Wesco Upgrades Trailer Plant

WESCO Trailer Manufacturing in Woodland, California, has upgraded its plant with new equipment for building refuse, agricultural, and aggregate trailers.

Recent Wesco new equipment installations include a thermal cutting system with an air-evacuation system for welding smoke and an Accurpress 400-ton pressbrake. Wesco does 80% of its own fabrication work.

The 30-ft cutting table is made by MG Industries and has a system that evacuates welding smoke from beneath the table. The smoke is ducted from vents beneath the table into an air-recovery system located outside the shop.

The Dust-Hog system, equipped with eight filters to collect contaminants, is made by United Air Specialists Inc in Cincinnati, Ohio. The filter house is equipped with a compressed-air vibration system to shake contaminants loose from the filters. The solids fall through a funnel into 55-gallon drums that are transported to a disposal site.

Wesco installed the system because the company expects increased clean air regulations in the Sacramento area, says Gene Sambucetti, president of Wesco. Installing the Dust Hog system will help ensure the company is in compliance with any new regulations for welding smoke.

New Welding Fixtures The new purchases complement the existing equipment, some of which was purchased to provide superior weld quality. Finish welds are made on a rotating fixture made by Aronson Machine Company in Arcade, New York. The fixture rotates so all welds can be made in the flat position.

The equipment was installed in the company's 67,000-sq-ft plant, which is made up of several different buildings including a fabrication shop, assembly shop, and paint booth. The buildings are adjacent to Wesco's main offices on six acres in Woodland, California.

Subassemblies, forest product trailers, and refuse trailers are built in the 19,000-sq-ft main shop. Dump transfer trailers and parts are produced in a 15,000-sq-ft shop, which houses the cutting table and pressbrake. Final assembly takes place in a 12,000-sq-ft shop located near the paint shop.

In 1992, Wesco constructed a 180-ft building addition that houses a 60-ft paint booth made by Air Filtration Systems in Oroville, California. Inside the insulated building, walls are covered with plastic-coated plywood. The wall covering cuts down on dust that can damage a paint job.

The paint booth has two computerized downdraft heating and ventilation systems. When the booth is divided by a curtain, having different ventilation systems allows Wesco to paint two different colors on trailers at the same time in the same booth.

Full Trailer Line Wesco's new equipment is used to build its full line of trailers designed to haul forest products, aggregate, agricultural commodities, and solid waste. The company also builds a few flatbed trailers each year and one or two trailers for special orders. During slack time between production orders, the fabrication equipment is used to make parts for Wesco's retail parts business.

Wesco's trailer parts counter is next to its main offices. In addition to parts for its own trailers, the company is a parts dealer for Great Dane trailers. Wesco's location, adjacent to Interstate 5 and near the intersection of several interstate expressways, helps to increase parts sales.

"We have a pretty consistent parts business," Sambucetti says.

Other changes taking place at Wesco are in the design and manufacturing of its products. For example, most aggregate trailers are built using 50,000 psi high-tensile steel. But the steel used in Wesco's transfer dump-truck-and trailer set has a higher tensile strength than steel commonly used in aggregate trailers. The quenched-and-tempered SB-50 steel is produced in Sweden and imported through Canada.

200,000-ksi Steel The SB-50 is lighter but harder than T-1 steel, he says. "We have to use 3/16-inch (4.8-millimeter) thick T-1 steel to build a trailer equal to one built with three-millimeter (1/8-inch) thick SB-50," Sambucetti says. "We prefer to use the SB-50 on our aggregate trailers because it has a tensile strength of 200,000 psi, which stands up to abrasion and pounding from heavy rocks and gravel."

The company primarily uses three-millimeter SB-50 on its aggregate trailers. Wesco recently built a group of dump transfer trailers for Nordic Industries, a construction company in Marysville, California.

Some of Wesco's other new products are built for the solid-waste industry. Open-top vans, live-floor transfer trailers, and possum-belly trailers are a few of the models Wesco builds for hauling solid waste. Some of the largest waste-disposal companies in the United States purchase Wesco trailers.

Unlike aggregate trailers, Wesco's waste-hauling and forest product trailers are built of lightweight steels and aluminum, Sambucetti says. Many of the forest product and waste-hauling trailers are dumped using platform tippers. The trailers are backed onto a large platform and lifted by hydraulic cylinders to dump the load either at a landfill or a plant that uses forest products.

Waste-Hauling Trailers Wesco possum-belly trailers for solid and recyclable waste are built to haul large payloads. A 14-ft high van 57 1/2 feet long can haul a 189-cubic-yard payload.

"The recycling industry as a whole is moving towards lighter trailers for larger loads," Sambucetti says.

Wesco possum-belly trailers that haul recyclables are built with aluminum sheet-and-post construction. Extruded aluminum crossmembers are on 12-inch centers. Heavy-duty aluminum sideposts are 1 3/4-inch deep. Exterior post construction puts the smooth aluminum sheet inside.

Wesco was founded by Gene Sambucetti and Warren Baker in 1959. Since then, its expanding product lines have contributed to Wesco's growth. In 1996, Wesco built about 300 trailers, and recorded $6.5 million in gross sales, a 10% to 15% increase over sales in 1995.

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