A truck trailer manufacturer has
developed a new model that will hold metal coils weighing up to
17 tons, keep the product completely dry and allow it to be
unloaded inside a facility without the driver having to do much
more than open the rear door.
Wabash National Corp., a
Lafayette, Ind.-based truck trailer manufacturer, has
introduced the DuraPlate XD-35 trailer to the broader market
after Nussbaum Transportation of Normal, Ill., spent a year
testing it and found it to be a cost-effective solution for
customers with special handling needs.
The XD-35, which has the
capacity to carry a 35,000-pound coil or multiple smaller coils
strapped down to D-rings recessed in its floor, evolved from a
previous model that could handle 28,000-pound loads, according
to Wabash Nationals new-business development director,
Although the new model is still
produced from the same high-strength steel, aluminum and
composites as the previous model, the construction of the new
model was altered to allow for heavier loads. Its
the way we construct the floor and the cross-members attached
to the trailer that allow us to offer a 35,000-pound
rating, Lane said.
Wabash National actually tested
the trailer up to 45,000 pounds, which means shippers or
receivers can drive a forklift directly onto the trailer to
load or unload coils, he said. These were tested for over
a year, and we have had no issues or complaints about floors
withstanding the weight. It takes semitrailer hauling to a new
Brent Nussbaum, the
carriers chief executive officer, said he asked Wabash
National to design a trailer that would help his company better
serve Electrolux U.S.A.s manufacturing plant in St.
Cloud, Minn. For a little over a year now, we have been
handling inbound steel coils for Electrolux (using the
DuraPlate XD-35). We haul large coils that typically would have
been hauled on flatbed equipment, he said.
With flatbed trailers, the load
would have to be tarped and the trailers backed up inside; the
driver then had to untarp and unload, taking time away from the
plants loaders and tying up docks.
Additionally, coils carried on
flatbed trailers would frequently rust after absorbing
moisture, even when covered, and Electrolux would reject the
material, Nussbaum said. The new trailer allows us to
keep the product totally dry from the (mill) pick-up to the
(plant). With this trailer, we back into a regular freight dock
and use forklifts to take the coil off, he said. In
a years time, we have had not a single issue with
moisture. And when our driver is done unloading the coils, he
pulls around to the other side of the plant and loads the truck
with finished products. Appliances are shipped out and there is
no deadheading (empty loads).
Nussbaum said the new trailer
allows both the carrier and customer to save time and money
while making service more reliable. Electrolux had all
these coils coming in but the cost of flatbed (hauling) was
inconsistent because it went with the market. And you had (coil
carriers) deadheading out of plant and dry van carriers
deadheading into the plant. The dry van cost (was also)
inconsistent, he said.
Nussbaum said he has asked how
much money has been saved by using the new trailer, and
although the company is not sharing those numbers,
Electrolux is thrilled to death with these trailers. (Their
use) keeps inbound raw material (freight) cost consistent as
well as outbound finished (freight) costs.
The success of the trailer was a
long process that ended exceedingly well, Nussbaum said.
We came to Wabash about two years ago. Product design,
development, testing and certification took nearly one year. We
started to use (the DuraPlate XD-35) in October 2010. We spent
a year working out any bugs to make sure the trailer performed
as advertised. It has worked flawlessly.
Nussbaum Transportation now owns
25 of the new trailers, all for the Electrolux business, but
could purchase more if it signs up a dedicated customer with
regular freight runs.
If you saw a DuraPlate
trailer going down the highway, it looks no different,
Nussbaum said. But if you crawl underneath, you see the
undercarriage was built to withstand more weight. The floor
rating on it is 40 to 50 percent higher than on a regular
Once at the delivery site,
you can have a heavy forklift enter the trailer.
Its much quicker-loading. With a flatbed, you need a
craneÑwhich is also fastÑbut by the time a driver
gets the truck inside, removes all the straps and tarps, and
retarps it on the way out, that takes up time and space inside
Although Nussbaum Transportation
is the first customer for the XD-35, the new trailer will roll
out to other carriers throughout North America, and the total
cost is going to be less expensive than a flatbed,
Firms, have told AMM
they have experienced a shortage of flatbed trailers and
flatbed drivers since the recession, and have seen costs rise
as a result.