The EuroCombi is coming

Feb. 1, 2007
HOW CAN existing truck sizes and configurations handle the 20% increase in freight traffic expected in the next 10 years in Europe? The only way is to

HOW CAN existing truck sizes and configurations handle the 20% increase in freight traffic expected in the next 10 years in Europe? The only way is to use the existing road structure more efficiently by running larger trucks. That was the solution proposed by truck and truck trailer manufacturers assembled at the 61st IAA commercial vehicle show held in Hanover, Germany in September 2006.

More efficiency means each vehicle must haul more. Manufacturers presented several different versions of the truck of the future (the near future) for European highways. Each would increase the transport volume by 50 percent per vehicle, while at the same time reducing fuel consumption and emissions by up to 15% per ton transported.

The volume-oriented EuroCombi proposed would consist of a standard (in Europe) two-axle tractor towing a standard three-axle semitrailer of 13.62 meters (44.7 feet) in length plus a standard center-axle, two-axle pup trailer 7.82 meters (25.66 feet) long. Total length of this combination would be 25.25 meters (82.8 feet), which is the maximum length that member states of the European Union can extend the total length of truck combinations. The total weight allowed for this volume-oriented EuroCombi would be 48 metric tonnes (105,600 lb) on seven axles.

The weight-oriented variation of the EuroCombi would use a three-axle truck including two driven axles (twin-screw) carrying a fixed body or swap body up to 7.82 m (25.66 feet) in length and towing a three-axle semitrailer equipped with two-axle converter dolly (thus a five-axle full trailer) of 13.62 m (44.7 feet) in length. This variation has the same 25.25 m (82.8 feet) overall length, but gross combination weight would be increased to 60 tonnes (132,000 lb).

Both of these variants would use standard-size semitrailers, center-axle trailers and fixed bodies or intermodal bodies currently in production. The only new hardware required would be the two-axle converter dolly, and it might be required to have force steering to comply with turning circle requirements.

Highways at capacity

Vehicles such as the EuroCombi are needed because many trunk roads are already at the limit of their capacity due to structural bottlenecks. But the EU Commission is predicting that the truck share of the goods traffic market in Europe will increase from the present 70% to as much as 75% in the next 1½ years.

“The truck, like hardly any other transport medium, will be the pivot of the logistics business in the future too,” said Prof Dr Bernd Gottschalk, president of the German association of the automotive industry (VDA) at a press conference introducing the EuroCombi concept vehicles.

“The necessary improvement of the road infrastructure can still not be expected in the short term,” Gottschalk warned. “There is a gap of some two billion euros ($2.6 billion) every year in Germany alone for highway maintenance and improvements. That is why the existing infrastructure must be used even more efficiently in the future.”

The committee of truck and trailer manufacturers that came up with the new vehicle concepts were guided by these criteria, Gottschalk said:

  1. New proposed truck combinations must be compatible with intermodal transport. Lengths of individual modules must be oriented to the dimensions that are admissible today.

  2. They must not impede the flow of traffic on the roads.

  3. Greater burdens on existing roads and bridges should be ruled out. Thanks to lower axle weights, the proposed truck-trailer combinations do not place any higher burden on the roads than today's combinations.

  4. The turning circle requirements must be met. Germany's BO-Kraftkreis regulation requires negotiating a continuous turn where the radius of the inner circle is 5.3 m (17.4 feet) and the outer circle radius is 12.5 m (41 feet).

  5. Road safety should be strengthened by new concepts, but safety must be at least as good as it is today.

  6. Investments by the transport industry must be limited to a minimum, and they should pay their own way.

  7. New concepts must be discussed in dialogue with other road users and receive broad-based social acceptance.

The new EuroCombi satisfies these criteria and brings both ecological and economic advantages, Gottschalk said. However, the development of these concept vehicles should be understood as an offer by the automotive industry to join in a broad-based dialogue between all involved on the possibilities, framework conditions, and prerequisites for introducing longer and heavier commercial vehicles for long-haul traffic.

“We do not call from the start for general introduction of a maximum concept with up to 60 tonnes, but instead want to show efficient solutions within the scope of what is technically feasible and discuss these with all involved in freight transport,” Gottschalk said.

