After a successful trial, Continental’s tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) has been fitted to the majority of G.Webb’s fleet, with all new vehicles receiving the equipment upon delivery.
Scaling up its deployment has been a particular enthusiasm for the company’s fleet engineering director, Paul Broker. He immediately noticed both financial and time gains for G. Webb, appreciating first-hand how the Continental Digital Solutions range can flag issues that risk a breakdown and a lost load. What’s more, the same data has allowed Broker and his team to more efficiently plan and prioritise vehicle maintenance.
“We were experiencing low tyre pressures and punctures on a relatively frequent basis but weren’t always aware of where, when or how they were happening,” he explains. “Sometimes, we didn’t know that there was a problem brewing until we did our weekly tyre checks on a Saturday. The ContiPressureCheck system has eliminated that doubt.
“The risk to our tyres is arguably higher than other areas of the haulage industry. We can be on quarries, landfill sites, fields – all places where sharp, abrasive materials can damage the rubber. Even out on the road the risk is still there. On one occasion, before we had the TPMS installed, we put a new tyre on one of our trucks for it to then blow out 100 miles down the road. A bolt had gone through it and the driver didn’t know until it was too late. I’m pretty sure that we would not have been in that position had we had a system in place. That acted as the catalyst really to begin the trial with Continental.”
G. Webb was able to tailor its Continental Digital Solutions package to reflect the needs of the business. Long-haul tippers and arctics are fitted with live telematic ContiConnect reporting, which is fed back to Broker at head office. These vehicles also sport the ContiPressureCheck in-cab display, providing real-time tyre pressures and alerting drivers to a problem immediately as it occurs.
Continental has also installed a ContiConnect yard reader for the day trucks, which takes a reading every time a vehicle passes by it.
“Every week ContiPressureCheck is making us aware of issues that the drivers weren’t noticing or weren’t actioning,” Paul claims. “It means that, where we can, it’ll be a workshop repair rather than a call out to the roadside. Each call out costs us something in the region of £100, so it does start to add up. That’s on top of a disgruntled customer, the risk of having the load cancelled and a truck not in revenue earning service.
“The other thing we have to consider is safety and our responsibility as an employer, an HGV operator and a road user. The in-cab display gives the driver temperatures as well as pressures. Those can be critical in identifying associated mechanical issues, such as brake binding or a wheel bearing failure. Modern trucks are so comfortable and insulated that you can drive for miles with a problem and not really know about it, so it helps us identify it quickly and stop any secondary damage.”
ContiPressureCheck uses sensors mounted inside the tyre to continuously monitor pressures and temperatures. The system can be easily retrofitted to many vehicles and its wireless radio technology allows for easy monitoring of trailers.
“There’s always a risk that a tyre blowout in a fully laden 44-tonne truck could have catastrophic consequences,” Broker admits. “It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to mitigate that. Our drivers can see that something is wrong and act. We would much rather a preventative call out to a car park or layby than an emergency on a motorway hard shoulder.”
On top of the cost, safety and reliability benefits, ContiPressureCheck has delivered greater efficiency in the operator’s workshop. With a large fleet to keep in active service, the TPMS’ traffic-light warning system has helped Broker and his team minimise downtime, plan work and self-regulate the flow through the garage.
“It’s quite hard for us to quantify the benefit that ContiPressureCheck has brought to our fleet because it helps us in so many ways. We’re saving on call outs; we’re saving on lost tyres; we’re more efficient and a safer haulier because of it. I’ve lost count of how many times it’s solved or prevented something.”