What is “Heavy Cargo Transport” or “Overweight Cargo” aka “OWC”?

What is “Heavy Cargo Transport” or “Overweight Cargo” aka “OWC”?

Here we discuss the definition of Overweight Cargo or OWC and vehicles available for transportation of such unique requirements. 

What is the definition of OWC or Heavy Cargo?

A standard vehicle with highest GVW is an articulated Trailer. A trailer having a double axle in the prime mover and triple axle in the trailer has a GVW of 49 tons. Trailer’s tare weight equals 15 tons approx which allows a maximum payload of 34 tons. Any load weighing over 34 tons cannot be transported on standard vehicles and is know as Heavy Cargo or OWC or Overweight Cargo.

How can OWC be transported?

Heavy Cargo transportation is done on a special equipment known as Hydraulic Modular Trailer or as is commonly known, a Hydraulic Axle Trailer. Hydraulic Axle Trailer is used for any loads heavier than 34 tons. Hydraulic Axle have 8 tyres in a single row, having a GVW of 18 tons and tare weight of approx 4 tons per axle/row. This allows a payload of 14 tons per axle. 

 

Caterpillar Dozer being transported from Mumbai Port to Angul weighing 72 Tons. MAN 400 Puller + 6 Rows Hydraulic Axle.

Caterpillar Dozer being transported from Mumbai Port to Angul weighing 72 Tons. MAN 400 Puller + 6 Rows Hydraulic Axle – Nimbus Logistics.

 

What’s unique about Hydraulic axles is its modularity. These routes can be combined to create a Hydraulic Modular Trailer having 4 rows to any number of rows demanded by the application. This theoretically allows for carrying loads weighing in 1000s of tons, as long as it’s coupled with powerful enough combination of pullers to tow the load. These axles can be combined longitudinally well as laterally.

Multiple Hydraulic Trailer Modules combined lengthways and sideways to form 24 rows x 16 wheels in a row Trailer.

Multiple Hydraulic Trailer Modules combined lengthways and sideways to form 24 rows x 16 wheels in a row, Trailer.

Unique cargo requirements like a very heavy cargo with a very small footprint or a very large footprint with relatively lighter weight or overweight cargo with extreme heights are taken care of by many available options of custom attachments. These attachments and technicalities of heavy equipment transportation requires a separate article of its own and will be discussed in much detail later.

Nimbus Logistics is an ODC and Heavy transport specialist with more than 4 decades of experience transporting Super Heavy and Super ODC cargo. We believe in ethical logistics and transparency. These articles are one of our initiatives to bring more transparency to the much chaotic Indian Transportation Industry. Please support us by sharing our articles and like our facebook page to be the first one to read all our future articles. 

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What are the various costs associated with ODC?

What are the various costs associated with ODC?

In the last article, we talked in brief about what ODC means. In this article, we want to give an overview of the various costs and difficulties related to transportation of ODC and OWC.

  1. Permission: Every Over dimensional cargo requires a permission from the state authorities before plying on the road. The permission takes 3-4 days to obtain. In the case of Hydraulic Axles, the permissions for GVW of up to 169 MT can be obtained instantly using the website of MORTH . This permission is valid for plying over national highways only. The costs for the permission for transporting via Hydraulic Axles is Rs. 1000 per 50 km up to HT3 and Rs. 2000 per 50 km for all configurations above HT3.
  2. Fine: If a vehicle is caught carrying ODC without permission, a fine is imposed. The fine depends on the state policy. Typically fines are defined for over dimension in each dimension individually ie if the cargo is over dimension in width and height, 2 fines will be imposed. In case of Hydraulic Axles, 
  3. Detours: In case there are Obstructions like overhead bridges, electric lines, railway crossings etc, the transportation may have to be done via a longer route.
  4. En-Route Obstructions: Various Obstructions faced by an over dimensional cargo are
    • Railway Crossings: In the case of electric railway lines, the height of electric lines is about 15 feet in height. This is different for all crossings depending on slack in cable, height of the road etc. If the height of the cargo from the road is greater than the height of the cables, a shutdown is required to be taken. The fee of the same depends on the height of the cargo. If the cargo can be passed by just lifting the cables, then the fee is lower compared to if the cables need to be dismantled. The fee is in the range of 1 lakhs for cargo height of up to 16 feet and about 1.8 if the height is greater.
    • Overhead Bridges: Overhead bridges include flyovers, foot over bridges, railway bridges etc. It is important to study the route to locate the overhead bridges en route. Detour is the only option if the height of a bridge is lower than cargo height.

