November 17, 2010
Mike Kloepfer, the President and lead designer at Titan Trailers, had custom-built the new Titan V-Floor® 5-axle trailer to suit Bre-Haul’s specialty: hauling gravel and other aggregates. Responding on the need to improve on the more familiar belt-out conveyor trailers, Kloepfer designed his new aggregates trailer to combine the lightweight strength of aluminum THINWALL bodies with the simplicity and stability of the latest live floor systems from KEITH Mfg. Co.
Located just a few miles from the Titan factory in southern Ontario, Bre-Haul has been hauling gravel, sand and salt in the area for more than 25 years. More importantly, Titan knew that Kevin Brezinski was always open to new ideas, and he has the experience to recognize a useful innovation when he sees it.
The Bre-Haul fleet is ready to move stone any way customers want it. Depending on the contract, Brezinski can deliver with a choice of end-dumps, semi-dumps, gravel hoppers and belt-out trailers. His fleet even includes the very first Titan THINWALL tub-dump ever sold, still going strong nine years later. Kloepfer and Brezinski both hoped Titan had come up with another winner.
“The industry has been looking for level unloaders like the V-floor system lately,” Brezinski says. Site Managers across the country prefer not to see dump trailers elevating on uneven ground. They feel that the instability can create an unsafe situation.
Aggregate haulers traditionally have relied on conveyor-type trailers when the job requires a level self-unloader. Kloepfer sees inherent problems with belt-out systems. “Belts take a lot of upkeep,” he says. “When they have a problem, they have a lot of parts under there to deal with. That’s time the customer could be using to move more material.”
“Building a trailer with a belt conveyor in the bottom of it also limits what you can do with it. One reason we like the V-Floor system so much is that it’s so versatile. You can haul anything in a V-Floor trailer. This gives you more choices to adapt with changes in your local market requirements.”
A trailer that’s a TON better!
For Kevin Brezinski, the main advantage of the Titan aggregate trailer was instantly apparent. “Mike’s trailer is very lightweight compared to our belt trailers,” he observes. “You save a fair bit with having an all aluminum trailer. We can really max up on the loads, and it saves fuel costs on the way home.”
According to Titan engineering, the V-Floor aggregates trailer weighs in a full ton lighter than comparable conveyor trailers. Kloepfer attributes the 2,000 lbs. of added payload capacity to its overall design, as well as his patented THINWALL extruded aluminum body. “By going with V-Floor, we eliminate the weight of a conveyor subframe,” he explains. “We also took out some weight by streamlining it with a narrow box, just 68” wide. Aggregate trailers reach their legal load limit before they run out of cubic anyway – why give it a bigger box?”
While Brezinski appreciates the added load capacity of the new Titan trailer, his operators find other reasons to recommend it. “It’s a very smooth running trailer. It works really slick” Brezinski reports. “My drivers say it pulls ‘absolutely unbelievable.’ It rides about a foot lower than the belt trailer, so it’s more stable and it corners better.”
Brezinski notes that the trailer’s smooth running pays off financially, too. The lower ride and narrow body reduce wind resistance, so it saves fuel costs. The THINWALL body also streamlines the trailer. “The smoothside body doesn’t have any posts catching the wind, and there’s no bowing in the panels, even with a full load.” Brezinski also credits the new hydraulic tailgate from Titan for enhancing its strength and stability. “Most tailgates just swing out when they open, but this one lifts up, then out. When you close, the tailgate slides down and ties right into the body. It helps to keep the whole box rigid.”
Kloepfer points out that, along with the hydraulic tailgate, the trailer introduces several new features with the operator in mind. The aggregates trailer is one of the first Titan models to move to all disk brakes, allowing shorter stopping distances with simpler maintenance needs. An updated version of the Titan V-Plow self-cleaning system now includes a set of sidewall scrubbers. “When the load empties, it’s clean!” says Brezinski.
Recently, Titan also began including a handheld remote control as standard equipment with its trailers. With it, the operator can control the unloading system, V-Plow, tailgate and tarp from anywhere in or outside of the truck. “This remote is really great for servicing, too,” says Brezinski. “It’s more convenient than going to the cab all the time, while you’re working under the trailer, and it’s safer than having someone else operating the controls for you. The mechanics also like how Titan uses hydraulic cylinders for all its movements. The hydraulics last longer and they’re better to work with than pneumatic systems.”
A case for V-Floor versatility
Seeing how the Titan V-Floor trailer performs as an aggregates hauler, Brezinski says he has been looking into other ways to increase earnings with the system. Primarily intended to haul gravel, Bre-Haul’s trailer is well suited to a wide range of backhaul opportunities. Immediate prospects include excavated earth or fill as well as contaminated material from remediation sites. “Anything is possible with this V-Floor,” Brezinski claims. “The flat floor deck works for bricks and palletized goods. The live floor has a heat-resistant bearing so it can handle asphalt. And, where belts tend to freeze up in the winter, the V-Floor gives us lots of options to bid on different contracts after the construction season ends.”
Brezinski’s final verdict? With the demo trailer returned to Titan for additional tests and refinement, he looks forward to having it back in the Bre-Haul fleet. The aluminum V-Floor trailer meets the same customer preferences as a conveyor trailer, while adding 2,000 lbs. more load capacity, fuel savings throughout the duty cycle, reduced downtime for servicing, and increased earnings potential with backhauls and off-season contracts. Simply, in his words, “it works slick!”
About Titan Trailers
Titan Trailers is a world-class innovation leader in the hauling industry long recognized for job-specific functionality and attention to manufacturing detail. Titan Trailers offer business-minded haulers a complete line of trailers utilizing advanced design and manufacturing technologies based on the patented THINWALL extruded aluminum panel. Titan focuses its extensive R&D activities on making its trailers the best business choice for operators in the custom trailer market.