La­bels get green light

Big Rigs - - TECHNOLOGY & MAINTENANCE CONFERENCE - James Gra­ham James.Gra­ham@bi­grigs.com.au

WAST­ING need­less hours – and money – look­ing for the right part to fix a trailer de­fect could soon be a headache of the past.

Af­ter hear­ing an ex­pert panel pitch their case for why trail­ers need spec­i­fi­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion plates, del­e­gates at the tech­nol­ogy and main­te­nance con­fer­ence in Melbourne gave the con­cept a re­sound­ing thumbs up.

The ATA’s chief en­gi­neer Bob Wood­ward said he’d now take the feed­back and pan­el­lists’ notes and draft a tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sory pro­ce­dure for fur­ther dis­cus­sion at the next In­dus­try Tech­ni­cal Coun­cil meeting early next year.

“What we’re try­ing to do is make the in­vis­i­ble vis­i­ble,” said ses­sion pan­el­list Chris Blan­chard, work­shop man­ager at Herb Blan­chard Haulage and one of the loud­est early voices for the adop­tion of an in­dus­try-wide spec plate.

“It’s giv­ing you that abil­ity to see what’s in be­hind those wheels with­out hav­ing to take the wheels. It re­duces un­cer­tainty, re­pair times and costs of break­downs and main­te­nance.”

In an of­ten lively dis­cus­sion, del­e­gates agreed that the plates should in­clude in­for­ma­tion such as sus­pen­sion make and model, sus­pen­sion ride height, tyre size and di­am­e­ter range, wheel bear­ings, gross trailer mass, airbag info and axle di­am­e­ter, among other vi­tal stats.

Pan­el­list Lance Fisher, fleet main­te­nance man­ager at John L Pierce Trans­port, said he’s al­ready reap­ing the ben­e­fits of a sim­i­lar sys­tem he’s af­fixed to all his fleet.

“Af­ter do­ing 25-plus years on the end of a 24-hour break­down phone in mid­dle of night, you soon learn that some­thing has to change within your busi­nesses,” Mr Fisher said.

“We’ve been around long enough to know what works and what doesn’t work, and you’ve got to give ev­ery­body a home life. I don’t want my guys out in the mid­dle of the night fix­ing a prob­lem.”

PHOTO: JAMES GRA­HAM

TECH TIME­SAVER: Chris Blan­chard gets sup­port for his trailer ideas at TMC2018.

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