      Nimbus Logistics transporting a 100 tons 6.3m diameter package. We carry route surveys before transportation and have professional supervisors to ensure safe transportation. Here you can see our supervisor assisting in clearing a Pipeline bridge. MAN Puller + Hydraulic Axles

      Nimbus Logistics transporting a 100 tons 6.3m diameter package. We carry route surveys before transportation and have professional supervisors to ensure safe transportation. Here you can see our supervisor assisting in clearing a Pipeline bridge. (Vehicle: MAN 430 + 10 Rows Hydraulic Axles)

    • Electric Lines: Electric lines are shut after paying electric board the charges for outage depending on the duration of the shutdown. After shutdown, depending on the slack and weight of the cable and height of the cargo, the cables can be lifted or can be dismantled.
    • Information and Advertising Boards: These need to be dismantled for the passage of ODC. Many times rigid structures are constructed at the entrance of cities leaving diversion as an only option.
    • Toll Gates: Many toll gates have the last lanes for passage of ODC. In some cases, the toll gates for the oncoming traffic is located at a distance. In these cases, the vehicle can be passed by taking the wrong way for bypassing the toll. If none of the above solutions are possible, constructing diversion and detours are only possible solutions.
      At 5.9m height, the above photo shows a Super Over Dimension Cargo being transported by Nimbus Logistics (Neelu Roadways is our sister concern). The photo shows clearing a toll gateway structure which required extending the road on the last lane by constructing a temporary extension using sand bags and bricks. The cargo was cleared with a few millimeters to spare. Volvo Puller with Hydraulic axles

      At 5.9m height, the above photo shows a Super Over-Dimension Cargo being transported by Nimbus Logistics (Neelu Roadways is our sister concern). The photo shows clearing a toll gateway structure which required extending the road on the last lane by constructing a temporary extension using sandbags and bricks. The cargo was cleared with a few millimeters to spare. (Vehicle: Volvo 400 + 10 Rows Hydraulic Axles)

       

  5. Construction of bridges, causeways, and roads: Many river bridges are designed to support weights of up to 200 tons. Carrying heavier cargo requires the construction of causeways and bridges. The below photo shows a bridge constructed over a river using sandbags for crossing a 350 tons package. Similarly, roads need to be constructed in areas having poor road conditions.
  6. We at Nimbus Logistics have immense experience handling all the imaginable issues faced while transporting an over-dimension cargo and over-weight cargo. This experience is what enables us to provide a thoroughly calculated rate and avoid any en-route surprises, hence minimising our’s and our client’s risks.

 

Nimbus Logistics is an ODC and Heavy transport specialist with more than 4 decades of experience transporting Super Heavy and Super ODC cargo. We believe in ethical logistics and transparency. These articles are one of our initiatives to bring more transparency to the much chaotic Indian Transportation Industry. Please support us by sharing our articles and like our facebook page to be the first one to read all our future articles. 

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Camera Monitoring for Commercial Vehicles

Camera Monitoring for Commercial Vehicles

Today we will look at how installing a camera system to one’s fleet can have huge benefits when it comes to knowing what actually happened in case of an accident, or help in preventing thefts of vehicle parts.

