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More About Smart On-Board Mass

More About Smart On-Board Mass

PowerTorque sat down with Transport Certification Australia to find out more about smart on-board mass and what transport operators need to know before investing in the technology.

Smart OBM provides greater assurance to road managers that heavy vehicles are operating within the approved mass limit for specific parts of the network and on routes that have been approved as suitable for their use.

When coupled with the Telematics Monitoring Application, these digitally connected on-board weighing systems are being used to introduce higher productivity access arrangements for heavy vehicles.

New South Wales and Queensland both require Smart OBM on specific kinds of Performance Based Standards (PBS) vehicles from 1 June 2024.

This follows the earlier introduction of Smart OBM in Victoria for Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles and specific PBS vehicles in Tasmania. More recently, Smart OBM is being used in Victoria and South Australia to enable increased mass limits for low and zero emission heavy vehicles.

We caught up with Transport Certification Australia (TCA) to talk about some of the finer detail associated with the use of Smart OBM systems.

“The first thing to know is that not all Smart OBM systems are the same,” says Gavin Hill, General Manager Strategy and Delivery at TCA.

Although all Smart OBM systems are type-approved by TCA against performance based functional and technical requirements, there can be differences in the way different systems operate in practice.

Being an informed user helps to avoid potential pitfalls when purchasing and using Smart OBM systems.

Your prime mover needs to talk with you trailers

The mass measurements derived from Smart OBM systems need to be shared with the telematics device fitted to the prime mover.

Smart OBM suppliers offer different ways of connecting prime movers and trailers – which respond to the diverse needs of the transport industry.

The two primary methods of connecting prime movers with trailers are: wired and wireless connections.

It’s important for heavy vehicle drivers to know what kind of connections are used, and that operating instructions provided by Smart OBM suppliers are followed.

“Like any technology, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to optimise the performance of a Smart OBM system,” says Gavin. “We’ve heard feedback from some drivers that they’ve had problems with Smart OBM systems. However, these problems typically emerge from drivers not following the operating processes provided by Smart OBM suppliers. If in doubt, contact your Smart OBM supplier.”

Don’t mix and match Smart OBM systems

Whatever Smart OBM system you choose to use for your fleet, you should use only one Smart OBM system for each heavy vehicle combination.

This means that, for multi-trailer combinations, different Smart OBM system types cannot be used on different trailers.

Mixing Smart OBM systems on a single multi-combination will mean the vehicle does not satisfy the Smart OBM operating requirement set by road managers.

More information on TCA-approved Smart OBM systems, as well as the existing pairing arrangements between Smart OBM systems and TCA-approved telematics devices can be found at: tca.gov.au/smart-obm-systems.


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