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Text: Juliane Gringer
As a running gear system manufacturer for truck trailers and semi-trailers, BPW has always stood for merging tradition with modernity. With the iGurt, an intelligent system for securing loads, BPW in Wiehl has presented a real innovation: The smart product was developed to production readiness within 2.5 years. How exactly does such a process work?
The small sensor on a tensioning strap could easily pass for a smartwatch. The iGurt from BPW Bergische Achsen not only looks innovative, it also contains something really new: the digital load securing system monitors the pre-tensioning forces when lashing and during the journey and informs you via app about deviating losses of the pre-tensioning forces on the belt. For BPW, the iGurt is a completely new product in addition to the traditional business of running gear systems. A team led by product manager Katharina Kermelk developed it from the first sketch to series production readiness in around 2.5 years.
Focus on the cargo area
Research with forwarding agencies
»We have heard time and time again that many people find load securing difficult – especially when using tension straps, which are the most commonly used in practice.«
Katharina Kermelk, Product Manager for the BPW iGurt
Safety risk and damage to goods
“But the goods themselves can also be damaged, for example if they are lashed too tightly,” explains Kermelk. For example, a haulage company that transports sheetrock for DIY stores reported that on average at least one board is damaged per trip due to straps that are too tight. At a value of 15 euros per panel and 200 trucks used, each making four trips a day, this means around 12,000 euros in damage per day. “Our research has shown that insurance companies settle cargo claims worth the equivalent of 1.2 billion euros every year. And there is probably a very high number of unreported cases: many claims are not reported for fear of rising insurance premiums.”
Preload force is often underestimated
A first production of the iGurt comprised 600 pieces, which were thoroughly tested by eight customers in a field test for their practical suitability. This test led to minor adjustments, after which, for example, the battery compartment could no longer be opened so easily without tools. Kermelk recalls: “After three months of testing, the feedback on the digital belt was so good that the decision was made: it goes into series production!”