Trailer Talk


1  -  25  of  63

Tri-Axle Trailers and Economics in the 'Market'

Another trailer axle would add 11,000 pounds of gross weight, but does it make dollars and sense?

Regular road tractors can pull tri-axle trailers with gross combination weights as high as 100,000 pounds in Maine, says Hartt Transportation.

September 21, 2015

The strongest argument against heavier rigs is the lack of payback due to low revenue from stingy shippers. That's the "market" at work.

Tags: Productivity, Trailers, Size and Weight, Vehicle Safety Regulations, Longer Combination Vehicles

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, September 21, 2015 8:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Fairings Over Tractor's Tandem Save Fuel for Tanker Fleet

FlowBelow Aero devices control air flow and boost economy by 3%, says Indian River Transport.

Wheel covers and fairings between and behind the tractor tandem's wheels reduce turbulance and save fuel.

September 9, 2015

Stainless steel tanker trailers look smooth enough to easily slip through the air, but they have characteristics that cause drag. One fleet has turned to an aero system for the tractor tandems to help smooth the air flow over the trailer.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics, Tankers, FlowBelow, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, September 9, 2015 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Replacing Rivets with Adhesives Yields Smoother Sides That Could Save Fuel

Computational fluid analysis interpreted air flow over the trailer panels’ surfaces, finding some drag produced by rivet heads.

As trailer aerodynamics improve, the small amount caused by air flow over sidewall surfaces will become more important. Art via Lord Corp.

August 26, 2015

Lord Corp., which makes bonding adhesives, has done research that indicates eliminating rivets from a trailer’s walls might cut aerodynamic drag by about 1%.

Tags: Trailers, Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Trailer Weight Cutting Suggestions Total 2,500 Pounds

How many of these items are usable in your van trailers?

Aluminum crossmembers instead of steel can save 203 pounds in a van or reefer, according to ICCT's list. Another 430 pounds can be slashed by using aluminum in the upper coupler assembly, but the kingpin remains steel. Photo: Tom Berg

July 22, 2015

While poring through more than 1,300 pages of proposed regulations, staffers found themselves immersed in details of trailer design, including weight reduction.

Tags: Trailers, Size and Weight, Regulations, GHG

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, July 22, 2015 3:00 PM | » Comments(0)

The Army Uses Serious Rigs to Haul Armored Vehicles

Armored vehicles can “road march” to battlefields, but suffer high rates of wear and tear when doing so. It’s far better to carry them.

M1000's five axles are mounted along most of its bed length. Loading ramps are part of the trailer's equipment. Photo from U.S. Army via YouTube

July 9, 2015

The U.S. Army operates some of the more serious tractor-trailer combinations in the world, as Tom Berg explores in his Trailer Talk blog. The M1000 gooseneck trailer, for instance, weighs 50,000 pounds before it's even loaded.

Tags: Military Trucks, Heavy-Haul Trailers, Trailers, Military

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, July 9, 2015 10:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Designing, Testing Tires for Drop-Deck Trailers Challenging

Spread tandems sometimes generate extreme lateral forces, and drop-decks use smaller sizes that are especially vulnerable to damage.

Wide-spread tandems, especially on drop-decks, can subject tires to extreme lateral forces in sharp turns. Photo via Utility Trailer Mfg.

July 2, 2015

Dropdeck trailers with spread-axle tandems are torture on tires. Tom Berg explores one tire maker's quest to design a product to stand up to the beating in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Dropdeck Trailers, Trailers, Tires

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, July 2, 2015 1:00 PM | » Comments(0)

A Fruehauf Lowboy Carried Palomar Observatory's Mirror

At 20 feet in diameter and weighing 28,000 pounds, the load was big, heavy and priceless.

Massive mirror was placed on a supporting and adjustment structure at the observatory. Photo via Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

June 17, 2015

What transpired was a meticulously planned two-day journey involving Belyea Truck Co. and Pacific Crane & Rigging, plus support vehicles, California Highway Patrol motorcycle escorts, and cars bearing press reporters and photographers.

Tags: Heavy Haul, History, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, June 17, 2015 6:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are Trailers More Aerodynamically Important than Tractors?

Experts agree that wind drag on trailers is more significant than what the tractor faces.

Photo via ATDynamics

June 1, 2015

ATDynamics, now part of Stemco, says 75% of wind drag at highway speeds comes from the trailer.

