Trucking technology is evolving on many fronts

19/05/2020 13:43:18
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ImagesClick Image for 300dpi jpg fileTrucking technology is evolving on many fronts

Change is one of the few constants in the trucking industry. We can say with certainty that in the future haulage will be different than it is today, but are we able to predict what these changes might bring?

Danny Broomfield, Sales Director of JOST UK, reflects on current trends and explains what we can expect over the next few years. If I look back to the early days of my career, trucks and trucking were very different. Some of the changes I have seen were slow and steady, others were practically overnight; some I saw coming, others took me by surprise. Electronic driver aids are an obvious example of technology that is commonplace today, but was the thing of sci-fi just a few decades ago. We’re still seeing developments in this area to the degree that truly autonomous vehicles now seem like an inevitability for the near future.

Technological change is often driven by outside influence, most commonly new laws and standards being introduced. Other drivers for change include new technologies crossing over from other industries, or increased focus on corporate social responsibility for both the environment and safety. Not to mention the most common driver of them all – the pursuit of a competitive advantage through improved operational efficiency. In fact, these market influences are all linked at several different levels so can affect one another.

Possibly the most important change to our industry has been the massive improvements in health and safety brought about by new legislation and the introduction of modern technologies. Hauling large, heavy loads long distances does carry an inherent risk for drivers, loading bay staff and the general public, so it’s right that efforts are always being made to improve. Such improvements take many forms – headline grabbing examples include cabs with improved visibility, introduction of disc brakes on trailers and electronic sensors for fifth wheels and towing hitches.

However, there are other developments occurring under the radar that will improve driver comfort and safety for other road users. For an example of a new trend driven by a growing concern for health and safety, one need look no further than the humble electrically operated landing leg. JOST originally developed these as a solution to improve productivity in quarries, seaports and distribution centres, where landing legs are raised and lowered many times a day. However, they are now catching the eye of a number of operators of road going fleets who see them a solution to preventing repetitive strain injury and back problems for drivers – as well as ensuring that they are properly deployed and stowed each time.

Of course, while safety is important, the purpose of all commercial enterprises is profit. So it’s hardly a surprise that many of the developments we see are geared towards improving the profitability of vehicles. One way to quickly make such improvements is to reduce vehicle weight, thus increasing payload. With emissions regulations leading to heavier power trains, body builders are working closely with manufacturers such as JOST to develop components that can keep curb weight down.

One of the heaviest on-board systems used on tipper trucks, ejection trailers and refuse compactors is the hydraulics - or ‘wet kits’ - so these are now being targeted for weight reduction programmes. Of course, it is not simply a matter of making them lighter, their performance levels must be at least maintained or, preferably, improved. Edbro’s latest lightweight tipping systems work so much faster than their predecessors that there is an appreciable productivity gain. They are also designed to work at lower pressure so that smaller, more economical pumps can be used. This also reduces wear and tear, which increases component life expectancy and reduces maintenance costs.

JOST also supports another long-term trend in haulage, the move to cleaner, more environmentally friendly solutions. The latest development in this area being the introduction of a bio-grease for fifth wheel couplings. This is a high-performance lubricant that is completely biodegradable and suitable for highly demanding duties. With about 600,000 articulated trucks in Europe alone, each requiring about 10kg of grease a year, the potential for this product to improve the industry’s eco-footprint is substantial. To further encourage its uptake, JOST is offering it at the same price as conventional hydrocarbon-based lubricant.

The bio-grease is compatible with LubetTronic, an electronically controlled dispenser which automatically optimises consumption against usage. This reduces the tendency to over-lubricate, so can lead to a reduction in consumption of 15%-20%.

JOST has a world-class research and development team that is always working on updates and advances that reflect the changing demands of the industry. Put concisely, the focus for the team is: reducing the weight of on-truck systems to increase load capacity and reduce fuel consumption; speeding up operations so that time is saved with every load; designing in safety and reducing risk; looking for ‘greener’ solutions and adding intelligence through sensors, computers and electronics.

Over the medium- term we can expect to see greater adoption of electronics and computers, technologies to protect personnel and the environment, and solutions that improve operational efficiency. JOST is proud of its track record in research and development and expects to remain an innovator the industry can rely on.

Image Caption: JOST is proud of its track record in research and development and expects to remain an innovator the industry can rely on.

About JOST:

JOST is the world’s leading manufacturer of vehicle connection systems, modules and components for trucks and trailers. Under the umbrella brand JOST, the comprehensive range of products is broken down into four areas: The JOST brand includes fifth wheel couplings, telescopic landing gears and accessories for semi-trailers, ball bearing turntables, king pins and container locks as well as components for alternating systems. The trailer axles of the DCA Family are also sold under the JOST brand. Under the traditional brand name of ROCKINGER, the company produces towing hitches, drawbar eyes and towing drawbars for both transporters and trucks, as well as for use in the agricultural industry. TRIDEC is the leading provider of steering systems and single wheel suspensions for trailers. Edbro is the specialist in the field of vehicle-mounted hydraulic systems. Its range includes front and underfloor dump trucks and trailers and extension cylinders, as well as customer-specific hydraulic construction kits.

JOST is the only supplier that can provide products and services all around the world. The company is located on all continents, with distribution, production and development. With sales and production facilities in more than 20 countries, the company is the global partner of choice for the commercial vehicle industry. JOST employs over 2.800 members of staff worldwide. It is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 20 July 2017.

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Editor Contact

DMA Europa Ltd. : David Bedford
Tel: +44 (0)1562 751436 Fax: +44 (0)1562 748315

Company Contact

JOST UK Ltd. : Vera Terporten
Tel: +49 (6102) 295-383 Fax:

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