Dumps, flats take center stage at Mid-America Trucking Show

June 5, 2017
Mid-America Trucking Show Coverage

For the second consecutive year, the Mid-America Trucking show proved to be a good place to find dump trailers, flatbeds, and other specialty trailers.

With some of the trailer industry’s largest manufacturers absent, smaller companies rolled out an array of new models.

The 2017 show attracted 72,271 attendees from all 50 states and 67 countries. Those attendees saw exhibits by 1,012 companies from 47 states and 12 countries.

The 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show scheduled for March 22-24, 2018. Meanwhile, here is a sample of what was shown at this year’s event:

Going galvanized. XL Specialized Trailers introduce its first galvanized lowboys at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

XL builds the newly designed galvanized units with the same T-1 flange 80,000-pound web as its other lowboys. The hot-dip galvanizing process creates a durable barrier between the elements and the steel and also enables the trailer to withstand harsh weather and road conditions. The company released both a mini-deck trailer and a galvanized mechanical detachable extendable model at the show.

The new trailers are available in capacities from 60,000 to 80,000 pounds with lengths of 48 and 53 feet and 29 or 34 feet in the well. The Mini-Deck features a 12-inch loaded deck height with four inches of ground clearance.

The two-axle unit features dust shields and is also prepped for a third axle. The trailer has a unique look with both aluminum black outer rims and aluminum milled inside rims. A five-year structural warranty comes standard on all XL lowboys, including the newly galvanized XL MFG Mini-Deck.

The company also introduced its XL 80 Power Tail trailer designed for transporting medium-duty construction equipment. The trailer features a hydraulic fold-under flip tail ramp for quick loading and unloading of hard-to-load equipment. It provides a load angle of ten degrees. The XL Power Tail is rated at 80,000 pounds overall and 50,000 pounds concentrated in 10 feet. The tail has a lifting capacity of 25,000 pounds for loads centered on the main platform. The tail is comprised of two sections — an 8-foot 8-inch platform ramp and a 60-inch flip tail. It is available in two lengths: 48 feet or 53 feet.

Last, XL launched a newly designed low-profile hydraulic detachable gooseneck model. The biggest update can be found in the low-profile gooseneck. The gooseneck now features a relief cut out, which provides additional space between the trailer and the truck. The low-profile design can haul a wide range of equipment. Scrapers can load over the top for significant weight savings. XL offers three HDG models.

Aerodynamic dump trailer. Clement Industries promoted the idea of making its MonStar dump trailer more aerodynamic through the use of this aluminum aerodynamic device. According to the company, the device pays for itself in reduced fuel costs. It is available as an option on new trailers and can be retrofit on older models.

The design is based on research conducted in conjunction with Louisiana Tech University. Using computational fluid dynamics, the aerodynamic drag was calculated for a base MonStar dump trailer and with several potential aerodynamic devices of various shapes.

The result is the attachable aluminum cone shown here. It weighs 330 pounds. Computer models have indicated that it improves fuel economy by 10% when the trailer travels at 60 mph. Real world tests with the same route, truck, trailer, and driver show a 9% reduction in fuel consumption, Clement says.

Cashing in on chips. MAC Trailer is diversifying its refuse division by adding chip trailers to its lineup. A complementary product for the company’s transfer trailers, the MAC Lite includes moving floor models and tipper trailers. The trailers have aluminum crossmenbers and galvanized steel components in high-stress areas. MAC offers trailer lengths ranging from 42 feet to 53 feet. Walking floor by Keith and Halco are offered.
Going to great lengths. Extendable steel drop deck trailer from Manac begins as a 53-ft trailer, but it can be extended to 71 feet when fully opened. The trailer measures 102 inches wide and is 97 inches between the side rails. The backbone of the trailer consists of three-piece fabricated main beams and four-inch I-beam crossmembers.

The unit shown here has Holland landing gear, a fixed tridem suspension with 60-inch spread, and Hendrickson axles and HT-250 suspension, and Meritor Wabco antilock brake system. Options include sliding winches, stainless steel air control box, rear strobe lights, extendale side lights, and aluminum toolbox.

Fast and steady. Godwin Manufacturing demonstrated the stability of its eco Hoist. The hoist resists torqueing even when dumping extremely unbalanced loads. High-pressure Hyva cylinders speed the dump cycle. The body and hoist are produced by Godwin Manufacturing.
Super Dump. The Williamsen Super Dump maximizes legal payload is western states with this liftable axle. The Maxle lift axle system can be used on straight square or elliptical bodies to increase payloads, and it can swing up and out of the way when not needed. It does not interfere with loading or dumping operations when raised for storage.

