Across the country, innovations are drastically improving the ability for trucks to tow trailers and are providing stability, safety, and fuel efficiency benefits.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are over 50,000 accidents related to towing every year. Thanks to some technological advancements and innovative new approaches, towing trailers is safer and more efficient than ever before.
According to FreightWaves, smart trailer technology is here to stay — and the future is very bright.
As the commercial sector becomes more modernized, digitized, and automated, the need for efficiency throughout every step of the freight supply process is more important than ever. Throughout 2018, the total number of trucking loads is up 5.4% from last year.
“The [freight] economy is in one of the longest-running expansions in current history,” said Zach Strickland, FreightWaves’ market analyst. “Everyone is waiting for the cycle to end. We’ve had this extended growth period, which has caught people off guard. Capacity isn’t really increasing enough to manage this growth.”
That’s where smart trailer tech comes in.
Spireon recently unveiled their IntelliScan technology, which leverages a proprietary combination of optical imaging and laser time of flight technologies to deliver high accuracies for loaded and unloaded cargo sensing, as well as soft cargo and extreme environment cargo sensing. Additionally, the tech embeds a camera into the device to capture entire 53-feet trailers, regardless of various environmental conditions.
As far as safety is concerned, there are two forms of trailer sway prevention: one device that reduces trailer sway once it has begun and another that works to prevent sway altogether. Weight distribution systems are also recommended for trailers weighing more than 50% of the towing vehicle’s weight.
According to Trailer-Body Builders, the new AL-KO Trailer Control (ATC) system is designed to significantly cutdown trailer sway during evasive maneuvers, while crossing bridges, and during strong winds. The system can control virtually every behavior of the trailer, equipped with sensors that can detect even the slightest lateral movement and lateral accelerations. Torque sensor units are even designed to operate in a wide range of temperature: ranging from negative 452 degrees Fahrenheit to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The AL-KO Trailer Control system also includes a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which can sense various tire issues and display them on a smartphone. Having the right tire pressure — at all times — for a trailer offers plenty of decisive advantages:
- Shorter braking distance.
- Less tire wear and tear.
- Better driving and cornering abilities.
- Less fuel consumption.
Lastly, according to Manufacturing.net, trailer landing gear is now utilizing the TS-5000 Trailer Stabilizer (by Rite-Hite) in order to improve safety while driving and unloading.
“The Trailer Stabilizer has been designed to help prevent accidents that can happen when loading or unloading spotted trailers at the loading dock,” added Andy Olson, marketing manager of Rite-Hite. “Heavy loads in front of the landing gear, uneven loads, and faulty landing gear can all cause the trailer nose to drop or roll.”
Trucks equipped with the Trailer Stabilizer will be able to have a static load capacity of 140,000 pounds, more than three times more than the combined maximum weight allowed for a conventional load.
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