2014 Trailer Update

Our annual roundup of the latest from trailer and reefer makers.

July 2014, - Feature

by Denise Rondini, Aftermarket Contributing Editor - Also by this author

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Trailer manufacturers have developed new products, made modifications to existing products, announced partnerships, and expanded production capabilities. Here is a sampling of what they have been doing:

American Carrier Equipment

A new western belly-dump trailer 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.

It’s made of ultra-high-tensile-strength steel, and comes standard with fuel-saving wide-base single tires and lightweight aluminum wheels.

The vehicle’s design, materials, and construction make it the lightest all-steel bottom-dump trailer available anywhere, the company claims. At 9,680 pounds, its tare weight rivals aluminum and steel-and-aluminum trailers.

Engineers used finite element analysis (FEA) to simulate a variety of dynamic stresses, from extreme heavy-haul loads to punishing off-road conditions and accelerated aging. Front and rear structural members are tapered because FEA showed that this alleviates stress points throughout the trailer, creating a stronger framework and a lighter vehicle in the process.

Towing properties have been enhanced by use of a fully oscillating kingpin. Unlike the sleeve-type designs used in some trailer kingpins, the ACE bottom dump kingpin functions as a solid, finished bearing, helping to absorb and disperse the lateral stresses exerted on the trailer through pull and brake torque.

Beall Trailers

Beall Trailers recently began manufacturing its 406 petroleum and dry tank trailer models at Walker Group manufacturing facilities in Fond du Lac and New Lisbon, Wis., in addition to its Portland, Ore., location. The expanded manufacturing makes it easier and less costly for customers throughout the Midwest and East Coast to own Beall trailers, the company says.

Brenner Tank

Brenner Tank, a division of Wabash National Corp., has expanded production to Wabash National’s facilities in Lafayette, Ind. The company says the move will give customers greater access to its tank trailer products.

The company said expanding technology, manufacturing processes and expertise will help accelerate growth and increase customer access in key tank markets.

Brenner Tank has an extensive line of aluminum and stainless steel tank trailers to meet a wide variety of needs in the chemical and petroleum markets. The Lafayette operation will expand its activities into aluminum, carbon steel, and FRP tank trailers, and will produce and expand Wabash National’s truck-mounted equipment offering.

Carrier Transicold

Carrier Transicold’s Tru-Tech and Tru-View computer applications allow for custom settings of transport refrigeration units and operations analysis.
Tru-Tech software manages data, sets operating parameters, and diagnoses malfunctions. Tru-Tech comes with Tru-View refrigeration data analysis software, which provides insight into system performance.

Tru-View also is available as a stand-alone application for data analysis, without the unit set-up and diagnostic capabilities of Tru-Tech.

Compatible with the latest Windows operating systems, the new programs are designed for use with Carrier Transicold’s Vector, X4, X2, and X-Series trailer units, as well as Supra truck units.

Tru-Tech software’s intuitive screen layout makes it easy to create error-free IntelliSet commodity profiles, the company says. IntelliSet profiles, which are used with Carrier Transicold APX and Advance controls, direct the unit’s microprocessor to automatically adjust operating parameters for a particular load when the driver selects a commodity or customer name from a list on the control display. Fleets can use IntelliSet profiles to help maintain the best balance between temperature control and fuel economy.

Tru-Tech software also can be used by technicians to monitor system parameters, such as sensor inputs and other data that may be downloaded for tracking, performance evaluation, record keeping, or analytics. The Tru-View component can generate graphic reports, showing specific system performance over time, and data can be exported into Excel spreadsheets or PDFs for easy sharing.

The company also introduced its multi-temperature Vector 8500 and 8600MT trailer refrigeration units. They are diesel-electric “hybrids” and use no drive belts.

The Vector platform’s signature E-Drive all-electric refrigeration means cooling and heating operations are 100% electric, powered over the road by an on-board generator driven by the unit’s diesel engine. Electric standby capability is built-in, allowing haulers to plug into electric outlets to run the system when parked. Operation is quiet and emissions-free, costs up to 70% less than diesel operations, and conserves fuel for the highway.