Tags: Trailers, Aerodynamics, Fuel Efficiency, Trailer Skirts

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Monday, June 1, 2015 5:19 AM | » Comments(0)

Piggyback Equipment at Pennsylvania’s Toy Train Museum

Trucks, on the road or on flatcars, are often part of model railroads, as Senior Editor Tom Berg found at the Toy Train Museum.

Photos: Tom Berg

May 7, 2015

There was a time when railroads were in the motor transport business, as their parent companies recognized that freight was being grabbed by fast, flexible long-haul trucks and they might as well grab some of the revenue.

Tags: Piggybacking, Trailers, Museums

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, May 7, 2015 8:29 AM | » Comments(0)

EkoStinger: A Different Way to Beat the Wind

An arrow-shaped aero device diverts wind away from the tandem, while a covering of the frame rails and crossmembers reduces turbulence there.

Photo via Eko Stinger

April 28, 2015

Unlike most skirts that are stationary, the stinger moves with the tandem as it’s slid fore and aft, so it smooths air flow no matter where the tandem is set, said the system’s inventor.

Tags: Trailers, Aerodynamics, Fuel Efficiency

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 28, 2015 11:53 AM | » Comments(1)

Founders of Failed ‘Cold Train’ Blame BNSF Railway, Sue for $41 Million

Cold Train containers being handled at the Port of Quincy's BNSF intermodal rail line. Photo courtesy Port of Quincy.

April 7, 2015

Claims made by Cold Train founders in their $41 million suit, announced on Tuesday, illustrate how the railroads, like truckers, can’t handle all the business being thrown at them.

Tags: Trailers, Lawsuits, Intermodal, Reefers, BNSF

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, April 7, 2015 4:46 PM | » Comments(0)

Price and Weight Comparisons: Steel, Combo and Aluminum

Manac offered a quick look at the three trailer types in its booth at MATS.

Photo: Tom Berg

March 31, 2015

Different buyers have different considerations, which is why trailer manufacturers offer the three different types. Manac offered a quick look at the three trailer types in its booth at MATS.

Tags: Manac Inc., Trailers, Aluminum

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 31, 2015 11:09 AM | » Comments(0)

Refiners Buy Tankers to Ensure Supplies of Better Crude Oil

Photo via Vantage Trailers

March 24, 2015

Refiners are buying trucks to fetch more desirable crude oil than what they’re getting through pipelines.

Tags: OIl, Trailers, FTR, Tankers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 24, 2015 11:48 AM | » Comments(0)

Why Safe Coupling Procedures Matter

Four people died when their car ran into a semitrailer sitting on a busy highway. How'd it happen?

For a better chance at properly hitching the fifth wheel onto the kingpin, hook up and charge the air hoses, then set the trailer’s brakes before backing onto it.  Photo courtesy of Con-way

March 17, 2015

It could've been driver error, mechanical failure or both, and we won't know for a while. But it sure matters.

Tags: Trailers, Fatal Accidents, Driver Safety Tips

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:51 PM | » Comments(2)

SmartWay Elite Level Even More Efficient, Says EPA

Better aero fairings must save at least 9% in fuel to get the new designation

March 12, 2015

What does the new "Elite" level of fuel-saving devices offered by the EPA SmartWay program mean? Senior Editor Tom Berg explores the topic in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: SmartWay, EPA, Aerodynamics, Fuel Efficiency, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, March 12, 2015 1:20 PM | » Comments(0)

Edge Fairings Gain SmartWay Elite Status

Elite means a set of equipment will save at least 9% in fuel at highway speeds – nothing to blow off with a shrug.

Photo via Transtex

March 3, 2015

The Tail resembles the Trailer Tail from ATDynamics, but seems unique in that its panels automatically deploy when the rig reaches about 45 mph, then fold up as it slows down.

Tags: EPA SmartWay, Trailers, Fuel Economy, Aerodynamics, Transtex Edge

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, March 3, 2015 8:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Blinding Snow Turns a Trailer into a Tow Truck

A trucker unwittingly takes a minivan for the ride of its life.

February 19, 2015

A minivan plowed into the rear of a semi on I-75 in northern Michigan, and got dragged along for miles by the rig because its driver was totally unaware that he had something hanging on.

Tags: Winter Driving, Trailers, rear-end collisions

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, February 19, 2015 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Metal Coils Snuggle Safely into Cradles on This Specialized Trailer

The heavy loads can't roll off because they're automatically blocked aboard.

