If you need to save on labour costs and time, three-way tipping trailers may be the right solution
When it comes to buying a new trailer, there’s usually a flurry of activity, a check on pricing, and whichever firm provides the lowest price gets the order. That may be the preferred purchase method for the executives in some accounts departments, but it fails to take into consideration how long the trailer life might be in a tough world, and how much it might be possible to improve efficiency.
Delivery Magazine first became interested in three-way tippers whilst visiting the IAA Truck Show in Hannover. The three-way tipper concept is well known in Europe, with companies based in Holland, Germany and the Czech Republic all producing their own examples.
A three-way tipper differs from a conventional end-over tipper by providing the additional options of tipping off from either side of the body. Just pause for a moment and consider how this three-way option might benefit your business.
A landscape gardener working in a local park might need to drop off a load of mulch for use on flowerbeds. Using a conventional tray it needs to be shovelled off, which requires physical effort to unload the mulch, before it gets to be spread. Using a conventional end-over tipper cuts out the need for manual labour to unload, but it means the ute or light truck has to be reversed onto the edge of the flowerbed, running the risk of damaging the surrounding lawns etc.
This is where the three-way tipper shows its advantage. Having driven along the access path inside the park, a side-tipper can drop parts of the load onto the flower beds as it goes, putting the right amount wherever it is needed, while effectively staying within the confines of the pathways. It’s quick and easy and makes for improved productivity, not to mention a lot less risk of leaving a mess behind that has to be cleared up.
Dean Trailers of Bowral has the reputation of making some of the strongest trailers and bodywork in the Australian market, and a recent visit by Delivery Magazine highlighted how progressive the company has become.
Chris Guy, Dean’s owner and managing director, told Delivery that his aim was to produce a simple and reliable three-way tipper that improved productivity without adding massive cost.
“We have been building three-way tippers now for the past year, and our latest development has been to include three-way tipping as an option on our trailer range,” said Chris.
The heart of the three-way tipping system lies in the use of a self-contained power pack that links an onboard 12-volt battery to an electric hydraulic pump to power the ram. The powerpack mounts in a locker on the drawbar unit, while the ram mounts within the subframe on which the tipper body is fitted. On each corner of the subframe is mounted a large ball and cup mount that locates the body.
The ball and cup mounts are locked into place by two removable locking pins. The operator simply has to locate the pins and lock two of the ball and cup mounts before operating the hydraulic pump to lift the trailer body. Fit the locking pins to the rear cups for end over tipping, or move them both to either side for side tipping.
Because the hydraulic ram is mounted on a gimbal, it can move to any appropriate angle to provide the best position for elevating the body.
Dean Trailers produces a standard two-axled, end-over tipping trailer that can carry a 2.1-tonne payload. Complete with hydraulic ram and electric powerpack, the tare weight is 800 kg.
The same trailer design fitted with a three-way tipper only requires the addition of the ball and cup sockets on each corner of the subframe on which the tipper body can mount. Again capable of carrying a 2.1-tonne payload, the total tare weight for all this added versatility is just 820 kg.
Both of the Dean Trailers we inspected were fitted with integral hydraulic tipping gear and were constructed in higher tensile 350/450 rectangular hollow section (RHS) steel. This method of construction resists corrosion and water ingress to provide a long-life body that is an excellent return on investment.
Those needing a higher payload could move to a three-axled tipping trailer. This raises the payload potential to 3.5 tonnes, but moves the requirement for a towing vehicle up from that of a ute to a light or medium-duty truck.
“Our products are built with long trouble-free service in mind,” said Chris Guy. “This approach extends throughout our paint and sealing process, through our metal fabrication, and also to our use of soldered joint wiring looms. We also fit LED lighting systems as standard.
“We can provide disc or drum brakes, plus anti-lock braking, as well as stainless steel rotors to combat erosion through exposure to salt water contamination. Our flexibility to suit a customer’s specific requirements are what contributes to our success,” he added.
In addition to there being a tare weight difference of just 20 kg between a three-way tipping trailer and a conventional end-over tipper, pricing is very similar, with an additional cost variance of just $800.00.
“Being able to tip a load precisely where it is needed, at the touch of a button, can save hours each day for the employer, plus reduce backbreaking effort for the employee,” said Chris.
Our view at Delivery Magazine is that Dean Trailers may well be on the way to changing the way that trades, such as landscape gardeners and councils, do their everyday work. Its range of single, double and tri-axled tipping and non-tipping trailers can be designed to improve operator efficiency and reduce the risk of any health damage. For a local council or landscaper, the option to incorporate a three-way tipper into the fleet sounds like a well-justified expense that will soon repay on investment.