The Vector 8500 uses the first fully hermetic electric scroll compressor in a North American trailer refrigeration unit, Carrier claims. Proven efficient and reliable in marine container systems, the scroll compressor has 70% fewer moving parts and is 200 pounds lighter than a traditional reciprocating compressor.

Both units incorporate Carrier Transicold’s ecoForward components, including a 2.2-liter diesel that has been made smarter with sensors and an electronic control module that communicates with Carrier’s APX control system. The engine meets the U.S. EPA’s Tier 4 emissions requirements.

The Vector 8600MT allows adding one or two “smart” remote evaporators to the unit’s host system, supporting up to three refrigerated compartments within a trailer, each maintained at a different temperature set point by electronically controlled evaporators. They automatically adjust to varying conditions to ensure optimized cooling and efficient fuel use, Carrier said.

A Vector 8600MT uses up to 20% less engine power while providing up to 4% higher cooling capacity at 60,000 Btu at 35 degrees and 24,000 Btu at -20 degrees.

East Manufacturing

East Manufacturing launched a new aluminum drop-deck beavertail trailer with a level deck ramp system for robust heavy-duty applications. It offers a structural load rating of 80,000 and 60,000 pounds in a 10-foot area. The beavertail allows easy loading over the trailer’s rear and otherwise performs like East’s aluminum drop-deck trailer.

The company says the strength of the drop deck trailer is the dual-T extruded main beam and exclusive crossmember design, which increases durability and balances load stress evenly for long life and low maintenance. The T-beams are of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy and are welded, not bolted. Seamless tubed crossmembers are more twist resistant in a turn than conventional C-shaped and I-beam cross members, the company says.

The trailer is rated at 23,000-pounds per axle. The ramp section folds up to become part of the usable deck surface, and decks are available in all aluminum or wood. The trailer comes standard with a Hendrickson HT250US air-ride suspension. East also offers load scales for accurate weighing of payload when it’s put aboard. Hendrickson’s Tiremaax Pro automatic tire inflation system is an option. Alcoa 17.5-inch aluminum wheels are standard, as is Jost International’s AX150 Alumilight Series landing gear.

The beavertail’s hollow-core side rail design, Securelight, provides a conduit for wiring to be fully enclosed, and is standard with LED PC-rated surface-mounted lights. The fully sealed rear panel is said to be water-resistant. Recessed grooves protect conspicuity tape and rubber dock blocks, and a heavy-wall bumper provides added protection.

East also introduced an all-aluminum flatbed trailer with a narrow-neck design. The company combined its new flatbed with Sliding Systems’ aluminum Curtainside unit, resulting in one of the lightest weight trailers in the industry, East said.

The van configuration of the flatbed has a 106-inch clear height and a 101-inch inside load width. It also accommodates up to 50,000 pounds concentrated load in 4 feet on a 48-foot-long spread-axle trailer.
The trailer features high-tensile aluminum, and main T-beams and structural cross members use 6061-T6 aluminum. Curtains are constructed with a 26.5-inch PVC-coated polyester fabric that is horizontally and vertically reinforced with webbing for added strength.

Fontaine Trailer

Fontaine announced an all-aluminum flatbed trailer with independently sliding front and rear axles. The Revolution SuperiorSide can be configured as a closed tandem set at the rear, a closed tandem set at the front, a full 10-foot spread axle, and any combination in between.

The company says its dealers were the inspiration for the product, as they heard from fleets that some states were enforcing kingpin-to-axle regulations and drivers needed a way to stay in compliance. They can with the sliding axles.

The trailer features a unitized floor design that the company says eliminates racking and twisting, so tire scrub typically seen in spread-axle applications is reduced. The trailer is said to deliver bigger payloads with lower tire and fuel costs.

Fontaine also launched two dropdeck trailers that comply with regulations in all 50 states and Canada. The Revolution Rear Slide Dropdeck features all-aluminum construction, while the Infinity version features steel main beams, steel crossmembers, and aluminum flooring. Both trailers include the company’s Routed Aluminum Side Rail.

The 53-foot total length for both trailers is made up of an 11-foot upper deck and 43-foot lower deck. This geometry combined with a rear slide-axle gives versatility to stay legal as the vehicle travels from state to state and throughout Canada.

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