Equipment specialist, JOST Australia, received the Safety Innovation Award at the 2020 Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) National Awards.
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, spoke at the event, held November 2020. He acknowledged and celebrated the industry’s hard-working members who continue to excel in providing innovative solutions to improve safety and productivity in the road transport sector.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on Australia’s freight and logistics sector,” he said in his opening address. “Our national economy relies on keeping freight moving. A lot of work goes into making sure that happens and during the pandemic, the industry rose to the challenge. I congratulate the entire heavy vehicle industry – transport operators, manufacturers, repairers and drivers on a job well done. Through your joint efforts you have ensured that our trucks and trailers have stayed on the road and freight kept moving.”
Buchholz had the pleasure of announcing JOST Australia as the winner of the Safety Innovation Award.
The equipment specialist won the award for developing the JSK42-ASW fifth wheel, a low maintenance fifth wheel with air release and sensor technology which reduces the possibility of a trailer dropping by accident.
“Our JSK42-ASW fifth wheel features pneumatic automation which helps to reduce the risk of strain injury,” said JOST Australia Managing Director, James Mackie. “Meanwhile, the sensor system works to ensure correct coupling by sensing the position of the skid plate, the kingpin and lock lever – all must be in the correct position before the ‘ok’ signal is sent to the coupling status indicator as shown in the prime mover cab. This significantly helps reduce the risk of dropped trailers.”The initial idea for the JSK42-ASW, according to James, came from a discussion with a prominent Australian transport company.
“The challenge was given to combine the occupational health & safety benefits of pneumatic operation and the safety benefits of a sensor system into one product,” James says. “JOST Australia engineers worked closely with the design office based at the company’s German headquarters to ensure that the integrity and function of the base fifth wheel were not compromised by any of the modifications. Initial prototypes were developed in Melbourne, in collaboration with two major truck manufacturers and these prototypes were then tested with help from the transport company who set the initial challenge.
“The prototype tests provided valuable feedback from drivers, who helped to identify improvements in the installation of the fifth wheel and the instructions required to ensure it is used correctly.
“Following a successful prototyping phase, a field trial of 10 units began. This trial engaged driver trainers, drivers, fleet managers, workshop managers and mechanics to ensure that all stakeholders were consulted regarding the use and maintenance of the new technology. “Communication and feedback continues to flow from people involved with the field trial fleet, which has now been in successful operation for 12 months.”
In addition to the operational safety benefits of the JSK42-ASW fifth wheel, it is also designed for low maintenance. The fifth wheel has greaseless top plate liners with Lubetronic grease canister for the lock jaw which allows for service intervals of about 50,000+ kilometres (in line with the prime mover).
“Innovating in new technologies, to make our heavy transport industry safer is a big credit to JOST Australia,” said Buchholz. “I congratulate the entire team on their efforts in developing this technology which will reduce the risk of injury and increase accessibility for drivers.”
The JSK42-ASW fifth wheel uses the industry standard bolting pattern for mounting fifth wheels to a vehicle chassis and it can be fitted to any prime mover available in the Australian market. The pneumatic and electrical integration to the vehicle can be carried out by any qualified technician. JOST’s fifth wheel makes it suited to a broad range of freight transport tasks.