Although not seen much in the Indian market, dash cams have been installed on many cars in certain countries. Dash cams are always-on cameras installed on the dashboard of cars that record what the driver sees. When it comes to commercial vehicles, usually two to four cameras are installed around the vehicle. Here are some of the problems that a camera system can help mitigate, including some unique to India :

 

Two Cams on Windshield and Side Mirror of Trailer

Two Cams on Windshield and Side Mirror of Trailer

Accidents : In case of an accident especially when there is damage to the cargo, the fleet owner has no other way of knowing what actually happened other than the driver’s account. And the driver’s biased opinion can be of little help at preventing such a situation from occurring again. The benefits of having cameras that record each and every second of the vehicle movement are obvious here. One can know for sure if it was the driver’s or the vehicles fault, in which case the truck or trailer may need maintenance.

 

Tyre Theft : Tyres of heavy commercial vehicles such as trailers, axles, etc can be very expensive in the range of Rs 15000 to 20000 each. And there is very little one can do to prevent tyre theft. Cameras can act as a strong deterrent since most thefts happen with the involvement of the driver. And if the driver is aware of the camera system, it will probably not be worth losing a regular job.

Other equipment Theft : Often times many fleet owners have the opportunity of renting out their trucks, trailers or hydraulic axles to other transporters. The risk here is that the vehicle may not be handled with care. Also, certain parts such as tie rods in hydraulic axle can easily be replaced with old or damaged ones. It is impossible to keep track of each and every part. But with cameras that are recording everything around the vehicle, renting out the vehicle should be much safer.

Bribery : It is not rare for drivers to claim that they are being stopped by the octroi officer or the traffic police demanding to pay up fines for one or the other reason. The fleet owner has no way of ascertaining if the driver is really being stopped, and have no option but to pay up the “demanded bribe”. A dash cam can certainly help here. Of course, the driver can arrange for someone to play out an act, but it would be that much harder to pull off if the cabin also has a camera / mic arrangement.

Bulk load theft : When loading items of bulk such as scrap metal, one of the concerns is that some of the material gets stolen along the way. Since it is not always possible to check the weight of the bulk at the time of loading and unloading, often times there is little that can be done to prevent such theft. However, any attempt to unload or take unapproved detours will be recorded by the camera.

Driver Detours : When vehicles are hired on time basis, a practice of taking detours by some drivers has been observed. They sometimes arrange for the transport of some goods by themselves, keeping their employer out of the loop and all the profit to themselves, before returning on site. Such practices can easily be avoided with the use of cameras.

Problems : Camera systems for trucks / trailers have to be weather proof. They also have to be secure, or else the first thing that might be stolen will be the cameras. Such requirements adds to the cost which is why most systems are expensive. Cameras themselves aren’t that expensive. If commercial vehicle manufacturers were to have an option that includes inbuilt cameras, most of these problems could easily be solved.

These systems are not popular in India yet. However it is a one time investment that has many benefits. These can be expensive too, but i’m sure some indigenous entrepreneur can seize the opportunity and come up with a reliable cost efficient camera system.

 

Nimbus Logistics is an ODC and Heavy transport specialist with more than 4 decades of experience transporting Super Heavy and Super ODC cargo. We believe in ethical logistics and transparency. These articles are one of our initiatives to bring more transparency to the much chaotic Indian Transportation Industry. Please support us by sharing our articles and like our facebook page to be the first one to read all our future articles. 

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All you need to know about Steerable Axles for Trailers

All you need to know about Steerable Axles for Trailers

In this post, we will look at a relatively old concept in automobiles but the one that is yet to see the daylight in Indian heavy transport segment. We will talk about rigid axles vs steerable axles.

The first question that comes to mind is

What is the need for steerable axles?

Well, when talking about the front axle the answer is quite obvious. But what about the rear axles. Do they need steering as well?

Schematic Showing the geometry of a vehicle taking a turn

Schematic showing the geometry of a vehicle taking a left turn.

Looking at the image on the right we can see that a vehicle takes a turn about an axis of rotation and for all the tires to roll without sliding sideways it is necessary for them to be exactly perpendicular to the line joining the axis of rotation and the center of the tyre. This is the basic reason why the inner wheel of the front axle turns at a higher angle than the outer wheel.

