July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story
Whether its dumps to dry vans, flatbeds or tank trailers, trailer makers have been focusing on making trailers lighter to improve freight capacity and fuel efficiency, safer for drivers, and stronger to extend the trailer’s life cycle.
We contacted trailer manufacturers and learned about the latest in trailers, manufacturing, product innovations and corporate news.
East has introduced a new time-saving and safety option to its dropdeck trailers – an all-aluminum tarp storage box built into the floor of the upper or lower deck. This on-deck access location reduces multiple trips up and down on the trailer to tarp the load or store the tarp and tie-downs, which saves time and energy for both tasks and lessens the chance for falls.
The tarp storage boxes are available in various depth configurations, depending on the drop at the neck and beam depth of the drop deck trailer, and can be placed in either the top deck, bottom deck or both decks.
Another safety improvement East made a few years ago was to offer an optional integrated stairway. East recently improved this option by adding a locking door enclosure that allows for fitting with ID lights that comply with federal DOT requirements, as well as a lighted license plate mounting area.
When the stairway is open, the deck lid locks securely in the upright position via double rods that slide into two specially designed receivers. The first of two handrails is located under the lid, providing a 45-degree vertical handhold that’s above deck height.
The second handrail is built next to the steps, which are made of pooch-punched aluminum for drainage and skid-resistance.
In the down position, the deck lid latches securely to prevent bouncing during transit. The deck lid is load bearing, so the trailer loses zero deck area because of the stairs.
The integrated stairway is all aluminum, so no extra weight is added to the trailer.
Fontaine Trailer is ramping up production for an all-aluminum Revolution Dropdeck trailer that will be available in this fall. Weighing in at 8,600 pounds, it is the lightest dropdeck in the industry with the biggest payload, according to the company.
The Fontaine Revolution Dropdeck has a sleek unitized design, made possible by technology borrowed from the aerospace industry. This patented design maintains the integrity of the trailer geometry under load and under centrifugal force to provide superior handling, up to 30% better tire wear and up to 3% better fuel economy.
The stability virtually eliminates “side-bow” so secured loads are less likely to shift in transit. This important safety feature reduces the potential for rollover situations.
The patented one-piece extruded aluminum siderail is 12 times stronger than traditional side rails, according to the company, for greater resistance to damage from side impacts.
An integrated load securement system makes loading and unloading faster, safer and much more driver-friendly.
Great Dane is offering its new standard EnduroGuard rear frame assembly in 2013 as a standard feature in its Champion series of dry vans.
EnduroGuard rear frames are designed with a combination of proven materials using galvannealed steel and stainless steel components to create an effective barrier against corrosion. The EnduroGuard rear frame assembly offers the corrosion benefits of zinc and stainless with the aesthetic benefit of a painted frame, says Great Dane.
According to Great Dane Vice President and General Sales Manager Jon Jeffries, the galvannealing process gives Great Dane customers confidence that their trailer’s rear frame assembly will last for the lifespan of the trailer, unlike galvanized coatings which can crack or flake over time. It also provides an integrated zinc surface that readily accepts Great Dane’s paint system.
The EnduroGuard rear frame is standard on all Champion models (SE, CL and CP) and is available with a choice of swing or roll-up rear doors. Non-deteriorating swing-type rear doors are standard and feature moisture-resistant skin sheets inside and out, as well as an impact-resistant polymer core, which further contributes to the door’s long life.
Hyundai Translead’s Research and Development Department is working on development of a new lightweight, eco-friendly dry freight trailer.
This trailer, code name Eco-Cell, uses a steel sandwich construction panel for main structural components.
The first phase is to develop the lightweight sandwich construction panel, functional and reliable sidewall panels connections, lightweight logistic posts and lightweight sidewalls made of Eco-Cell sandwich material.
The Eco-Cell panel is a sandwich construction panel consisting of two outside faces and a core between them.
