Trailer Magazine

Making its mark

  • From the June 2017 issue.
Making its mark

The 12 months since Thinwall Trailers Australia launched in the Australian market have been a whirlwind for the trailer builder, with operators in various sectors already benefitting from its Canadian parent company’s aluminium expertise.

When Thinwall Trailers launched onto the Australian market at the Melbourne Truck Show a year ago, CEO of Canadian parent company, Titan Trailers, Mike Kloepfer, shared his high hopes for the brand down under.

“We believe there is a real chance to stir up the market,” Mike predicted at the official launch event. “The team at Titan has invested a lot of time and effort into producing ADR-approved equipment for the Australian market. It is a product that is structurally extremely sound – tested on some of the toughest roads in the world in northern Canada – but also very light due to the extensive use of aluminium. We’ve been working with the material since the 1970s, so we’ve gained a lot of expertise in getting the most out of it in commercial applications.”

By adding that aluminium expertise to local leadership from Barry Fennell and Doug Thorne as Directors of the Australian Thinwall import business, the company said it had the pieces in place for a ‘long-term plan’ to build the brand slowly and steadily – but with real impact on the local transport scene.

Yet, a mere year on, Mike’s forecast has already taken physical form in the shape of numerous platform tippers, walking floor trailers and grain hoppers that have been delivered to Australian operators across the grain, bulk forestry and waste road transport sectors.”Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive,” says Barry – adding that the manufacturing quality has been a major talking point of the new trailers.

The Thinwall Trailers Director explains that the ‘extremely robust’ double-wall extruded aluminium panels are made in Ontario, and assembled locally in South Australia. Barry brought the first Titan trailers into Australia for his own transport company, Fennell Forestry, in 2014, after a research mission to Canada and one-on-one time with Mike ‘Mr Titan’ Kloepfer himself. Barry’s Mt Gambier-based transport company personally runs eight of the 26m Thinwall B-doubles, carting 130m3 of woodchips in a single run – an increase of three tonnes in payload. 

Also in South Australia’s Green Triangle region, bulk woodchips are the main cargo transported by Tabeel Trading, which now has nine Thinwall B-double tip-through platform tippers in its fleet. According to Tabeel Trading General Manager, Adrian Flowers, Barry’s involvement with Thinwall and his firsthand experience running the trailers in a similar application was integral to his order of the Canadian gear.

“While Thinwall is a new brand to Australia, Barry has been running the trailers through Fennell Forestry for almost three years now,” Adrian says. “We took the view that if the trailers were going to have problems here, Barry would have had them, and solved them, while performing his own job. His transparency on the trailers was crucial to us trialling the Thinwall gear.”

Also crucial, Adrian says, was the low tare weight of the 26m B-double combinations. “We’d been using steel alternatives and the aluminium construction makes a significant difference to the payload,” he adds. “Previously, we would only get around 38 to 39 tonnes of woodchips per trip, but the Thinwall can pack a payload of 45 tonnes with every load.”

Fellow South Australian business, Peats Soils, has also taken delivery of the Thinwall trailers for its garden supplies and green waste transport task, opting for two 45-foot walking floors and a 48-foot trailer with a Keith nine-slat V-floor walking floor. The 48-foot model is also the trailer of choice for Western Australian company, Purearth, which is carting green waste materials across the state.

The businesses now not only share a common cargo, they also all benefit from the quality Thinwall product – which is the priority above all other features on Adrian’s equipment purchasing checklist, he says. “We’ve always been really big on buying quality gear,” Adrian says. “We don’t mind paying good money for good quality, and the Thinwall trailers are better than any other brands we have previously used, and Barry’s local support has been fantastic.”

A state over from Adrian and Barry in Victoria, a 48-foot ADR-approved heavy-duty tri-axle walking floor trailer has made its way into the hands of Anthony Van Schaik from horticultural materials and commercial waste transfer company, Repurpose It. Anthony says he is so pleased with the performance of his Thinwall trailer that he expects to make it a matching pair before the year is out. “I have had a long relationship with Doug Thorne through previous businesses,” Anthony says. “Once he explained the quality and versatility of the Thinwall trailers and the 20 per cent decrease in unloading time compared to other moving floors, we were sold.”

“A premium product built using aircraft-grade aluminium and Keith Walking Floors seems to be just what the Australian transport industry had been waiting for,” says Barry – sharing that the full extent of Mike’s prediction a year ago is still to be revealed.


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