Trailer & Container Tracking
The tracking of trailers and containers is an essential element of a complete fleet tracking solution. Trailers are frequently unhitched and hitched to several different HGV tractors and although GPS trailer tracking devices use the same fundamental technology as that used for tracking the tractor units and other vehicles, tracking the location of trailers poses specific problems. While vehicle trackers always have access to power from the vehicle, trailer trackers may or may not be powered. Consequently, they must contain their own power unit.
Battery Powered Trailer Trackers
The most common solution to ensure GPS trailer tracking devices are sufficiently powered is through an integrated battery. This may be a rechargeable unit that charges during the period of times when the trailer is hitched to a tractor or it may be a tracker with an extended battery life. More specifically, container trackers tend to not have access to an external power source, and as a result, container trackers generally consists of extended battery units.
Battery life varies from product to product. While some battery powered trailer GPS tracking units have a battery life of up to three years, some high end models claim a battery life of up to ten years. Clearly non-rechargeable batteries need replacing well in advance of becoming discharged. To assist with this requirement, some battery powered trackers report the current status of the battery in addition to the location of the vehicle.
Battery life is dependent on several factors including the strength of the GPS signal emitted by the tracker, and also on the number of messages it transmits. In order to maximise battery life these can be limited. Some devices can be configured to provide just one message a day when the trailer is stationary and more frequently, anything from once every 15 minutes to once every two hours when the trailer is in motion.
The Best Trailer Trackers - 2016 Review
|Masternaut||Trailer Track||• Accurate fleet visibility|
• Trailer utilisation monitoring
• Up to 3 years battery life
|Tough Tracker||Trailer Tough Tracker||• Tamperproof and bulletproof with self contained power supply|
• Timed reportsRemote configuration
• Web based software including asset management tools
|PearTrack||PT-1000C||• Up to 10 years battery life|
• Weather proof
• Tamper detection
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Trailer Security System
Anti-theft GPS trailer trackers play an important role in the recovery of stolen assets as their current positions can be monitored by the police. However if a trailer is stolen, it is far easier to locate it if the tracker provides a continual rather than intermittent report of its position. Different manufacturers have different solutions to this. Some anti-theft GPS trailer tracking devices include Geofencing features which automatically switch the unit to continual operation should the trailer or container be moved to an unauthorised location. Others can be remotely switched to continual operation should theft be discovered.
But none of this will work if the tracker is removed or disabled. While trackers are usually hidden, a determined thief may well be able to locate the device and remove it from the asset. However some high end trailer trackers are difficult to disable even when located, for instance they may be tamper-proof and bullet proof.
Benefits of GPS Trailer Trackers
There are many ways in which fleets can benefit from trailer and container tracking:
- Location - haulage fleet managers can readily access semi-real-time information on where each of their trailers is located. They can monitor their progress and be aware if they encounter any problems, or are running behind schedule.
- Theft – cargo theft is always a potential problem. GPS trackers can deter theft, and in the case of theft can facilitate recovery as the location can be tracked by the police.
- Shipment tracking – a GPS tracker for trailer can be used to provide customers with semi-real-time shipment tracking. This will allow all parties to minimise waiting times and delays.
- Temperature – with certain goods carried in refrigerated trailers carriers are obliged to retain temperature profiles throughout the duration of the journey. Some trackers can record and transmit temperature data so that any potential problems can be identified.
- Positive ROI – the return on investment can be high. Without tracking it can be difficult for fleet managers to know the location of his assets once they have left the depot. However with trailer tracking the location of all trailers is visible which means that they can returned to operation much faster, increasing productivity and revenues.
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