As the component connecting the prime mover and trailer, the fifth wheel plays a pivotal role in the success of all companies using semi-trailers or multi-combinations.
Furthermore, correct coupling and uncoupling procedures and technology that warns drivers if there is a problem with said procedures are paramount to the safe and efficient operation of every articulated fleet.
For Goldstar, all boxes are ticked in these respects by the JOST products installed on its latest acquisition – 50 Mercedes-Benz 2646 prime movers used for supermarket distribution work in greater Perth.
“The service JOST provides is a key reason why we chose the company to supply all the fifth wheels for our new prime movers,” says Sean Carren, Managing Director at Goldstar Transport.
He describes the level of service provided by Nathan Dack, JOST Australia Area Manager, along with the rest of the JOST team in Perth, as second to none.
“They provided outstanding service to Daimler Trucks Perth who handled the fitup and they continue to give us top notch service within our existing fleet as well as with the new additions we’ve recently received,” Sean says.
He proceeds to describe JOST’s fifth wheel Sensor Coupling system, which warns the driver of an incorrect coupling, as a key component in the company’s quest for ultimate safety for its staff and the general public.
“JOST was willing to provide training for our drivers on how to use the new fifth wheels correctly, including follow up to ensure they understood how to use the Sensor Coupling setup to maximum effect,” Sean says.
According to JOST Australia, the Sensor Coupling system gives the driver both visual and audible warnings in the event of an issue with the hook-up. Initially, this involved having a stand-alone display screen mounted on the dash with wiring running directly to it from the turntable.
More recently, JOST has been working with a number of European truck manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, to integrate the Coupling Sensor wiring into the vehicle manufacturers’ existing wiring, thus enabling the information to be viewed via the driver information display. This is the format that is used on Goldstar’s new fleet of 50 Mercedes-Benz prime movers.
The Sensor Coupling system uses three sensors fitted to the turntable: On the plate surface to detect whether or not the skid plate on the trailer is in contact with the fifth wheel plate surface; in the centre to detect the king pin and ensure the lock jaws are secured around it; and on the handle to ensure it is in the fully locked position.
If any or all of these sensors detect an irregularity, the system will alert the driver that something is wrong and that the coupling process needs to be revisited.
JOST stresses that the system is designed to be a guide, and that drivers must still undertake a visual check of the lock jaws to ensure they are closed correctly.
Reiterating that the people at JOST and Daimler Trucks in WA were great to deal with, Sean says all 50 of the new prime movers were delivered within a very short timeframe.
He mentions that the training from JOST for the drivers has been comprehensive and bodes well for getting the best results from the new trucks.
Goldstar has chosen the greased version of JOST’s sensor fifth wheel, to fit in with their fleet. There is also a low maintenance version that uses low-friction wear pads and an automatic greasing system for the lock jaw.
Whilst some fleets are happy to operate a mix of greaseable and low maintenance fifth wheels, Sean prefers sticking to a single type: “Our existing fleet has greased turntables. I like the greaseless idea but with the complexity of what we do, we have decided to stay with the greaseable plate version” says Sean.
Repeating his assertion from the beginning of the conversation, Sean says JOST is a great product, well supported by the people who work for the company.
“Like I said, they’re good people to deal with; they came and saw us, put the effort in and really backed it up which is something we really value,” he says.
“We wanted a short lead time and for every turntable to be the same with the locking sensor fitted. We also appreciate the driver training and the onboarding – they provided all this with the backup we needed to make it work.”
JOST Western Australia has fulfilled a big order of 50 JSK37C fifth wheels fitted to Mercedes-Benz 2646 prime movers for Goldstar Transport.