Trail King's 15-axle trailer getting a workout

Dec. 1, 2003
PAN Western Corp is pairing a Trail King 550 15-axle trailer with a Kenworth T800 tractor to provide the muscle it needs to haul huge loads of equipment

PAN Western Corp is pairing a Trail King 550 15-axle trailer with a Kenworth T800 tractor to provide the muscle it needs to haul huge loads of equipment for power plants.

“Much like a locomotive driving a train, we have a Kenworth tractor in front, followed by one or two push trucks in the rear,” says Mike Porter, Pan Western's heavy haul manager. “When you put it together, you have about 700,000 pounds to push and pull.”

The North Las Vegas-based transportation company recently hauled heavy machinery for the Arizona Public Service's 570-megawatt Silver Hawk Power Plant in Apex, Nevada. For the job, Pan Western hauled 25 loads, some weighing as much as 300 tons and stretching 87 feet.

Pan Western previously had transported the generating machinery for the Mirant Power Plant a few miles away.

“When we make these heavy hauls, we need the best equipment with the specs that will get the job done,” Porter says. “In heavy hauling, we need high-capacity brakes, suspension, and drive train to fit our severe service needs. Kenworth has always supplied the engineering know-how that fits our application. With Kenworth, we have found that anything is possible in helping meet our requirements.”

Jim Bechtold, Kenworth's chief engineer, says his staff listened to Pan Western to learn their trucking equipment needs and what components would best fit their applications.

“We found they needed to carry extremely heavy loads of 750,000 pounds and to be able to drive at normal freeway speeds for long distances to get the drivers back home after a job,” he says. “We also learned they operate primarily in places with high ambient temperatures such as Las Vegas and the desert Southwest, so adequate cooling was a major consideration.

“Also, Pan Western is a diversified hauling operation that wants trucks that are versatile enough to tackle different jobs, including heavy hauling and freight operations.”

As a result of these customer meetings, Kenworth recommended that Pan Western's heavy hauling application utilize the Kenworth wide-hood T800 with the biggest radiator available to increase the cooling capability. The tractors were equipped with 550-hp Cat engines, 18-speed Fuller transmission and 2-speed auxiliary transmission, and 70,000-lb planetary drive Sisu rear ends.

“We combined those drive train components in a very compact chassis layout to come up with the package that met their specific requirements,” Bechtold says.

Pan Western also has a bulk division that hauls dry and liquid materials, ranging from chemicals to feed for dairy cattle. Its van and reefer divisions deliver food products to Las Vegas hotels and paper products to office supply stores. Its rail division includes its own 18,000-foot long rail spur and maintains 250,000 sq ft of warehouse space. The company's fleet includes 65 Kenworth T800s and 50 Kenworth W900s.