Bigger trucks reduce density

Size does matter, said Andreas Renschler, a member of the board of management of DaimlerChrysler and the chairman of the VDA working group that developed the new concept vehicles. “Transport operations carrying larger volumes can reduce traffic density. The German Transport Route Plan assumes a growth in transport of 64% up to the year 2015, and the railways alone will not be able to cope with this.”

Vehicle combinations with an admissible total weight of 60 tonnes (132,000 lb) and length of 25.25 meters (82.85 feet) are already in use in Scandinavian countries, such as Sweden and Finland, and this system is being adopted in Denmark. A broad-based trial in the Netherlands is now underway involving over 100 vehicles.

The new EuroCombi vehicles must be equipped with the latest safety devices. “We know from field trials involving over 100 million test kilometers that 50% fewer accidents with vehicles could be realized with our current safety package”, said Renschler. “Every second accident can be avoided using technology now available, and if an accident does occur, the amount of loss is reduced by 90%.”

EuroCombi trucks are equipped with modern driver assistance systems, such as electronic braking systems (EBS), and antilock brakes (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR) and brake assistance systems (BAS), as well as lane assistance and radar-based distance control systems that are not yet common on most trucks. The increased number of axles and powerful brakes ensure that the EuroCombi braking ability is at least as good as that of today's modern truck-trailer combinations.

Reducing truck accidents

The European Union wants to halve the number of road deaths by the year 2010, Renschler said. The number of fatalities in road accidents involving trucks in Europe has already been cut by a quarter in the 12-year period from 1992 to 2004. At the same time, traffic density increased substantially and will continue to rise. The EU forecasts an increase of about 75% in traffic density by the year 2030.

The most frequent accidents, Renschler said, are rear-end collisions and running off the road. Both of these can be reduced distinctly by today's brake-assist systems and lane assistance. In order to increase the rate of adoption further, incentive systems are needed. A truck is a capital investment, and buyers will accept a higher purchase price only if it is worthwhile, so support from the government and the insurance trade is necessary to increase applications.

The maximum permissible weight on roads in most countries of Europe is currently 40 metric tonnes (88,000 lb), so an increase to 48 tonnes (105,600 lb) would be a 20% increase. An increase to 60 tonnes (132,000 lb) would be a 50% increase. The total combination length of 25.25 meters (82.8 feet) for the EuroCombi is a 35% increase from the current 18.75 m (61.5 feet) length for most five-axle combinations.

Five prize-winning trailer innovations at IAA


INSTEAD of awarding a single “trailer of the year” award at the IAA commercial truck show in Hanover, five individual manufacturers are picked out for the best innovations in five separate areas: total trailer concept, chassis, bodywork, components, and safety. It is a more broad-based award system, but it presents a daunting challenge to the judges.

Besides analyzing the paperwork of each submitted entry, many of the companies were visited in person by a judge to properly analyze the engineering concepts and see the practicality of the innovation. Then all 63 entries were pictured and written up in a 24-page color publication that was distributed at the award ceremony. Here are the five winners of the individual categories:

Steering angle correction mechanism

Winner of the top award in the trailer concept category is the Steering Correction Mechanism (SCM) by Silvertip Design of Richmond in the UK. This steering angle correction linking the first and third axles of the combination results in an improved performance in complying with turning circle regulations. For example, with a standard length 18.75 meter (61.5 ft) combination, the trailer would track closer to the wheelpath of the tractor, so that the trailer would track in a seven meter (23 ft) inner circle instead of the 5.3 meter (17.4 ft) inner circle allowed in the regulation.

Sliding bogie container chassis

Schmitz Cargobull captured the top prize for trailer chassis innovation with its sliding bogie container chassis. The basic idea is to be able to position a heavy container, such as a 20-ft container weighing 25 tonnes (55,000 lb) in the center of a long wheelbase so that 25% of the tractor-trailer weight is on the driving axle. Then for loading and unloading, the container can be moved to the rear of the chassis for fork truck loading at the rear or backing to a loading dock.

