PRODUCTIVITY CONFERENCE IDEAS IN MULTI-PURPOSE BODY
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
A HIGHWAY 30ft tandem axle semi-trailer, with a special body to carry flowers and agricultural produce and which also provides for general haulage back-loads, has been built for Grounds Transport Services Ltd., of Spalding, Lincs.
Grounds is continually exploring new freight handling methods and progressive forms of road transport. Mr. John B. Dailey, managing director of Grounds, is vicechairman of the Road Haulage Association Agricultural Hauliers' Group. Mr. Dailey feels that the new trailer reflects some of the theoretical ideas he expressed at the recent Agricultural Hauliers' Productivity Conference at Cambridge in October, directly helping Lincolnshire flower growers to remain competitive by minimizing transport cost increases.
Grounds operates 76 articulated vehicles and six rigids, the latter being used for market deliveries to Covent Garden and Spitalfields, which are too small to take artics. While vans are ideal for short runs they are not economic for journeys to Newcastle, Cardiff or Liverpool. This problem led the company to ask Highway to build them a trailer to their own specification. Six Highway trailers were already used by the company, and this latest acquisition represents a further move towards standardization.
The firm needed a multi-purpose trailer suitable for carrying, on outwards loads, the cardboard boxes which three years ago replaced traditional wooden containers. The non-returnable boxes will not stand up to being transported on open lorries; hence the earlier switch to rigid vans for protection against frost and wet weather, and to obtain the necessary height for decking.
Decking is necessary for this specialized traffic as cardboard containers will collapse if too many are stacked on top of each other, the tendency to do this being increased by the fact that flowers are often cut early in the morning and kept in vases during the day before being packed wet.
Because of these considerations the Highway trailer incorporates many special features which successfully contribute to the preservation of the flowers in a really fresh state over long journeys.
Designed on the lines of a TIR trailer it has a body fitted with lft 6in. drop sides panelled with ith thick steel-framed chassis ply. 'tiVhile the front and rear vertical stanchions are fixed, the intermediate ones fit into sockets which are retained by drawpins for easy removal. Roof sticks and supports are also removable, allowing the trailer to be loaded by gantry crane when, for example, it is used for carrying backloads of steel from Cardiff, after delivering produce or flowers to the market there.
The upper section is supported by the vertical stanchions and held in position by open sockets with sword-pin location, the floor itself being built in 1 lft 6in. wide sections of lfin. nominal soft wood.
Nylon-reinforced PVC is used for the tilt sheeting. It is made in three colours, green, white and yellow, and designed to wrap under the lower frame of the side rave in order to cut draughts to a minimum. The top panels of the tilt are translucent— another important flower-carrying consideration—and the sides are divided into panels held by Dutch lacings to enable them to be rolled up independently for loading and unloading. Rope hooks are used for holding up tilt ends underneath the trailer with heavy duty shock cord.
Grounds also carries Smedley's canned goods, as well as sugar beet, fertilizer, seed, bulbs and agricultural machinery. The new trailer is ideal for side-loading these products by fork-lift truck. It is proving a successful departure from the more orthodox equipment used by Grounds and further units of the same design are planned for the future.