Trailer Talk

Schneider Begins Installing Container- and Trailer-Tracking Devices

By the end of September, a Qualcomm tracking box will be attached to the nose of every Schneider National intermodal container. All van trailers will have them by December 2015.

It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where my load is? That’s a shipper asking a trucker the whereabouts of the trailer or container carrying his cargo. He’s not asking about a tractor and its driver; he wants to know about his load. From that point of view, it’s odd that trucking companies attached the first satellite and cellular-based tracking devices to tractors years ago, when products became available. READ MORE

Tags: Qualcomm, Technology, Trailer

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, June 28, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Advanced All-Steel Bottom Dump Trailer Claims Light Weight, Smooth Operation

American Carrier Equipment's all-steel, tandem axle, semi bottom dump trailer is the culmination of a two-year research, development and field-testing program aimed at producing a tough, lightweight trailer.

It looks like a common western belly-dump trailer, but this new model from American Carrier Equipment is 30% lighter, has 300% greater structural integrity and accommodates a 12.5% greater payload than competitive offerings, according to the builder. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, June 25, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Hydraulic Ramp Modules Now Convert High-Floor Vans into Auto Haulers

Decking modules are battery powered and contain their own hydraulic equipment. This system is for a low-floor van; the designer is preparing modules for high-floor trailers.

Household goods movers haul not just furniture, but sometimes automobiles owned by the people making the move. This of course enhances truckers’ revenue. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Why Better Underride Guards, and Maybe Other Stuff, Are Worth It

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested underride guards in 2010, one guard failed. That trailer manufacturer has since redesigned its guards, and it worked properly in the IIHS&#39; latest round of tests.<br />

Senior Editor Tom Berg offers some personal insight into trailer underride guards and why they're so important in his "Trailer Talk" blog. READ MORE

Tags: IIHS, Trailers, Underride

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, June 3, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

TV News Reporter Does a Good Job on an Underride Story

We in the industry are sometimes irked when we see inaccurate or incomplete stories about trucking in the general news media. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

See-Through Trailer’s Intriguing, Even If Wonder Woman’s Not Inside

Lexan panels in the right-side wall of Ancra&amp;rsquo;s display trailer lets truck show viewers see what&amp;rsquo;s displayed inside. But you&amp;rsquo;ll want to go in there yourself.

Maybe you saw it in March at the Louisville truck show – that transparent trailer in Ancra International’s booth. I spotted it earlier in the month, at the TMC’s annual meeting and expo in Nashville. Story-wise, the why of it is obvious: It’s a rolling stage on which Ancra displays a number of its freight handling and tie-down products. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Ancra

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Over the years, from old pull trailers to multi-axle configurations

Two of three modules of a &amp;ldquo;3-3-2&amp;rdquo; multi-axle configuration were shown by Talbert in its booth at the Louisville show. Missing is the 2-axle &amp;ldquo;booster&amp;rdquo; that would be attached to the rear.

Heavy-haul equipment has always fascinated me, ever since I was a little boy watching “steam shovels” dig basements in our then-expanding neighborhood in post-World War II Milwaukee. The shovels (which were actually gasoline- and maybe diesel-powered) were carried to job sites on low-slung pull trailers. The trailers were pulled by dump trucks which, after parking the trailers on the street, also carried away some of the dirt from the new holes. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Mid-America Trucking Show, Talbert

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Here’s a Really Big Rig in Quebec

In his latest Trailer Talk blog, Senior Editor Tom Berg takes a closer look at what first glance might look like an ordinary equipment trailer. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 22, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Non-profit Firm Hires Vets to Make Trailer Skirts

Military vets build and install the Aerosmart aluminum skirts at SA Concepts&amp;rsquo; plant in Springdale, Ark.

Here’s a novel approach to making trailer skirts: Use reclaimed materials, consult with a veteran fleet executive to be sure you get the design right, and employ U.S. military veterans to assemble them while they attend school. READ MORE

Tags: Aerodynamics, Trailer Skirts

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

VorBlades Twist Air into Fuel-saving Vortices, Their Maker Claims

The VorBlade Invisible Fairing, the device is combined in rows at the trailing edges of a box trailer, reducing turbulence and the suction effect at the vehicle&amp;rsquo;s rear.

Here’s a new twist on aerodynamics: curved blades inside a rectangular structure that smooth air flow as it leaves a trailer’s surfaces. Called the VorBlade Invisible Fairing, the device is combined in rows at the trailing edges of a box trailer, reducing turbulence and the suction effect at the vehicle’s rear. READ MORE

Tags: Trailers, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(5)

Tractor-Trailer Carries Replica Vietnam Wall. Does it Bring Healing?

Healing? &amp;ndash; A veteran of the Army&amp;rsquo;s 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam talks about the war with his lady.

Last week a tractor-trailer carrying a memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War came to town, reports Senior Editor Tom Berg in his latest "Trailer Talk" blog. It was part of ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of the United States’ official withdrawal from Vietnam. READ MORE

Tags: Van Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 2, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Integrated Approach Tractor-Trailer Saves Fuel in KW's T680 Advantage Package

The Utility side skirts reduce the amount of wind that gets under the trailer, causing drag, and the TrailerTail reduces drag at the trailer&#39;s rear.

Kenworth designers have turned to the trailer part of their T680 Advantage rig, integrating the smoothly styled tractor's aerodynamics into the lines of a 53-foot Utility van. The tractor has mechanical and electrical equipment meant to save fuel, but reducing air drag across the entire vehicle is almost as important, they said. READ MORE

Tags: Kenworth, Trailers, Utility, Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Ratcheting landing-gear handle: Best thing since canned beer?

