Another useful tool available with EBS is the data logging capability, all of the three major EBS manufacturers have effective data recorders, which can be a useful tool for fleets in managing trucks and drivers. This enables the truck owner to get even more value out of fitting EBS in trucks and trailers.
Brake professional Shane Prendergast, a technician at AirBrake Systems has been part of the National Transport Insurance series of webinars giving experts, in various fields associated with the trucking industry, the opportunity to share their expertise with others in the industry.
“I recently met a company, who had bought two quad dogs,” said Shane.” The young fleet manager wanted to know how to look after these trailers, how to maintain them, where they should be maintained and how often they should look at these systems.”
Shane had looked at the data from one of the trailers, after doing 46,000km. The driver had made 6,285 brake applications and 15 times the anti-rollover system had been activated. There had been 15 occasions where the system thought the truck was going to roll and started to prepare for an event. That is not unusual, the system is doing its job.
Shane then looked at the second of the trucks, when it arrived. These were two identical vehicles.
“I hear this from fleet managers, just about every day of the week,” said Shane. “He’s the best driver, he doesn’t break things, he’s always up for weekend work, he’s my best driver. In 65,000km this guy hit level one stability 674 times and the trailer had started to leave the ground 69 times.
“Exactly 20,000km later, he had increased his category one events up by 122 up to 737 and, finally, the truck and trailer combination finally left the road. The comment from the fleet manager was he hadn’t had time to act on the information from the first look at the data. Because of the workload and staff on holiday, he said he just didn’t get time to act, but he had the information there and hadn’t acted up on it.”
Being effective data recorders, EBS data logging proves to be a clear indicator of future accident risk. If the tyres are leaving ground regularly and the system is constantly getting activated the truck is going to become unstuck.
On another occasion Shane had been called in to look at a fleet where the drivers were complaining about the trucks not stopping and blaming EBS. On examining the data sheet he saw the truck regularly up around 120 km/h, on a 68-tonne GVM HML B-double.
“Everything in this truck was glazed as the driver was trying to stop the truck at the bottom of the hills,” said Shane.
He also describes two trucks he worked on parked side-by-side. The data logging on the first showed the driver making 24,300 brake applications at one bar or less. In studies, 92 per cent of all brake applications are in thjs range. Shane describes it as ‘driving your truck like your grandfather showed you’, the driver is utilising the safety systems in the vehicle, not rushing into intersections.
The truck’s neighbour, handling the same task, in the same fleet, had over 26,000 brake applications between 2 and 2.5 bar and virtually zero below one bar.
“When I looked under the second truck’s B-double trailer set, everything under the trailer was destroyed,” said Shane. “All of the suspension components were covered in fractures and spider welds, there were broken return springs, damaged S-cam bushes.”
The driver in the second truck had made virtually all of their braking applications like emergency ones.
Another problem constantly coming onto Shane’s radar can be seen with the data log including hundreds of power supply events recorded. Voltage is shown to be going up and down constantly, leaving the trailer with precariously low voltage at highway speeds. The problem? Dirty connections between truck and trailer, due to lack of care and poor maintenance and the driver would have seen the EBS lights going on and off constantly.