Now consider a multi-axle vehicle. If the rear axles are not steered the lines drawn from the rear wheels will not meet the steering axis. This means that wheels on these axles will not only roll but also slide sideways. This has many adverse effects:

  1. First and foremost this will lead to excessive tyre wear considering the immense load per wheel and theTire Mileage with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer

    Tire Mileage with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer

    sideways slippage. The above image shows an estimate of tyre mileage with and without steering in one of the axles (third axle) in a three axle trailer[1]. This of course also causes additional wear of the pavement surface.

  2. The vehicle swept path i.e the area that a vehicle requires while making a turn is substantially increased with rigid axles. This can clearly be seen in the below image[2].
    Swept Path with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer

    Swept Path with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer. SPW = Swept Path Width and TS = Tail Swing (i.e. by how much the tail swings out of the path of the tractor).

     

  3. The sliding of wheels adds to the resistance to motion. This increases the engine effort to pull the same load at the same speed which in turn increases the fuel consumption. The image shows that the fuel saved with steering systems could be about a liter per 100 km for a distribution haulage vehicle. This means that the system would eventually pay off itself with the costs saved in tyre wear and fuel.

    Fuel Savings with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer

    Fuel Savings with and without Steerable Axles for Trailer

  4. The slipping and sliding of wheels will also exert excess lateral forces on chassis which can limit the weight carrying capacity of it as the maximum load that it can carry without these unnecessary forces will surely be higher.

What are the various mechanisms for steering axles?

There are many types of mechanisms developed for steering axles of articulated trailers. Some of them are highlighted below :

  1. Self Steering type: This is a popular mechanism used in most of the applications. There is no control over the steer angle but the wheels steer themselves by the forces developed while steering. There are two types of self-steering mechanisms :
    • Caster AngleFree Castering Type: Caster is the angle that the axis of rotation of wheel makes with the vertical when seen in side view. The wheels of office chair aligning automatically with the direction of motion of chair is a simple application of caster angle. In free castering type, the wheels are given a caster angle that causes the wheels to steer freely when the vehicle takes a turn. The centering force is not good enough in this type of mechanism hence the high-speed performance and also stability while braking deteriorates with this type of steering. Also, when taking reverse the wheels need to be locked to prevent damage to the axles as wheels tend to take a 180o turn.
    • Automotive type: This type of mechanism is similar to the free castering type except for the fact that it has a mechanism that helps to increase centring force. This increases stability in high speed as well as while braking.

      Self Centering mechanism for Steerable Axles in Trailers

      In the above image the mechanism that helps to increase the centring force is shown. These axles also need to be lifted or locked when reversing.

  2. Linked Articulation Type: A force-steering axle type that uses a steering linkage mechanism that alters the steer angle of an axle group as a function of fifth wheel articulation angle between the vehicle unit, the axles are attached to, and the hauling unit. This type of axles are costly and complex compared to the automotive type but have smaller swept path, lower high speed off tracking and higher stability.
  3. Command Steering: These type of axles are steered by command i.e. by creating a force to steer the axles similar to the front axle of the hauling vehicle. They are of two types
    • Hydraulically Steered: In this type, a couple of hydraulic single acting cylinders are attached at the fifth wheel of the vehicle which reciprocates with the relative motion between the hauling unit and trailer. This motion is transferred to hydraulic cylinders fitted to the axles in the trailer. This type of mechanism also provides lower high speed off tracking and higher stability.
    • Electronically Steered (active steering): This type has an electronic sensor at the fifth wheel that measures the relative motion between the tractor and the trailer. This information is passed to a controller which computes the optimum steer angle of trailer axles also taking into consideration additional factors like speed of vehicle. This controller then drives hydraulic cylinders fitted to the trailer axles. This also comes with a remote to steer manually which comes in handy while taking reverse as the automatic steering is not of much use while reversing. From all the types this is the most versatile one having covered most of the disadvantages of rigid axles. This theoretically provides the best performance at low and high speeds. Watch the below video to see how it works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMQie9Jdi5I

What are the applications that its suited for?

