Data. It’s what we need. For day to day decision making through to planning long term projects and it’s becoming more and more important in terms of proving we are dealing with our duties of care within fleet operations.
Quite often we are approached by individuals or companies who are setting out to instigate a robust testing program for HGV, Bus or Coach testing. For them the answer is simple it’s about both the data and then evidencing of this data.
There are a number of ways that fleet brakes can be monitored as part of a maintenance regime. Investment in a roller brake tester is the ultimate in terms of measurement accuracy. Data can be acquired from individual wheels and axles and it can then be assessed against various criteria to understand if any individual component within a braking system is not performing as designed.
The main problem with this solution is one of simple cost. Roller brake testers cost many thousands of pounds and for small fleets this cost is simply unjustifiable. The solution is simple – and actually more than accurate enough to give confidence of the correct operation of the system under test. The solution is the hand held decelerometer braking meter.
Decelerometer’s are a fairly simple piece of equipment. They measure forces that act on the device as a vehicle is braked. By analysing this data it is possible for braking efficiency calculations to be made and, although the system does not generate as detailed test data as that which is produced by a roller brake tester, the overall system data can still be understood – including any imbalance in braking between near and off-side of the test vehicle.
Once the data is captured and assessed as acceptable the next important stage is to evidence this data which can be either handwritten, downloaded or printed form. Clearly printing is the favourite, as it does not allow for any “manipulation” of the test data [It is important to think of such things negatively in order to build a robust regime] or indeed cross contamination between PC and brake meter if the PC is remotely located.
The next issue is to source the correct type of decelerometer. What you are looking for here is a unit that has the same number of memory slots as the vehicle you intend to test i.e for HGV testing a 3 slot unit is ideally required [Service brake, secondary brake, parking brake] this enables you to do a single test run and print on each vehicle before attaching the result to the vehicle record.
The final paragraph comes with the best news of all because it refers to cost! Whereas the roller brake tester will have cost many thousands, a decelerometer with printer starts from just £525+VAT. That’s a fairly significant reduction in costs, and what has been lost by “downgrading” (or saving as GETECH prefer to call it).
You only get overall data rather than individual wheel data but in obtaining this data with hard copy evidence you will have achieved a robust brake testing strategy that both satisfies the DVSA and didn’t cost the earth!
See more on our commercial braking range HERE.