Amid continued gloomy news about the economic slowdown and the loss of jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, there are two bits of information that are encouraging for the trailer segment of the road and bridge construction industry. First, reductions in interest rates by the Federal Reserve Board should spur economic growth, though the cuts will take some time to be felt.
Second, highway and bridge construction climbed 12% in July, compared with June, according to the F.W. Dodge Division of the McGrawHill Companies, New York.
"Right now for most trailer manufacturers it’s a fairly soft market," said Mark Kulyk, president of Rogers Brothers Corp., Albion, Pa. Rogers’ trailer sales are down "quite a bit" from last year, Kulyk told Roads & Bridges, largely due to high fuel costs and last year’s interest rate increases.
The Federal Reserve Board jacked up interest rates in 2000. By the end of the year, they were easing off, but it was too late for the spring buying season, when most contractors purchase the trailers they think they will need for the year’s construction activities. On the other hand, the effect of the rate cuts might kick in at the right time for spring 2002.
"We’re going to look at a better season than this year. I’m almost positive of that," Kulyk commented about next spring. "I think there is some pent-up demand out there. I think that we just missed it, like lawnmowers in the fall."
What follows is a brief overview of new products on the trailer market.
Contractors who want to haul one of the dozers featured elsewhere in this issue or one of the excavators featured last month can look into the new 55-ton Specialized trailer from Rogers Brothers. The trailer features 110-in. swing clearance, a 25-ft x 8-ft 6-in. deck, removable side brackets, three air-ride axles with an air lift, a 10-ft 1-in. booster assembly with multiposition camber plates and a detachable axle.
The dropside deck also features sloped ramps ahead of tires and trunnions to facilitate the loading of an even wider range of equipment. The notched crossmembers in the rear of the frame let an excavator boom nestle down for even greater overhead clearance.
The Red River live-bottom trailers from Trail King Industries Inc., Mitchell, S.D., can handle a wide variety of materials, including hot-mix asphalt, sand, gravel, millings, low-slump concrete and aggregate.
The trailers’ design minimizes segregation within the load. The walls are sloped at 60? to enable clean and even discharge of materials horizontally through the rear gate by a multiply rubber belt.
The latest trailer from Trail-Eze Trailers, Mitchell, S.D., slides the axle out of the way so it can provide a lower loading angle of 7?. The TE sliding axle tilt trailer has a load capacity of 70,000 lb distributed and 40,000 lb concentrated in 10 ft.
The trailer has an overall length between 42 ft and 53 ft with a spread axle of 49 in. and a width of 8 ft 6 in.
Wide open spaces
Load King, Elk Point, S.D., recently introduced a new model of the 20-yd standard hauler. The model 2066 three-axle has a capacity of 20 cu yd, an overall length of 40 ft, a rated net payload of 60,000 lb and a lower hopper opening 8 ft 10 in. x 5 ft 4 in. The large gate opening facilitates quick dumping.
Tail gear down
The rear load angle on the Easy-Tail series trailers from Harley Murray Inc., Stockton, Calif., is only 14.5û with the flip-tail extended. The flip-tail is 7 ft long and air-operated. It can be raised for dock loading. For travel, it is supported by air springs and locks with pins at ride height. With all "T-1" construction, 17.5-in. wheels and a wood deck, this 102-in.-wide trailer’s GVWR is 78,800 lb.
Dumping over a new hinge
The redesigned tub hinges of the side-dump trailers from SmithCo Manufacturing, Le Mars, Iowa, feature a spherical bearing. The hinge lock is held in place with a new spring-loaded pin for ease of operation. The handles on the hinge locks are tipped with a red rubber grip that allows the driver to check the rear-view mirrors and see whether the truck is set up to dump to the left or to the right.