Trailer Magazine

Built to last

  • From the December 2018 issue.
Built to last

For more than half a century The Drake Group has unerringly followed a path of innovation, refining and improving its products specifically for operators in the heavy haulage sector. Operators like Garry Morris, owner of Morris Heavy Logistics.

For more than half a century The Drake Group has unerringly followed a path of innovation, refining and improving its products specifically for operators in the heavy haulage sector. Operators like Garry Morris, owner of Morris Heavy Logistics. 

Having recently celebrated a milestone 60 years as a manufacturer of heavy haulage road transport equipment, The Drake Group continues to strive to design and build trailers to suit the individual needs of customers.
Particularly with this highly specialised  sector, each operator demands different features and designs to be incorporated into their trailers, with the result that very few Drake heavy haulage trailers are identical in specification.  

Such is the case with the latest Drake 4x4 Deck Widener purchased by Garry Morris. The 4x4 Deck Widener is so-called because it has four rows of wheels with each row having four sets of dual wheel assemblies to ensure the weight is evenly, and legally, distributed on the road surface.

As for the decks, they are constructed from 8.0mm high-tensile steel, are 11.85m long and hydraulically widen from 2.5m to 3.5m. They have replaceable stainless-steel plates above the tie-down points to protect the coaming edge from damage. There are multiple chain storage pockets fitted all over the trailer to speed up loading and unloading times. This trailer also has extra tie-down points incorporated into the spine of the trailer.

The gooseneck is a low-profile design, compatible with a 2x4 Drake dolly, and features an oscillating skidplate with an eight-position fore and aft sliding ability. This facilitates optimum weight distribution between the prime mover drive axles and, if applicable, the dolly wheels. Landing gear is standard Drake heavy-duty pinned legs.

As transporting road profilers and shuttle buggies makes up a significant part of Garry’s work, the trailer has a specially designed T-bar on the goose neck that is hydraulically raised and lowered to support the weight of the boom on shuttle buggies and road profilers. Being hydraulic, this reduces the potential risk of injury to the operator compared with manually assembled units.      
Suspension is Drake/ BPW heavy-duty hydraulic with standard weight gauges and an auto return to ride height system. The axles are 15” BPW with Wabco electronically controlled (EBS) drum brakes featuring automatic slack adjusters and 10-stud 225 Eco Plus hubs running 17.5” steel wheels.

The rear two axles are self-tracking and due to the tight areas that Garry finds himself in, these axles can also be steered manually via radio remote control. This enables him to steer the trailer while reversing.  

The rearmost axle also has axle lift for increased fuel economy and improved tyre life when travelling empty or lightly laden.

Ramps are the double-hung or bi-fold type with dimensions of 5.65m x 1.0m. They have half-width grip bars on the outboard surfaces and rubber strips on the inboard. The rubber strips provide the extra grip needed to facilitate the safe loading and unloading of smooth drum rollers.

A very useful addition is the pneumatic ramp chain tensioners that automatically maintain the correct chain tension during transit. This does away with the need for ramp binders, again shortening turnaround times. 
The hydraulics are powered by a Yanmar 6.7hp diesel engine with electric start facility and controls at both sides of the trailer.

Lighting is provided by multi-volt Hella LEDs. There are four work lights, two on the gooseneck and one on each ramp. As Morris Heavy Logistics does a lot of night work, the strategically positioned lighting is very important. 
Other accessories include a water tank and four lockable toolboxes, all fitted with interior lights. Two dunnage trays are welded to the centre section of the trailer.

Garry Morris owns and operates Morris Heavy Logistics, specialising in moving machinery for the road building industry in the three eastern states and South Australia. This is his fifth Drake purchase as he already owns three low-loaders and a dolly.

Speaking about his latest acquisition, Garry says he spent around $25,000 on extra features that tailor the trailer to his exact requirements.

“I believe in making the job easier rather than harder,” he says, referring to the extra features specified. “I don’t want to walk around the trailer three times to chain on a machine.

“Around Brisbane I can do anything up to 12 machinery shifts a day so saving 10 to 15 minutes with each shift makes a big difference.”

He goes on to sing the praises of Drake’s manufacturing prowess, intimating that for his application there really is no other choice.

“With the Drake equipment you can keep it pretty much forever because it doesn’t fall apart,” Garry says. “And because of the way it’s built, if you decide to sell it in say 10 or even 20 years it will still be structurally sound and therefore have a good resale value.”

According to The Drake Group’s Technical Sales Representative, Byron Foss, working closely with clients to deliver a trailer customised to their specific requirements is very rewarding.

“Understanding their individual freight tasks and involving our Engineering and Fit-out teams to come up with solutions is what I enjoy the most about my job,” Foss declares.

“These days there are more clients wanting to carry 45-50 tonne payloads,” he adds. “So the 4x4 Drake Deck Widener has been re-engineered in recent years, with careful consideration of tare weight, to give operators more confidence when carrying these higher payloads.”

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