The annual ALBUM conference in Edinburgh this week will see the launch of a handy app that eliminates paperwork and simplifies the management of the wheel torque and re-torque process. Developed by Freeway Fleet Systems (ALBUM Stand 43) the fully-digital solution, which is accessible on a smartphone, provides a simple way to manage the re-torque process following any wheel disturbance.
Following correct wheel nut re-torque procedures is an important part of any vehicle safety management system but managing and reporting re-torque events remains a cumbersome manual process. Wheel security is a vital part of the maintenance of passenger carrying vehicles and the loss of a wheel on the road can have serious implications for vehicle operators. Operators are of course concerned about the obvious dangers this could pose to drivers, other road users and pedestrians and a wheel loss incident will undoubtedly trigger a DVSA investigation which could result in the loss of an operator licence.
“Wheel nut re-torquing is a real headache for operators as it is often required after the vehicle has left the workshop and maybe at a completely different location,” says Patrick Tandy, Managing Director of Freeway. “We’ve already digitised every conceivable aspect of the workshop – job cards, driver safety inspections, stores and purchasing to name a few – but re-torquing has been the most challenging. In fact, we see this development as the final frontier in the automation of fleet maintenance management.”
Re-torquing is typically required after 30 minutes and again a day later or after a specified distance travelled, for example, 30 minutes after the wheel is replaced and again between 40 and 80 kilometres travel. In the workshop the Freeway Re-Torque app is used to record the initial wheel disturbance. The technician is guided through the torquing procedure with the recording of torque settings and the torque wrench used, backed up with photographs to record the work. Re-torque events are then assigned to a job-card and engineer with the software automatically scheduling the re-torquing at the specified intervals. The app shows the current status; overdue, done or scheduled.
Any authorised person can access the app from their smartphone so vehicles that have arrived at another depot can be dealt with by those onsite. Instructional documentation can be linked to the re-torque work events and accessed directly from a mobile device. This ensures that engineers are provided with the right knowledge to do the job correctly every time and to be fully compliant with any specific standard operating procedures. Depending on the set up, users may be blocked or warned if, for example, the torque wrench was the same as the one used for the previous torquing.