Rolling with Rockinger

The Rockinger RO 500 tow coupling has been sold by JOST Australia for nearly a decade. In that time, it has built up a loyal following among truck and dog road transport operators.

First released into the Australian market in 2011, the Rockinger RO 500 was already ahead of its game, according to JOST Australia National Operations Manager, Michael Garley.

“When this tow coupling was first designed and released, it was pre-prepared for the sort of sensor technology that hadn’t actually been put into use at that stage,” Michael says. “Now that the technology exists, the Rockinger RO 500 is ready for it.”

Rockinger started in Germany in 1875 and was acquired by JOST in 2001. The company produces a broad range of couplings for many different uses in a variety of markets around the globe.

“The Rockinger RO 500 is an all-rounder because it’s so good, it works in all facets of the transport industry,” Michael says. “It’s fantastic in truck and dog applications, Performance-Based Standards (PBS) applications, and it works exceedingly well in road train operations too.”

Features like the latest sensor technology are also ideal in Dangerous Goods (DG) transport applications.
“For JOST, safety is paramount,” Michael says. “It guides us to develop new products and leads us into developing better and safer products. Our research and development teams worldwide have that in mind. The global team is flying the flag for enhanced operator safety, time and time again.”

Among the product enhancements of the Rockinger RO 500 coupling is a pneumatic release upgrade. This enables the pin to be released pneumatically, without the need for the operator to manually perform this operation from behind the truck or trailer.
“This is an important safety factor in the new design because it means the operator isn’t having to go behind the vehicle,” Michael says. “In industries like roads and construction, where vehicles could be carrying products such as asphalt at a temperature of 300°C or so, technology like this is even more important for the safety of the operator.”

Other new safety enhancements include an upgrade to the sensor that monitors the locking function of the coupling; and a jack-knife warning sensor that alerts the driver when there is the risk of a potential incident that could damage the drawbar.

“Evolution is rarely a linear progression, it usually happens in steps and last year was a big step forward for the Rockinger RO 500,” Michael says. “Here at JOST Australia, safety is always at the forefront of our minds and we aim to provide transport operators with a complete range of products and equipment that is safer, more reliable and easier to use.”

According to Michael, key to the simplicity of the Rockinger RO 500 is in its design. He points to the value-adding elements of ease of servicing and ease of use.

“When you look at the coupling itself it looks so simple, but there’s been a hell of a lot of engineering behind the scenes to make it function seamlessly,” he says. “There is only a handful of moving parts in the Rockinger RO 500 and it’s very easy to do a changeover or carry out general servicing and maintenance.”

To further improve the performance and life of the Rockinger RO 500, when the coupling is locked, the entire pin and bushes assembly is completely sealed.

“This is super important, particularly for our friends over in the west using road trains or operators using dusty outback roads; dust ingress protection is paramount for road trains because it doesn’t enable foreign matter to get inside and bind up the mechanism,” Michael says – adding that Rockinger prides itself on its attention to detail. “Rockinger designs and manufactures components with extremely fine tolerances and only produces couplings that meet stringent guidelines. That commitment to detail is what makes its products so good and so reliable. Our customers are only getting the best of the best. Customers love the Rockinger RO 500 because it’s so easy to use, it’s simple and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how it works. The ability to maintain it very quickly and easily is another winner.”

The Rockinger RO 500 is well suited to fixed drawbar applications such as pig trailers with a downforce rating of up to 2.5 tonnes and is also rated at 285kN of horizontal pulling force to suit every hinged drawbar application from dog trailers through to multiple road train combinations.

While the new sensor technology is predominately suited to 24-volt European trucks, Rockinger is working on a 12-volt option to make it also compatible with American manufactured trucks.

Fast Fact

In 2019, JOST Australia released the newest version of its iconic Rockinger RO 500 coupling. Key product enhancements include pneumatic coupling release, upgraded locking function sensor and a jack-knife warning sensor.