Everything you need to know about Smart OBM

Truck drivers will know our Australian roads are managed by various authorities, who dictate the mass limits for certain routes, the time of day they can be used, and more.

This all depends on whether they’re local roads managed by local jurisdictions or state and national highways managed by the state governments.

One tool businesses can rely on is regulatory programs, specifically Smart On-Board Mass, or Smart OBM, which assures road managers that heavy vehicles are operating within the prescribed limits of their permits or enrolled scheme.

Where it works in operators’ favour is that by knowing the exact weight of each vehicle in real-time, the business can maximise the payload to increase productivity, while also operating at higher mass limits. Furthermore, they can gain access to roads or routes they might not have otherwise been able to use without the data Smart OBM provides. For a driver, this could mean getting to a destination within their fatigue schedule, making more runs, operating more efficiently, saving fuel, and reducing wear and tear on the truck.

Sometimes, however, Smart OBM is still shrouded in mystery – what is it, what can it do, and can you mix and match different solutions on one heavy vehicle combination?

Smart OBM 101

Smart OBM works in tandem with the Telematics Monitoring Application (TMA) to provide drivers and their vehicles access to parts of the network that would otherwise be off-limits. It allows higher gross vehicle mass and, perhaps more importantly, gives operators insight into how much their load weighs and whether it has been distributed safely and correctly.

Smart OBM scale systems connect to the vehicle’s telematics systems using a physical cable, ensuring high reliability and robustness. There are several providers of Smart OBM systems, meaning you have a choice as to who you go with and what system you use. 

The technology is essentially a set of digital scales integrated into the axle group of each vehicle.

Like all other commercial scales, Smart OBM systems must be calibrated on installation and periodically recalibrated to ensure accuracy. While the recalibration intervals vary between suppliers, they are generally around 12 months. Recalibration is important for compliance, so it’s not something that can be put off.

The regulatory framework

Each Australian jurisdiction has different requirements regarding regulatory programs, including schemes like Smart OBM. These differences are based on business and industry requirements and are designed to meet the needs of those involved and ensure they benefit not just the business but the industry and the wider community.

In some cases, Smart OBM is required to utilise specialty vehicles, known widely as Performance Based Standards, or PBS vehicle configurations. Alongside this, the introduction of low – and zero-emission vehicle schemes is starting to be seen in Victoria and South Australia to allow higher mass limits for those vehicles with alternate fuel capabilities and their unique builds. 

For drivers, Smart OBM is not only a great tool for understanding the mass and loading of their trucks. Still, it is also a regulatory requirement when it comes to operating in different jurisdictions across Australia. And with many drivers regularly crossing borders on their runs, understanding what rules apply and when something is important for safety and legal compliance.

You can learn more about Smart OBM by visiting teletracnavman.com.au and searching “on board mass monitoring”.

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