  1. Distribution haulage is one application where this can prove to be of great use. In India, the in-roads are usually too narrow for trailers, but with steerable axles, maneuverability is not a big issue. So trailers with steerable axles can be used for distribution purposes in cities instead of fixed container trucks which means more goods transferred per trip i.e. less cost of fuel per unit transported. In times when our government has introduced FDI in retail, this could actually prove to be very useful. Also in these applications, the vehicle has to take a lot of slow speed corners where steerable axles could help to reduce tyre costs.
  2. Greater maneuverability is one advantage that could come in handy transporting long cargos in hilly areas. The rigid axle trailers face a genetic disadvantage in these conditions as shown by the below image. Difficulties with Non Steerable Axles TrailerTransporting something like wind mill turbine blades through hilly regions of India using trailers with steerable axles would become much easier as the swept path is greatly reduced.
  3. There are also some disadvantages associated with the new technology. First the increased complexity would increase the maintenance cost and require more skilled mechanics (but in contrast require less skilled drivers). Also, in most steering types high-speed stability is compromised. Further, to bring this new technology would require a new Gazette and many regulations amendments in CMVR which is a very slow and tedious procedure in India. Amendments in CMVR for Hydraulic Modular Trailer’s which were introduced about 2 decades ago have only been made recently. 
  4. Steerable axles could help increase the number of axles in a trailer without increasing the tyre scrub. This could increase the GCW of the vehicle and help decrease the overloading menace. Also, this could help fit heavier axles at a greater distance without affecting the low-speed performance.
  5. Nimbus Logistics has in-house mechanical engineers and industry experts, which helps us be in sync with the latest technology and developments happening around the world. This helps us provide innovative and cost-efficient solutions to our clients.

 

Nimbus Logistics is an ODC and Heavy transport specialist with more than 4 decades of experience transporting Super Heavy and Super ODC cargo. We believe in ethical logistics and transparency. These articles are one of our initiatives to bring more transparency to the much chaotic Indian Transportation Industry. Please support us by sharing our articles and like our facebook page to be the first one to read all our future articles. 

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What is “Over Dimensional Cargo” or “ODC”?

What is “Over Dimensional Cargo” or “ODC”?

Before we understand the technical definition to qualify a cargo as ODC, we need to understand that the need for defining ODC is to ensure the safety of the road users. By qualifying a cargo as ODC and imposing regulations over carriage of ODC, government’s aim is to avoid any unsafe practices and accidents. Whether the government has made the correct decisions and imposed correct regulations remains a topic for another day.

  • In simplest terms, ODC or Over Dimensional Cargo is a cargo that protrudes outside the loading deck of the vehicle transporting the cargo. If a truck with loading platform length of 20 feet is loaded with cargo like TMT bars of length 22 feet, then the TMT bars qualifies as Over-Dimension Cargo. If the same TMT bars were loaded on a vehicle with platform length of 22+ feet, it would have been classified as Normal Cargo rather than ODC. This definition of ODC is to resist industry from transporting Normal Cargo unnecessarily as ODC for small economic benefits compromising road user’s safety. As discussed in our other article, “What are the costs associated with ODC?”, the government imposes fine on the carriage of ODC, hence incentivizing the industry to refrain from taking unnecessary risks and using larger vehicles to transport these loads.

Open Truck carrying ODC - Nimbus Logistics

The above cargo qualifies as ODC as it protruding from the rear of the Open Truck. If the same cargo was transported on a trailer having a deck size of 40′ Trailer, it would have qualified as Normal Cargo.

