Tech Talk

Rockinger 500: Coupled for towing success


Featuring a host of recent advancements in safety technology, together with its renowned reliability and ease of use, the Rockinger 500 has been a staple product of JOST Australia’s towing hitch range for nearly a decade.

First released onto the market in 2011, the Rockinger 500 was already ahead of its game, says Michael Garley, JOST Australia’s National Operations Manager. “When this tow coupling was first designed and released, it was already prepared for the sort of sensor technology that hadn’t even been invented yet. Now that the technology exists, the Rockinger 500 is ready for it.”

Rockinger started in Germany in 1875 and was acquired by JOST in 2001. Rockinger produces a broad range of couplings for many uses in a variety of markets around the globe.

“The Rockinger 500 is an all-rounder, because it’s so good, it works in all facets of the transport industry,” Michael says.

“It’s fantastic in truck and dog applications, Performance-Based Standards (PBS) applications, and it works exceedingly well in road train operations too. Features, like the latest sensor technology, are also great in dangerous goods transport.

“For JOST, safety is paramount. It guides us to develop new products, and leads us into developing better and safer products,” he says. “Our research and development teams worldwide have that in mind. The global team is flying the flag for enhanced operator safety, time and time again.”

Among the product enhancements is a pneumatic upgrade. This enables the Rockinger 500 coupling to be released pneumatically, without the need for the operator to manually unhook from behind a trailer.

“This is an important safety factor in the new design because it means the operator isn’t having to go behind the vehicle. In industries like roads and construction, where trailers could be carrying products such as asphalt, at 300°C or so, technology like this is even more important for operator safety,” Michael explains.

Other new safety enhancements are an upgrade to the sensor that monitors the locking function of the coupling; and a jack- knife warning sensor that alerts the driver if there is the risk of a potential incident providing increased protection against drawbar damage.

“Evolution is never a linear progression. Instead, it happens in steps, and last year was a big step forward for the Rockinger 500,” Michael says. “Here at JOST Australia, safety is always at the forefront of our minds and transport operators seek out products and equipment that are safer, more reliable and easier to use.”

According to Michael, key to the simplicity of the Rockinger 500 is in its design. “We’re also value-adding through its ease of servicing and ease of use. When you look at the coupling itself, it looks so simple but there’s been a hell of a lot of engineering behind the scenes to make it function seamlessly. There are only a handful of moving parts in the Rockinger 500, it’s very easy to do a changeover or carry out general servicing and maintenance.”

To further improve the performance and life of the Rockinger 500, when the coupling is locked, it is completely sealed.

“This is super important, particularly for our friends over in the west using road trains or operators using dusty outback roads, dust ingress protection is great for road trains because it doesn’t allow for anything to get inside and bind up the mechanism,” Michael says, adding that Rockinger prides itself on is its commitment to detail. “Rockinger operates on such a fine tolerance and only produces couplings that meet stringent guidelines. That commitment to detail is what makes its products so good and so reliable, our customers are only getting the best of the best.

“Customers love the Rockinger 500 because it’s so easy to use, it’s simple and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how it works. The ability to maintain it very quickly and easily is another winner.”

The Rockinger 500 is well suited to fixed drawbar applications such as pig trailers with a download rating up to 2.5 tonnes and hinged drawbar applications such as dog trailers through to multiple road train combinations up to 285kN.

While the new sensor technology is predominately suited to 24-volt European trucks, Rockinger is working on a 12-volt option to make it also compatible with American manufactured trucks.

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