The Operational challenges
Unlike mainstream vehicle tracking solutions Trailer Tracking presents a unique set of technical challenges.
- There are different types of trailer (flat bed, refrigerated, curtain sided, box container,) used for different applications including, temperature monitoring, perishable freight, bulk load transportation.
- A trailer is an interchangeable part of a vehicle and may often be left for long periods time uncoupled from the tractor unit or cab of the vehicle.
- Problems can be incurred finding the right spot to mount the location unit to avoid tampering.
- Unlike a typical vehicle tracking system, which is typically located inside the vehicle, a trailer tracking solution needs to be able to cope with being exposed to the elements. Rain, cold and salt from the road can cause problems for electrical devices.
The Technical challenges
By definition Trailer Tracking systems are exposed to extreme environmental conditions. It is not enough to simply place a standard vehicle tracking system into an IP67 environmentally rated enclosure. Trailer Tracking systems are exposed to many other environmental conditions, Dust, Shock, Sand, Vibration and Water to name but a few.
- Temperature variations and extremes. These will have a huge impact upon any system or device, rendering it potentially useless or even hazardous.
- Battery profile & chemistry. Alkaline, NiMH, NiCad and Lithium Ion all suffer serious capacity issues at extremes temperatures. Some totally freeze, and become useless. Some actually have the potential to catch fire at high extremes.
- Different operational environment. Unlike telematics solutions housed in the cab area of tractor units radio designers must employ advanced temperature compensation circuitry to stabilise devices such as crystals, filters and synthesisers. Many Trailer Tracking devices on the market today employ a GSM / GPRS radio board. On the whole these devices have been designed to be worn on the body and not used within heavy industry such as commercial transport.