The Williamsen-Godwin features a sloping front end made of 1/8-inch AR450 high strength and high impact resistant steel. Rear corner posts are seven-gauge 50,000-psi steel with 3/16-inch AR450 back plate. The sloping tailgate is made of 50,000-psi with a boxed perimeter and a AR450 inner panel. Thermoset powder coating and thermoset zinc primer are standard. Options include rigid or folding ladders, electric or manual tarp system, aluminum diamond plate fenders, underbody vibrator, and backup camera system.

Major weight loss. Trailstar International was not shy about discussing the weight of its new frameless dump trailer that Tom Hahn and John Barker say is less than some half-round designs. Built 84 inches wide with standard width Intraax suspension and 60-inch sides, this 39-foot-long dump trailer has a capacity of just over 45 cubic yards, yet it weighs (as the sign proudly proclaims) just 8,900 pounds.
Fast to unload. Etnyre unveiled its new line of live-bottom truck bodies and trailers. Etnyre’s Falcon line of bodies and trailers uses a 42-inch-wde belt to quickly unload hot-mix asphalt, sand, gravel, low-slump concrete, and aggregates. By dumping without requiring the body to be elevated, the Falcon can safely unload on inclines.

Truck bodies are available in lengths ranging from 17feet to 25 feet. Trailers are offered from 31 feet to 48 feet.

Packing it up. The Pack Mule bottom dump trailer from Construction Trailer Specialists comes standard with 40-foot length, 96-inch width and 10’ 1” height. It has a 23.5-cubic yard water level capacity that can be extended with 10-inch bang boards. Options include 102-inch width, air-ride suspension, triple axles, front and rear lift axles, extended push block, and a variety of tarp, tire, and wheel options.
Stretching out. Talbert Manufacturing introduced this 55-ton extendable trailer. The 55SA-TELE heavy-haul trailer can haul a wide range of large equipment, such as bridge beams, conveyors, generators, pressure vessels and tanks and then retract to 32 feet 6 inches. The shorter overall length eliminates the need for permits.

Talbert designed the 55SA-TELE with a 90-inch swing radius that can be extended to 114 inches with the use of a gooseneck extension. This optimizes the deck length while keeping it within the legal 53-foot limit when retracted. Users can set up the trailer as a four-axle close coupled, 2 + 2 spread axle or 3 + 1 spread axle configuration. The third and fourth axles can be flipped or removed, plus a 24-inch pinned and hinged gooseneck extension can also can be flipped. This, along with its 24-inch flip-up extension, shortens the deck to 32 feet 6 inches.

The unit features a 29-foot wood deck in the front and a 3-foot Apitong platform in the rear with beams stretching between. The trailer expands and locks in 4-foot increments.

The 55SA-TELE also is equipped with Talbert’s ENitro nitrogen assisted dampening system. The system’s nitrogen accumulator oscillates around a central self-tracking pivot point to provide proportional weight distribution in each axle grouping. It sets the axle load capacity and keeps it there as the system equalizes up and down articulation.

New at Utility. Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company has developed a shallow door header to accommodate roll-up doors that, when fully open, lock in place.

Also, note the horizontal red line near the top of the sidewall. The line, used as a loading guide, is impregnated into the inner panel of the trailer, making it exceptionally resistant to wear.

Brutal beavertail. Wilson Trailer rolled out its Roadbrute beavertail. The Model CT-1080 combo beavertail drop deck has an 80,000-pound capacity. It comes 53 feet long and 102 inches wide. Also included are Intraax air suspension and extended-service brakes, Durlite hubs, Centrifuse drums, Alcoa aluminum wheels, and Kinedyne sliding winches. The five-foot beavertail includes four-foot foldover aluminum ramps.
Nuts and bolts. Hicks Manufacturing of Minden, Louisiana, demonstrated its new aluminum dump trailer that is bolted together instead of welded. According to Hicks, welding aluminum reduces the strength of the metal by 80%. As such, yield strength that starts at 35,000 psi drops to 8,000 psi with the touch of a welding torch. Hicks says that bolting maintains the temper of T6 aluminum while allowing a degree of flexibility in the joint that resists cracking.

The Hicks T6 dump trailer shown here is offered either as a 39-ft model that weighs 9,410 pounds or a 28-ft trailer that has a tare weight of 8,380 pounds. One of the novel features is a subframe made of trapezoidal members for increased durability in this high-stress area.

Extreme weight loss. Extreme Trailers LLC is designing flatbed trailers that weight only 7,200 pounds. Much of the weight reduction comes from a combination of patent-pending decking system, along with modifications made to the main beams. President Les Smith says the Hendrickson test facility has put the trailer through its paces with 50,000 pounds onboard—with no failures.

Also awaiting a patent is the company’s tie-down system. The Extreme T multi-position load securement hook allows loads to be secured with straps or chains from multiple positions. The patent-pending design does not slip, warp, or bend when attaching, the company says.

