Headquartered in the Netherlands, TNT provides businesses and consumers worldwide with an extensive range of services for their mail and express delivery needs. With over1700 pieces of equipment in operation, TNT Express Australia has one of the strongest road networks in this sector.
The relationship between TNT Express and Jost began just over a year ago when a prototype pneumatic fifth wheel was implemented on a new prime mover, followed by several lead trailers also being fitted with the product.
“In the past, we had never really specified Jost as a must-have on any of our equipment; but since the release of some of their new technologies, we have started to spec Jost equipment,” explains National Fleet and Equipment Manager, Paul Wild. “As far as we are aware, Jost is the only company that supplies a pneumatic fifth wheel and because of our preference for this type of product, we are now specifying it on our new vehicles.”
All lead trailers purchased last year and all prime movers purchased late last year were factory fitted with the pneumatic fifth wheel. Several of these units are now operating throughout Australia.
The pneumatic fifth wheel (JSK 37E 027) has been designed to eliminate the need for drivers to reach between the A and B trailer in order to release the fifth wheel thus preventing driver injuries when uncoupling and ensuring optimum driver safety.
“OH&S concerns and driver wellbeing were key considerations in TNT’s decision to implement this product,” states Paul. “You don’t have the driver trying to reach down between the trailer and the wheels to physically pull a lever which helps to alleviate unnecessary shoulder strain. Drivers also appreciate this new technology as it helps to keep their clothing clean,” he continued.
The pneumatic fifth wheel’s weight of 120 kg is also relatively light compared to similar products on the market. Available in fixed or ball race versions, it is 915 mm wide with a height of 135-255 mm and a 200KN D value.
In addition to Jost’s pneumatic fifth wheel, TNT specs its B trailers with Jost’s Easy Connect system which allows coupling and uncoupling of the air and electrical cables whilst remaining safely on the ground. The system allows for lateral movement when negotiating bends to prevent excessive strain or stress on the air and electrical connections. The Easy Connect uses maintenance free sliding blocks and guide rails that ensure precise smooth lateral movement. The Easy Connect system makes the connection of the air and electrical cables fast, simple and safe. As the system is universal, it can be fitted to most trailer models.
“The Easy Connect System has only just gone into service and it’s been working well,” says Paul. “We trialled the system for a year on a unit and then had it installed on more units late last year. The main benefit of the system again, is in relation to OH&S and driver wellbeing considerations, as the driver doesn’t have to climb up onto the chassis to disconnect or connect the trailer’s electrical and airlines. We have a very strong safety focus at TNT and wherever we can make improvements in this area we will, particularly when it comes to identifying new products available that can assist drivers to carry out their jobs more safely.”
As well as these products, TNT Express is currently trialling the Razor powered leg drive system that reduces potential injury that can be caused by manually winding the landing legs down. TNT Express is also working with Jost and Razor to develop an automated door system that will better suit the pick-up and delivery application.
“Predominantly, the automated door system was designed around a grocery chain and delivery application; however pick-up and delivery has a completely different set of requirements,” says Paul. “We are working with them to improve and further develop the product to a point where it meets all of our needs in that particular area. Currently, we have one unit that was fitted with the door around three months ago and it is undergoing field testing and developmental work.”
Paul adds, “We’ve found Jost to be very cooperative and easy to work with. They are always willing to listen and don’t take the view that what works with one person must work for everybody – the automated door opening system is a prime example of this.”