Tech Tip: Can you find the return on investment in air and electrical?

2021-12-08 11:02:47 By : Ms. Brittany Chin

In a period when business costs are steadily rising everywhere, serious and sound financial decisions must be made. From the perspective of the fleet or owner-operator, whether it is planned or unplanned, the time spent on roadside repairs and maintenance is an operating cost, which almost always results in monetary loss rather than profit. In addition, management costs such as product replacement, labor, and time off the road are all negative costs associated with downtime. So, what is the solution?

There will always be downtime associated with daily scheduled maintenance; this is inevitable. However, if the operation is correct, it can bring a return on vehicle investment. It's just a matter of finding the right balance and fine-tuning it according to individual operations. However, when the balance continues to lean towards unplanned repetitive maintenance, it is time to step back and assess the larger picture. 

The performance of the truck depends on the products specified, properly installed and properly maintained. If any one of them fails, it may cause trouble to the bottom line of the fleet.   

Although every component on the vehicle has its purpose, the cargo cannot be moved without the backside of the cab air and wires. A typical tractor trailer has at least three wires to connect the tractor's power and pneumatics to the trailer when the vehicle is running. A firm connection, proper cable support, and proper cable length selection are the key factors for obtaining the best performance. Installation, support and maintenance also play a key role in its function.

Phillips recommends trying to find product solutions suitable for the fleet, educating them on installation and maintenance, and formulating standard operating procedures (SOP) suitable for the individual needs of the fleet, and helping them to re-evaluate their practices to get the best. Best performance for return on investment.

Although fleet specifications are always their prerogative, in addition to proper support for these cables, quality cables and plugs should also be considered. The following are items that Phillips recommends to consider:

Air and wire are available in coiled and straight versions, but no matter which type, they all have the same function. Although the choice of coiled or straight cables is usually based on personal preference, Phillips says that straight cables are more durable and more flexible than coiled cables. 

The work can be done using coiled air and cables, but there are a few things to consider. The rubber handle can withstand cold temperatures, and unless a coated air line is used, the coiled cable is easily damaged. In addition, although lighter in weight and generally cheaper, coiled cables are more likely to become entangled with each other, thereby increasing the chance of kinking. The kinking is irreversible and restricts airflow, which means that the cable needs to be replaced, which increases downtime.  

Recently, the market has turned to three-in-one combination components. The combined assembly consists of two straight air hoses and a straight cable, which are combined in a protective spiral wrap. Despite the heavier weight, this protective outer layer keeps things neater and cleaner, and eliminates clutter. One might argue that coiled cables are easier to replace because they are independent of each other instead of being wrapped in a protective spiral wrap. Coiled cables may be easier to replace or may not be easy to replace, depending on whether they have rotary joints installed. But it’s worth noting that they are more susceptible to damage for the same reasons that they are not protected inside the spiral wrap. 

Due to the SAE J560 standard, the plug usually has a precise fit and function, but the composition may be different-plastic and metal. Unfortunately, if the cable from the three-in-one assembly must be repaired or replaced, the spiral wrap must be removed, and the cable is usually not re-wound. Phillips Industries solved this problem by offering its QCP (Quick Change Plug). This is a replaceable plug box-think of disposable shaving heads. If the electrical plug pins can be replaced easily and quickly, the trouble of replacing a new plug or replacing the entire electrical component can be avoided. Usually, when the core problem is caused by pin wear, a good cable or three-in-one component will be wasted. According to Phillips, using QCP is a way to always have fresh pins and the lowest cost of ink cartridges. Phillips said it can also save time by reducing repair or replacement time from 15 to 30 minutes to about two minutes.

Gladhands are standardized air connections that provide a fast and reliable way to connect service and emergency air lines between trucks and trailers. They are called happy hands because when a connection is established, they look like a pair of hands when shaking hands. 

Although aluminum-body glass fiber reinforced plastic is cost-effective and performs well, using anodized steel in your installation can increase protection against magnesium chloride, road salt, and chemicals, which are sources of corrosion. Corrosion can eat into the hand of happiness and damage the coupling connection. Anodizing helps prevent corrosion from accumulating inside the rocker arm, so corrosion debris will not fall back into the valve through the trailer air system. Anodizing is the process of adding a protective coating of aluminum oxide on the surface of aluminum, which can resist ultraviolet rays, humid weather, and deicing chemicals. 

People must understand that unsupported cables may be scratched and broken by rubbing or dragging on the deck. The selected cable support must be able to withstand the weight of the selected application. 

Coiled cable springs designed to support coiled components will eventually fail. If installed on three-in-one or linear components, they will lose their ability to retract due to weight. Phillips recommends the use of extra-heavy three-in-one springs for heavier applications.  

It must be ensured that the straight components are fully suspended, which is usually accomplished by a ring shape that expands and contracts with the movement of the truck. Phillips says that the combined components work best when two soft springs are used: one is the working spring and the other is the support spring. In order to obtain the full working length of the coiled cable, only one spring is needed, and the hose bracket is placed at the bottom of the first tractor side coil. 

This technical tip is provided by Phillips; you can find more about Phillips' solutions for these problems on the Phillips website.

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