Rogers Designs Trailer to Haul Utility Mobile Substation

Rogers Brothers Corporation and E.W. Sleeper, Rogers’ dealer in New Hampshire, worked with Unitil Energy Systems to custom design and build a trailer that would provide the necessary strength and durability to haul a mobile substation while keeping the total weight under 99,000 pounds so that it could be moved quickly from place to place without the need for special “oversize load” permits.

When Unitil in New Hampshire needed a new mobile substation, it discovered that buying the unit would cost between $1.5 and $2.5 million, with up to a two-year delivery. In hopes of reducing costs and time, Skip Zogopoulos, Unitil’s Design and Standards specialist, suggested the company explore the feasibility of building it themselves.

Unitil’s first step was to determine the weight of the individual components of the substation plus the tractor that would pull it. These were “set” weights. The only remaining place to trim weight was in the flatbed trailer that would carry the equipment.

Aluminum wheels on each of the three axles saved significant weight. Scalloped steel in the trailer frame (holes cut in the I-beams) saved another couple hundred pounds. As a result of these adaptations, the substation’s completed weight was 97,000 pounds, well within the limits.

“The trailer and its features are working out better than we expected,” says Skip Zogopoulos. “Our builder, Brad Reed of I.C. Reed & Sons, Inc., suggested that the trailer have air ride suspension. The oil-filled equipment in the substation requires us to get the trailer as close to level as possible. The process has turned out to be much easier on this trailer than on our other mobiles without air ride suspension.

“Even with the custom design on the trailer, we were able to bring the project in at between 50 and 75 percent under the quotes we received. The project was completed in 10 months, saving over a year of time.”

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