Monday, 19 December 2016

Overloading no laughing matter!

Tis the season of good will, joy and merriment.

And certainly over the years we have gathered some axle weighing stories which, with the passage of time, might seem amusing.

There was the captain of a ro ro ferry who insisted that the axle weighbridge couldn’t possibly be right because he knew how heavy his load was because of how far down in the water his ship was.

Or the story of an artic stopped many years ago weighing over 90 tonnes, the heaviest overload recorded in the UK allegedly. That one was contravening all sorts of food regulations as well with sheet steel loaded beneath hanging beef!

Another artic steadfastly refused to stop for the authorities at a weight check and when eventually pulled by the police was found to be racing to his destination because he had onboard full load of fish in a non-refrigerated vehicle!

All of those are serious issues though.
Axtec Dynamic Keeping Vehicles Legal Whatever the Season

Overloading affects all of the major components of the vehicle; steering, brakes, suspension, clutch and tyres. The cost of repairing those would be quite steep. But imagine the consequences of that 90 tonne vehicle being involved in an accident.

That would be no laughing matter.

Overloading though can be avoided and quite cost effectively.

The range of systems available is extensive as is pricing. But as with all things you only get what you pay for.

Cheap is also often not the best option. Frequently the best system for a given application is dictated by what needs to be weighed, how often, where and for what purpose.

A fleet of vans on multi-drop work wouldn’t best be served by a fixed axle weighbridge in the yard and onboard load indicators would be an expensive choice for a fleet of artics taking full loads from a DC.

So if you’d like some information on which system is best for your needs we’d be happy to hear from you.

Advice on the correct axle weighing system is free of charge from Axtec.

Now that really is something to bring joy and goodwill.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Enforcement DEFINITELY not a 9 to 5 job.

Operating goods vehicles is rarely a 9 to 5 job. 

Overnight deliveries are very much part of the job and in some industries essential and some parts of the economy would shut down if it were not for night time deliveries.

Some in the industry though believe that enforcement only takes place during the hours of daylight and that operating at night keeps them safe from prosecution.

We know though that is far from the truth.

We were chatting to a white van man the other day who told us a tale of being stopped with an overload. One of the enormous number of vans which the statistics tell us are overloaded on the roads every day.

This guy was delivering sundries to takeaway restaurants and does so when their customers are open which of course is during the evening. He was incredulous that the weighbridge site was open so late, as was his boss.

His boss was also incredulous about the amount of product that had to be removed to get the vehicle legal. Almost 50% of the goods on the vehicle according to the driver.

Even allowing for a little exaggeration, it seems that the van was seriously overloaded.

In a competitive market, letting a customer down can be disastrous.

Axtec OnBoard protecting vans from overloads.
With a van check weighed at a location more than an hour from base, a driver now missing deliveries due to the hold up plus having to find another van and driver to take the excess load, the cost of sorting the problem out was enormous.

For many van operators overloading is accidental. For those trying to remain legal but who might make an honest mistake, a system like the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator would help solve that problem.

However, given the amount of weight removed from the vehicle described above it’s hard not to conclude that the overloading was deliberate and probably a regular occurrence. And maybe the company thought that operating at night would be safe with little chance of getting stopped.

Just like some transport operators though, the enforcement authorities also work anti social hours and the risk of getting caught late at night very much exists.

Friday, 18 November 2016

It's good to just help out sometimes

We undertook a weighing exercise for a customer recently, with the help of those good people from DVSA, who had concerns about possibly overloading a doubledeck trailer.

Being based in a leafy part of the country it might be thought that an operator can pass under the radar of the authorities but that’s not the case when a long distance trunking operation is involved.

Quite naturally, the business has to run efficiently using the minimum number of vehicles but maximising the carrying capacity on every trip.

But that runs the risk of overloading so they needed to find an accurate, calibrated axle weighbridge to make sure they were running legally laden. With no local weighbridges around, and certainly none open during their operating hours, they approached us for help.

Once again it's an example of how there is a need for publicly available axle weighing systems around the UK. Axle weighing systems that are open when the transport industry needs them, frequently anything but what are considered normal working hours.
Could an Axtec help increase your profits?

There is a market out there for this sort of facility just waiting for enterprising operators to install their own dynamic axle weighbridges and charge other operators using it.

We invested our money into this by offering a system for hauliers check their axle and gross weights for a charge of only £6 per vehicle. And it now generates between £6-£10,000.00 income a year.

The purchase price of an installation might be £18-£20,000.00 but an income of £6,000.00  per year would pay for it in very short order. And the cost can be spread over a number of years too so no large upfront investment might be needed.