Forget that headline. Comparing a product to a container for an alcoholic beverage isn’t politically correct on a website that’s concerned about trucking safety, as this one is. But I wanted to get your attention because this thing, called the Sixth Wheel Ratchet, seems like a better idea than a pop-top can, whether or not you’re thirsty. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

TrailerTails’ Adoption in North America Drives European Union to Authorize Them

Short Eco 50 model for Europe will save truck operators about 2% in fuel and CO2 emissions at the comparatively low highway speeds seen there, ATDynamics says.

Andy Smith is seeing more and more of his TrailerTails moving down American and Canadian highways, and soon he’ll see them in Europe. The founder and CEO of ATDynamics on Sunday said that to reporters on the eve of the opening of the Technology & Maintenance Council’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. It was his latest briefing since he launched the fuel-saving folding-panel device in 2008. READ MORE

Tags: TMC, ATDynamics, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, March 11, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Progressive Offers Deal on Trailer Skirts, But Ad's Included

A good deal on trailer skirts plus money saved on fuel equals a smile on this trucker&amp;rsquo;s face.

Is your insurance company out to save you money? It is if it’s Progressive Commercial Auto Insurance, which has a special offer on trailer skirts. READ MORE

Tags: Trailer Skirts

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, March 1, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Beall ‘Bullet’ Survives Bankruptcy

Smooth-sided Bullet belly dump products were acquired from bankrupt Beall by Nebraska-based ShirAul LLC, and continue to be built in the same plant in Washington state.

A unique bottom-dump design widely used in the West and elsewhere is the Beall Bullet, fashioned of aluminum sheeting and interior bracing that is attractive in appearance and aerodynamic in performance. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Nine Years of Testing Make Gordon Trucking Pretty Sure of its Choice in Skirts

Gordon Trucking Inc. so far has installed Freight Wings on 4,600 of its 53-foot vans and expects the side skirts to last 10 years. The skirts improve fuel economy by 0.3 mpg.

Kirk Altrichter, vice president of maintenance for Gordon Trucking Inc., can tell you more than a few things about trailer skirts and how to choose the right ones. Senior Editor Tom Berg has the story in the Trailer Talk blog. READ MORE

Tags: Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

‘Michigan trains’ productive and safe, with a flaming exception years ago

Last month I spent some time in Michigan, the land of highway “trains.” And I was reminded that in spite of what safety extremists claim in Washington, D.C., high-capacity long combination vehicles, or LCVs, can be operated safely. READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, January 28, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Phillips offers some tips on dealing with wiring

Phillips Industries, maker of wiring harnesses, control boxes and other electrical apparatus for trailers, posts a monthly Quik Tech Tips featur READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Ontario revises conditions for 60-foot trailer test

Walmart Canada's long tractor-trailer combination should soon begin in-service testing following the issuing of revised permit conditions by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the province's trucking association says READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans, Walmart, Canada, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, December 27, 2012 5:19 PM | » Comments(0)

'Encapsulated Upper Coupler' prevents internal corrosion danger, trucker-inventor claims

Elvin Knollman tests an Encapsulated Upper Coupler by pumping in air, then listening for leaks caused by cracks or rust damage. If it holds air, it&#39;s sound inside, he says. Photo by Tom Berg.

When a badly corroded upper coupler assembly on a tank trailer caused a roll-over several years ago, Elvin Knollman began thinking of ways to prevent that insidious and almost invisible damage READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:47 PM | » Comments(0)

Police sirens, Quiet-Zone crossing could be factors in Texas truck-train tragedy

Drop-deck semitrailer remains intact after being struck near its rear by the fast-moving train. Chairs are still strapped in place.

Many thoughts went through my head when I first heard about the tragic train-truck collision in Midland, Texas, on Nov. 15: Oh, those poor military guys and their families! How could this happen? How could the truck driver mess up like this? READ MORE

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, November 19, 2012 1:55 PM | » Comments(0)

Super-cube rig for Walmart Canada might raise some issues

Trailer of this special rig is 60.5 feet long, 7.5 feet longer than allowed in Ontario, but a special permit would allow operational testing. Its COE tractor was built up from a Freightliner Argosy glider kit.

What's this? A modern reiteration of a 1930s truck-and-trailer combination? Sort of. It's a high-capacity tractor-trailer combination recently assembled in Ontario for possible use by Walmart Canada, which calls it a "super cube" truck. And it's generating a bit of controversy READ MORE

Tags: Dry Vans

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:44 PM | » Comments(6)

Wabash portable shelters use DuraPlate wall panels

Foldable shelter consists of panels made of Wabash National&#195;&#162;&#226;‚&#172;&#226;„&#162;s DuraPlate composite trailer walls.

"Just in time for Hurricane Sandy," said a message Monday from Wabash National spokeswoman Celeste Stanley READ MORE

Tags: Specialty

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:16 PM | » Comments(0)

Automated trailer inspection idea advances

A driver&#39;s visual safety inspection of trailer components would be electronically aided and greatly speeded if a TMC idea becomes reality.

There's much work ahead if the idea of automating pre-trip inspections of trailers is to become reality. That was the feeling during a session on the subject at the fall meeting of the Technology & Maintenance Council of ATA READ MORE

Tags: Maintenance

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, October 22, 2012 1:58 PM | » Comments(0)

Author Bio

sponsored by

Tom Berg

Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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