Automation is the future

Warrington, UK: Schmitz Cargobull is developing a range of initiatives that will take telematics to a new level when it comes to temperature-controlled road transport.

The amount of autonomous features will increase over the next few years, says Simon Mols, sales manager – Telematics and Services, Schmitz Cargobull UK and Ireland.

“As an example we have a tyre reseal system, which ultimately keeps tyres at the right pressure and the idea is to automate the system by connecting it to our intelligent network (telematics interface).”

Tracking is another area where demand is rising to cover the end-to-end supply chain, including the actual products. Mols gives the example of getting dairy products to supermarkets at the highest quality level, or of pharmaceutical transport, such as transporting temperature-sensitive cancer medicines.

“The focus is going in a direction where we would have the technology directly attached to the product. This is a serious game changer because it definitely gives competitive advantage in terms of food (or pharmaceutical product) security.” As a result, Schmitz Cargobull is looking at ways in which product temperature can be controlled throughout the entire transport cycle, not just in the trailer.

“This is currently in the process of development – there are different solutions available and at the moment we are investigating which one is the best by listening to the transport industry and their demands.” Ideas include attaching small tags on intelligent pallets and using the trailer as an intelligent gateway to monitor the process. Schmitz Cargobull is also gearing up to reveal some “exciting news about the electrification of the transport industry” at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover next September.

“The idea is to work on the electrification of the refrigeration unit technology,” says Mols. “This is very much relevant for the cold chain sector.” According to Mols, operators are increasingly demanding more transparency and more efficiency. Christine Cullen, who recently joined Schmitz Cargobull as a telematics expert, adds that security is critical.
“It is quite staggering that a lot of operators still don’t have any traceability on their trailers – that is still a concern. Security is key. Door locking systems are quite crucial, when crossing the Channel for example.”

Simon Mols, Schmitz Cargobull sales manager telematics and services UK & Ireland.

Inside the SmartTrailer
The innovative, intelligent SmartTrailer concept is a product of the ongoing development of the company’s proprietary TrailerConnect telematics system.

In Schmitz Cargobull’s SmartTrailer, every component is directly linked to the telematics control unit – be it the tyre pressure monitoring system, door sensors, door locking system or temperature recorder.

The be UpToDate App enables effective vehicle fleet monitoring via a smartphone. It offers a real-time overview of the most important data of a fleet such as temperature and refrigeration unit data, tyre pressures or axle unit loads and displays the positions of an operator’s trailers on the fleet map.

Mols says: “TrailerConnect means that the intelligent network is connected to every single additional asset from the tyres to the doors, to the cooling unit and also the electronic braking system.” Mols says that a long history of building trailers (126 years) has enabled the company to deliver everything out of one portal. That gives it an edge when it comes to competitors’ telematics products for temperature control.

“When customers buy telematics for example, yes it gives them temperature monitoring, by probably reading the error codes from the refrigeration unit, but it doesn’t give the full range because it is sometimes limited in its ability.”

Earlier this year Schmitz Cargobull Schmitz Cargobull reported a surge in retrofits of its TrailerConnect hardware. More than 30,000 TrailerConnect systems are currently in use by Schmitz Cargobull customers in Europe.

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