Concerned for its global customers and truck operators, Shell Chemicals has developed a technology designed to prevent tanker rollovers. The device, the “rollover warning device (RWD),” is available for order now around the world, the company said, following testing in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“We took the initiative to collaborate with our business partners to develop the rollover warning device because we want to do all we can to reduce the risk of road tanker rollover,” said Jack Eggels, general manager for global land logistics. “We did not do this just for ourselves, but also to help customers and other transport operators across the globe make roads safer. Safety is a top priority for Shell and we recognize it has a direct impact on our customer service. We want our drivers to deliver products safely and return home to their loved ones.”
According to Riccardo Magliocchi, HSSE (health, safety, security and environment) advisor, excessive speed while cornering can affect the stability of a trailer.
“Sudden or severe changes in direction or speed can create inertia in the load being carried which, in certain situations such as on roundabouts, is sufficient to tip the trailer over,” said Magliocchi.
He says drivers of tankers are usually unaware of an impending rollover.
“By the time they see or feel something wrong, it’s usually too late,” Magliocchi added.
The device consists of a sensor that is attached to a tanker trailer and a receiving unit that can be fitted to the dashboard of the truck cab, Shell said. If the acceleration data sent by the sensor exceeds the safe theoretical rollover threshold for the vehicle, the device alerts the driver.
“There was nothing like this available on the market so we had to develop a system ourselves,” said Magliocchi.
The RWD offers drivers both visual and audio warnings when the vehicle is approaching its rollover threshold, Shell said, allowing the driver to take corrective action before a rollover occurs. In 2010 the RWD was recognized for its contribution to safety, and Shell and Bertocco were awarded an EuroTra Safety and Innovation Award by the Freight Transport Assn.
Shell is encouraging its contractors to adopt the device. It takes only a few hours to install, the company said, adding that is it “relatively inexpensive.”
“We trialled the rollover warning device in our fleet last year and I am really convinced of its benefits,” said Eugene Mayne, CEO of Tristar Transportation, which contracts with Shell in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. “Our drivers said they feel safer because they have greater awareness of the rollover threshold of their vehicles. There is no doubt that this simple yet effective device really makes our fleet safer, and that helps me sleep better at night.”