Sta­bil­ity con­trol saves lives

Big Rigs - - SPECIAL REPORT -

THE big is­sue with roll sta­bil­ity in all ve­hi­cles, and par­tic­u­larly com­bi­na­tion ve­hi­cles, is most driv­ers are never re­ally fully aware of how close they are to rolling over, said the ATA’s chief en­gi­neer, Bob Wood­ward.

“Gen­er­ally, and I say gen­er­ally be­cause it’s not al­ways so, but the first ve­hi­cle in a rollover of a com­bi­na­tion ve­hi­cle is the last one, the one at the back,” Bob said.

“So the longer you make the ve­hi­cle, the less chance the driver has of know­ing that some­thing is go­ing wrong.”

Aside from a cou­ple of pro­vi­sos, roll sta­bil­ity con­trol will be man­dated in Aus­tralia on all new truck mod­els from July 2019 and on all new trail­ers from Novem­ber 1 next year.

“So the fo­cus of our TMC this year is that we are go­ing right back to grass­roots,” he said.

“We have three ses­sions on elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol planned.

“The first one is a pre­sen­ta­tion on where the Aus­tralian De­sign Rules, the ADRs, are tak­ing us in the brak­ing area specif­i­cally.

“It’s a ses­sion with the Fed­eral Govern­ment and the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor on EBS and ABS and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

“We’ll be fol­low­ing that up with a ses­sion on retrofitting elec­tronic roll sta­bil­ity con­trol, which will be chaired by an op­er­a­tor.

“Some of the back­ground to this ses­sion is that the NSW EPA have man­dated it on dan­ger­ous goods tanker trail­ers from Jan­uary 1 next year, so there is quite a bit of retrofitting go­ing on.

“It’s not just a mat­ter of buy­ing a kit and putting it on, as the trailer has to be suitable.

“It needs to have things like pole rings fit­ted on the wheels and sen­sor mount­ing blocks for the prox­im­ity sen­sors, oth­er­wise it can’t gather the im­por­tant bits of in­for­ma­tion the sys­tem needs.

“The ses­sion will also cover the im­por­tance of proper in­stal­la­tion.

“Cou­pling a new trailer to a new truck is gen­er­ally not a prob­lem as EBS is manda­tory on new trucks.

“You can hook an older prime mover up to a new trailer, but un­less the truck has a 24-volt power supply, as that’s what the sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem op­er­ates on, it will ba­si­cally be a waste of time and you’ll have achieved noth­ing.

“What I’d say to op­er­a­tors is that an elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem on a trailer will cost around $5000.

“If you ‘flat-spot’ all 12 tyres on a tri-axle trailer, it’ll cost more than $5000 to re­place them.

“So if you save just one set of trailer tyres from flat spot­ting you are in front.

“This tech­nol­ogy will, within rea­son, stop ve­hi­cles from rolling over.

“The third ses­sion will be on roll sta­bil­ity di­ag­nos­tics and fault find­ing and will be pre­sented by one of the roll sta­bil­ity equip­ment sup­pli­ers.

“These sys­tems are very smart and main­tain a lot of in­for­ma­tion, and with the ap­pro­pri­ate equip­ment you can plug into it and down­load it.

“It can tell you how many roll sta­bil­ity in­ter­ven­tions there have been and it can tell you what per­cent­age of the time it has run, for ex­am­ple, un­laden, 20, 40 or 100 per cent laden.

“There’s a lot of data there.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PI­O­NEER: Bob Wood­ward has helped rev­o­lu­tionise the way freight is car­ried on our roads.

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