Rubber-lined well accommodates big, heavy metal coils, which are usually strapped down. Sliding shelter covers the load.

January 30, 2015

Most truckers who haul heavy rolls of steel and other metals use flatbeds, but there’s a safer way, in the opinion of those who use Transcraft Coil Haulers. Tom Berg has more in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: Cargo Securement, Flatbed Trailers, Transcraft Trailers, Special Specs, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, January 30, 2015 1:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Why Can't Those 3 Upper ID Lights Be Mounted Low?

They'd be safer to reach for repairs, but they're up there for some good reasons.

On the move, they're still visible -- and more artsy. Photo by Jim Park

January 8, 2015

The three identification lights at the top-rear of the trailer, mounted around the center line of the vehicle, are to alert following drivers that the vehicle equipped with these lights is wider than 80 inches.

Tags: Regulations, Trailers, Lighting

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, January 8, 2015 1:15 PM | » Comments(0)

Hess Toy Trucks Awaken Positive Memories

Since 1964 the gas stations have sold Hess Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition.

Michael Roberto and a Hess Toy Truck -- a tanker.

December 23, 2014

Since 1964 Hess has sold Toy Trucks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, so this year is the 50th anniversary of the tradition. Since Hess is closing its filling stations in a few months the 2014 truck will be the last that can be bought in person.

Tags: Trailers, Tankers, Toy Trucks

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, December 23, 2014 1:00 AM | » Comments(0)

A. Duie Pyle Bolsters Fleet of Heated, Insulated Vans for Winter

Pyle has added 80 of the special trailers, augmenting its existing pool of more than 400 such units. Most are 48-by-102s for road and city service.

Great Dane built Pyle's latest heated and insulated vans, like the one shown here in warmer days.

December 10, 2014

Some carriers turn away temperature-sensitive freight during cold snaps. But Pyle has equipment and facilities to handle it, and the business has grown.

Tags: Great Dane, Wabash National, Heaters, Insulated van, Vans, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:00 PM | » Comments(0)

Steel Springs, White Color Among Penske’s Trailer Specs

Not that many cargoes need the protection of air springs, fleets have found.

Penske encourages customers to do a decal wrap rather than colored paint, because white trailers are easier to sell to a second owner.

December 3, 2014

White sidewalls and doors can bring thousands of dollars more than a custom color at resale time.

Tags: Trailers, Vehicle Color, Suspensions, Color Choices, Trailer Suspensions, Penske

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Wednesday, December 3, 2014 6:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Clever Commercial Celebrating a Boy’s Imagination Includes a Tractor-Trailer

Senior Editor Tom Berg watches the drama and has his imagination provoked, too!

October 31, 2014

The family comes upon a big rig transporting what looks like a tug or fishing boat, strapped to a special trailer. The little boy looks up at the boat and sees a three-masted schooner, foundering and in peril!

Tags: Trailers, In the Media

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

High-Cube Vans Bolster Fast Carriage of Big, Bulky Items

Low floor adds 600 cubic feet to a van's usual capacity.

Low floor is interrupted by wheel wells and step-up at the trailer's nose. So ZCube trailers don't backhaul.

October 16, 2014

It's "back to the future" in van trailers for one carrier, explains Tom Berg in his "Trailer Talk" blog. The freight is big, bulky and light, with gross combination weights typically at 45,000 pounds, so the ZCube trailers are pulled by single-rear-axle tractors.

Tags: Trailers, Special Specs, Logistics

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Thursday, October 16, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Solar Panels Can Avoid Run-Down Batteries from Telematic Signaling

Reefer operators can track load temperatures through telematics, but that eats up electricity from a parked trailer's battery.

Carrier's new Thin-Film Flexible Solar Panels are easily installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars chilled by Carrier Transicold or other systems. Photo: Carrier Transicold

October 7, 2014

Recent announcements by Carrier Transicold and Thermo King, that they’re offering solar panels as options on many reefer units, jibed nicely with discussions during TMC's Fall Meeting near Orlando, notes Senior Editor Tom Berg in his Trailer Talk blog.

Tags: TMC, Thermo King, Carrier Transicold, Solar Charging, Solar Panel, Trailers

Author: Tom Berg | Posted @ Tuesday, October 7, 2014 10:00 AM | » Comments(0)



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