Operation of the sliding system is simple, even for inexperienced drivers. After the 20-ft container is lowered onto the chassis, the driver selects the correct bogie position from one of three wheelbase positions. Then the air suspension of the S.CF rises automatically. After reaching the correct height for the sliding process, the brakes are applied automatically and the locking mechanism between the container frame and the axle bogie is released. The driver moves the tractor, thus pushing the container frame to the selected position as it slides over the bogie. When in place at the correct position, the locking mechanism closes automatically. The air suspension adjusts to driving height and the brakes are released, all automatically.

Besides 20-ft containers, the S.CF chassis can legally handle 30- and 40-ft containers, even 45-ft EC containers with long tunnel and sloping corners. Extensions of the chassis frame (mechanically extended at the front and pneumatically extended at the rear) permit legal transport without exemption certificate. Tare weight of the three-axle chassis is 5,740 kilograms (12,650 lb).

Schmitz Cargobull AG, Bahnhofstrasse 22, 48612 Horstmar, Germany.

Load bars can switch to other tracks

Load bars used to support second decking or to secure cargo inside trailers are much more versatile with a simple switching mechanism presented by Fahrzeugwerk Bernard Krone. The switch permits moving a load bar from a horizontal track in the sidewall to a vertical track and back to another horizontal track. It thereby allows load bars to be moved forward, rearward, up or down, all without removing the load beam from the locking track.

To prevent losing the load bars, they are often raised to the roof location for storage when not in use. By adding horizontal track to the vertical track, fewer load bars may be necessary to restrain cargo or roll carts. The switch between the vertical and horizontal tracks operates much like a railroad turntable switching rail cars between different tracks.

This simple device won for Krone the top prize in the Body Category of the IAA Trailer Innovation competition.

Fahrzeugwerk Bernard Krone GmbH, D-49757 Werlte, Germany.

Electronic trailer steering developed

Longer truck-trailer combinations such as the new EuroCombi may have problems staying within the European turning circle requirements. Mechanical linkages between the tractor fifthwheel and the trailer axles using cables or bars have been used for many years in Europe. However, they add weight, cost, and maintenance problems.

A new electronic trailer steering (ETS) system developed in Holland won the top prize for trailer components in the Trailer Innovation competition at the IAA in Hanover. It uses electronic sensing at the trailer kingpin, an ECU electronic control unit, and hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders at the trailer axle. These hydraulic cylinders provide both a steering and centering function. They are powered by an on-board power pack electric pump.

The manufacturer, VSE, has had some years experience with various European combinations, including telescoping frame semitrailers. The company even has a few customers in the USA and Canada, such as motor home manufacturers.

VSE, Generatorstraat 5, 3903 LH Veenendaal, The Netherlands.

Blind-side warning system

Winner of the Trailer Innovation 2007 first prize in the trailer safety category is the Lexguard system developed by Intertruck Benelux at Hoogvliet in The Netherlands. Lexguard puts eyes wherever the tractor mirrors can't reach. The trailer side warning sensor reaches out two meters (80") along the right side to warn of pedestrians, autos or obstacles. Sensors can be placed at the front bumper or rear of trailer to comply with European Union safety regulations. Since the warning signal travels by radio, no hard wiring is required between the tractor and trailer. Besides the IAA competition, Lexguard has already won several innovations awards in The Netherlands and Belgium.

Another record year in Germany

The economic news could not have been better for the running of the 61st IAA international commercial vehicle exhibition in Hanover. The German commercial vehicle industry was in the midst of an upswing for the fourth year in a row. The industry was heading for total registrations in Germany of 91,000 new heavy-duty trucks, and exports of 115,000. Production of heavy-duty trucks was heading for a new record of 172,000 units, a 2% increase.

Trailers with a gross vehicle weight over six metric tonnes (13,200 lb) were being produced at a rate 23% greater than in 2005. Manufacturers of trailers and containers were confident that 2006 would once again set sales records. These figures come from Prof. Bernd Gottschalk, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), sponsors of the IAA show.

“We are confident that the commercial vehicle business will continue to forge ahead in 2007, even though its pace may be slightly slower,” Gottschalk predicted, “unless, of course, the economy as a whole suffers a setback as a result of the VAT (value-added tax) increase.

Governments, however, are failing to do their job in supporting the industry with suitable road infrastructure, he said. In Germany alone, there has been a shortfall of more than two billion Euros ($2.6 billion) year after year for the expansion and maintenance of national highways. It is more than regrettable that the introduction of a truck toll system in Germany has not led to the necessary increase in investments.

