CM Show 2020: Take a load off your mind with weighing axle specialist Axtec

Axtec is inviting operators to its stand at the online Commercial Motor Show to share its expertise on ensuring fleet vehicles are not inadvertently overloaded.

The axle weighing specialist has been manufacturing in-depot weighbridges, on-board and portable devices since its launch in 1991 and said it is the only UK company working exclusively in this field.

Its expertise is tapped into by the DVSA for calibration of the UK’s network of national weighbridges, which can be used for prosecuting overloaded vehicles.

“Our dynamic system is the most accurate of its type in the world,” says director Derek Hack. “It is the only one that can be offered as a public weighbridge and to achieve that level of accuracy has taken many years of research and investment.”

Calibration check

Hack says the company is often called to operators’ depots to replace third party weighbridges that are not functioning as they should.

“We’ve been to some axle weighbridges and found out they are weighing three tonnes too light, for example.

“It’s not as straightforward as people think and is very easy to get it wrong. That’s why we do everything in-house; have all our own engineers, builders and maintenance teams,” he adds.

For operators wanting to assess their existing systems, Axtec will carry out a free-of-charge calibration check and certificate on any makes of existing axle weighbridges they may have installed at their depots.

“It can be quite an eye-opener for them,” says Hack.

Test fleet

To calibrate a weighbridge, Axtec has invested in a unique DAF tractor unit built specifically for the job.

“There is a code of conduct for the testing and calibration of axle weighing bridges for prosecution purposes, so we designed the vehicle to make sure we could comply with that,” says Hack.

Axtec’s specially designed DAF articulated unit can also be converted into a 2-axle rigid, therefore fulfilling two of the required vehicle types needed to calibrate an enforcement bridge. The third vehicle requirement is for a 4-axle rigid, which Axtec also owns on its testing fleet.

Weighbridges can be calibrated all the way up to 44 tonnes with Axtec’s vehicles, which is an essential weight for many large fleet operators to get right.

On the move

Axtec also specialises in on-board and portable systems.

On-board systems are primarily designed for vehicles working away from base where the load could fluctuate during its operation.

“Anyone doing multi-drop work should really have an on-board weighing system with them if the load changes throughout the day,” says Hack.

Highways maintenance vehicles, plant hire delivery and scaffolders would be a classic example where such a system would be used, says Hack.

“We also supply a lot of businesses doing house clearances and waste removal that want to make sure their vehicle isn’t over a certain weight. If it is, when they go to the local tip, they will get charged for two vehicles if too heavy,” he adds.

Portable weighing systems can also play a vital role in keeping a compliant and efficient fleet.

Axtec said these are generally recommended for weighing smaller vehicles, or for use by a transport manager to carry out overloading spot checks across depots.

They are also handy for driver training.

“If you put the front axle of vehicle on the weighpads and then move the load about you can see the weight changing as you do so,” says Hack.

“It’s a great way of showing drivers what happens if you put the load in the wrong place.”

Overloading issues

As well as the obvious road safety issues that come with overloading, the practice can have an overall detrimental effect on the vehicle’s major components.

“The brakes become less efficient, the steering becomes less effective, the suspension and clutch are affected. And it uses more fuel as well,” says Hack.
It can also find you hauled up in front of the Traffic Commissioner in a public inquiry should your vehicle be found to be overloaded by the DVSA at a prosecution bridge.

But it isn’t only the larger vehicles that may catch the attention of a Traffic Commissioner, says Hack.

If a company’s smaller vehicles, such as lighter vans, are found to be overloaded and subsequently prosecuted, then the DVSA will still notify the TC even if the affected vehicle is not subject to O-licence regulations. “It is something that people don’t appreciate,” adds Hack,

Live advice

The team from Axtec will be on hand throughout the live CM Show later this month and happy to chat about any overloading concerns you may have.

“Covid-19 has meant no live shows are possible this year, so we believe the Commercial Motor Show is an ideal opportunity to let industry know that we are still here and what the Axtec business is all about,” says Hack.

“We look forward to chatting with visitors to our online stand and helping them with their vehicle weighing concerns.”

The Commercial Motor Show takes place from 29 September to 1 October and is completely free to attend. Why not sign up today for your free ticket and explore all that this exciting three-day event has to offer!

Mercedes-Benz launches Sideguard Assist safety system on right-hand-drive Actros and Arocs

Mercedes-Benz will finally offer its Sideguard Assist safety feature on right-hand-drive Actros and Arocs from June 2021, some four years after its launch on the Continent.

The system, which detects obstacles in a vehicle’s nearside blindspot and alerts the driver of a potential collision, had previously only been available on right-hand-drive Econic. It is as yet unclear whether or not the feature will be offered as standard.

Meanwhile, Mercedes has launched Active Sideguard Assist for most left-hand-drive markets. This superior version not only alerts the driver of a potential danger, but actively stops the vehicle too.

Speaking to Commercial Motor, head of Mercedes-Benz trucks Stefan Buchner said: “It is not available at the moment in the UK or any right-hand-drive markets. But we are working on this, and it will follow.”

Also new next summer is Active Drive Assist 2, which comprises an emergency stop function which can automatically brake the vehicle to a complete halt in case of an emergency. The truck remains in its lane of travel, with the hazard lights illuminated.