October 7, 2022

Task Force Launches World’s First Coupling Force Project

Several industry bodies study the dynamic loads on the couplings of high-productivity heavy-duty freight vehicles and performance-based standards (PBS) combination vehicles.

The Coupling Safety Project is funded by the Commonwealth Government through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, and will fill a gap in knowledge and provide evidence to update the relevant standards and rules.

The ARTSA Institute, Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Truck Industry Council (TIC) and Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) are conducting the survey.

“Current Australian design rules cover heavy coupling requirements, but provide no guidance beyond a road train gross combined mass (GCM) of just 125 tonnes,” said Martin Toomey, chairman of the ARTSA Institute.

“As increasingly higher productivity vehicle combinations enter the Australian heavy-duty fleet, evidence-based guidance is needed to support engineers, regulators and fleet managers, so that couplings can be specified, inspected and safely maintained.”

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking said, “Hitch failure on high productivity vehicles can lead to death and injury, major traffic disruptions and reduced public confidence in vehicle safety. heavy vehicles. It is important that regulators and industry have confidence in the relevance and integrity of the standards that guide the safe selection of components.

TIC CEO Dr Tony McMullan said: “Australia has always pushed truck equipment to its limits, doing what no one else is doing anywhere in the world. Couplings are a prime example with four-trailer road trains exceeding 150 tons GCM. This project will help define coupling safety factors and requirements for multi-trailer configurations worldwide. »

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the joint investigation will help accelerate the introduction of new safety technologies to support safe and safely loaded heavy vehicles.

“The NHVR is proud to support this project which will help to mitigate the safety risks posed by non-compliant couplings and improve the safety of vehicles operating under higher productivity programs,” he said.

The project will investigate the dynamic coupling forces using road tests and follow-up laboratory tests to confirm the strength of the couplings. Couplings to be validated in the project include fifth wheel couplings and automatic pin couplings used in heavy combination road trains, including the various types of innovative quad road trains.

Due to the complexity of the project, Wayne Baker was appointed project manager as he has deep subject matter expertise and extensive industry experience. A working group consisting of ARTSA-I, TIC, ATA and HVIA has been formed to provide advice on the project.

The project is expected to be completed by June 2023.

In other news, ARTSA commented on the Q4 2021 heavy-duty vehicle market data.