A well designed axle weighing system would have a life expectancy of 30 years or more so plenty of time to recoup the cost and thereafter generate income which goes straight onto your bottom line.

It's not only charging for using the axle weighbridge that could up your profits though. What if an overload is discovered? You could charge for a forklift to remove the excess and for its storage.  Or maybe even use one of your own vehicles to deliver the extra load. All at a price of course.

And rather than us have to arrange access to a DVSA weighbridge, we'd be quite happy referring those customers who need to weigh axles to your site instead.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Changing rules?

One of the results of Brexit maybe that the rules governing goods vehicles could potentially change. 

Whilst not all EU rules are applied in every country, most member states have incorporated a good many of them into their own legislation.

Whilst some of what was decreed in Brussels might be removed, there doesn’t seem a lot to be gained going back to legislation that harks back to the 60’s. Roads, vehicles and technology have changed immensely over the years.

Plus the fact that rewriting the rules would be immensely complicated and probably take years, it seems a reasonable assumption that most of what currently applies will continue to do so.

National governments though have always been able to set their own internal rules when it comes to weights. The UK limit of 44 tonnes is lower than that applied in Ireland for instance.

In the UK there are already trials of longer artic trailers underway. These could be of huge benefit to operators who carry light but bulky materials although they come with their own potential problems; not all distribution centres can readily cope with bigger vehicles.
Axtec Dynamic will weigh any size of vehicle

Whatever changes there may be to size or weight, all Axtec systems are already able to cope.

The Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridge will weigh any current or projected road going vehicle regardless of size. One of the reasons the system is so extensively used is that whatever you are weighing the procedure is the same. 

Whether it’s a car derived van or one of the longer trailers currently being trialed, they can all be weighed on the Axtec Dynamic.

Similarly, Axtec OnBoard, which will fit to any 2-axle rigid and most multi-axle rigids is programmed specifically for the vehicle it is being fitted to which means that any changes in vehicle size or weight will have no effect on how it works.

All Axtec systems are effectively future proof then. So whatever the post-Brexit world throws up in terms of weight legislation, there will be an Axtec system able to ready to deal with it.

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.

Monday, 27 June 2016

More legislation or more enforcement? Van operators in their sights.

Whilst the country appears to have voted to leave the EU, for the moment at least we are still a member and likely to remain so for a number of years. 

So we will be subject to their rules and regulations for a little while yet whether we like them or not.

And with news of new European Commission consultations launched relating to ‘O’ licensing changes, operators in the UK and it seems especially van operators, there could be even more need to ensure your vehicles are not flouting the rules on overloading.

The FTA point out that no new laws are needed and that there are already regulations covering van operators. Members of their own Van Excellence scheme have a strict code of practice to adhere to which pushes up standards and gives confidence to customers about the professionalism of van drivers. They argue that better, more frequent enforcement of existing laws is needed.

New legislation or better enforcement, either way ensuring your vans are not overloaded will become even more important in future.

After all, an overloaded van is dangerous. Many of the major components such as steering, brakes, clutch, suspension, tyres are all adversely affected by overloading. Even if they don’t fail, possibly causing an accident, the increased wear just adds to your costs.
Axtec Static Single Axle Weighbridge- is it right for your fleet?

But which is the right system for your needs? Recognising that not every van operator is doing the same thing, we have designed a range of systems to suit all applications.

Checking that your vans aren’t overloaded before they leave for a job? The Axtec Static Axle Weighbridge could be the answer. Fitted in the roadway unaffected by traffic it can weigh any 2-axle rigid vehicle before it leaves the yard.

Vans on multidrop work with diminishing loads? Axtec OnBoardAxle Load Indicator could offer a solution by monitoring axle and gross loads automatically all the time the vehicle is on the road. And by connecting to a quality tracking system, live reporting can be done.

Or maybe your need is to do spot checks or driver training? Then a set of weighpads to keep in the car or ship from depot to depot might be the answer.

Regardless of any new legislation or toughening up of the current enforcement regime, Axtec have a system that will keep the axle and gross weights on your fleet compliant.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Are you maximising the load on YOUR vans?

According to the SMMT, May was a record breaker in terms of registering LCV’s. 

More and more vans are hitting the road, over 28,000 for the month, and that means more and more axle load indicators being fitted.

Axle overloading affects many of the major components on the vehicle; clutch, steering, brakes, tyres etc which makes it highly dangerous. It’s conceivable that an overloaded vehicle involved in an accident might have its insurance invalidated. We’ve been asked more than once to help with accident investigations where overloading has been suspected as a contributory factor.