“The income from tolls has either been used to replace former sources of government revenue, or it has been diverted to non-highway programs. In fact, half of all toll revenue has been used to finance other modes of transport. This completely contradicts the idea of having road users finance infrastructure — an idea that the truck toll was supposed to strengthen,” Gottschalk said.

The IAA show set some new records, also. A new record in the number of exhibitors was set — 1,556 exhibitors, a 14% increase. For the first time, more than half the exhibitors came from outside Germany. The list of 781 foreign exhibitors from 46 countries was headed by Italy, with 105 firms, and Turkey, with 79. The United States had 42 exhibitors.

More than 1,800 journalists from 50 countries were accredited to tour the show, including Paul Schenck, senior editor of Trailer/Body Builders magazine.

Fliegl gearing up trailer production

Fliegl is a relatively new name among the large European manufacturers of truck trailers. With headquarters in Triptis, about 60 miles south of Leipzig, the company emerged onto the international scene 17 years ago with the fall of the East German government. Now it has a brand new plant set up for large-scale production, as well as the older plant, which will continue to produce custom trailers. These plants in eastern Germany, and a subsidiary, Fliegl Kft in Hungary, employ some 450 workers, plus sales and service facilities in Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Spain.

As a first-time exhibitor inside the halls at the IAA in Hanover, Fliegl focused attention on its steel and aluminum tippers (dump trailers), platforms and curtainsiders, and container chassis. The company makes a full line of trailers, including lowbeds, coil transports, and refrigerated and dry freight trailers.

Pictured is a Fliegl 27 cubic meter (35-cu-yd) aluminum dump on a steel chassis. The 1500 mm (59") high sides are made of hollow extrusions 40 mm (1.6") thick. The floor is of 5 mm (.197") aluminum plate, and 7 mm (.276") at the rear. Riding on three axles and aluminum wheels, the dump trailer tare weight is 4,800 kilograms (10,560 lb).

Fliegl Fahrzeugbau GmbH, Oberpöllnitzer Strasse 8,D — 07819 Triptis, Germany.

D-Tec Container Trailers are Divisible

D-Tec is a Dutch trailer manufacturer that is making a name for itself with divisible chassis. The separable design permits the transport of larger loads, and makes it possible for both containers to back to the dock for loading. A five-axle CombiTrailer is divisible into a two-axle semitrailer and a three-axle drawbar trailer, each with its own 20-ft container. The CombiDolly also has a 20-ft container plus a fifthwheel.

D-Tec is heavily involved with the testing of longer combinations at Dutch container ports to speed up delivery of containers. Hauling companies are operating 20 D-Tec container trailers in The Netherlands with gross weights up to 60 tonnes (132,000 lb). All presently operating trailers have approval to continue working at the ports until 2008.

D-Tec ContainerTrailers BV, Nobelweg 3, 6669 MV Dodewaard, The Netherlands.

Trailer axle housing is air reservoir

The world's first trailer axle that stores compressed air in the axle tube and suspension housing — That's how DaimlerChrysler Trailer Axle Systems describes its newest innovative development in trailer axles. The fully functional prototype was presented at the IAA commercial vehicle exhibition in Hanover.

The new axle is a further development of the Daimler Weightmaster, an air-sprung axle known for the very sculptured form that incorporates both the axle beam and suspension arm. Since its introduction three years ago, it has gained a reputation for low weight and extended service life.

The new axle uses the entire axle tube and suspension arm as a compressed air reservoir with a volume of about 40 liters (10.5 gallons). For that purpose, it is equipped with air-supply nipples and drain valves. The reservoir is large enough to supply compressed air for both the brakes and the air suspension.

Known as the DCA Airmaster, the new axle carries the standard nine-tonne (19,845 lb) capacity rating used for truck trailers throughout Europe. Besides cutting vehicle weight by 30 to 40 kg (66 to 88 lb) compared to present aluminum or steel reservoirs, it will save on the space required for separate air reservoirs. Both the weight and space requirements under the trailer are particularly critical for tank trailers and other special-purpose trailers.

