Trailer maker Don-Bur has announced it has manufactured a Lifting Deck tri-axle trailer design with an expanding roof for a well-known parcel company.
The new product provides 7.8 per cent more headroom on the lower deck during loading, says the company, but keeps overall height to 4.5m when in transit to avoid low bridge restrictions and retain an optimum aerodynamic profile. It is expected to result in a five per cent fuel saving.
According to Don-Bur, the Lifting Deck trailer it invented in the late 1980s continues to rise in popularity, due to high payload volume and rapid turnaround at the bay without additional specialist bay equipment.
“The simple premise is a secondary deck that, when loaded in its lowered position to suit bay height, then raises via hydraulics to a second height allowing another full payload to be loaded underneath it,” said the company.
“However, straight-frame Lifting Decks in particular have their aperture heights limited between the height of the fifth wheel and overall height, and this restriction can cause challenges with head height for loading operatives.
“The new expanding roof overcomes this by allowing the loaded second deck to raise much higher than normal during lower deck loading. After loading and before transit, the roof and deck lower again to a position where gaps over the load are minimal.”
Aerodynamically, the force of drag is directly proportional to the frontal area of the trailer, says Don-Bur; therefore, the ability to keep the roof 350mm lower than a full height double deck reduces drag force by an estimated 661 Newtons at 56 mph. Based on relevant case studies, this 15.5 per cent reduction in drag is expected to realise a five per cent fuel saving, says the firm.
Among the design elements it highlights is the roof attachment system.
“During part of the loading operation, the second deck has to move up and down freely and independently of the roof; however, as the deck over-extends upwards to generate more head height, so too does the roof to prevent the upper load being crushed,” said the company.
“Not only that, but the roof then has to forcibly clamp back down onto the body structure, to ensure the correct lower height and prevent water ingress. Don-Bur has developed and innovative solution to this challenge and, for this reason, has applied for patent.”
The new trailer design won’t suit every operator with high, indivisible payloads, concedes Don-Bur, where a step-frame design may be more applicable – but will be particularly useful for businesses that operate with lower cage heights/pallets or loose loads.
It could also be applied to companies that switch between operation in Northern Ireland (where a 4,650mm overall height restriction applies) and the UK mainland, the latter having a 250mm potential height benefit equivalent to an 8.6m³ volume increase.
David Burton, chairman at Don-Bur, commented: “This development was in response to a customer need as many of our innovations are. We were very proud to deliver a unique, simple and robust mechanism that gives the client greater flexibility, improved safety, enhanced aerodynamics and optimum value.”