Trailer Magazine

Behind the wheel

  • From the October 2018 issue.
Behind the wheel

As a leading supplier of custom road transport solutions in Western Australia, General Transport Equipment shares the latest details of its efficient and flexible Tyre Transporters.

Original equipment manufacturer, General Transport Equipment, has designed and manufactured specialist trailers for the transport of off the road (OTR) oversize tyres used in the mining industry since 2004.

Previously, these large tyres were transported either flat and over width or upright and over height on standard flat top and drop deck trailers, according to GTE Engineering manager, Robert Diss.

“These methods were cumbersome and mostly involved pilots or special short-term permits to allow their use on PM and semi-trailer vehicles,” he says. “Early operators of upright tyre transport did not even use a support frame, relying on cross chain restraints to maintain them vertically, and usually achieved this with what would be considered today a dubious level of safety. Even when frames were added, these were not to current structural standards for load restraint.”

GTE pioneered specialist OTR tyre trailers back in 2004 and achieved combinations of road train proportions compared to the earlier single articulated vehicles, expanding the OTR tyre payloads from four or six tyres per trip up to sixteen tyres per double road train, which Robert says produced great productivity gains instantly.

“These pioneering trailers were designed to carry the popular 40.00R57 tyres upright within a height of 4.6m and within the standard width of 2.5m,” he says – adding that road transport was soon threatened with even bigger tyres necessitating the invention by GTE of the patented monocoque structure which permits the carriage of every size tyre in Australia within those same limits.

“Road trains leaving Kewdale and bound for the north west of Western Australia are limited to 36.5m and have been arranged initially as A-doubles, then as A-B-triples, and later as shorter 35m B-triples,” Robert says. “With the more recent developments in Electronic Braking Systems (EBS), A-doubles are popular again, offering greater payload flexibility to accommodate the ever-growing sizes in tyres.”

The 40.00R57 tyre’s popularity, according to Robert, has shifted to the 46/90R57 and to a lesser extent, the even heavier 50/80 R57. The “heavy weight” of the 57-inch range is the 6.7 tonne 60/80R57 while the giant 59/80R63 still holds the title for tallest. Longer combinations operate within the 53.5m route system in the northern areas.

Robert says the unique patented monocoque body design of the GTE tyre transporter accommodates all these tyres regardless of weight or size. “The design has evolved through successive build programs, to reduce tare weight and increase space as larger and heavier tyres enter the market, while also introducing key safety features.”

Tyres capable of being transported within 4.6m and 2.5m are:
63-inch range; The giant 59/80R63, 58/80/R63, 55/80R63 and the smallest being the 53/80R63.
57-inch range; The heavy and wide 60/80R57, 50/80R57, and the popular 46/90R57 and 40.00R57.

“There are other tyre sizes, all of which can be efficiently transported in various arrangements due to the fully adjustable support system,” Robert says.

“A Series 7 model is under current manufacture, and although incorporating the same patented features, expands the trailer’s operation to include the option of over width transport. The moveable support frames allow the transport operation to revert to 2.5m in gauge travel day and night.”

Also, GTE confirms that every trailer has a T-EBS brake system with stability control, a load and maintenance monitoring device, spring lock / air release on each, easy rolling support frame with brake lockout, drive away safety system, a fire extinguisher, a water barrel, two tool boxes, spare tyre stowage and a rear coupling. All load restraint straps are supplied and attached whether the bay is loaded or not, thus being immediately ready to restrain a tyre or support the unladen frame.

Frame movement can be completed in under a minute, according to Robert. “Operators do not need to access the deck areas for normal operations, all frame adjustments and load restraints being done at ground level. When back at base, a special purpose, lightweight aluminium ladder is provided that is carried on the trailer and attaches securely to the trailer for safe access. Every tyre is secured using regular straps immediately following its loading thus eliminating need for complicated safety zone devices and power plant systems to operate hydraulic devices.”

Robert says the Series 7 model is the only trailer design capable of carrying every sized OTR tyre available within the 4.6m height limit and widths of 2.5m, 2.7m and 3m – depending on the chosen permit. “It performs all these duties at a very modest tare weight. I recommend the Series 7 for over width opportunities up to 3m in A-double and A-triple configurations and opt for Series 6 for operations with a width limit of 2.5m in any combination, including those with A-trailers to form B-doubles and B-triples.”

Fast Fact
Every General Transport Equipment trailer purchase comes with a comprehensive operator manual detailing safe operation, load restraint methods and all air system diagrams. Additionally, an Excel program is provided for use on a client’s touch screen laptop or tablet/big phone whereby a trip planner or a truck driver can determine the axle group loads for any combination of tyres prior to loading, eliminating wasted time and possible loading infringements.

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