The Airmaster follows introduction of the Megamaster, for large-volume trailers having three meters (118") of internal height. The Megamaster can be equipped with either 22.5-inch brakes with large brake discs measuring 430 mm (17") in diameter or 19.5-inch wheels with brake discs measuring 370 mm (14.5").

DaimlerChrysler Trailer Axle Systems, HPC 563 A, Mercedesplatz 1, D-34127 Kassel, Germany.

Body and trailer terms in seven languages

The Trailer Lexikon is an 850-page book that translates into seven European languages (including Polish and Russian) the principal terms used by truck body builders and truck trailer manufacturers. The book might be useful to anyone needing to know that a königszapfen is German for kingpin or that coffano scambiabile is Italian for swap body. Americans will also benefit from the book's explanation of English terms used in England. For example, a skip tipper is a truck that picks up and dumps skips, or solid waste containers. When words fail, pictures of 224 different truck body and trailer types and components are referenced by number in the text.

The definitions and translations were gathered over many years by Theodore Beumer, who used them in his 100-year-old truck body and trailer shop in Germany. The second edition of the book was also enlarged through the help of many other sources. It is available from the printer, Trailer Verlag, Hans-Sachs-Strasse 16, D-59558 Lippstadt-Rixbeck, Germany. Information is also available from the company's website at

Krone emphasizes long-life trailers

Krone celebrated the company's 100th anniversary at the 2006 IAA in Hanover by emphasizing long life — both the life of the family-owned business founded 100 years ago by Bernard Krone's grandfather and the life of the equipment it builds today. The firm has grown from a local blacksmith to manufacturing truck trailers for customers throughout Europe and selling agricultural equipment throughout the world.

Growth has been especially rapid since the year 2000, going from 393 million euros that year to 980 million euros ($1¼ billion) in the 2005/2006 financial year. Dr Frank Albers, director of marketing, predicted that sales in the current 2006/2007 year will reach 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion). Much of the current growth is in the export market. Krone currently has 58% of its business in export markets outside Germany.

The trailer factory in Werlte in northwestern Germany has experienced even faster growth. Trailer sales have tripled since 2000, going from 201 million euros to 645 million euros in 2005/6 ($825 million). He predicted that trailer operations would bring in 740 million euros ($940 million) in the current year.

Units manufactured have mirrored that growth, going from 7,000 units in 2000 to 22,800 units in 2005/6 and 30,000 planned for the current 2006/7 year. In its 101st year, the trailer company will be building 101 units a day. Krone claims to be the market leader in the Baltic Sea countries. It claims #1 market position in swap bodies (road and rail containers), having built 10,714 of these units last year. Krone's market share in Germany has increased from 18.1% in the year 2000 to 27.1% currently.

Krone's long trailer life concept was introduced at the IAA in Hanover. It guarantees a maintenance-free trailer for 48 months, with the exception of tires. For the running gear, Krone guarantees maintenance freedom for four years without any limitation on kilometers run. This was made possible by further development work on the running gear in close cooperation with BPW. The same guarantee applies whether the wheels are fitted with disc or drum brakes. The long-life trailer relies on using LED lights that have a theoretical lifetime of 10,000 hours or 11.5 years.

The Krone 48-month maintenance-free guarantee applies only to new 2007 and later trailers registered to their first owners. It will be valid only with a plugged-in, functional electronic braking system (EBS). In case of a complaint, the complete EBS data records must be transferred electronically to Krone. The long-life guarantee will be granted in the 25 European Union states plus Norway, Switzerland and Croatia. The long-life equipment on the trailer is sold at a fixed surcharge of 1,499 euros ($1,900) regardless of whether the trailer is equipped with disc or drum brakes.

Fahrzeugwerk Bernard Krone GmbH, Bernard-Krone Strasse 1, D-49757 Werlte, Germany.

Kögel shows two new semitrailer brands

Truck trailer manufacturer Kögel presented two new eye-opening trailers at the IAA commercial vehicle show in Hanover. One is presently available (at an “unbeatable” low price) and the other is for the future — an experimental vehicle with an unbeatable light weight, but at an as yet undetermined price. The new trailers are so different that they carry new brand names — the Foxx and the Phoenixx. They take their places beside Kögel's main brand, the Maxx, which also has been undergoing major changes over the past two or three years.

