The South African market for side tippers has recovered well from the fallout of the global economic crisis of 2008/2009 with strong demand coming from the coal and chrome mining industries in particular. So says Danie Oosthuizen, technical designer of specialist trailer manufacturer, Homez Trailer & Bodies, which recently unveiled the prototype of a new range of interlink side tippers designed for extended service life in the coal, ore and aggregate transport industries.
Since its inception in August 2008, the Pretoria-based manufacturer has positioned itself as a supplier of premium-class truck trailers to the heavy-duty truck transport sector, offering customised designs across a broad range of applications using topflight fabrication materials and trailer components. Commenting on the rationale behind entering a market sector which is already populated by a number of good players making it an extremely competitive segment, Oosthuizen says simply that while there are quality side tippers out there, there’s always room for improvement.
“We did extensive field research of side tipper applications and found a number of shortcomings facing tipper operators. It is thus we set about designing and building a side tipper prototype that addresses and overcomes these,’ he says.
Oosthuizen reckons the biggest problem with most side tippers is their lack of build strength. “The loading of coal and ore is a pretty aggressive process and many side tippers need to be repaired after just a few months of service. Vehicle stability while tipping is also a major concern, with several incidents of tippers falling over while offloading being reported in recent years,’ he adds.
Commencing fabrication of the prototype in September 2010, Oosthuizen and his technical design colleague, Sjaak Hagg, applied their ‘˜out-of-the-box’ approach to produce an interlink side tipper which promises greater durability and stability, without compromising payload capacity.
“We used S700 steel from Finland for the load bin and chassis to keep tare mass low, bring flexibility to the chassis and to enhance build strength. The corners of the load bin have also been reinforced to prevent cracking, a common occurrence in local tipper applications. The belly of the load bin is deeper than competitor models to allow greater load space and to lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity which improves overall stability of the trailer while it’s tipping,’ explains Oosthuizen.
The running gear is supplied by SAFHolland, including robust modular drum axles, air suspension, landing legs and fifth-wheel.
“One of our design objectives was to build a low maintenance trailer and in our opinion, SAF-Holland products are superior when it comes to ease of maintenance, durability and tare mass efficiency. The SAF-Holland axles also have the largest diameter among premium quality axle units, adding to the strength of the vehicle,’ says Oosthuizen.
The modular drum assembly has sealed hub bearing units for greasefree servicing and a ‘˜one-click’ brake lining replacement procedure. These features, claims Oosthuizen, cut maintenance time by a good few hours per trailer. He points out that with running gear making up a substantial portion of the production cost of a trailer, choosing a premium-class axle supplier may result in a more expensive up-front trailer purchase price but the technology employed in such axles contribute significantly to the lowering of the overall cost-ofownership of the trailer.
According to Jo du Toit, managing director, SAF-Holland SA, apart from the money saved in labour time during trailer servicing, SAF-Holland axles also help cost-saving through extended brake lining life. “The brake shoes on SAF-Holland’s modular drum axle are mounted around a spherical head (like a ball joint) which allows the shoes to remain mobile in all directions, promoting even wear of brake linings and thus prolonging their service life while enhancing vehicle safety,’ he says.
Equipped with ABS units from Haldex, piped with expert precision by Homez technicians, plus aerodynamic bolt-on bumpers and mudguards as well as an anti-corrosion paint finish using Balco Paints, Oosthuizen and his team are confident they have a prototype which is built to last with as little downtime for servicing and repairs as possible.
The prototype interlink combination weighs in at a competitive 11.4 tons GVM, allowing for a fully legal payload of 35.7 tons. In an effort to maximise trailer uptime and operator peace-of-mind, Homez offers a 12 month warranty along with SAF-Holland SA’s extended warranties as well as a 24/7 nationwide roadside assist service.