This the story of how a braking system for a trailer can also keep track of where the trailer is, what load it’s carrying, the number and length of breaks taken by the driver and when the trailer needs to come in for servicing. It is also a story of major cost savings and streamlining of the transport sector.
Paul Woolford is Telematics product manager at Haldex. He not only has a total overview of the trailers fitted with Haldex braking systems, he also knows how the system is saving money for the transport companies, which is essential in a competitive industry.
“Formerly, an owner of a medium-sized transport company could keep track of their trucks and trailers by having information about all vehicles in their head or on paper. Today, the IT system delivers this information to him,” he explains.
But we’ll start from the beginning. Haldex supplies compressed-air components and braking systems for trailers and other vehicles. Through collaboration with a variety of partners, including B&M Systemutveckling, an advanced system has been developed that is linked to the braking system via CAN bus. All to create customer benefits for both transport customers and vehicle owners.
The system is basically intended for position finding, based on GPS technology and reporting via GPRS. By logging into the system via the web the transport company can obtain information about where all their trailers are, a log of their movements and where they have stopped and how long for.
Control of the fleet
This information is naturally very useful for planning all runs and keeping control of the fleet. Previously you had to try and find a vehicle that didn’t arrive on time by calling and searching. Deliveries were delayed, but, above all, information. Today you can forewarn the customer if there is a risk of a delivery being late, due to a ferry being delayed or other causes.
A number of functions enable parameters to be added such as alerts if a trailer is standing still for too long or if the trailer is taking a different route than planned.
“This system also helps to streamline operations, as the overview makes it easier to assign a trailer return goods from its destination, for example. This avoids running empty vehicles, and the closest vehicle can make the run. Naturally this reduces costs and improves the level of service,” says Paul.
Some carriers have also linked an alarm to the system. Both personal alarms and burglar alarms are common. Carriers who transport expensive goods may be at risk of theft and robbery, so this is becoming increasingly common. Sometimes such requests come from the owner of the goods. Some customers, for example, require their carriers to have a door alarm on vehicles and trailers that activates if the door is opened at the wrong time, in the wrong place, for too long, or if the driver has not first notified that he is about to open the door.
“B&M has a high level of expertise and that is what our customers demand.” Paul Woolford, Haldex
Insurance companies are also interested in this; they want to cut down on payment of compensation for missing trailers and stolen goods. The positioning system has proved to be very useful in instances when a whole vehicle or trailer has been stolen.
“We had one case a few years ago where a trailer was stolen from a port in Germany. It was tracked to Poland and the police were able to find it and apprehend the driver,” relates Paul. “That is something that is almost impossible without a monitoring system.”
The system not only keeps track of where the trailer is and what it is doing, it can also check the load, warn if it is overloaded and keep a check on wear and tear. Naturally, this includes information about how the brakes are wearing, but also how the trailer is being driven, how fast it is being driven and how heavy the braking. It provides a driving log showing how the driver handles his vehicle and trailer and also provides servicing information.
Some transport companies link the service information directly to their workshops. Thanks to knowing in advance what is wrong, the workshop can prepare and have spare parts ready and waiting when the trailer comes in. This enables downtime to be reduced from several days to just hours.
This is not just to reduce servicing costs, but it is also an environmental factor. More and more transport companies are feeling the need to brand themselves as environmental companies; some of their customers are demanding that the company must hold environmental certification. Non-aggressive driving and keeping a check on observance of speed limits, etc. are part of environmental efforts.
Paul Woolford describes the collaboration with B&M as positive. He feels that the company is just the right size, with rapid decision-making channels, so it is easy to get help with changes and improvements.
“B&M has a high level of technical expertise. They offer innovative solutions, hit upon new ideas and come up with suggestions for adjustments and improvements. Our requirements are often customer-governed, and we are keen to be both rapid and responsive in constantly improving customer benefits from the system,” concludes Paul.