The four-point bending test shows that for the Eco-Cell panel, failure occurs at significantly larger force than it does currently for the plastic core composite panel.
Replacing the current 6.5 mm plastic core composite panel with 7.5 mm Eco-Cell and replacing standard stiffeners with the new lightweight stiffeners is estimated to reduce weight of a 53-foot dry weight trailer by approximately 4oo pounds.
Another application for the Eco-Cell Sandwich panel is the rear swing door. The Eco-cell panel replaces currently used material without redesigning the trailer’s rear frame.
Such doors also will be easier to open and close than the composite door, thanks to greater stiffness and smaller mass.
Kentucky Trailer announced a number of improvements this year, including that dual-function mini-LED lights will be installed on all 2014 models, improving visibility and aiding safety concerns. The lights will have 50% more illumination than standard incandescent lights, a 50,000-hour life and draw less amperage.
A user-friendly exterior light replacement kit will also be available. Also improved is a nose box switch featuring a long-life LED light, which also reduces amperage draw. Additionally, a new top rail with an internal raceway will protect wires from damage and external elements.
The rear header lights and clearance lamps will also use the new dual-function mini-LED lights, offering an advanced notice of stops and turns to following traffic.
Resilient, hard-coated door hinges and side door pans will now contain an anodized finish. This will prevent seizing, increase product life, and protect against causes of corrosion including magnesium and calcium chloride. Painted door hinges and side door pans are also available to complement each trailer’s appearance.
Improved corner castings will enhance structural integrity on all 2014 models, providing water penetration protection and impact resistance.
Mac Trailer introduced the new Macsimizer with a radius bulkhead with a low-profile front end. It has a lower center of gravity, providing a 7-inch-lower front end and a 6-inch-lower back end, with 31 inches less flat space on the bulkhead compared to the standard flat bulkhead.
The Macsimizer’s smooth-side walls create less drag resistance, which in turn boosts fuel economy. Air fairings maximize aerodynamics and increased fuel mileage.
Mac Trailer also announced an improved design of the Mac multi-axle moving floor trailer for Canada. Due to the harsh rigors that transfer trailers endure in the waste environment, the Mac Mover has been designed and built using a full-length fabricated aluminum I-beam frame with a stiffener plate on top to help prevent twisting and racking.
Mac also added strength to the floor by using all heavy-duty 3/8-inch floor crossmembers.
Mac Trailer is now offering the Mac Step-Up retractable stairs as an optional safety feature available on new Mac flatbed trailers. The pull-out step system with four anti-skid steps offers safe and easy access to the deck.
The system is designed to fully retract into the rear of the trailer and is secured by a latching door. This design allows the floor to remain in place maintaining its integrity for rear loading applications.
Polar Corp. has acquired the assets of Beall Transport Equipment Co., the aftermarket parts and service division of Beall Corp.
BTEC has branches in Denver; Salt Lake City; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Kent, Wash.; and Billings, Mont. They will join the Polar Service Centers national network of parts and service locations. Branches in Portland, Phoenix and Billings will be integrated with existing facilities currently operated by Polar’s service, parts, and equipment business known as Polar Service Centers.
The company says the Beall locations align well with Polar Service Centers and its independent dealers, especially in the western United States.
Stoughton Trailers launched enhancements to its Tough Plate model. The Tough Plate offers an inside width of 101 inches and features a high base rail designed to better withstand forklift damage during poor loading and unloading practices.
The Tough Plate also comes with a lower tare weight compared to a standard Z-plate van, which will allow a higher volume of freight to be transported while still remaining under state-regulated weight limits.
The base rail in Stoughton’s Tough Plate has a total height of 20 1/2 inches and extends 15 1/8 inches above the floor. This rail design makes the Tough Plate Stoughton’s most durable plate design, and eliminates the need for additional inside scuff and the maintenance that is associated with it.
The Tough Plate addresses the need in the industry for customers that are seeking a maximum interior width but also want stronger wall design.