Trailer Magazine

Piece by piece

  • From the August 2017 issue.
Piece by piece

Australian aluminium specialist, Capral, works hand in hand with leading trailer manufacturers such as MaxiTRANS to deliver more than metal, but aluminium solutions.

Capral Aluminium understands that many manufacturers are looking for more from their suppliers than just the material. Local trailer manufacturer, MaxiTRANS, is one of many that have collaborated with the metal specialist to redefine the supply relationship and create new efficiencies.

Brad Ryan, Capral Aluminium Business Development Manager, says the aluminium company works closely with its customers to help them to improve their processes. “We partner with organisations to understand their fabrication requirements. The more we know about what our customers do with aluminium products, the more potential opportunities are available to us. We have a strategy where we want to provide a one-stop-shop solution for our clients.” 

MaxiTRANS Supply Manager Ballarat, Anthony Long, says most brands under the MaxiTRANS umbrella feature Capral aluminium. “There is aluminium in everything from Freighter curtain-siders, to Maxi-CUBE refrigerated and dry freight vans, Hamelex White and Lusty EMS tippers, as well as Peki truck bodies,” he reveals.

Anthony says MaxiTRANS worked with Capral to create a ‘just in time’ supply solution. “For example, rather than supplying us with a bulk quantity of raw aluminium extrusions, Capral takes an extrusion for a roof bay section, then rolls and cambers it before drilling the mounting holes. It takes care of the process for us, delivering the exact quantity of sections on a ‘just in time’ basis for the trailers on the manufacturing line.”

By using this supply method, Brad says it saves MaxiTRANS in processing time, frees up warehouse space from holding excess stock, and also allowing it to focus on trailer building expertise. One particular focus for MaxiTRANS is developing and producing trailers under the high productivity Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme, a segment that Anthony says the company has been a leader in since its inception.

When Capral similarly identified the scheme’s potential, it invested in a new seven-axis robotic CNC machine that took its machining capability beyond any other extruder portfolio in the country, Brad says. The robotic CNC can fabricate extrusions such as top and bottom rails, main beams and bus cant rails up to 17m in length – a capability to produce single long length extrusions that Anthony says is a key to MaxiTRANS’ requirements as a PBS specialist.

“By supplying us with single-piece segments, we avoid the need for welding two extrusions together to obtain the lengths required. It provides MaxiTRANS customers with a significant benefit in terms of structural integrity,” he says – adding that the ability to react to Australian road transport industry trends like PBS is assisted by partnering with a local supplier.

“Working with an Australian supplier also provides us with very good lead times. Capral reduces our inventory via its warehouse and distribution capabilities,” Anthony adds. “One of its benefits is that it despite having the size and capabilities of a large-scale operation to handle our volume, it also provides the hands-on service of a small supplier.”

Capral has assigned a business manager to MaxiTRANS, which Anthony says results in a high level of interaction and attention. “Capral has built a model of our historical consumption and uses the data to make sure it always has the equipment capacity to manufacture and supply the materials to meet our demands.”

Those demands have also led to Capral creating extrusion dies to suit new trailer designs, Anthony says. Currently, the MaxiTRANS aluminium suite consists of various different sections, shapes and lengths for its different trailer models, which Brad says can come together into kits when MaxiTRANS requires them.

“We are always investigating ways to simplify the task on the customer’s end, whether that means investing in new equipment or adjusting processes,” Brad says. “When you work with Capral, what you get is more than just metal.”

Fast Fact
MaxiTRANS Supply Manager Ballarat, Anthony Long, says Capral Aluminium meets a high quality of product standards from the quality of the metal specification itself to extrusions and thickness tolerances.

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