There are three major developments at Wabash National for the new model year. The first is a new trailer line called the Signature Series, aimed at individual equipment owners for whom appearance is particularly important. The initial Signature Series trailer will be a dry van unit utilizing the company's DuraPlate technology. The trailers will have a distinctive appearance and feature premium components, including a new version of the Wabash ABS modular brake system and new Smart Trailer features.
Smart Trailer technology from Wabash will put electronics intelligence on the trailer for the first time, the manufacturer reports. Electronic chips incorporated into the trailer will enable owners to determine the health of the trailers as well as components such as the ABS system. Current features include an automatic backup alarm and backup lights. In addition, the company will be developing other new Smart Trailer features, such as for monitoring temperature on the wheel ends and tracking trailer mileage.
Lastly, Wabash is introducing a new optimum-performance coating system that will be applied to its entire line of dump and platform trailers. Called ElectroShield, the two-coat process makes use of e-coat technology, which involves dipping trailers into electrostatically charged paints. According to the manufacturer, the system offers excellent resistance to corrosion, chipping, and fading.
Unveiled last month at the International Trucking Show in Las Vegas, Utility's 3000R reefer unit is said to be typically 800 lb. lighter than comparably equipped refrigerated trailers. Added cube and greater payload capacity contribute to bottom line profits, as do the unit's built-in strength and durability, the company says, which mean less downtime and maintenance. The 3000R also boasts the industry's highest rated standard floor at 16,000-lb. capacity. Dockboard guide plates and Utility's own full-length hardwood floor fillers are standard equipment.
Thermal efficiency of the 3000R is achieved through Utility's exclusive foam-in-place insulation process. The state-of-the-art, high-pressure injection process produces a highly efficient foam envelope, the manufacturer reports. Benefits to fleets include fuel savings, lower operating costs, and superior load protection for greater overall productivity.
To deliver lower life cycle costs and the highest residual value, Utility has made many optional features standard equipment on the 3000R, including an "ultra" high-tensioned aluminum roof skin, LED lights in the top rail, and exterior-mounted nose box.
With its new prototype aluminum-steel dump trailer, Ravens has reversed the traditional "combo" trailer to create a frame-type dump that has a steel body and aluminum frame. The new dump combines Ravens expertise in lightweight construction with its new steel trailer business, acquired from Galbreath in April 1999. The trailer uses the same aluminum frame found in the company's all-aluminum frame-type dump trailer, paired with the AR400 steel tub. The premise is to lower weight while providing the ruggedness of a steel tub for fleet customers who haul heavy and abrasive materials in applications such as construction, demolition and refuse. The prototype trailer made its debut in May at the North American Truck Show in Boston.
East has recently made some design enhancements to its line, including an improved upper coupler and saddle assembly on its frameless dump trailers, which provides greater trailer control, better handling, and reduced tare weight. Also new from East are replaceable rubber dock blocks on the bumpers of its tipping platform trailers. For the company's full line of platform trailers, a new crush-resistant floor package, called the CLP (Concentrated Load Package), is also available.
The newest trailer from East, introduced last fall, is a 39-ft., 9,700-lb. frameless aluminum square-bottom dump trailer. The square-bottom design adds more cubic capacity for larger loads, the company says, and the trailer's low center of gravity offers added legal payload as well as more stable dumping.
Specialization is the name of the game at HPA Monon. The trailer maker focuses exclusively on dry freight vans. The evolution of this product line has resulted in a complete line of plate trailers, intermodal vans, pup trailers and postal vans, in addition to the general purpose dry freight units. According to HPA Monon, future plans include the development of vans that are lighter in weight, yet made of more durable materials. In its efforts to support the trend toward specialization among shippers and carriers, the company will continue its focus on niche markets for dry freight vans. Consequently, HPA Monon seesits future as relying heavily on having the flexibility to manufacture complex trailers in high volume. HPA Monon also makes a full complement of chassis for domestic and ISO containers, as well as converter dollies.
After spinning off its chassis division, Strick has emerged as a company fully dedicated to manufacturing semi-trailer vans (dry and insulated). The newest member of the Strick trailer family is a patented composite van designed for carriers requiring trailers with extra cube and no plywood lining (food haulers, for example). The composite features an integral scuff at both bottom and top rail, providing extra protection against sidewall and roof damage. Vertical logistics bars can be integrated into the interior of the trailer to accommodate shoring, strapping and double-decking applications.
In terms of industry trends, Strick cites the prevalence of just-in-time delivery, which is turning trailers into mobile warehouses; a greater emphasis on trailer productivity, including more requests for double-decking; and an increase in spec'ing air-ride suspension for trailers, matching the more driver-friendly tractor air-rides.
Hyundai Precision America manufactures a complete line of trailers, including sheet-and-post dry vans; sheet-and-post refrigerated vans; 28-ft. doubles; and plate side high cube vans. Aluminum dry vans are offered in 48- and 53-ft. lengths. The reefers are manufactured using an innovative foaming method, and also feature the patented Hyundai Accordion Roof. Standard on the reefers is a thermal barrier on the interior of the rear frame; the front is also cut and braced for a large refrigeration unit.