- DfT announces mandate for operators to fit axle weighing equipment to LSTs
- Trailers up to 15.65m in length permissible from end of May
- Axtec launches new Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator equipment specifically for LSTs
- System includes ‘Connected Load Indicator Protocol’ (CLIP) with wireless connectivity
In response to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) surprise mandate to fit axle weighing equipment to longer semi-trailers (LSTs), axle weighing specialist, Axtec, has launched a new version of its successful Axtec OnBoard Load Indicator specifically tailored for LST combinations – to deliver highly accurate single-axle, gross and combination weights.
Use of LSTs will be restricted through Special Types General) Order (STGO), which will include LSTs as a new category. Importantly, this means all new or existing LSTs must be fitted with on-board weighing to operate legally over 38 tonnes GCW. There exists a six-month transition period for those operators who are already running LSTs under the trial to ensure that they have an OnBoard weighing device fitted.
The DfT’s statement in May announced the conclusion of its successful, long-running trial of LSTs, granting permission for their use on UK roads from 31st May 2023. The 10-year trial began in 2012 with 1,800 trailers with a further 1,000 added in 2017. Though gross weights remain the same, LSTs can be up to 15.65m long (18.55m overall vehicle length) – over 2.0m longer than the maximum previously allowed under the Construction & Use Regulations.
Axtec to the rescue
A new, weather- and vibration-proof version of Axtec OnBoard is now available specifically for LST combinations. The stand-alone trailer system also communicates wirelessly via Axtec’s new Connected Load Indicator Protocol (CLIP) system. CLIP automatically connects to any tractor unit fitted with Axtec OnBoard. The whole combination, with its axle weights, will then be displayed on both screens, in the cab and on the trailer chassis.
To adequately guard against overloads, the tractor unit must also be fitted with Axtec OnBoard, although the system on the trailer will still operate independently when parked, or when used with a tractor unit that is not CLIP enabled. This fully complies with the new law, and the system can be installed on new trailers, or easily retro-fitted to existing semi-trailers, including LSTs. Installation can be carried out either by Axtec Service Engineers or by fitters trained by Axtec, at the trailer manufacturing site or on the customers premises.
Axtec’s successful OnBoard Axle Load Indicator is already installed on tens of thousands of rigid vehicles up to 32 tonnes GVW. It provides the driver with real-time axle loads, presented in an intuitive format using traffic-light logic showing legal axles in green, approaching maximum in amber and overloads in red. Pallets of bricks representing the load grow in size in proportion to the axle loads, to emphasise the nature of the any problem. All the necessary information is displayed to the driver on one easy-to-read screen, to enable him to utilise the vehicle safely right up to its legal maximum, without the risk of inadvertent overloads.