Fontaine sliding fifth wheel couplers for Fowler Welch25 February 2013

Following trials, logistics firm Fowler Welch is now specifying, as standard, an air-operated sliding fifth wheel coupler from Fontaine Europe.

The trials were carried out at the company's Washington and Newton Abbot depots, using trailers from 10m to 15.65m in length that require constant coupling and uncoupling to MAN TGX XLX and Mercedes Axor tractor units.

Paul Allera, head of fleet for Fowler Welch, says that objectives of the trail were to reduce driver handling – eliminating two-phase or 'split' coupling – and to improve safety.

The mechanism relies on a low-pressure air feed to reduce the manual force normally required to operate the handle. Once in place, a sensor automatically registers 'green' for a correct coupling – with dog clip inserted – or 'red', if incorrect and the dog clip is not in place.

An external, green LED serves as a fail-safe back-up to the audible flashing light on the cab's dash board, explains Allera. So, if the coupling is defective and the driver has not responded to the in-cab alert, the light will be noted by ground personnel.

"With a fleet the size of ours and the high frequency of coupling and uncoupling involved, it is important to use equipment that not only reduces risk and improves safety but also adds efficiency," states Allera.

"The air-operated coupler has certainly lived up to these requirements and as such is now specified as standard," he adds.

John Challen

Related Companies
Fontaine Fifth Wheel

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.