So overloading is best avoided and many operators err on the side of caution and underload their vehicles just to remain the right side of the law. But not using the capacity to the full is inefficient.
As well as the obvious benefits of preventing overloading, Axtec OnBoard can do much more to help improve efficiency.

One of the standard features of Axtec OnBoard is the ability to connect to a tracking device. Not only does that output get recorded to indicate an overloading event by the tracker but by sending information continuously, a tracking device in communication with head office can gather other important information.

If the vehicle is overloaded, that’s obviously worth reporting back to head office but what if the vehicle is underloaded? What if it has spare capacity?

Operators need to run their vans efficiently and increasingly they are using weight information to plan vehicle routes.
Axtec OnBoard - preventing overloads and maximising payload

Does the vehicle have spare capacity? Maybe it can do that extra pick up after all. Is it close to maximum weight? Then the tracking system can identify the next nearest vehicle with spare capacity and route it to do the job instead.

Using vans to their maximum capacity is vital at any time. Whilst van registrations are expected to continue rising steadily, barring any unforeseen economic shocks, no operator buys a van for fun and most want to run the minimum number they need.

A van is an expensive asset when fuel and driver is factored in so the fewer you have the better.
Maybe Axtec OnBoard is the answer? It’s less costly than a new van but, when connected to a good tracking device, it will certainly prevent overloading and by maximising the load on every vehicle, it will be paid for in a very short period.

And after that it’s adding to the bottom line.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Computer says.... yes, no or maybe?

As usual we had a number of very interesting chats with clients at this years CV Show. Incidentally, you might want to put next year’s dates, 25th, 26th, 27th April, in your diary now.

A subject that came up once or twice was computer loading programs and how they ought to make weighing vehicles unnecessary.

In theory that’s correct. A computer that knows the weight of every product ought to be able to produce a manifest that ensures vehicles do not leave the depot overloaded.

But as is common knowledge, the output from a computer is only as good as the information that’s put into it. And does the computer know everything.

A real life example from a couple of years ago came when a customer with an expensive computer loading program found that he was still being pulled for overloading his vans. Upon investigation, it was found that the marketing department had decided to increase the number of items in a packet by 20% as a promotion.
Do you need an axle weighbridge as well as a computer?

But no one had told the computer which unknowingly carried on producing manifests telling the transport manager his vehicles were legal when in fact they were nearly all on the brink of a prosecution. The installation of an axle weighbridge to check weigh suspect vehicles before they left the yard solved the problem.

Another computer in the field of vehicle manufacturing apparently knew the weight of every nut, bolt and washer on a vehicle chassis. And it was only by check weighing some vehicles that the client discovered there was actually quite a wide margin of error and the installation of dynamic axle weighbridges allowed them to significantly tighten up the specifications on the computer and then check that it was now right.

There can be all sorts of variables that the loading computer might not know. How heavy the driver is, how much fuel is in the vehicle, will the vehicle be doing collections as well as drops or will some drops be missed?

So the sure fire way of ensuring your vehicles aren’t overloaded is to install the appropriate axle weighing system for your needs with details on our website.

After all, it’s you that might have to appear before a magistrate to answer an overloading charge not the computer.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Are you weight compliant? Get free advice at the CV Show!

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is one of a number of excellent schemes intended to drive up the professionalism of commercial vehicle operators. For some customers it’s become a requirement in order to win or maintain business.

Operators wishing to join the Scheme need to have in place a number of systems  one of which is a system for ascertaining and recording dimensions and weights of laden vehicles where they are likely to be an issue.

But if your vehicles need to be weighed, which is the best system for doing that?
We know from experience  that no one system will suit every application. We even have customers who have more than one type of system depending upon the circumstances at each location they work from.

With a vast range of systems , peripherals and software to offer we can make sure customers get the best system for their needs.  What suits a grocery distribution centre running maximum weight artics to superstores will probably not be the best system for a delivery company with an ever changing load throughout the day.

Or maybe a set of portable weighpads  for doing spot checks or driver training is what is needed.
Without taking proper advice it’s easy to end up with an axle weighing system which only does part of the job or maybe none of it at all.
Axtec Dynamic axle weigher - but is it the best option for you?

The consequences of making a wrong decision on axle weighing are numerous. Some could even have serious implications. From wasting company money on a piece of kit which doesn’t do the job to possibly risking an ‘O’ licence by sending vehicles out overloaded.

We have a huge number of years experience in this specialist field, some of our people have been doing it for over 35 years,  there aren’t many applications which we haven’t come across before and have a solution for.