“The innovational dynamic process has accelerated so much in the last 26 months that we have been able to present, on average, a new product development every month,” said Alexander Tietje, chairman of the management board at Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH in Burtenbach, Germany. “All vehicles are now based on a common modular construction system. For us, this modular system is the key to a lean manufacturing process, competitive production costs, high quality levels and functionality, as well as a sustained and reliable supply of spare parts.”

26 innovations in 26 months

Starting in 2005, Tietje said the company came out with its new light product range — extremely light semitrailers with a tare weight under five tonnes (11,000 lb). Then came the 14.9-meter (49-ft) Big-Maxx semitrailer that has now been given regulatory approval for full-scale tests to be carried out with 300 vehicles. The Mega vehicle range was extended with the Mega-Maxx coil and the Mega-Maxx rail.

“The most important new vehicles that we are presenting at the IAA” Tietje said, “are the Cool-Maxx refrigerated semitrailer with an impressively low tare weight from 6.6 tonnes (14,550 lb), our Port-Maxx container chassis, and the Phoenixx prototype vehicle, which represents the third Kögel brand.

“We are in experimental territory here and have a long way to go until the serial production stage. But innovative individual solutions resulting from this concept will definitely find their way early enough in the Maxx series,” Tietje said, indicating that small scale serial production of the Phoenixx could come in the medium term.

Carbon-fiber composite trailer

Kögel claims its new premium brand Phoenixx is the trailer of the future.

“Through the use of carbon fiber composite material (CFRP), together with a monocoque design, we have left traditional design methods behind and have re-invented the trailer,” Tietje said. “Carbon fiber's high strength fulfills the most stringent safety requirements. Yet it is corrosion-resistant and is not affected by fatigue. Tare weight of the prototype trailer is almost halved.”

With a fifthwheel neck thickness of only 40 mm (1.6“) and roof thickness of 10 mm (0.4"), the trailer has a 3,000 mm (118") interior height. Overall height is 4,000 mm (13' 1½") with fifthwheel height of 950 mm (37"). Total loading area is 104.2 cubic meters (3,680 cu ft). Tare weight of the three-axle 45-ft van is 3,700 kg (8,160 lb).

Using the monocoque construction method to build a frameless van has provided an additional 2,600 liters (92 cubic feet) of storage space, Tietje said. For example, the curved front wall that provides an aerodynamic benefit also has an additional 720 liters (25 cubic feet) of storage space. In addition, the van has built-in crash boxes to act as crumple zones in the event of a collision.

The design principle of the Phoenixx is new, Tietje said, but is already being integrated successfully. It was developed by The Team Technology of Hamburg, Germany. CargoTech of Salzburg, Austria, a company that produces high-precision components made of carbon for the automobile industry, produced the carbon fiber body parts for the Phoenixx.

Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, D-89349 Burtenbach, Germany.

Kögel Foxx designed for internet sales

The second new model introduced by Kögel at the IAA in Hanover is the Foxx, a trailer designed expressly for sales on the internet. The company started production of the Foxx on June 1, 2006, and has been selling it on the company internet shop It is also being sold through selected sales partners throughout Europe.

Kögel describes the Foxx as a robust, triple-axle semitrailer that focuses on the most important equipment issues. It is equipped with disc brakes on all three Gigant axles — seamless tube axles having a 9-tonne (19,850-lb) capacity. With a 35-tonne (77,175-lb) trailer load rating, it has a 28 mm (1.10-inch) thick floor rated at 5.46 tonnes (12,000 lb) bearing capacity.

The body is typical for Europe: an aluminum curtainsider with sliding tarpaulin roof. The sidewalls have three pairs of sliding stakes or posts. The sidewall opening is 2.68 meters (105.5") high. Tare weight is six tonnes (13,230 lb). Some options are available, including an axle lift, pallet box and tool boxes.

The price is described as being “very competitive with two-year-old used trailers.” Most of the first 200 that were sold in the first three months had added-on equipment over the basic trailer. The prices of these trailers ranged from a low of 17,000 euros ($21,500) to 22,000 euros ($28,000). Half of them were sold to customers in Germany and the other half in eastern Europe, to the countries surrounding the Czech Republic.

