Tuesday, 18 December 2018

We don’t have a problem….

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s more than 50% overloaded.

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

But a vehicle that badly overloaded is seriously dangerous too.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 16 November 2018

We only used them once…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 29 October 2018

Unquestionably THE most accurate axle weighbridge in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 5 October 2018

The Perfect Place to Talk Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drivers do not have to remember their legal weights as the system does it for them.

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

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

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

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

Friday, 21 September 2018

Overloading costs us all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 16 August 2018

How many of your vans might be overloaded?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 23 July 2018

Advice on axle weighing is always free from us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Need to run efficiently when fuel prices are rising?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We think you’ll find it interesting.

Friday, 1 June 2018

What a year that was!

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

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

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

And of course technology has moved on considerably since then.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

What an event THAT was!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you there.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


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.

Friday, 9 February 2018

And the cost of routine maintenance is....

Any device for measuring loads will need checking possibly adjusting occasionally to bring it back into specification.

And with Axtec OnBoard the cost is nearly always nothing.

We have a customer who has many hundreds of our OnBoard Load Indicators installed at branches all over the country.

One of the branches queried the accuracy on a couple of their systems and wondered whether it might be beneficial to have them routinely checked by one of our engineers.

This is a service we gladly provide. But as with all service work, it comes at a cost.
Axtec OnBoard. Routine resetting costs nothing.

We calculated how much it would cost to do visit the site and do a routine reset twice a year and estimated it would be in the region of £250.00 per visit. There would be hidden costs as well in terms of keeping the vehicles in the yard ready for a service engineer’s visit.

However, the system is designed so that customers can do this simple reset themselves. At no cost and at a time to suit them.

Axtec OnBoard has no manual controls. Not only does this make it simple to use requiring no training but also means none of the settings or calibration can be changed. It is not possible to make the system display what you want thus potentially fooling drivers, loaders or the authorities.

What it does have though is a simple reset procedure which takes about twenty seconds to bring the system back within specification when the accuracy has drifted out.

Training someone to do it takes minutes, no special tools or technical knowledge is required and each vehicle can be reset in a matter of seconds.

And then that vehicle is back out on the road earning its keep.

No expensive service engineer to visit, no keeping the vehicles in the yard, no specialist tools or training.

So the cost of routine resetting Axtec OnBoard really is zero.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

How accurate is YOUR axle weighbridge?

We were asked to check the accuracy of a competitor’s axle weighbridge recently.

To the untrained eye it looked quite a neat installation. But testing it with our purpose designed calibration vehicle told a different story.

There are two aspects to getting an axle weighbridge calibrated correctly. One is to prove that it as a basic weighing machine. The other is to check that it does what it was designed to do – weigh axles accurately.

The system in question was reasonably accurate when we tested it with one tonne block weights. No error greater than 10kg up to 11,000kg and only marginally worse up to 12,000kg.

So far so average.

Axtec's Specialist Axle Weighbridge Test Vehicle
But when we weighed our test vehicle dynamically, as the system is supposed to operate, the error we found was startling.

Our test vehicle on the day grossed out at 38,680kg gross. But the axle weighbridge weighed it at 35,650kg.

More than three tonnes lighter.

That’s three tonnes more the client could have been putting on his trucks in ignorance.

Potentially three tonnes over the legal limit and almost certainly in line for a prosecution.

The concrete either side of the weighing platform is crucial for system accuracy. So we conducted a full levels survey again with startling results.

What looked like a nice level piece of concrete was in fact totally unsuitable for accurate weighing of articulated vehicles.

Unfortunately for the customer, the only option is to dig the system up and start all over again.

Getting an axle weighbridge calibrated correctly requires specialist equipment and Axtec are the only company to have invested in the right tool for the job.

And means we can offer the world’s most accurate dynamic axle weighbridge.

Can we help you check out your axle weighbridge maybe?

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