HaulTec Trailers Enjoying Steady Growth Building Trailers in Canada

A RAPIDLY growing population in Toronto has brought steady growth for HaulTec Trailers Ltd, an aluminum dump trailer manufacturer located nearby in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

In the next 10 years, Toronto, which is Canada's largest city, expects a 50% increase population, says Evelyn Cadenhead, president of HaulTec Trailers Ltd, quoting government estimates. This translates into a greater demand for HaulTec's primary product -- aluminum dump trailers.

"A lot of people want to relocate to Toronto because the job market is better here than in other Canadian cities," Cadenhead says. "This creates a need for more housing, schools, and roads. All this requires dump trailers to move aggregate."

HaulTec is already benefiting from the shift in population, she says. As of December, the company had a six-month backlog of orders for aluminum dump trailers and is running two production shifts.

However, this is not a normal business cycle for dump trailers in Ontario, says Cadenhead. In December, order backlogs are not generally as large as this year's. The order build-up usually is in January rather than in December.

Large Order Backlog HaulTec Trailers sales have grown 15% annually since the company was founded in 1992 by the Cadenhead. John is president of HaulTec Sales Inc, a sister company of HaulTec Trailers. Then in 1997, the companies recorded a combined 30% increase in sales.

"Until our big growth in 1997, HaulTec had enjoyed a very pleasant, steady growth from day one," Cadenhead says.

In April 1996, HaulTec moved from a 14,000-sq-ft facility in Brampton, Ontario, into a 35,000-sq-ft manufacturing plant in Mississauga, near the Lester B Pearson International Airport. In its new facility, the company's goal is to complete one trailer a day. HaulTec currently builds four trailers a week.

Most of HaulTec's production is its Cobra 36-ft, triaxle, aluminum dump trailers designed for hauling aggregate and rock salt. HaulTec batches fabrication of the components used to build Cobra dump trailers such as crossmembers, tailgate hinges, and rear corner posts.

Cobra Dump Trailers On the 36-ft triaxle Cobra dump trailers, extruded crossmembers in the middle of the floor are 1/8-inch thick. For added strength and weight-carrying capacity, three crossmembers at the front and five in the rear are 1/4-inch thick. The floor is 1/4-inch thick aluminum plate. As an option, 3/8-inch aluminum plate is available.

Floors and 3/16-inch sidewalls are made with 5083 H32 aluminum, which is used for its abrasion resistance, says Gary Bell, general manager of HaulTec Trailers. The tailgate is of 1/4-inch thick 5083 H32.

Rear posts of 1/4-inch thick aluminum sheet are formed with a press brake in the HaulTec shop. The extruded aluminum sideposts are welded to the sidewall sheet with a portable automatic welder riding on a movable track positioned near each sidepost.

Trailer chassis frame rails are fabricated of mild steel. Each rail has a 1/2-inch-thick, six-inch-wide top flange and a 5/8-inch-thick, six-inch-wide bottom flange.

The completed trailer chassis are sandblasted and painted with DuPont Imron by Glasvan Great Dane Sales Inc located near HaulTec in Mississauga. Besides being located near each other, Bell says HaulTec and Glasvan have a close working relationship.

HaulTec Fifthwheel Bogies HaulTec designed and is building sliding fifthwheel bogies for B-train van trailers sold by Glasvan the Canadian distributor for Great Dane Trailers. The HaulTec bogie is welded to the crossmembers of the lead van trailer of the B-train, replacing the factory bogie.

In February, HaulTec will begin building trailer chassis with frame rails of T-1 steel, says John Cadenhead. These frame rails are 1,200 lb lighter than mild steel frame rails. HaulTec will reduce the weight of these trailers another 800 lb by using a lightweight air suspension and aluminum hubs and wheels.

The T-1 frame rails, aluminum components, and lightweight air-ride suspension reduce the weight of a Cobra triaxle aluminum dump trailer to about 16,000 lb, Cadenhead says. With mild steel frame rails this trailer can weigh up to 18,000 lb, depending on its specifications and options.

The main reason HaulTec will begin offering the T-1 frame rails is to compete in the US market, Cadenhead says. The dump trailers have to be lighter than those built for use in Canada, but strong enough to haul payloads in northeastern US states that allow GVWs higher than 80,000 lb.

"By building dump trailers with frame rails made of T-1 steel, we're aiming for the north-south carriers along the Atlantic seaboard from the maritime provinces into the northeast US," Bell says.

T-1 Steel Frame Rails In Ontario, a Cobra triaxle dump trailer with T-1 frame rails, a tare weight of 15,500 lb, and a 20,000 lb tractor could haul a 79,000-lb payload, Bell says. This vehicle would have a 114,500-lb GCW.

Besides its triaxle dump trailer, another popular HaulTec product is its four-axle aluminum dump trailer with a steel frame. The two middle axles on the trailer are stationary, while the forward and rear axles lift. This trailer-axle configuration provides better maneuverability when empty and extra weight-carrying capacity on the four axles when loaded.

In Canada, HaulTec's aluminum dump trailers have the well-known Cobra brand name. The same trailers were built by Cobra Manufacturing Inc, which was started by John Cadenhead in 1983. Cobra Manufacturing ceased manufacturing operations in 1992.

Sugar-Hauling Trailers Besides aggregate, the Cobra aluminum dump trailers are used to haul grain, limestone, and refuse. The trailers can haul a wide variety of other cargoes including scrap metal such as mill turnings.

HaulTec recently built four enclosed aluminum dump trailers designed to haul sugar. The trailers have aluminum covers with dome lids. When the dump body is raised, a full load of sugar is unloaded by gravity. The four-axle trailers have a payload of 38 metric tons (83,800 lb).

About two-thirds of HaulTec sales are made in Ontario, mostly to customers near Toronto, Bell says. The remaining sales are made by trailer dealers in Quebec and the maritime provinces: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, which is an eight-hour ferry ride from the mainland. Strong Trailer Dealers

HaulTec's strongest dealer is Mond Trailers Quebec Inc near Montreal in Ville D'Anjou, Quebec. Mond Trailers Quebec is a distributor for Mond Industries, a large van and refrigerated trailer manufacturer in Mississauga, near HaulTec. Mond's TrailersQuebec accounts for 20% of HaulTec's overall sales.

Other HaulTec dealers include Trans East Trailers in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Evangeline Motors in Kentville, Nova Scotia.

A potential market for HaulTec aluminum dump trailers exists in northeast US where some states have higher GVWs, Bell says. But HaulTec is currently concentrating its efforts on building trailers for use in Canada.

"Our own market has provided steady business and is growing," Bell says.

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