The Foxx brand trailers are manufactured by Kögel's subsidiary in the Czech Republic, Kögel a.s. with manufacturing plant in Chocen.

Kögel Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, D-89349 Burtenbach, Germany.

Carbon Fiber dump body still under test

This carbon fiber dump body was introduced at the 2004 IAA in Hanover two years ago. After two years of testing and field trials, it was back at the 2006 IAA in Hanover and still under test. It had been successfully demonstrated and had logged 164,224 km (102,000 miles) in service. Weight is 3,600 kg (7,900 lb). The manufacturer is Anhänger- und Fahrzeugbau Meierling GmbH & Co KG, Profilstrasse 13, D-58093 Germany.

Chereau starts food-hauling revolution

Chereau SAS has started what it calls the silent revolution in refrigerated delivery, reducing the noise and fumes associated with diesel-powered mechanical refrigeration systems, particularly in environmentally conscious cities in Scandinavia.

The silent refrigeration system chosen for the project is a new generation liquid carbon dioxide refrigerant. It differs from early cryogenic units in that the cold gas does not vent inside the truck body, where it could pose a safety hazard to delivery workers. The exhausted gas vents to the atmosphere only.

In operation, the Thermo King full cryogenic system moves liquid CO2 from the refillable on-board tank through a sealed evaporator inside the cargo space, thus cooling the coil. Temperature-controlled air is circulated over the coil and through the cargo space. After all the energy is extracted from the cold gas, the CO2 vapor is exhausted to the atmosphere. Heat for defrosting of the evaporator coil is generated by the vehicle engine or, for standby operation, from electric heaters.

Chereau's exhibit at the IAA in Hanover included a 9.6-meter (32-ft) insulated body equipped with a Thermo King ST-CR multi-temperature cryogenic unit. The main evaporator was ceiling mounted just inside the forward side door. The remote evaporator was ceiling mounted inside the rear doors. The two side doors are placed as far forward and rearward, respectively, as possible, providing as much flexibility as possible for the sliding bulkhead dividing the two compartments. The cryogenic tank is the standard 330-liter (87-gallon) tank holding 374 kg (825 lb) of liquid CO2.

The first 100 units will be delivered to Sweden, where 10 cryogenic filling stations are set up, according to Rudi Jehle, cryogenic project leader with Thermo King. Another 50 units are destined for Helsinki and Finland. Other experimental projects are underway in Norway and Denmark.

Chereau SAS, 52 Bd du Luxembourg, F-50300 Avranches, France.

Thermo King Corp, Monivea Road, Mervue, Galway, Ireland.

Lamberet displays larger, lighter reefer

Trailer engineers in Europe have to fight for every millimeter of space. A case in point is Lamberet's redesign of its refrigerated semitrailer. The problem was to fit 33 pallets in a two-temperature, insulated van that normally has room for only 32 pallets. That 9% gain in productivity was achieved by moving the insulated doors back flush with the trailer rear. The net gain was 40 mm (1.57") of interior length, to a total length of 13390 mm (43' 11").

The flat rear face meant the door lockrods had to be inside the door insulation, and the operating handles had to be recessed in the rear face. Swinging each door on four double-point plate hinges allows the door to swing all the way to the sidewall, thus reducing damage potential. The smooth, flat rear face of the trailer means customers have the optimum advertising space.

To protect the flat rear face requires additional dock bumpers. The primary protection comes from elastomeric bumpers encased in stainless steel so that they slide easily up and down the face of the dock as fork trucks go in and out in the loading process. Other massive buffers protect the lower rear and subframe. An integral bumper protects the rear threshold across its entire width. The door posts also are equipped with vertical rubber bumpers 600 mm (24") high. These bumpers are hidden when the doors are closed, but appear when the doors are opened, thus continuing the clean, aesthetic appearance.

The completely redesigned semitrailer, known as the SR2 Futura, is now 600 kg (1,320 lb) lighter. Lamberet says it is the lightest refrigerated semitrailer on the market, thanks to its composite floor structure. Even the sidewalls were reengineered with more reinforcement on the interior side. The composite panels have polyester skins over a core of expanded polyurethane block. Tare weight without the refrigerating unit is 6,800 kg (15,000 lb).

