A new fiber-reinforced composite platform trailer, developed by Martin Marietta Composites, has won the 2005 ACE Award for Technical Innovation for Corrosion Applications from the American Composites Manufacturers Association.
The trailer has a composite deck, subframe beams, suspension cross-members, outriggers, and rear impact guard.
With its extensive use of composites, the trailer is lighter than conventional trailers and much more corrosion-resistant. Naturally, lighter weight means more payload for a given tractor GCWR, so the operator can enjoy higher revenue potential per load. The manufacturer also expects the composites trailer to be more durable, yielding longer life and offering lower maintenance requirements than conventional steel or aluminum trailers.
Small repairs can be easily accomplished using a fiberglass repair kit. For larger repairs, components can be replaced quickly without causing any loss of strength.
The nonskid-coated deck is made from Martin Marietta’s proprietary Transonite panel, an extremely durable, low-weight pultruded composite sandwich consisting of glass-fiber-reinforced polymer laminate skins and a foam core. Because composite materials absorb more energy per pound than conventional materials, the pultruded rear impact guard may help to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
According to the manufacturer, the fiber-reinforced polymer materials used in the trailer are resistant to many chemicals, as well as acids, road salts and the effects of weathering. They are also nonflammable, self-extinguishing and resistant to fatigue stresses. This makes them ideal for poultry hauling and other livestock transport, while their light weight makes them particularly well-suited for hauling building materials and other dense bulk goods.