Trailer Talk

Metal Coils Snuggle Safely into Cradles on This Specialized Trailer

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

January 30, 2015

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

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. These are part platform, part well-type trailers with built-in cradles that the coils snuggle against. Coils have to be strapped or chained but not blocked.

If done correctly, blocks and tie-downs legally and safely secure metal coils against rolling off trailers. But occasionally they still do. A coil usually weighs tens of thousands of pounds, and if dropped onto a highway can injure or kill motorists as well as damaging bridges and overpasses.

Such accidents occurred 30 times between 1987 and 2009 in Alabama, a steel-producing state whose legislators passed the Metal Coil Securement Act in an effort to reduce such accidents, according to Wabash National, corporate parent of Transcraft. The legislation prohibited carriers from transporting metal coils within Alabama unless the truck’s driver was certified in load securement. In 2013, FMCSA ruled that Alabama's law was preempted by federal law, but one would suspect enforcement officials in the state might still be on the lookout for problem loads.

One steel carrier in that state, Richardson Stevedoring & Logistics Services, recognized the danger way before that law was passed, and began operating Transcraft Coil Haulers in 2001. Others have since bought them, the builder says, and hundreds are now in operation.

A Coil Hauler is 48 feet long and 96 inches wide. Its well extends from ahead of the tandem to just aft of the upper coupler assembly. The well's floor has a rubber layer and is about 2 feet below the adjacent platform surfaces. This lowers a load’s center of gravity and makes the trailer more stable.

Driver or plant worker works from alongside to load or unload the coils, and to secure or free them. 
Driver or plant worker works from alongside to load or unload the coils, and to secure or free them.

Tie-downs can be secured by a driver from alongside the trailer. And instead of tarping, he stays on the ground to roll a shelter over the load. That saves time and prevents slips and falls from the deck.

That gaping well in the trailer would seem to preclude carrying other materials. But the builder says Richardson has backhauled steel pipe. If one thinks about it, wood or metal cribbing placed in the well could support certain longitudinal loads. So while Coil Haulers can’t replace most flatbeds, the specialized vehicle remains an innovative idea for those special loads.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Author Bio

Tom Berg

sponsored by

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.

Newsletter

We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.

GotQuestions?

ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All