Drake’s unique quad-axle tilt slide
- From the February 2017 issue.
To adjust to an ever-evolving transport market, Victorian heavy haulage specialist, Patlin Transport, has taken delivery of its first quad-axle Deck Widening Tilt Slide from Drake Trailers.
Somerton-based Patlin Transport initially focussed on earthmoving and tipper-related work when the company first began trading in 1985. But as it grew over the years, new challenges forced owner Pat Papaluca to adapt the original model. “These days we specialise in heavy haulage, an area we first started exploring in 1996 as an add-on to earthmoving,” the hands-on leader explains. “Today, heavy haulage makes up the majority of the jobs we do.”
Following new opportunities is what recently led Pat to target a new type of work in heavy machinery salvage. “We’re always looking at related fields of work, and there was a call for us to take up salvage tasks,” Pat says. “For the new job, we needed a dedicated trailer, so we went straight to Drake Trailers to see what it could do for us.”
A long-standing customer of Drake, Pat says he prefers having the Queensland-based trailer builder manufacture the majority of his fleet, as he appreciates the equipment’s quality and reliability as well as the backup and support the company provides. “We have around 25 Drake trailers, including rows of eight, axle wideners and deck wideners, and they’ve always performed well,” says Pat. “When I first started investigating the salvage operation in 2015, I approached Drake straightaway.”
After hearing the details on what the new venture job would involve, Drake took the lead on the design and presented Pat with a quad-axle Deck Widening Tilt Slide, which he says is a unique build in Victoria.
“The tilt slide is a safer, more practical way to get the job done. It has three heavy winches and there are no ramps to climb as the whole platform just slides onto the deck,” he explains. “I told Drake what market we were targeting and what we wanted to do with the trailer, and it bent over backwards to make it work.”
Using expertise from 50 years in heavy-duty trailer building – traditionally for the mining, agriculture, oil and gas and construction sectors – Drake delivered the custom-built tilt slide in early December. “Patlin Transport and Drake Trailers have successfully been doing business for many years,” says Drake Business Development Manager, Sam Drake. “The latest project will only strengthen our working relationship built on likeminded values which we will grow for generations to come.”
The quad-axle Deck Widening Tilt Slide was configured to come in under 19m with a cab-over prime mover, allowing it to be used for both divisible and indivisible loads, Sam explains. “A first for tilt slides in Australia, the Drake design is fitted with BPW axles, the last two of which are self-tracking,” he adds. “The rear axles can steer with the tray in the fully extended position for transporting long loads.”
The tilt slide rides on airbag suspension and has two radio remote-controlled 13.5 tonne winches mounted in the bottom deck, as well as an additional nine tonne winch mounted inside the top deck gooseneck. Hard at work on the eastern seaboard operations, Pat says the trailer ‘perfectly balances’ the line between being a lightweight, yet strong enough to handle heavy-duty work. “It’s a well-proportioned trailer,” he explains. “It flexes in the right spots and is reinforced where it should be. Drake has hit the mark with the tilt slide, it’s a lighter spec trailer with sufficient strength.”
While Pat notes that Drake trailers aren’t the cheapest on the market, he stresses that “you get what you pay for” when it comes to durability: “You might pay a little bit more up front, but a Drake trailer will last. We do all our own maintenance for our trailers, and as far as rework goes, I can say with all honesty that Drake equipment needs very little. I bought my first Drake trailer 14 years ago and it is still going strong, even in this harsh transport task. If you are serious about being in heavy haulage, you buy Drake trailers, it’s that simple.”
He adds, “Over the years I’ve gotten to know Drake as a specialist in deck and axle wideners, so I knew it would build equipment we could trust as we once again expanded our operation. We’re looking to grow the salvage side of the business throughout 2017, so we’re expecting to add another couple of Drakes to the fleet as the new venture takes off.”