Fruehauf is back. One of the trailer industry’s most renowned names returned to MATS this year. Company representatives point out that Fruehauf never ceased building trailers and is actively manufacturing them at its plant in Coacalco, a suburb of Mexico City. Shown here is a Fruehauf 53-ft sheet-and-post dry-freight van. The company also promoted other trailers in its lineup, including aluminum pneumatic dry-bulk tanks, frameless steel end dumps, and combo drop decks. The trailers are available in the U S from Guerra Truck Center LLC in San Antonio, Texas. and

Truck and equipment news from MATS

Showcasing a showcase trailer. WABCO displayed a special trailer that promotes the company’s technology.
Included in the trailer:

WABCO debuted its new Technology Showcase Trailer at MATS 2017 featuring industry-leading safety technologies and comprehensive wheel-end solutions.

•  Air disc brakes (ADB): WABCO MAXXUS heavy-duty ADB for trucks and MAXX22TTM ADB for trailers deliver high-performance braking power fueled by its industry-leading single-piston design. With 25% fewer parts, WABCO ADB feature faster serviceability and expanded service intervals of up to twice that of traditional drum brakes.

•  WABCO OptiFlow AutoTail: reduce fuel consumption up to 4.3% at highway speeds. It deploys and retracts tail panels based on driving speed as determined by sensors linked to WABCO’s trailer antilock braking systems (ABS), automatically deploying at 45 mph and automatically retract at 10 mph.

•  Integrated Vehicle Tire Monitoring (IVTM) System: Leveraging telematics, tire pressure data is shared with fleet managers and dispatchers.

• WABCO EasyFit Automatic Slack Adjuster

Enhancing an engine and a 6x2. Engine developments and 6X2 enhancements were the focal points for Mack.

The 2017 MP8 engine with turbo compounding is now available for order, offering highway customers increased fuel efficiency.

Available exclusively with Mack’s Super Econodyne downspeeding package, the MP8 with turbo compounding converts wasted energy from the exhaust into mechanical energy that is fed back to the engine. The system adds up to 50 additional horsepower, improving fuel efficiency by up to 8.8%.

Mack also introduced Super Econodyne Direct, a new fuel-saving option that combines a direct drive version of the mDRIVE automated manual transmission to boost fuel efficiency by up to 1%.

Additionally, Mack announced Automatic Standby Mode, an option for its 6x2 liftable pusher axle available on Mack Pinnacle highway models. The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle offers improved fuel efficiency and productivity benefits and is designed for applications that haul out heavy and return empty, such as bulk haul.

The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle monitors trailer weight and adjusts the truck’s driveline configuration to boost fuel efficiency without impacting performance. The 6x2 with liftable pusher axle is capable of determining payload by using sensors in the rear suspension and either lifting or lowering the foremost rear axle. When an empty load is detected, the axle lifts.

Managing power. Thermo King debuted three new power management products for a wide spectrum of transport needs, including fleets hauling non-refrigerated goods.

The Thermo King Boost Charger helps liftgate batteries to remain fully charged through multiple power sources. The charger is designed with three-stage battery charging, to maximize battery life, which reduces maintenance costs down the road.

The boost charger also ensures that tractor power can be matched with other methods of power generation in a smart manner, and through the seven-way circuit, delivers power safely. The boost charger is available in 20-amp and 35-amp models and delivers greater charging output than competitive products at a lower cost.

By continuously monitoring system voltage, the Thermo King Auto-Start Module automatically activates the Precedent-series alternator to charge if power levels drop too low. It also provides low-voltage protection for the auxiliary battery to ensure liftgate operation or that lights are running when they are needed most.

The electric power jack charger delivers 120-volt power to the inside of trailers. This feature provides a convenient power source for electric pallet jacks. The charger generates power directly from the liftgate battery pack and has built-in lower voltage protection to preserve liftgate operation. 

The Thermo King power management portfolio also includes ThermoLite solar panels, the supplemental alternator, and EON Power Pack.

The weatherproof ThermoLite solar technologies are available in three wattage options (26W, 36W, 100W)

The supplemental alternator offers power generation directly from the reefer unit and draws more power in a smarter way.

The EON Power Pack provides additional power storage to keep delivery lights on without sacrificing reefer or tractor starting capability.

New longhaul tire. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has added to its Roadmaster commercial truck tire line with the introduction of the RM852(EM), a longhaul drive tire that is SmartWay verified.

The RM852 has a unique tread compound and 30/32nds of tread to provide long lasting mileage and features a solid shoulder design to offer improved traction in challenging weather. The tire also features 3D Micro-Gauge siping, with full depth and variable sipe density to help maintain wet traction and stability. ♦

About the Author

Bruce Sauer | Editor

Bruce Sauer has been writing about the truck trailer, truck body and truck equipment industries since joining Trailer/Body Builders as an associate editor in 1974. During his career at Trailer/Body Builders, he has served as the magazine's managing editor and executive editor before being named editor of the magazine in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.