Business Excellence Member Company Profile: Business Lines – Freight Industry Wheel Nut Security Measures
Business Excellence Member Business Lines addresses the problem of wheel detachment from vehicles, particularly heavy commercial vehicles, with a number of wheel nut security solutions including Checklock SQ
Business Lines Ltd is a global market leader in wheel nut safety solutions, originator and inventor of the world’s first wheel nut indicator, the Checkpoint©.
The Business Lines range of commercial vehicle wheel nut safety products are recognised throughout leading international transport authorities as being the foremost solutions to improving total wheel safety. The cost effective, simple and easy to fit products are used extensively throughout the UK and the world market is experiencing vast growth. It is estimated that around one third of all commercial vehicles in the UK use Checkpoint Safety products. Checkpoint Safety products are aimed primarily at the commercial vehicle sector and are used extensively by fleet operators. Other markets that use the products include Military, Industrial, Rail, Mining and Agricultural.
Wheel detachment from vehicles, particularly heavy commercial vehicles, has been a cause for concern for many years, because when a wheel becomes detached from an HGV it may simply come to rest, or in certain circumstances, it can cause a huge amount of damage to other road users. In some cases this has resulted in fatalities and according to research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory, the typical annual frequency of fatalities resulting from wheel loss incidents is between three and seven cases.
There is no doubt that good maintenance practices are a major contributing factor to preventing wheel loss. Inspection of wheels and associated components should be included in the routine maintenance of commercial vehicles and consideration should also be given to implementing a formal policy of checking wheel security on a more frequent basis, such as a weekly check using a torque wrench.
Wheel detachment takes place when wheel nuts work loose and lose their clamp load. Regular re-tightening can prevent the wheel nut from loosening, but this takes time and is not always possible. Up to now, loosening wheel nuts have been a recurring problem for transport companies, but, with few solutions available to reduce the likelihood or prevent it from happening, operators and drivers have accepted the phenomenon as an unavoidable part of their business that must be addressed.
The Checklock SQ is one of a number of wheel nut security solutions from Business Lines that effectively addresses this problem. The product, released in Autumn 2011, is a stainless steel wheel nut retention device that links two adjacent wheel nuts to help prevent them from loosening, thus improving the safety of the vehicle by reducing the likelihood of wheel detachment. The product can be easily fitted to vehicles by pressing down the two arms and pushing the device onto the wheel nuts. When the arms are released, the coils tighten onto the wheel nuts and grip them firmly. No fitting tool is required, which dramatically reduces the fitting, removal and overall maintenance times.
Initial market uptake of the Checklock SQ saw moderate demand in the UK and the Low Countries shortly after release. However, since the start of 2012, Business Lines has reported that demand has significantly increased as awareness of the product benefits grow, as well as exposure to the market – with sales levels quadrupling on a trailing three-month basis from November 2011 to the end of April 2012. Business Lines adds that the product is gaining momentum in other areas of the globe and is available for distribution to North and South America, Australasia, South Africa and Europe.
Business Lines advocates that during routine daily and interim service checks, vehicles should also be inspected for signs of wheel looseness, e.g. elongated wheel stud holes, bright metal or rust marks around the wheel nuts or washers. If a wheel nut is identified as being loose at either inspection or as part of the driver’s checks, the wheel must be removed to determine causation.
Everyone involved in vehicle maintenance should have their duties and responsibilities clearly defined. Emphasis should be placed on the importance of maintaining roadworthiness and the role they play in ensuring compliance, as well as a firm understanding of the causes of wheel loss. Utilising the Checklock SQ system will help to do just that.
The company has recently released details of a new wheel safety product which is currently in pre-production and is due to be released later this year. The Checkthread is a small tool kit that is designed to help operators check the integrity and on-going quality of wheel studs, stud holes and stud entrance surfaces, for damage that may have been caused by – or may cause – loose wheel nuts. Further information on the product will be released soon.
For further information visit: www.businesslinesltd.com