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Mills of the European administration grind slowly

Overloaded trucks damage highways, bridges, and tunnels. More critical, they can cause also more severe accidences.

(Source: Adobe Stock)

This article originally appeared in the June issue of the CAN Newsletter magazine 2019. This is just an excerpt.

Every day, thousands of heavy-duty vehicles transport cargos on European roads. An overloaded vehicle not only causes damage to the infrastructure and to the vehicle, but it also puts the driver and other road users at risk. Vehicles react differently when the maximum weights, which they are designed to carry, are exceeded and the consequences can be fatal. Overloading puts massive strain on vehicle tires and makes the vehicle less stable, difficult to steer, and take longer to stop. This is why the owners and drivers are fined, when their vehicles are overloaded. In Germany, driver and owner are fined, when the gross vehicle load is exceeded by more than two percent. The German fines for 7,5-t trucks starts from 30 euros (more than 2 percent overload) up to 380 euros (over 30 percent) for the driver and additionally 35 euros respectively 425 euros for the vehicle owner.

The chance to be caught is not that high, because there are only a few calibrated measuring stations in Germany. Enforcers need to use their eyes to pre-select a vehicle and to bring it to one of the calibrated scales. Already in the mid 90ties, the European Parliament released the Directive 96/53/EC, which regulates the on-board weighing equipment. This directive should enable enforcers to get the weight, when the vehicle is in motion. The truck should send wirelessly its weight to the enforcer’s hand-held tool. Of course, this communication needs to be secured. Another considered solution was road-embedded sensors, but this was discarded. The main reason was that it could not be installed easily in existing roads and the costs are on the burden of the road owners. Unfortunately, the mentioned directive is not mandatory for all European countries.

Implementation example (Stage 1) with the motor vehicle unit (MVU) securely connected to the DSRC sender and to the trailer unit (TU) via the gateway unit (GU) using the unsecured ISO 11992-2 CAN-based network (Source: CiA)

The member states have the opportunity not to adapt the directive. This means trucks registered in countries not adopting the directive do not need to implement the on-board weighing equipment. The directive itself does not include any detailed implementation requirements. Therefore an implementation act was developed in the last couple of years – more than ten years later after the Directive 96/53/EC has passed the European Parliament. As usual, the mills of the European administration grind slowly. The stakeholders, especially the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the suppliers of load measuring devices, supported the development of the implementation act. They considered several technical solutions to measure on-board the weight of the vehicle. One option discussed was the CANopen-based load measurement systems compliant with the CiA 459 profile series for onboard weighing systems.

The CiA 459 on-board weighing system specification introduces three classes. Class-1 implementations are capable of monitoring the loaded vehicle weight and monitor optionally the loaded axle weight. Class-2 systems are able of performing non-LFT (legal for trade) transaction weighing. Class-3 supports certified LFT weighing. These on-board weighing solutions have been implemented especially in special-purpose vehicles. Some of them are used to charge customers on the transported weight. One of the implementers is the CiA member VPG situated in England.

If you want to continue reading this article, you can download the PDF of Mr. Holger Zeltwanger from CAN in Automation. Or you download the full magazine. This is free-of-charge.


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CAN in Automation