Loading docks across Australia – from shopping centres to industrial facilities – typically see a high volume of vehicles and personnel operate onsite.
Mobile plants and forklifts work around the clock as their operators load and unload pallets, while truck and trailer combinations move in and out of the area. Under these circumstances, without the appropriate guidance or technology, reversing a trailer could lead to an accidental collision.
Freight companies can minimise the chance of wear-and-tear dock damage, damaging their heavy vehicles and most importantly keeping people safe by investing in Knorr-Bremse Ramp Dock Control (RDC) which reduces these risks by detecting objects behind the trailer.
The system, according to Knorr-Bremse Australia Trailer Sales Business Manager – CVS, Gareth Lawless, uses symmetrically mounted ultrasonic sensors on the back of the trailer and when the reverse gear is engaged these sensors transmit and receive ultrasonic signals to determine distance between the truck and the object.
“When the distance between the rear of the trailer and a docking platform reduces to a predefined range, the trailer brakes activate via Knorr-Bremse Trailer Electronic Braking System (TEBS) to slow the vehicle’s movement to a complete stop, providing physical feedback to the driver,” he says.
“RDC provides visual and audible warnings for the driver while reversing. These take the form of LED displays that vary colour and flash rate based on the presence and distance of a person or object within the trailer sensor field. The displays are ideally placed on the far left and right at the front of the trailer headboard in easy view of the driver.
“The speaker that provides audible feedback in-cab is positioned as close as possible to the driver’s position on the trailer board. If, for instance, the reverse gear is selected twice within five seconds, the RDC system will enter a silent mode which when active will disable speaker output.”
To prevent collisions, the RDC system has reverse speed limiter functionality.
“The RDC system has a programmable reversing speed function that can pulse the trailer brakes and assist in maintaining a steady speed while reversing,” Gareth says. “This helps to overcome weather conditions, trailer loads, road surface all of which can all affect braking performance.”
Knorr-Bremse has also incorporated a memory function to the RDC system.
“When the memory function is enabled, the sensors will capture and store any objects such as bumpers or steps or rubber bolsters, within 600mm field of view of the sensor during the ignition on sequence,” Gareth says. “When reverse gear is applied, the RDC system will complete another capture. If any objects are detected during the ignition sequence and are still present when reverse gear is applied, the object will be considered as part of the trailer and will be ignored. If the object detected during the ignition sequence is not present when reverse gear is applied, the object will no longer be considered as part of the trailer and any objects within that zone will be detected.”
There are several operational benefits to installing Knorr-Bremse’s RDC system. It provides pedestrian safety, meets OH&S obligations, allows for simple driver operation which reduces fatigue, enables heavy vehicle operators to reverse safely especially when visibility conditions are poor and helps to prevent accidental trailer and customer dock damage. RDC is a trailer specific, multi-volt system, so any prime mover can tow the trailer. This system can be fitted to the Knorr-Bremse G2.2 TEBS by the trailer manufacturer or retrofitted via the Knorr-Bremse TruckServices network.
Knorr-Bremse is a leading manufacturer of braking and control systems for heavy commercial vehicles. The equipment specialist also supplies Driver Assistance System solutions and has a national aftermarket support network, Knorr-Bremse TruckServices, which includes genuine new service products and parts for trailers in all stages of their working life. In addition to supporting all trailer configurations from single trailers and B-doubles to triples and road trains, Knorr-Bremse Service Partners can also retrofit TEBS and other accessories to keep road transport businesses on the road and productive.