Managing Current and Future Issues in Bulk Trailer Design

In this quarters issue of Canadian Transportation Equipment Association, Advance’s Chief R+D Engineer, Ray Strelic explores the challenging line between future needs and present  limitations in Bulk Trailer Design.

As Manager of Advance Engineered’s R+D group Ray and his team are constantly interacting with customers and legislators to try and bridge the gap between todays designs and future design requirements.

From CTEA Today Spring 2012:

Managing Current and Future Issues in Bulk Trailer Design
 Bulk Trailer manufacturers are always investigating new solutions that meet customer requirements and new legislation; while at the same time seeking advances in manufacturing, design, materials and product capabilities.

In many respects we already live in the future.  Our engineers and clients are surrounded with new product choices, design capabilities and manufacturing materials that promise better fuel economy and safety.   For trailer manufacturing companies, one of the engineering challenges quickly becomes how to evaluate and integrate these new options.   It will be the engineer’s responsibility to determine the best solutions amongst the competing, and sometimes mutually exclusive selections.

Engineering tomorrow’s solutions for the Bulk Trailer marketplace requires a trailer manufacturing company’s ongoing investment in Research and Development (R+D).  The job of R+D is to evaluate new options, participate with trade organizations and government legislation committees, and partner with forward thinking clients in design testing and studies.

At Advance Engineered Products Inc., and other bulk trailer manufacturing companies, the focus is primarily upon the following three areas of bulk trailer design:

  1. Decreasing Trailer Weight
    Decreased trailer weight helps contribute to higher payload per trip and correspondingly higher revenue per mile for the carrier.  Look for upcoming solutions that will most likely include redesigned frames and structural members to reduce steel requirements, increased use of non-steel material, and integration of lighter weight components.
  2. Reducing Centre of Gravity
    Creating new trailer designs with lower Centre of Gravity (CoG) contributes to an even safer bulk transportation industry.  Although current TDG and CMVSS regulations do not require a minimum roll threshold, we believe the safety benefits of reducing rollovers are substantial enough that increasing the roll threshold is already being considered for many new trailer designs.

  3. Contribution to Fuel Efficiency Increased fuel efficiency has an immediate impact on reducing a client’s cost, and therefore becomes a priority for new trailer design.  Some of the most immediate gains will include application of better aerodynamic features and new wheel technology.  The ongoing challenge will be to match the theoretical yields of both these and other fuel-efficiency strategies to the real-world application.

Bulk trailer manufacturing companies can meet the future industry requirements with robust designs that increase the level of safety and help customers decrease running costs.  Meeting these expectations will require companies to work closely with customers, government and industry.  Manufacturers will need to continue making investments in ongoing Research and Development programs, and incorporate the feedback from the industry with real road results for ongoing evaluation and design improvements.   

For more information contact Ray Strelic (

(With permission From CTEA Today Spring 2012)


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