30 March 2017

Serious value-add

Transpecs held the first of their monthly brake courses for 2017 in mid-February. New Zealand Trucking magazine editor Dave McCoid was invited to attend the 15 February course, facilitated by OE braking product manager, John Hirst.

The programme comprises two courses, Basic Brake and WABCO Diagnostic Training, and Advanced Brake System Design and Commissioning.

The basic brake course walks attendees through the history of pneumatic braking, beginning at a back to basics schema showing a tank, air-line, slack adjuster and foundation drum brake. John then progresses from that, showing what was added, why, what happened as a result, and what happened next, culminating in today’s state-of-the-art EBS with all the ‘fruit’. Participants are then sent out to work through a series of fault-finding tasks on a fully rigged working chassis in the company’s showroom. Following that there’s a written test reviewing the day’s content.

The second course covers system design, tuning, legislation and commissioning, and requires a prerequisite level of expertise and knowledge.

Although the courses are aimed first and foremost at customer and in-house technicians working with the WABCO products daily, they are available to anyone.

“An empowering facility that puts the brakes on confusion”
– Dave’s summation of the Basic Brake course

Like every truck driver/enthusiast, we’re all interested in making them go, but as far back as I can remember I’ve had a personal fascination with how we bring all that energy to a halt. I’ve driven some workshop foremen nuts with incessant questions on how my truck stopped. That being the case, the opportunity to sit in on the Basic Brake day with someone of John’s calibre was not to be missed.

Many times I’ve found there to be more bravado around understanding brakes than actual expertise. Having John’s formidable knowledge, delivered in a way you can apply to your own career and experiences – having driven trucks through the original brake coding era – was hugely empowering.

Obviously, the course is aimed at Transpecs’ own customers and technicians, particularly those working on the WABCO product. However, the quality of what’s offered means I’d not only recommend it to any company technician looking to advance their understanding, but I also firmly believe the course would be of huge value to driver trainers and senior mentor drivers.

While ignorance may be bliss in some areas, like me, John and Transpecs believe braking is not one of them – the greater the knowledge base, the safer the industry.

The cost of attendance is money well invested. This is serious, meaningful value-add and I’d redo the same course I did in a heartbeat, such was the volume of information available.

Thank you to New Zealand Trucking Magazine & editor’ Dave McCoid for allowing us to re-print this story.