Australia’s Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme has catapulted the continent to the very top of the global High Productivity Freight Vehicle (HPFV) movement. The only HPFV arrangement in the world to be fully integrated into national law and backed by a central authority, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), it has played a crucial role in facilitating the nation’s current truck and multi-axle dog boom and is increasingly applied to more intricate line-haul applications, too.
According to SAF-Holland, however, the scheme’s true potential is yet to be unleashed, which is why the component specialist has taken it upon itself to ‘democratise’ the design and specification process and provide the market with a new, powerful knowledge resource. Trailer met SAF-Holland’s new PBS expert, Adam Ritzinger (pictured below), to find out just how the company is planning to bring HPFV design into the mainstream.
Q: Where do you see room for improvement in the PBS scheme?
A: PBS has traditionally been a niche market, with a very limited group of people dominating the design and assessment process. While I agree we need to control every safety-relevant element as strictly as possible – the data behind it has to be 100 per cent accurate – you have to admit that the scheme is not fully transparent yet.
In the tyre space, for example, we’ve known for a while that verifying the accuracy of the data provided to assessors during the design stage is an on-going challenge for the NHVR, with the Regulator having to trust industry to provide honest information. The same argument applies to suspensions, fifth wheels, axles and couplings. So at SAF-Holland, we simply wondered how we could help the market tap into the full know-how suppliers like us can bring to the table. I think it’s time to widen the circle of stakeholders and make the whole process more transparent and robust.