How Fleets Are Using Trailer Telematics - Fleet Management

How Fleets Are Utilizing Trailer Telematics – Fleet Administration

Trailer telematics are already giving fleets helpful perception and actionable information. However, customers say, there’s room for enchancment. 

Picture: Aperia

The longest communication hole in trucking, the saying goes, is the hole between the trailer and the tractor. Class 8 tractors are placing huge quantities of real-time information into the arms of upkeep managers, security groups, dealerships, and OEMs. However getting a sign from the trailer following behind that tractor has confirmed to be a maddeningly gradual course of. 

That’s to not say that trailer telematics haven’t been gaining floor. In truth, trailers have made great strides in speaking their total well being, location, and demanding working information for a lot of important elements and programs. And that checklist is rising. However there stays an elusive lack of integration, coordination and ease with trailer telematics.  

Nonetheless, many fleets have been pioneering using trailer telematics and discovering it extremely helpful in day-to-day operations, with very actual return on funding. And, these fleets say, the expertise is enhancing at a fast fee, and getting simpler to make use of, combine and coordinate with different telematics programs on daily basis. 

From Asset Monitoring to Actual-Time Motion 

When it first delved into trailer telematics, Maverick Transportation simply needed to ensure it was maintaining with all its property. 

“We run a extremely tight truck-to-trailer ratio,” says Mike Jeffries, vp, upkeep, for the Arkansas-based flatbed provider. “And we at all times had a stable course of on monitoring areas the place trailer property have been dropped. The very first thing the adoption of telematic expertise did was validate that these processes labored.” 

Because the Maverick crew obtained extra snug with trailer telematics, Jeffress says, the expertise started to vary different processes inside the fleet — notably by way of asset upkeep.  

“Earlier than telematics, we mainly relied on our drivers to determine any points on the trailer,” he explains. “Now that we are able to monitor the ‘BLT,’ (brakes, lights and tires) via the Highway Prepared System, we all know for a reality what Tire View stay or the LODS (Mild Out Detection System) or Brake ABS faults from Bendix are, previous to the driving force reporting stated points. At present, our highway help crew takes that information and decides whether or not to have the driving force proceed to the ultimate supply location or direct them to a secure haven so service suppliers may be dispatched to make stated repairs.” 

Installing telematics systems on your trailers will mean a learning curve for both fleet managers and technicians. Start small with manageable data systems and grow from there as your people gain experience with the technology.   -  Photo: Maverick Transportation

Putting in telematics programs in your trailers will imply a studying curve for each fleet managers and technicians. Begin small with manageable information programs and develop from there as your folks acquire expertise with the expertise. 

Picture: Maverick Transportation

Refrigerated provider Stevens Transport has been utilizing telematics to observe meals shipments for nearly 15 years, says Nick Forte, vp of upkeep. However current advances in telematics imply that at the moment, fleet managers and technicians alike can have a look at a trailer in a holistic means that has by no means been attainable earlier than, he says.  

“In my earlier job, we had over 2,000 trailers fitted with Phillips Join,” he says. “We’re at present testing 10 models at Stevens, and it’s been an enormous change by way of seeing what’s occurring with our property. Not solely can I do a distant pretrip inspection with the system, I can geofence the models, have a look at brake system well being and tire pressures. Even see what number of instances — and when — the trailer doorways have been opened and closed. And we’re at present testing a function with magnetic locks that may give us the power to mainly lock a trailer down fully from a distant location.  

“Better of all, trailers are extremely inclined to ‘thermal occasions’ — fires. However now, we now have real-time perception into tire and wheel bearing temperatures. We will decide if we now have a brake dragging or a bearing overheating. This provides us the power to cease the trailer and make repairs earlier than we lose the trailer, the cargo and even the tractor. An occasion that would find yourself costing us tons of of 1000’s of {dollars}.” 

Actual-Time ROI 

Tim Stueck, chief monetary officer for Foodliner, says his fleet first turned to trailer telematics a few decade in the past, merely making an attempt to get a greater deal with on the place all of their property have been.  

“We type of struggled with monitoring our property and this appeared like a very good answer. We had trailers simply sitting idle for weeks and even months till someone ran throughout it. So, we would have liked to do one thing.” 

Finally, Foodliner adopted the SkyBitz telematics system. The corporate was in a position to shortly arrange geofences, lot checks, and every day push experiences with real-time information. 

“Now we are able to see what trailers are sitting the place,” he says. “We will additionally arrange landmarks at our clients’ amenities and see what number of trailers are there, and the way lengthy they’ve been there. And that offers us perception into our trailer utilization. Now we may be positive a buyer isn’t consuming extra of our property than is critical. We will even see when a trailer is at a tank wash getting cleaned. It’s in the end about visibility in many alternative methods for us.” 

Pilot Firm’s tanker fleet hauls diesel, gasoline and diesel exhaust fluid to its truck stops, however delivering gas to its truck stops is simply a part of the operation. Different divisions haul merchandise similar to liquified hydrogen, in addition to crude oil from wells to refineries and wastewater from fracking.  

Dynamic tire inflation systems on Pilot tankers have extended the fleet’s trailer tire life by 50% while boosting fuel economy and reducing unscheduled downtime due to tire failures.   -  Photo: Pilot Company

Dynamic tire inflation programs on Pilot tankers have prolonged the fleet’s trailer tire life by 50% whereas boosting gas financial system and decreasing unscheduled downtime as a consequence of tire failures. 