And what better place to find out the best solution to your axle weighing problem than at the CV Show at the NEC this week? We‘ll be on stand 5A79 and ready to make our years of experience and expert knowledge available to you.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The CV Show - THE show for those in transport

Less than a month away from the transport industry event of the year, the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC.

Axtec are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and we’re proud to have attended every single CV Show in all its formats since day one.

It’s a great event and the perfect showcase for anyone with products to sell into the commercial vehicle field.

Regardless of the type of fleet you run, there will be new innovations and ideas throughout the show and it really is a ‘must visit’ event. Even meeting up with existing suppliers can bring new ideas to help improve efficiency.

Money can be saved by buying on line of course and we all do that extensively these days. But some products don’t lend themselves to that sort of purchasing arrangement. In depth discussions might be need, site surveys completed and plans drawn up. All of which require meeting sellers face to face and what better place to do it than at the CV Show?
All things axle weighing from Axtec at the CV Show

Getting out for a day and, after the show, attending meetings and surveys is all time consuming and costly and the temptation to buy something on line is great. But trying to short circuit the buying of highly technical products can very often prove to be a false economy in the long run.

Axle weighing is a greatly misunderstood field, we’re still earning even after a quarter of a century in business, and we often chat to buyers who maybe didn’t talk to someone face to face, bought something off the internet and later regretted it.

Even if you have no new products to launch, the Show is a great way of showcasing your existing products buyers who are currently using a competitor. What better way to demonstrate how superior your offer is than face to face in a business environment?

Meeting up with existing clients can also be fruitful. Everyone is so busy that it can be hard to catch up with old contacts but the CV Show is a great place to bump into them. And it often results in new business as they may bring a colleague or someone from another depot. And so a new conversation starts.

So if you’re in the market for transport related products or just searching for new ideas, the CV Show at the NEC 26th, 27th, 28th April is the place to be.

And if it’s axle weighing you want to chat about, we'll be on stand 5A79. So feel free to come along and say hello.

Friday, 11 March 2016

What if your vehicles are getting heavier not lighter?

Trying to do things more efficiently makes perfect business sense.

Keeping costs down is something that every company has to do so it’s inevitable that some will try and do with a 3.5 tonne vehicle what they used to do with a larger weight capacity one. And high volume vans are a very common sight on our roads now.

They make an awful lot of sense for many people – no tachographs, no transport manager, no specialist training to drive one – to name a few. So it’s hardly surprising that for people who really don’t need a 7.5 tonner that they will try and do the work with something much cheaper to run.

But despite not being subject to many of the rules that larger vehicles are, they are still subject to overloading legislation. And if you do run larger vehicles, even though the vans don’t need to be on the operators licence, any transgressions will need to be reported to the authorities and could affect an ‘O’ licence renewal.

One of our customers had an interesting problem. The nature of their product had changed over the years and become much lighter and easier to handle. With a much lighter product to deliver, the decision was made to move away from 7.5 tonners to Luton bodied 3.5 tonners. The cost savings were considerable.
Axtec OnBoard Protecting Vans from Overloading

But there was one snag.

As part of their operation, they offered a recycling service. Taking away an old, and much heavier item, than the new one they were delivering. Potentially the vehicle could actually be heavier at the end of its round than it was at the beginning.

Fortunately not every customer had an old unit to recycle but the vehicle weights did need monitoring closely.

Regular readers will know that overloading adversely effects all the major components on the vehicle – brakes, clutch, steering – and could even invalidate insurance n the event of an accident.

So the solution was to fit Axtec OnBoard Axle LoadIndicators to the new fleet.

Showing the drivers the axle and gross weights together with an automatic overload warning at all time during the round solved the problem. No manual controls meant drivers had nothing to fiddle with or break and the customer calibration facility meant no expensive service engineers visits either.

Offering that all important recycling service became a major selling point for them. And with our help, no more risks of overloading either.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Van Weights Make News at the CV Show Press Preview Day

The build up to the CV Show is well under way and we attended the Press Preview day earlier this week.

It was a very enjoyable day with plenty of transport journalists in attendance. In fact, it was noticeable how many more journalists and exhibitors were there than the last time we attended.

We’ve been exhibiting at the CV Show from day one. It really is the best place to show your wares off to the great and the good in the transport industry. And if you have a new product to launch as we have then the Press Preview Day is the place to be.

One thing that was very apparent was the importance now being given to operating lighter commercial vehicles. Not only were there more journalists there whose publications were dedicated to vans but also the questions that arose were almost all around these lighter vehicles.

One topic came up a number of times; the lack of regulation compared with heavier vehicles. No formally trained transport manager is needed to run a fleet of vans and the vehicles themselves can be driven by just about anyone with a driving licence.

