THE SECOND place award at Trailer 2001 in Kortrijk, Belgium, went to Composittrailer, manufacturer of an all-FRP trailer. Even the door hinges, spring hangers, and upper coupler are built up of fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
The winning entry is an open-top van with a movable cargo floor. Composittrailer purchased the hydraulic underfloor equipment from Cargo Floor, but supplied its own reciprocating floor planks using FRP pultrusions.
The only steel parts in the trailer are the hydraulic drive unit for the floor, the suspension spring arms for the air bags, landing gear legs, kingpin, and the door locks. Even the hinge pins for the FRP hinges are of fiberglass. Jan Verhaege, CEO of Composittrailer, says the reason is the weight advantage. He says the all-FRP design saves almost three metric tonnes (6,600 lb).
Weight of the 93 m3 (3,300 cu ft) bulk trailer with moving floor is 5900 kg (13,000 lb). Verhaege says the cost is 15% to 20% more than the cost of a comparable aluminum trailer with moving floor.
The open-top trailer has been tested for two years hauling wood chips, potatoes, peat soil, and such bulk commodities. Even more extensive testing was performed on an all-FRP platform trailer loaded with logs. Videos of the test track show huge frame deflections but no fractures when rolling over obstacles such as Belgian blocks.
The Composittrailer bulk hauler is built to the maximum European dimensions: 13.6 m (44.6 ft) long, 2550 mm (100.4") wide, and 4050 mm (159.4") high (13'3½"). The sidewalls and front wall are thermally insulated 30mm (1.18") thick. Inside height is 2725 mm (107"). The 5900 kg (13,000 lb) tare weight includes seven tires size 385/65 R 22.5, aluminum wheels, air suspension, disc brakes, FRP nose ladder and platform, side rollover canvas tarp, and moving headboard.
Composittrailer is a new company, a sister company to Stevens Carrosserie NV. Stevens, a 130-year-old company, was taken over in 1993 by Jan Verhaeghe and Patricia Claeys. The Stevens group continues to develop new trailer designs, including an FRP container chassis and a smaller FRP trailer that does not require a truck driver license.
Composittrailer, Wolfsakker 2, 9160 Lokeren, Belgium.