Real World Coupling Testing Program

Real World Coupling Testing Program
Making sure operators use a coupling which is up to the job on multiple combinations is vital and this real world coupling testing program will improve the knowledge base. However the data needs to be improved for higher mass vehicles, this article, from the May/June issue of PowerTorque, examines a new initiative to get a better understanding of the stresses and strains between trailers.

The project is an initiative of the ARTSA Institute as lead, alongside the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Truck Industry Council (TIC) and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and is funded by the Commonwealth Government through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

The team behind the project is chaired by Martin Toomey (ARTSA-i) and supported by a Steering Group made up of Chris Loose from the Truck Industry Council, Bob Woodward from the Australian trucking Association, plus ASRTSA-i members Greg Rowe, Rob Smedley and Wayne Baker. there will be three working groups, On Road Testing, Laboratory Testing and Communications. Each of the working groups will have industry representation as well, from suppliers like Jost, BPW, SAF Holland and V.Orlandi.

Project Manager and mechanical engineer Wayne Baker explains the background “We are aware that as a heavy vehicle combination gets heavier and longer, the forces that the couplings are subject to are lower than what a theoretical calculation shows. It is this phenomena that we are hoping to understand and quantify.” 

Looking at D-Values

“Currently, the D-value formula on larger combinations, under the rules, caps out at 125 tonnes GCM,” says Rob Smedley, Director and Senior Engineer, Smedley Engineers. “When the calculation is used in larger combinations it can come out so high that manufacturers don’t even make couplings that meet that D-Value. 

“However, those same couplings that don’t meet that D-value are being used successfully on our roads. At the moment there’s a black hole, where operators and trailer makers aren’t covered because, technically, they are using couplings which don’t meet the standard, but the standard was not developed in consideration of these kinds of combinations.”

Another complicating factor is that none of the normally used couplings are made here in Australia.

In setting up this testing project, no one is questioning the integrity of the couplings, or suggesting it is irresponsible of trailer makers to use them on these heavier combinations. There is also no suggestion that larger stronger couplings are needed. 

real world coupling testing program
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