Trying to do with a lighter vehicle was used to be done with a heavier one though brings it problems. Maximising the load is important whatever vehicles you operate but in doing so, many run the risk of overloading. A fact that was very apparent to the journalists we chatted to.
The CV Show Press Preview Day

Overloading affects all the major components of a vehicle. Despite the fact that it is very dangerous it’s also not very efficient. Wearing out the clutch, brakes, steering and suspension in double quick time leads to expensive repairs.

Being caught for overloading could lead to a hefty fine and not just for the company. The driver could be fined and get points on his licence too. And there is evidence to suggest that a significant proportion of drivers are unaware of the issue or the penalties.

There are solutions though, the most common one being the Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator. Fitting the system and automatically alerting the driver to an impending overload means operators can avoid costly vehicle repairs, improve safety and avoid prosecution. And the driver won’t be at risk of getting points on his licence either.

So one of the messages taken away by our journalists this week was that an OnBoard Indicator is pretty much essential if you’re operating a fleet of vans and we’re happy to help spread the word.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

So how long can you keep YOUR vans off the road?

Another interesting exercise the other day and an opportunity to spread the axle weighing word once more.

We were invited to address the guys at one of the biggest vehicle leasing companies to explain to them the ins and outs of axle weighing –  how dangerous it can be affecting all the major components on the van, how the authorities deal with it, how the insurance companies might react to overloading.

The most relevant system to those speccing up vehicles of course is the Axtec OnBoard Axle Load Indicator.

As often happens with these sessions though, we learnt a great deal as well as bringing our hosts up to date with the latest in axle weighing.

One topic that came up that has clearly been an issue for them in the past when using onboard load indicators is the calibrations. Every weighing system will need calibrating from time to time but some are simpler than others.
Axtec OnBoard  Axle Load Indicator

The issue that caused such concern was the need to keep vans in the yard loaded up and waiting for a service engineer. That’s vans parked up, not earning their keep and waiting for an engineer to visit. An engineer’s visit that will be invoiced.

And what if all the vans aren’t available? Will the engineer have to come back another day followed by another invoice?

When we explained our customer reset facility to our audience, it was as if all their Christmases had come at once.

Axtec OnBoard has a unique and very simple reset facility. This means no keeping vans in the yard waiting for an expensive engineers visit. They can all be out on the road working.

And the resets can be done any time that’s most convenient. Miss one van today? Well catch up with it tomorrow at no expense.

In most cases the system can be reset without loading the vehicle at all.

So, no loading the vehicle, no keeping them off the road waiting for an engineer and no big bill for doing what is a simple routine job.

Which means that your vans are out on the road doing what you bought them for.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Two more for the scrapheap!

We’ve received orders this week to remove and replace two more of a competitor’s axle weighbridges that weren’t up to the job.

After struggling to get them to remain within calibration or, in one case, to even get it close to being calibrated, the decision has been taken to remove them and replace them with Axtec systems.

Both of them had the same issue; a load cell mounting design which although ideal in many applications is far from suitable for an axle weighbridge installation. Nothing inherently wrong with the load cell or its mounting but it was never designed to be placed under a weighing platform that is being driven across by heavy goods vehicles.

Both weighing platforms were installed in areas where they would be heavily trafficked by non-weighing vehicles heading for the exit gate. The load cell mountings in those circumstances basically just wore out simply by having vehicles drive across the platform and as a dynamic axle weighbridge is supposed to have vehicles driven across it, it is clear that the load cell and mounting design were just not intended for that type of application.

Coupled with the fact that one of the systems had never had any high tolerance concrete approaches laid, it was hardly surprising that the system was virtually impossible to calibrate.

We recently installed a system in East Anglia and, as part of the training procedure, we showed the customer the effect of changing a single 0.5mm shim under one load cell. The change in weighing accuracy was dramatic and illustrated starkly how varying the level of the platform relative to the surrounding area could affect the result obtained.
Axtec's Civils team  will get the approach levels perfect

The same is true if the approach levels aren’t laid to the correct tolerance. Getting the levels wrong can seriously affect the accuracy of weighing and whereas correcting the height of the platform can be done using shims, correcting poor approach areas is much more difficult.

They basically need to be dug up and re-laid at some expense and disruption to the operation.
We realised many years ago how important the levels and height of the platform are. Which is why we have our own civil’s teams to make sure they approaches are right and design a platform that can have the shims changed in seconds if necessary.

Coupled with the fact that the Axtec platform has been purpose designed to have vehicles driven across it, at speed when not weighing, means that once installed it will provide many years of service.