts associates.