Lamberet manufactures a complete range of refrigerated vehicles ranging from the smallest van with one cubic meter of cargo space to the largest trailer with 100 cubic meters (3,530 cubic feet) of cargo space. It has four manufacturing plants, two located in France, and one each in Germany and Vietnam. Assembly and sales-service locations are also in England, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, and Spain.

Lamberet sold 7,780 vehicles in the year 2005, including 2,580 semitrailers. Its annual sales total about 200 million euros ($260 million). In Europe it has a staff of some 1,200 and a sales and service network of over 140 coach builders, dealers and distributors.

Lamberet Constructions Isothermes, BP 43, F-01380 St-Cyr-Sur Menthon, France.

Cold Curtain Closes Automatically

It's hard to leave the Thermostar cold curtain open. When the time is up on the driver-set timer, the roll curtain drops automatically. The roller curtain runs in a track at both sides of the vehicle, so it seals tightly on both sides as well as the top and bottom.

The curtain is opened manually by the driver lifting a lever. The curtain stops wherever the driver releases the lever because a battery-operated electromagnet applies a braking action. The number of seconds for the curtain to remain open is set manually on the battery-operated timer. At the expiration of the time, the roll-curtain drops quickly. (The name Schnelllauf-rolltor translates “fast-running roll door.)

TBV GmbH, Im Lossenfeld 13, D-77731 Willstätt-Sand, Germany

Rohr Jumboliner grosses 132,000 lb

Rohr designed its own version of the two-trailer EuroCombi. The Rohr Jumboliner has a gross combination weight rating of 60 tonnes (132,000 lb) on seven axles. Payload is 35.35 tonnes (77,950 lb). Overall length of the combination is 25 meters (82 feet).

What is most significant from an operational standpoint is the Jumboliner's straight-through loading. Both the three-axle lead trailer and the center-axle second trailer are fitted with tailgate lifts, and the second trailer has roller shutter doors front and rear. This permits loading operations to move easily through both trailers as if they were one unit. With single-deck loading, the Jumboliner has floor space for 51 Europallets (compared to the single semitrailer space for 33 pallets) or for 84 roll containers.

The three-axle lead trailer is refrigerated with a Carrier Vector 1800 unit, and the two-axle second trailer has a Mitsubishi TU73. A rear video camera is mounted for safety.

Nutzfahrzeuge Rohr GmbH, Ittlinger Strasse 157, D-94315 Straubing, Germany.

Benalu ag trailer weighs under five tonnes

The LandLiner is designed to get the most bulk agricultural products (grains, potatoes, sugar beets) in the largest, lightest trailer. The all aluminum body and chassis on three axles weigh under five tonnes (11,000 lb), yet have 50 cubic meters (1,765 cu ft) of capacity. To reduce weight, it has only a single, aluminum landing leg, positioned centrally between the frame rails. It is manufactured by Benalu, the French company specializing in aluminum bulk and tank vehicles. Benalu, BP 119, F-62252 Henin-Beaumont Cedex, France.

Putting bigger loads in smaller spaces

The Nicolas EuroCompact was designed to put the biggest payloads of up to 80.7 tonnes (180,000 lb) on the largest vehicle that can operate with standard licensing procedures. The largest version combines a five-axle trailer with a two-axle dolly and four-axle tractor. Overall vehicle length is 22.2 meters (73 ft). The flat deck of the low loader is five meters (16.4 ft). The extendable load deck can be extended to 7.7 meters (25.25 ft). It can be operated legally at road speeds to 80 km/h (50 mph).

The large lowbed length is possible because the two-axle dolly is integrated into the gooseneck. The dolly uses pendular axles that have a steering angle of 120 degrees (60 left and 60 right). The dolly hydraulic suspensions can raise 470 mm (18.5") and lower 210 mm (8.26"). Tare weight of the EuroCompact is 28 tonnes (61,700 lb).

The EuroCompact is manufactured by the French low-loader specialist company, Nicolas, with support from its German sister company, Scheuerle.

Nicolas Industrie SAS, BP 3 — RN 6, F-89290 Champs-sur-Yonne, France.

About the Author

Paul Schenck | Senior Editor