Ahead Of The Curve
25 March 2008
Expectations of specialized transport customers regarding their trailers fall into two general categories - specific application trailers and trailers with engineered versatility, according to Rick Farris, vice president of sales and marketing for Trail King Industries, based in Mitchell, SD.
“Some of our specialized hauling customers come to us looking for a trailer designed for a very specific application only,” Farris says. For example, Trail King's TK70EFX blade hauling trailer is engineered and manufactured to satisfy a very specific hauling application, to haul two wind turbine propeller blades at a time to various wind tower construction sites all over the country.
“But other specialized transport customers are more interested in a trailer with ‘engineered versatility’ built into its design,” Farris continues. “So even though they may start with a specific hauling application in mind, they want enough flexibility built into the design of the trailer so they can use it for other loads as well.”
Pan Western Transportation of North Las Vegas, NV, is a good illustration of this point. The company came to Trail King specifically looking for a trailer to haul HRSG Power Modules, weighing up to 550,000 pounds, to power generating plant construction sites.
What Pan Western ended up with was a Trail King TK550 Suspension Beam trailer that features adjustable suspension beams, hydraulically expandable axles, and a modular design capable of incorporating more axles, more dollies, and a deck. The result is a trailer that can be used to handle many different loads in many different hauling environments.
Butch Odegaard, national accounts manager at Trail King, says there's another aspect to the specialized transport market. “In addition to the demand for low deck heights to accommodate taller loads, and dual lane loading capability to legally transport increasingly heavier loads, trailer maneuverability is an increasingly important consideration for our specialized hauling customers,” he says.
To address this need, Trail King engineers incorporate any of a number of special features into each specialized trailer design. Hydraulic hatboxes might be added to raise or lower the load to get over or under whatever might stand in the path of the load. To accommodate uneven terrain, special self-leveling features might be required to keep the load level during transport. And steering dollies, that can be either self-steering or steered via remote control, help the drivers maneuver the load quickly, efficiently and profitably.
“Facilitating quick in and out at the jobsite is really what we're all about,” says Moe Truman, operations manager at Pan Western. “With our Trail King TK550, we can get to the jobsite quickly and maneuver quickly and easily once we're there. So what once took three days to move now only takes us one day. The customer was ecstatic that we could meet the construction deadlines and stay within budget.”act