West-Trans unveils new tarp technology
- From the September 2016 issue.
Combining their talents, UK-based TransCover and West-Trans Equipment are bringing a series of tarping systems to the Australian market that are designed to give fleets a light and user-friendly alternative to traditional tarp configurations.
When Les Carpenter, General Manager of the West-Trans Group, joined the company in early 2015, he wondered why local waste transport operators were using heavy and expensive, hydraulically actuated tarping systems. In Les’ opinion, all the system needed to do was to extend and retract a lightweight tarp.
Having already found success overseas by partnering with Denmark’s HMF to supply its vehicle loading crane range to Australia, West-Trans used its established international purchasing channels to add innovative tarpaulin technology to its growing portfolio.
“We knew by leveraging our contacts in Europe we would find our answers. After looking at several business in Europe, we came across UK company, TransCover,” Les recalls.
Les soon discovered the two companies shared similar backgrounds. “TransCover started during the 1990s because founder and Director, Steve Hines, wasn’t happy with the systems that he was buying for his own trucks and trailers,” Les says. “At the time, Steve decided to design and manufacture a tarpaulin system that could be used by the global market. It made sense to discuss the proposition to bring the TransCover technology to Australia.”
Facing the same requirements TransCover did two decades earlier, West-Trans’ main criteria for the tarp system were for it to be light, dependable, easy to install and economical to maintain. “TransCover had achieved this by developing a tarp cover that could operate in unison with a hooklift or a skiploader, which it called a HyCover and a Mini HyCover.”
According to Les, the secret to the HyCover and Mini HyCover’s success is that both products use air rather than hydraulics to extend the tower, and a high-duty cycle electric motor to extend and retract the heavy-duty, but lightweight, tarp. “This results in a system that weighs just under 200kg, which is half the weight of the traditional hydraulically actuated tarps currently being used in Australia, at roughly 70 per cent of the cost,” Les says.
“In addition, TransCover also manufactured an entry level tarp system to cater to budget-conscious operators, known as the PullCover. The PullCover system is fixed into the load board and operates with a simple spring loaded drum, similar in operation to a Holland blind. All versions are available with and without side flaps.”
Seeing an opportunity to give its customers the complete product offering, West-Trans approached its corporate clients proposing various TransCover configurations in conjunction with the supply of new hooklifts and skip-loaders. The Mini HyCover, HyCover and PullCover units have been operating successfully for months in the Australian market, and are now being distributed through West-Trans outlets Australia-wide.
With his initial question answered, Les anticipates the TransCover products will take off with local operators in Australia’s waste sector. “The acceptance of this system has been better than expected, and after thorough trialling and evaluations, we have sold most of the first shipment and have already ordered a second container,” Les says. “With awareness of the benefits of providing safe and easy to use tarping systems growing rapidly within the waste industry, it’s an ideal time for West-Trans to become involved in the distribution of this game-changing product.”
According to Les, with the HyCover, Mini HyCover and PullCover as part of West-Trans’ growing portfolio, all three tarp systems will have genuine appeal in other transport markets, too.
“We are in the middle of an evaluation period with the TransCover UnderCover system that we believe has enormous OH&S benefits,” he says.
“We were initially only considering marketing the TransCover tarp system for our skip-loaders and hooklifts as there were obvious synergies with the waste equipment products that we manufacture.
“However, following presentations made by Steve Hines at a recent product training session with the West-Trans team, we are equally impressed with TransCover’s other tarping systems that are suited to the trailer industry – and we intend leveraging those sales opportunities in the immediate future.”
The story has appeared in the September edition of Trailer. To get your copy, click here.