A comprehensive service offering

Renowned, through their brands Drake Trailers and O’Phee Trailers, for building some of the toughest on- and off-road trailers known to man, The Drake Group is keen to get the word out that it also has a department dedicated to the expert servicing, repair and refurbishment of its own as well as other brands of trailers.

While their inherently robust design and construction endows them with a remarkably long lifespan, there eventually comes a time when every Drake Group trailer will require an overhaul to give it a new lease on life.

What better place to take it for this type of work than the company that knows their trailers inside out and back to front – The Drake Group itself.

The company has a dedicated team of skilled technicians assigned to these tasks, with this department headed up by Branch Manager Service and Repairs, Troy Uhle looking after the east coast and Hugh Markey in the West.

Troy has been in the role since the beginning of this year, having taken the reins from long-serving and recently retired Drake Group employee, Steve Collins, who notched up 19 years with the company.

“I look after our Wacol (QLD) branch as well as our far-reaching service network which covers all of the eastern states and South Australia,” Troy says. “My Colleague Hugh Markey looks after Western Australia from our branch in Welshpool (Perth) and remote service offerings across the state.

“We have preferred repairers in places like Mackay, Sydney and Victoria and we have a field service team that we send to South Australia on a week-on, week-off basis to cater to the needs of our clients in that state.”

The Service and Repair division at The Drake Group’s Wacol facility has 12 full-time employees – including three boilermakers, six trailer fitters, an apprentice, a tradesperson’s assistant (TA) and a parts interpreter. The team manages everything from minor services through to complete overhauls, which may involve renewing entire suspension and braking systems before the complete unit is sandblasted and painted. The end result is a trailer that, regardless of its age, is returned to ‘as new’ condition for its owner.

To expedite repair times, The Drake Group now has a service exchange program for components such as hydraulic suspension units.

Troy mentions that he worked for several months with Steve Collins prior to his retirement to ensure a smooth transition and he says it was a pleasure working with and learning from someone with such a wealth of knowledge. “I had three months working with Steve, which was a great handover period,” he says.
Speaking further about his new role, Troy says the company is on a mission to raise awareness of its top-shelf service and repair capabilities that are not restricted to Drake and O’Phee trailer owners.

“Most people in the industry are aware of Drake as a trailer manufacturer but our service and repair side is less well known, despite the fact that it has now been running for close to three years.”

Prior to forming its own service and repair division, The Drake Group engaged a contractor to manage these tasks, but with the business continuing to expand it was deemed necessary to bring these operations in-house with the formation of a dedicated division.

A value-added aspect of the operation that has the potential to significantly speed up the repair process is a service-exchange program recently implemented which entails the stocking of commonly replaced components that have been refurbished and are therefore ready to be fitted to trailers.
“We established this system around six months ago, involving the rebuilding of major components like suspension and steering rams which are then put into stock ready for when they are needed,” Troy says.

“The chrome plating on the rods eventually reaches the end of its service life after thousands of operating hours in the harshest of conditions, which then leads to seal failure,” he explains. “Since the re-chroming process can take up to three weeks, it makes sense to have those parts sitting on the shelf, preassembled and ready to be fitted to the customer’s trailer. Troy explains that the division’s workshop also stocks its own fast-moving new parts such as brake linings and drums that are used on a daily basis.

“Having the right stock on hand is critical to our operations due to much of our work being turned around in one or two days,” he says.
“We are aiming to increase the volume of our servicing work because of the fast turnaround time in contrast with a full refurb which can take up to three weeks.

“We want to get our name out into the marketplace to let people know that we have the expertise and capacity to handle the servicing and refurbishment of their heavy haulage trailers.”

Troy explains that plans are afoot for future expansion of The Drake Group’s Service and Repair division, with the current workshop space of 1,000m2 and the same amount of outdoor hardstand area fast being outgrown.

“We are aiming to build a new purpose-built workshop with drive-through access to help streamline the processes of servicing and getting trailers in and out in the most timely manner,” Troy says.

No doubt, once this is completed The Drake Group will be even better equipped to cater for a considerably larger number of clients in respect to all their trailer servicing, repair and refurb requirements.

The Drake Group’s comprehensive service offering includes qualified field service technicians and fully kitted out service trucks.
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