Stone tasks need a specialist trailer

Thursday, 25 February 2021

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By Martin Rickatson

From the body to the chassis to the tyres, the key components of trailers designed for rubble and stone haulage face probably the most rigorous working conditions and demands among trailers generally, making a robust and practical design, built from strong steel protected by tough paintwork, a necessity.

These were some of the key specification criteria sought by Bungay, Suffolk, landworks contractors Allan Collyer and Sons Ltd, when they decided to purchase the business’s first dedicated new stone and rubble trailer. Undertaking a range of activities, including agricultural and sports turf drainage, utilities installation, earthmoving, all-weather horse arena construction, excavation of lakes and ponds, conservation work, civil engineering and large pad construction, the family firm has a considerable workload to justify the investment.

Run by Chris and Colin Collyer, sons of founder Allan, this is the company’s first dedicated trailer built to a stone/rubble haulage specification, and the differences between it and a conventional trailer make the investment well worthwhile, believes Colin Collyer.

“We talked with Richard Western about what we wanted in a trailer, and they were happy to show us the specification of their 20-tonne capacity SRT20 and fine-tune it to what we needed.

“There are a number of things that make it right for this job, but we were seeking three in particular. We wanted a body made from especially high-strength steel that would stand up to the bashing trailers get when rubble and stone are being loaded, and Richard Western were able to meet our requirements, using the high-strength Hardox steel to stand up to the heavy impacts of stone and rubble loading over the trailer’s lifetime.

“We also wanted to make sure the body – and the rest of the steel components of the trailer – were not just made from high-strength material, but protected by a high-strength finish too. The Richard Western factory is not far from us, and we were able to see first-hand the recent investment made there in new paint facilities.

“Thirdly, we wanted a package of running gear that would match the rest of the trailer, including tyres that would stand up to stone, rock and rubble.”

The SRT20 is built around a chassis constructed from beams formed from 10mm 355mc steel, with eight bends per section. This is fitted with 10-stud commercial axles with a 2.0m axle track, equipped with 420mm x180mm brakes, which can be specified with either hydraulic or air actuation and load-sensing valves. Cushioning is via 100mm-wide heavy-duty single-leaf axle springs, while rubber shock absorber pads are sited between the trailer body and chassis. The running gear package has a 32t load rating.

Richard Western’s hallmark tapered body design is used to ensure swift load ejection, and floor steel is 8mm-thick while sides measure 6mm – options include 10mm floor with 8mm sides or high-strength Hardox 400 4mm floor and 3mm sides. Extra floor bracing helps prevent damage and protects against debris and foreign objects.

A pointed top rail prevents material sitting on the top edges, while at the rear a hydraulic up-and-over tailgate is equipped with auto lock and hydraulic safety check valve. Further specification includes a front inspection ladder, LED road lights with indicator ballast, height-adjustable sprung drawbar with heavy-duty towing eye and 13-leaf heavy-duty spring, plus protection plates to ensure important components are not damaged.

After two years’ service with the business, the trailer – which is the business’s first Richard Western – has more than met the challenges of what has been asked of it, says Colin Collyer.    

“It’s used almost daily when we are working on rubble, soil and site clearance work, behind a New Holland T7.245 tractor.

“I have to admit the only thing I perhaps wasn’t sure about when we first considered it was the single ram design, but it’s proved plenty strong enough. After having handled several thousand tonnes of concrete, rubble and soil, it’s stood up to the materials far better after two years than many of our lorry bodies after a similar time.

“It does a fair amount of off-site work as well as on, and it’s well-balanced on the road, while the air brakes work very well and the LED lights ensure we are safe and visible. We switched tyres to BKT ones, and they have proven better than the originals at standing up to cuts from stone and rubble.

“In all it’s proved strongly-built in all areas, and a genuine stone/rubble trailer that’s more than capable of the job we need it to do. A specialist trailer is a necessity for this job, and that’s what Richard Western were able to deliver to us.”