Trailer Magazine

Taking control

  • From the August 2019 issue.
Taking control

WABCO is mobilising on the vehicle intelligence front to ensure that Australia’s trailer builders and fleet operators are ready for the latest innovations in safety and performance.

For almost a decade, technology company, WABCO, has engaged directly with industry to ensure that commercial workshops and road transport fleets are familiar with the latest developments in the Intelligent Trailer Program (ITP).

This hands-on training process is ongoing, according to WABCO Product Support Manager, Blair Rundle, and is a proactive effort to educate the industry at all levels in light of prominent Australian Design Rules (ADR) changes that will see the mandatory use of Electronic Braking Systems (EBS). 

Blair says that a commercial workshop needs to know how to perform electronic diagnostics, whereas trailer manufacturers must be familiar with the end-of-line process i.e. how to correctly fit WABCO equipment and set parameters in the interests of achieving optimal performance and component longevity.

“We have software diagnostic programs for our Trailer EBS,” he says. “It’s a simple process to familiarise yourself with when ‘end-of-lining’ a trailer.”
Blair says that the training that WABCO provides illustrates the safety advantages of incorporating the company’s technology into trailer builds, and ultimately, EBS is just the beginning.

“WABCO Trailer EBS-E controls intelligent brake and air suspension functions, which leads to shorter braking distances and delivers greater safety for vehicle operators as well as other road users and the wider community,” he says. “This particular system processes a rich flow of data, functioning as a central platform for trailer intelligence.

In line with rollover stability mandate, WABCO’s Trailer EBS features Rollover Stability Support (RSS) as a standard function, which helps the vehicle operator keep the truck-trailer combination under control.

WABCO also has a trailer-focused Internet of Things (IoT) solution known as TX-TRAILERPULSE which combines real-time track and trace functionality with additional remote trailer health and diagnostic information.

“Modern fleets in Australia are chasing remote diagnostics via telematics,” Blair says. “WABCO is currently testing TX-TRAILERPULSE in the Australian market and it is set to be a valuable addition to the ITP suite.”

The SmartBoard is an integral feature of ITP, according to Blair, as it displays key trailer information and allows the driver to operate EBS and air suspension functions.

“Users can see everything from axle load and mileage status to tyre pressure and brake pad wear via a physical display on the side of the trailer. Trailer EBS and air suspension functions can also be used via SmartBoard.”

For truck drivers and fleet operators with Android smartphones, WABCO has a mobile solution known as OptiLink. This app can monitor and control trailer functions wirelessly. With just one interface, users can complete pre-ride checklists, access important trailer information and receive automated alerts. OptiLink iOS (for Apple devices) is set to launch soon.

Blair says that in his experience most fleets use OptiLink to monitor weight on the axle groups. “In forestry, vehicle operators are not authorised to leave their truck cabin while the trailer is being loaded. To keep track of how much timber is being loaded, a driver with the OptiLink app can monitor the weight on the axle groups in real-time. This enables a more efficient and safer operation, especially when you consider a fleet’s adherence to compliance within the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) context.”

Another safety concern that WABCO allays with ITP is the capability to reverse safely into a loading dock.

“TailGUARD supports smarter and safer reversing while also keeping a close eye on blind spots,” Blair says.

“This system can automatically apply the brakes on a vehicle at a pre-set distance – anywhere from 50-200cm – from an object in the rear blind spot.
“TailGUARD can also pulse the brake pedal as warning for the vehicle operator,” he says – explaining that this feature is especially useful for vehicles docking at distribution centres. “The vehicle will stop at a loading dock, hold the brakes for about three seconds and allow the operator to position their trailer to be flush with the dock. The pulsing of the brakes is also useful for improving safety when working with blindspots.”

Adding value to driver assistance, and making for more efficient pre-ride checks, OptiTire is yet another ITP function that can help operators track tyre pressure and tyre temperature.

Fast Fact
To complement its innovative range of commercial vehicle technologies, WABCO has a national service partner network. These authorised service partners have access to technical help desks, professional training solutions, electronic diagnostic tools and can facilitate straightforward claims handling and product warranties.

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