MaxBotix Inc., thanks guest writer Tim Gallagher who shares his experience with the MB7369 while transporting heavy equipment. MaxBotix Inc., sensors have been successfully used in extreme duty conditions. Large multi-axle trailers, which are used to transport wind energy equipment across the country, hydraulically adjust the ride height of their payload throughout their journey to meet varying conditions. The HRXL‑MaxSonar‑WR sensor series withstand the extreme environmental conditions of these trips, and power through the extreme road noise and wind conditions. Even with all this noise, the sensor continues to provide the necessary accurate ground clearance information to the driver who makes sure the payload is in a safe position.
Loads in our application regularly top 170 ft long and 250,000lbs. Transporting a setup of this size safely requires quite a bit of specialized support for the driver. This support includes having escort cars in front and behind them to warn of upcoming road hazards and keep an eye on how the trailer is riding, along with law enforcement escorts to block traffic as needed. The wind tower sections being transported many times have such a large diameter, that making it underneath overpasses on interstate roads becomes an issue. To alleviate this, the specialized trailers drop the tower sections within inches of the ground when getting on an interstate or other long generally smooth road. Keeping a very large, long tube within inches of the ground over a surface that is anything but flat poses issues of it's own. Because of this, the trailers must raise the load back up to a greater clearance to keep from bottoming out over obstacles. This includes obstacles on the more obvious side such as railroad crossings, to the less obvious natural waves and crests in a road which can cause a load of this size to 'bottom out' if riding too low to the ground. Since the driver has to manually raise and lower the trailer many times on a trip, a heads up display that is placed in their cab provides a real-time feed of the loads ground clearance at a glance. This provides our drivers with a great peace of mind that everything is where it should be and running safely. To provide ground clearance information to the driver, HRXL-MaxSonar-WR sensors are mounted near the front and rear of the tower section on the trailer which, with the help of additional electronics, transmit the trailer's ID and ground clearance readings wirelessly to a display in the cab of the truck. The HRXL-MaxSonar-WR sensors do a great job of providing stable range data to the road despite all of the signal interference they have to deal with. The 60+ MPH winds of the road and road/tire noise of 50+ tires of the rigs are no match for the awesome signal filtering logic of the HR series sensors. These sensors have proven they are well suited to the harsh conditions of the road over the past year with 10's of thousands of miles on them already. Heavy rain has been about the only interference which has been able to throw off a good reading from the sensor. With the sensor being within feet of many tires throwing up water and producing more noise in wet conditions, taking a valid sonar based reading in these conditions would be nearly impossible for most any equipment. If you would like further information on this application or product, please visit GallagherTechnologies.com.