Based in Aberlour in the north east of Scotland, McPherson Ltd is a third-generation family-owned haulage company running over 200 trucks and 700 trailers across the UK, with a particular specialism in the transport of whisky and other spirits.
With over 13 depots, including a large warehousing complex in Perth, it’s a significant number of vehicles and drivers to monitor, so with safety at the forefront of their minds the company opted to install Fontaine Europe’s unique LED Sensor Fifth Wheel in an attempt to eliminate incidents of miscoupling.
“We’re no different from any other company in that drivers do make mistakes and we do have the risk of trailers running away” says Ian Jamieson, Fleet Engineering Director. “Keeping on top of this is an important health and safety issue.” To reduce mishaps during trailer changes the company installed 10 new Fontaine LED Sensor Fifth Wheels, a move which they are now looking to repeat across more of the fleet. “We began fitting the system 3 months ago” Jamieson tells us, “and so far, there have been no accidents.”
Fontaine Europe’s premier offering uses no less than three sensors on the jaws, handle and safety clip to ensure no part of the coupling procedure has been neglected, before showing a green LED light on the fifth wheel itself to inform the driver – and security staff in any gatehouse the vehicle passes – he is safe to hit the road. An additional in-cab display not only confirms the exterior “green light”, but will give an audible and visual warning should the coupling be incomplete, acting as an additional failsafe.
One feature Jamieson finds particularly impressive is the built-in facility to take an additional feed from the circuit board mounted on the fifth wheel itself, enabling McPherson to link the sensors and LED indicator light with their existing on-board CCTV systems. “As well as working with the cameras themselves, which we have pointed at the indicator lights on the fifth wheel, we have also been able to set the sensors to additionally trigger a red light on the monitor in the cab” he explains. “This means not only does the driver know when he’s made an error, he knows we’re recording what he’s doing about it too.”
“The Fontaine LED Sensor Fifth Wheel is definitely well worth having. It’s saving us a lot of time and effort, simply because there are no mistakes” Jamieson concludes. “It couldn’t be any safer.”