EFFITRAILER™ pilot lights the way for Flogas

Posted by Stephen Kellie


A six-month trial project has commenced to pilot the Michelin solutions EFFITRAULER™ programme. Flogas Britain plan to pilot the programme for six months to see if it can help maximise trailer safety, compliance and boost efficiency through increased trailer fleet optimisation.

The programme has been retrofitted to 21 trailers across Flogas' trailer fleet, including several specialised flatbed trailers serving its gas bottle distribution operations. The 21 retrofitted trailers are part of a 500-strong fleet of commercial vehicle assets, which ranges from 3.5-tonne light commercial vehicles to 44-tonne articulated trucks. The tankers deliver to Flogas customer sites nationwide, while the flatbeds carry out deliveries, as well as doubling up as portable storage facilities for gas bottles in customers' yards.

It is estimated that 90% of the trailers in Europe do not use telematics. The EFFITRAILER™ telematics feature is great for trailers which do not use telematics. This is because the telematics programme has an on-board datalink, a tyre pressure monitoring system, electronic braking system data analysis and can also provide constant geolocation.

Stephen Moir, Fleet Manager at Flogas, says: “Maximising safety and compliance is our number-one priority, and that's why we're piloting EFFITRAILER™. Michelin solutions told us it will help to keep a closer eye on the condition of our trailers 24/7; checking tyre pressures, weight distribution and even if a delivery is on time – and we wanted to put it to the test.

“It should give us the ability to react fast to any tyre-related issues before they become a problem, boosting fleet uptime. Plus, should an issue crop up during a delivery, we can direct the driver to the nearest tyre dealer, or pass on precise location data to a mobile service van.”

Moir adds: “It's still early days, but so far we've been particularly impressed by the programme's geolocation capabilities, which remain active even when the trailer is disconnected. This means EFFITRAILER™ can keep tabs on our flatbeds, which can sometimes sit in a customer's yard for weeks at a time. What's more, before we arrive to collect the trailer, we can already have checked the tyre pressures remotely and know it's ready to roll. This could potentially be a huge time-saver.”

Flogas can access all of the real-time data that the EFFITRAILER™ programme generates. It is designed to improve fleet efficiency and provide an opportunity for in-depth forward planning. The reports detail each vehicle's mileage, the length of any periods of abnormal downtime or ‘wait-time', the ‘unhooked' or ‘towed' status of the asset, and whether the trailer is overloaded.

As one of the EFFITRAILER™ features, the on-board TPMS system provides constant analysis of tyre status. This helps to inform a proactive tyre maintenance and replacement programme – cutting fleet downtime, improving safety and reducing the potential for costly roadside breakdowns. This means Flogas is able to reduce the amount of tyre-related breakdowns by up to 50% when their trailers are fitted with the Michelin solutions programme. This is not limited to a number of manufacturers – the programme can be installed on all trailers which are equipped with EBS. It is available for any age or manufacturer trailer too, regardless of current or future tyre policy.

The benefits of the EFFITRAILER™ telematics package are not restricted to the features mentioned above – the programme also offers additional optional capabilities, including ‘asset ID', which identifies which EFFITRAILER™-equipped asset is linked to which tractor unit, for better monitoring of subcontracted business. The package can also display the temperature inside the trailer, while a door opening sensor provides confidence and security for operators, flagging any abnormal openings off the logged route or at unusual hours of the day.

Flogas is a major supplier of LPG, LNG and mains gas. Established more than 30 years ago, the company provides affordable and reliable energy solutions to domestic and business customers across the UK. Flogas fits Michelin new and Michelin Remix tyres under a separate contract with national service provider ATS Euromaster.

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