Picture: Pilot Firm 

Brent Hickman, senior supervisor, gear, upkeep and fleet gross sales, says trailer telematics have been important for enhancing fleet efficiencies on each the supply facet of operations and in asset upkeep.  

Initially, Hickman simply needed higher info on his fleet’s tire well being and utilization. However now trailer telematics is a important a part of the fleet’s every day operations. Pilot isn’t simply utilizing Drov Applied sciences’ AirBoxOne smart-trailer system to easily accumulate and transmit information. It additionally routinely inflates or deflates trailer tires primarily based on load all through the day to optimize gas financial system and tire life.  

“We’ve had AirBoxOne outfitted on a handful of trailers for nearly a 12 months now,” Hickman says, “and we’re already seeing stable ROI from it.” 

Utilizing the dynamic inflation perform, Hickman says the system routinely inflates the Michelin X One wide-based single tires on the trailer to 100 psi when the tanker is totally loaded. Then it step by step decreases tire stress because the trailer weight drops as the driving force makes deliveries. Finally, when the tanker is totally unloaded, tire stress will likely be all the way down to 80 psi per tire.  

“And the superb factor is that the system constantly holds the stress to inside 2 psi of its setting,” Hickman says. “Up to now, older, passive tire inflation programs would fluctuate by as a lot as 20 to 35 psi from the specified setting. So, we’ve drastically minimize down on extreme warmth and put on in our trailer tires.” 

Hickman has rigorously tracked tire put on as a method of calculating ROI for the system. The outcomes have him satisfied the system is already saving cash in upkeep and gear prices. 

The Michelin X One tires have a 16/32 tread depth when new, Hickman explains. With none tire inflation system, Pilot obtained about 7,800 miles per thirty second put on. With a passive system, it elevated to fifteen,000 miles per thirty second. Now, with Drov and the dynamic tire inflation system, it’s seeing 31,000 miles per thirty second of damage.   

“That’s a 50% enhance in trailer tire life for us.” 

Migway, a provider out of Pineville, North Carolina, lately added Aperia’s Halo tire monitoring and inflation system to a few of its 350 trailers. 

“We don’t have sufficient information to report on ROI in the intervening time,” says David Voronin, president and CEO. “We’re including them slowly as a result of it takes time to put in every part accurately.” 

Even so, already technicians now know which tires want consideration when a trailer is in for service, he says. 

“And our highway name managers maintain the dashboard open on a regular basis to allow them to instantly react when we now have a tire taking place. We will already inform that the system has lowered the variety of blowouts and the quantity of downtime our vans have.” 

Streamlining the Knowledge 

Clearly, trailer telematics are delivering actual advantages in fleet operations. So why aren’t extra carriers utilizing them? There are too many alternative programs and too many alternative “gateways,” or entry portals. 

“The issue with trailer telematics proper now’s that we’re in what Mike Roeth on the North American Council for Freight Effectivity calls ‘The Messy Center,’ with this expertise,” says Pilot’s Hickman. “You’ve obtained so many suppliers concerned. They’re all leaping into this area without delay. So, you’ve obtained all these devoted element or system info silos. And so they all wish to pressure you to make use of their system. That, in flip, hurts fleets. As a result of now you’ve obtained to go to at least one gateway to have a look at wheel finish information. And now you’ve obtained to go to a different gateway to see your tire stress points. And you then’ve obtained to go to a different dashboard to see what’s happening with the cargo. It’s not a streamlined means of giving folks actionable information in the intervening time. It makes it that a lot more durable to catch critical points earlier than they’re too far gone.” 

Forte, nevertheless, notes that Phillips has been working with Stevens and different carriers to make the Phillips Join gateway extra brand-agnostic. They’ve partnered with Hendrickson and ConMet to get their information in via the Phillips Join gateway. “And that’s a giant assist. Since you don’t wish to find yourself retaining observe of — and paying for — month-to-month subscriptions from six completely different telematics suppliers.” 

One other evolution Hickman approves of is the transfer towards mating trailer telematics with the unit’s CAN bus (controller space community) as is already accomplished on tractors.  

“That makes for a extra open info platform with much more info flowing and everybody talking the identical digital language,” he says. “Finally, I believe we’re going to get all the way down to a single gateway for all of this information. Having all of this crap related to a bunch of various, remoted silos simply doesn’t work. That’s why you’re seeing forward-thinking fleets like us pushing the gamers within the trade to maneuver on this path. And we are able to’t take ‘No’ for a solution. We have to demand system integration for trailer telematics. Luckily for us, that is an trade that, as an entire, is absolutely good about uniting round a difficulty and staying on matter to pressure change.” 

Maverick’s Jeffress factors out that regardless that trailer telematics isn’t new expertise, “I imagine it’s nonetheless in its infancy stage — notably on the subject of accessing and utilizing information. We’re getting actually good primary information from the programs now. However we have to do higher in making use of it to every day course of enhancements.” 

Maverick has been working with suppliers for 10 years on completely different answer paths and has solely lately settled on which one to make use of. “So, that is nonetheless very a lot a course of in its early levels.” 

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