The leading FMCG supply-chain operator, Fowler Welch, reports safe coupling across its fleet since using the latest fifth wheel and coupling solutions from Fontaine Europe.


With such a high distance travelled by the fleet – approx. 63 million kilometres each year – Fowler Welch requires a method of tractor-trailer coupling which is as close to ‘fail-safe’ as possible and guaranteed to keep driver handling to a minimum.


“We operate around the clock from 8 key depots in the UK” says Head of Fleet Paul Allera, “and every day we experience a high drop and pick-up rate. The TechLock fifth wheel couplers we use from Fontaine have a unique jaw mechanism with a height sensor that will not allow the fifth wheel to close if the kingpin enters at the wrong height or position. Basically, this ensures 100% connection and takes away the need for drivers to check that the king pin is engaged. In other words, no contact-no couple – which means the days of mis-coupling are gone!”


Furthermore, Paul Allera points to the fact that other fifth wheels can appear to be connected when in fact they are not and in such cases, trailers can easily be dropped and with potentially disastrous consequences.

Also, says Paul, the TeckLock system has a 360 degree kingpin contact surface which negates the requirement for wear-ring replacement. Naturally, this not only helps from a safety point of view but also extends the life of the kingpin.


Fowler Welch manages over 900,000 sq ft of controlled warehousing and in addition to its fresh produce, flowers, chilled and ambient transport services also provides cross-docking, picking, container de-stuffing and packaging. Of the 307 tractors operated by the company, currently 43% are Euro 6, this will rise to 61% in December 2015 which, adds Paul Allera, is testament to the company’s commitment towards maintaining a modern and clean vehicle fleet.


Meanwhile, as the European arm of Fontaine International, the largest fifth wheel manufacturer in the world, Fontaine Europe, from its Warrington headquarters provides a wide range of specialist fifth wheel and trailer coupling solutions which are certified to QS900 and accredited to ISO/TS 16949, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.