 

  • This definition is valid for length and width but what about the height? A cargo being higher than the body of the vehicle doesn’t make it dangerous. Hence for height we need to define the limits for defining ODC. In CMVR (Section 93, Sub Section 2, Page No 68), Indian government defines the height limit for all mechanical trucks and trailers at 3.8 meters (12.46 feet) from the surface. This means that if you load a cargo of height 8 feet on a vehicle having a platform height of 5 feet, the cargo will qualify as ODC.

 

  • In case of length and width too, the government has provided upper limits which are 12 meters length for Rigid Trucks, 16 meters length for articulated vehicles (also called Trailers) and 2.6 meters width for all vehicles (Refer CMVR Section 93, Page No 68). The length limits are for the overall vehicle, hence the loading deck will be of lesser length. Considering this upper bound, if your cargo is wider than 2.6 meters, it is qualified as ODC even if the loading deck exceeds the cargo width.

 

  • The three cases defined above cover all the aspects of ODC definition.
MAN prime mover attached to a low bed trailer of height 3 feet. Load dimensions of 14m x 4.9m x 4.9m - 26 Tons.

MAN prime mover attached to a low bed trailer of height 3 feet. Load dimensions of 14m x 4.9m x 4.9m – 26 Tons. Neelu Roadways is a sister concern of Nimbus Logistics.

The above is an example of an over dimensional cargo in all three dimensions ie length, width and height. Even if the loading deck was larger to match the length and width of the cargo, the cargo still would have classified as ODC being over the upper bounds defined in CMVR.

 

  • There are two more definitions used in Project logistics related to ODC. These definitions though not defined by government, are regularly used in the industry to classify over dimensional cargo.
    • Critical Over Dimension Cargo: Length less than 40m x Width less than 6m x Height less than 5m – Weight less than 90 tons
      The above photo shows a critical over dimension cargo admeasuring 4.8m height being transported by Nimbus Logistics (Neelu Roadways is our sister concern) in 1989. In 90s, there were a lot of low hanging electric wires which had to be lifted and lack of proper roads meant we had to built many temporary roads to reach the destination.

      The above photo shows a critical over dimension cargo ad-measuring 4.8 meter in height being transported by Nimbus Logistics (Neelu Roadways is our sister concern) in 1989. In 90’s, there were a lot of low hanging electric wires which had to be lifted and lack of proper roads meant we had to built many temporary roads to reach the destination.

       

       

    • Super Over Dimension Cargo: Length less than 40m x Width less than 6m x Height less than 6m – Weight above 90 tons
      The above photo shows a 102 tons package of height 6.3m being transported over 10 row axles and a MAN puller. The above job was transported for one of our prestigious clients “Phils Heavy Engineering”. This photo is one of the testaments of our capability at transporting super over dimension cargo.

      The above photo shows a 102 tons package of height 6.3 meters being transported over 10 rows Hydraulic Axles and a MAN puller by Nimbus Logistics. The above job was transported for one of our prestigious clients “Phils Heavy Engineering”. This photo is one of the testaments of our capability at transporting super over dimension cargo.

       

  • Since the industry has seen many newcomers with little to no experience in the industry, there has been high rise in the accidents occurring en-route. The most common reason is the lack of basic safety precautions, poor knowledge of en-route obstacles and lack of workforce training. Nimbus Logistics has an extensive experience of over 4 decades in the ODC industry. In all these years we have developed an extensive database of en-route obstacles. Our workforce has a minimum experience of 15 years in transporting ODC. These strengths has helped us conquer all the areas of Project logistics, from ODC to Critical ODC to Super ODC with 100% error free record.

 

  • To know more about us, download our Company Intro and Profile. To learn more about Project Logistics, read our next article: What is “Overweight Cargo” aka “OWC”?

 

Nimbus Logistics is an ODC and Heavy transport specialist with more than 4 decades of experience transporting Super Heavy and Super ODC cargo. We believe in ethical logistics and transparency. These articles are one of our initiatives to bring more transparency to the much chaotic Indian Transportation Industry. Please support us by sharing our articles and like our facebook page to be the first one to read all our future articles. 

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