Prime Mover Magazine


MTE makes waves down under

  • From the August 2010 issue.
MTE makes waves down under

Modern Transport Engineers (MTE) is making steady ground in the heavy trailer market in Australia. While the New Zealand based company is not new to trailer manufacturing, what is new is its increased presence in Australia which allows for better customer service and support.

MTE was established by Managing Director, Robin Ratcliffe, in 1973. Robin’s eldest son Mike Ratcliffe is the Australian based manager who set up the Australian head office in Tingalpa, Brisbane just over 18 months ago.

According to Mike, the move to be established permanently in Australia has been well worth it. “It made sense for me to move here. We are getting more and more customers, and it’s easier to support them when I’m here rather than in New Zealand.

“We now have a great service and parts facility here (in Australia) that allows us quicker access to trailers for any repairs or spare parts. We believe that support for our customers is an important part of our business and we have gone to great lengths to ensure our service and support is the best in the business. We have experienced staff who are able to help our customers in any way they can.” says Mike.

“Service and support is such an important part of this industry. We like to help our customers immediately if there is a problem, whether that’s shipping parts or sending someone out for a repair.”

Support for MTE customers has also been established in other states with a sales and support office in Melbourne and Perth. MTE also has a network of authorised repair agents situated at various locations Australia wide.

Mike’s brother, Zane Ratcliffe, is in charge of the design department at the Hamilton, New Zealand head office. Zane has been busy over the past 6 months introducing new models to the MTE range of trailers.

“We have traditionally only made large low loader trailers for the Australian market, says Zane. “We have made a lot of small trailers for the New Zealand market, so we modified some of our existing models, added some new features and we now have a solid range of small trailers currently going through production.

“We realised that our existing customers who use our bigger trailers also have the need for small trailers. We put the same attention to detail and quality of production into the big and small trailers we build. That’s typically what our customers demand.”

Some of the new MTE low loader models include tri and quad axle deck widening low loaders. The new model deck wideners include some unique features, including decks that split and widen from the middle of the deck, instead of having the two outside pontoons widening.

According to Zane, “Widening the decks with the deck splitting in the centre has two advantages. It allows the decks to cover the exposed tyres at all widths and stops mud and road grime from being thrown up onto the load. The other advantage is that it allows the knuckle boom on excavators to sit 200mm lower than on standard deck wideners with a centre chassis that is the same height as the widening decks.”

The tri axle and quad axle low loaders are available with spring, airbag, or the new design MTE isolating trailing arm hydraulic suspension. This newly developed hydraulic suspension is designed to alleviate common stresses found on traditional hydraulic suspension due to sideways movement of axles.

Many of the standard features and options from the larger range of low loaders are being offered on the deck widening models, including the same ramps, multiple tool box locations, auto greasing systems, and sliding skid plates which eliminates the need for a multiple pin position skin plate.

Other new models from MTE are the single, double and triple extending drop and flat deck semi trailers. These trailers are available with fixed axles, self steer, manual steer or command steer. The drop deck range is available as extending and widening drop decks.

Also new from MTE is the removable gooseneck low loader. This versatile trailer is available as tandem or tri axle with fixed width or deck widening. It features a low 600mm travelling deck height and is primarily aimed at the agriculture and farming industries.

All MTE trailers are manufactured at the Hamilton head office using only the best high tensile steel plate and quality supplier parts. Trailers can be shipped directly to any major city port.

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