Tractor Units and Trailers

12 November 2014

Tractor Units

A tractor unit is a heavy duty commercial vehicle fitted with a large displacement diesel engine and several axles. Tractor units can interchange with the type of trailer they are hauling such as a box-trailer or a low –loader. Tractor-trailer combinations also mean that heavy loads can be shared across many axles and are more manoeuvrable than rigid trucks.

Tractor units can have many axles, the most common being 8x4. An 8x4 has four axles with two being driven, they are more commonplace for long distance haulage across large countries. Tractor units used for extreme heavy haulage such as plant machinery or road trains tend to have four or more axles to allow the distribution of weight.

Low-loader Trailers

A low loader is a semi-trailer with two drops in deck height. This allows the deck to be extremely low compared with other trailers which provides the ability to carry loads up to 12ft tall. Below are two featured low loaders designed for heavy duty transportation.

Low loader trucks are essential within most firms dealing with heavy machinery and industrial equipment. Africa continues to improve its road infrastructure and economy with new quarries and trucks like this are heavily in demand; however they are hard to come by.

They are equipped with hydraulic suspension and include special features such as length-optimized loading platform and the low loading height which enables time and cost efficiency. Their carrying abilities include:

  • Construction machines (excavation and road construction, recycling, road grooving machine transport, crushing equipment and screening equipment.
  • Wind power plants (tower segments, generators, rotor or turbine blades, hybrid towers)
  • Forestry machines (harvester, skidder, forwarder)
  • Farming machines (combine harvesters, tractors, beet harvesters, silage wagons, liquid manure tanks)
  • Industrial parts (crane-loaded goods, vessels, ring transport)
  • Bats
  • Precast concrete parts
  • Bulky goods and heavy loads.

Trailers can be fitted with outriggers which allow the width of the trailer to be increased for wide loads.

Low-loaders are fitted with hydraulic necks that have two drops in deck height – one right after the goose-neck and one right before the wheels. This allows the deck to be extremely low compared to other trailers and offers the ability to carry loads up to 12ft in height.

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