It’s been a long time coming, but are we ready for the new roller brake testing rules? The amended procedures and criteria around roller brake testing (RBT) of trucks is settled and the industry can move on. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator went through an exhaustive process to get the testing procedure right and consistent.
“In the transition from state vehicle standards to national (NHVR) standards, the Australian Trucking Association Industry Technical Council membership recognised performance issues with roller brake testing when the axle group was lightly laden,” says Bob Woodward, ATA Chief Engineer. “These same vehicles, in the main, had no difficulty complying with the performance measures when laden. This issue was further supported by the findings of the Hendrickson white paper where it was clearly identified that trailing arm type air suspensions were unloading during a RBT, especially when lightly laden.
“As a result, the ATA initiated development of a draft Technical Advisory Procedure (TAP) – Roller Brake Testing Procedure. As a result of the ATA’s insistence on getting it right, the NHVR agreed to joint industry/regulator testing at the RMS Marulan facility in August 2017, where roller brake test results were compared with actual dynamic braking performance. These validations led to the change in roller brake testing to the dynamic method by the NHVR. This was welcomed by the ATA is it endorsed the testing that had been completed by Nepean Transport Equipment and the ATA’s ITC membership.
“The NHVR’s national procedure for roller brake testing has received positive support from industry. While there has been need to tweak a couple of matters, operators are satisfied to the extent that in March the ATA decided to halt further development of the draft TAP, as the NHVR’s national procedure for roller brake testing now covers all the necessary requirements.”
What about the plate brake tester?
All the way through the long drawn out period where the way roller brake testing was to be handled was being brought into question, a lone voice was reminding us the humble plate brake tester was not compromised by the issues being discussed elsewhere in the brake testing world.
Plate testing is and has been consistent throughout. It will measure maximum brake force at each wheel, left to right imbalances as a percentage, brake drag, deceleration on each axle, brake pedal force, plus a number of other parameters needed to ensure braking efficiency.